Some notable events:
The East Winds Symphonic Band was founded in 1981 by a trio of musicians: Roger Schneider (euphonium), Ed Dzenis (clarinet/saxophone) and Ron Johnson (tuba). Their desire was to form a quality wind ensemble. By November 1981, the roster had 26 musicians. Today there are approximately 80 active musicians on the band’s roster with a wait list for new membership in most sections. As the band has grown, the focus of the group has remained the same: to provide an outlet for community musicians to play quality wind band music.
Early rehearsals were held in Wilkinsburg. Then in the early 1990’s, the band band moved to Trinity Christian School in Forest Hills (1993 – 2021). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the band moved in April 2021 to the current rehearsal location at St. John’s Cathedral Center in Munhall.
Conductor Susan Sands (1990 – Present) continues the tradition of the previous conductors, Jay Stivanson, the band’s first conductor (1981-1982) and Jim Rossetti (1982-1990), by leading the all-volunteer group through weekly rehearsals and numerous concerts throughout the year.
In 2002, Roger Schneider, one of the founding members, was honored as a recipient of the WQED-FM/Dominion Volunteer in the Arts (VITA) Award. The monetary portion of the award was used to seed the launch of Three Rivers Community Band Festival in 2004 that highlights community bands and brings together community musicians from throughout the western Pennsylvania region. See the festival web site for more information.
In 2008, the band was selected by audition to perform at the Association of Concert Bands National Convention in Corning, New York. Later that year, EWSB was notified by the John Philip Sousa Foundation that they were the 2008 recipient of the Sudler Silver Scroll. The award is named after Chicago real estate magnate Louis C. Sudler, a patron of the arts who founded the John Philip Sousa Foundation. The band was formally presented with the award in May 2009. The Sudler Silver Scroll is North America’s most prestigious award for community concert band excellence and the band is honored and proud to have been recognized with this award.
Again in 2011, EWSB was selected by audition to perform for a second time at the National Convention of the Association of Concert Bands, in Muskegon, Michigan. Also in 2011, the band commissioned a piece by Sam Hazo called Parkour. The band performed the world premier of Parkour under the direction of Mr. Hazo at a concert at Rodef Shalom Synagogue on November 6.
Then in 2016, EWSB was proud to host the national convention of the Association for Concert Bands in Pittsburgh. The band premiered, Three Rivers Rhapsody, by Jerry Brubaker, a composition written specifically for EWSB at the Pittsburgh convention.
In June of 2019, the band performed three concerts in Ireland. Performances were held at the Cork School of Music in Cork, St. Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, and in Dublin at the Artane School of Music as a combined concert with the Artane Senior Band. Visit our EWSB in Ireland page for photos and stories from the trip.