Solar Winds blows through town, performs free concert
The U.S. Air Force Band of the Rockies’ Solar Winds will play a free concert at 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 14, at Glenwood Springs High School auditorium. The concert is sponsored by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association and the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.
Established in 1999, Solar Winds is a professional clarinet quartet, one of nine performing groups that make up the 75-member U. S. Air Force Band of the Rockies.
The group is headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base at Colorado Springs.
The well-honed ensemble embraces traditional clarinet quartet literature, new works and an array of arrangements of folk and popular music.
To achieve a blend of sounds and a wide range of tones, the quartet plays the full variety of clarinet instruments, including the standard B-flat clarinet, the E-flat clarinet, the basset clarinet and the bass clarinet.
“We like to do a little bit of everything. We are not a typical military quartet,” said Little, who serves as the group’s musical director.
The program will include “Bird Watching,” a bright and lively set of six short movements by Bristish composer Michael Henry, a classic swing medley, and a Mendelssohn string quartet transposed for clarinets.
“We’ll alse be playing a special tribute to 9/11, a piece we had written for that occasion,” Little said.
The piece, composed specifically for Solar Winds by the Air Force Band’s staff composer, Technical Sgt. Joe Spaniola to mark the terrorist attacks, is entitled, “Tuesday Mourning, Determined Dawn.”
“We’ll be playing some fun stuff, some serious stuff, and, unfortunately, some sad stuff,” Little said.
The band performs community concerts, holds master classes for elementary through college students and performs at military functions in support of the U.S. Air Force.
The quartet includes a diverse group of musicians.
Master Sgt. George Roach Jr., a native of Pueblo, earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Southern Colorado in 1977. He has taught at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D. and earned a masters degree in music performance from the University of Northern Colorado. He joined the Air Force Band of the Rockies in 1983. He has performed for Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, George Bush and Bill Clinton and with the Ice Capades, Bob Hope and Neil Diamond.
Technical Sgt. Noelle Little is a native of Watertown, Wis. She has a bachelor of music degree in clarinet performance from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wis. and a master of music degree in clarinet performance from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. While she was in graduate school, Little was featured as a guest soloist with the North Arkansas Symphony. She became a member of the Band of the Rockies in January 1997.
Technical Sgt. Heike Gazette received her bachelor of music degree from the University of Louisville in 1996 and a master of music from Yale University in 1998. While attending Yale, she performed with the Philharmonia of Yale and New Music New Haven. She was a member of the Elektra Woodwind Quartet and a semi-finalist in the International Chamber Music Association’s Youth Artist Competition in Paris. She joined the Band of the Rockies in 1998.
Technical Sgt. Kariann Voigts is a native of Waverly, Iowa, and earned bachelor of music education and bachelor of music performance degrees in 1993 from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. In 1998, she completed a master of music degree in clarinet performance at Indiana University in Bloomington.
While there, she served as adjunct clarinet instructor at Purdue University. She has performed with the Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Dubuque and Cedar Rapids symphonies and held the principal clarinet chair with the Quad City Wind Ensemble. She became a member of the Band of the Rockies in 1999.
In 1958 the Band of the Rockies, including Solar Winds, moved to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to support the Cadet Wing at parades, military ceremonies and athletic events. In 1993, it was reassigned to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.
Admission to the concert is free, however, tickets are required and are available at the chamber office, 1002 Grand Ave. or at the Post Independent, 2014 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by calling the chamber at 945-6589.
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The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association is working with local businesses and organizations to celebrate the spirit of Strawberry Days with a Berry Special Weekend from June 18-20, according to a news release.