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Symphonic Winds Set to Take Southern Hemisphere by Storm

By Karis Fuller
Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

The LIU Post Wind Symphony will take a trip Down Under to perform alongside ensembles from across the globe from June 29 to July 10. The wind symphony is led by Dr. James McRoy, director of wind studies, and is composed of 66 musicians. Graduate and undergraduate students, alumni and high schoolers will perform together under the name Long Island Symphonic Winds for the first time. “It’s a unique title, made up of different populations,” McRoy said.

Photo by Karis Fuller
Dr. McRoy, Director of wind studies and professor of music

The LI Symphonic Winds will be one of only two American groups to perform. “The list of ensembles performing is a real variety,” McRoy said. There will be ensembles representing countries as far as China, Australia and Japan. KaraAnn Leone, graduate assistant and flutist, is excited for the adventure in Australia.

This is Leone’s second year in the music performance graduate degree program. Her first tour with the wind symphony was to Puerto Rico during summer of 2015, as she simultaneously worked to complete her undergraduate degree in music education. “[It was] a lot of just ‘go with the flow,’ and adjust when we got there, so we kind of knew what to expect,” Leone said, “But it was really successful and we all had a great time.”

Each summer, McRoy chaperones a new ensemble of students abroad to perform at some of the world’s most acclaimed stages. The wind symphony’s upcoming 2018 performance will be in Sydney, Australia where they will perform at the Sydney Opera House and other venues such as the Darling Harbour. Leone is humbled by the opportunity to travel and play on a prestigious stage. “I’ve always wanted to go to Australia, and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to just being there. Performing at the Sydney Opera House there is like performing at Carnegie Hall here, and it’s a dream come true.”

Photo by Karis Fuller
Graduate student and GA KaraAnn Leone

The wind symphony went on their first tour in 2009 and have since performed in Poland, the Czech Republic and China. Bobby and Sam Stainkamp have attended all three of the wind symphony’s previous tours. The alumni reside in Long Island after both graduating with undergraduates degrees in music education (2010), and a graduates degree in music theory and composition (2012). Mr. and Mrs. Stainkamp have fond memories of their past tours and are excited about the upcoming one. “We get to experience a lot of nice places’ performers,” Mrs. Stainkamp said, “Laced into that, besides a couple of performances, we get to experience another culture and learn about life there.”

Over the span of 12 days, the group will tour Sydney, and they will perform three concerts. The first will take place at the renowned Sydney Opera House. The next will be at the Darling Harbour, an outdoor venue known for its concerts and festivals. The ensemble’s nal performance will take place at the Sydney Town Hall theatre, a venue McRoy describes as a “high end concert hall.”

“When we went to Poland, every single concert that we put on was sold out; there was not an empty seat,” Mr. Stainkamp said. “They had people sitting on the floor in the front.”

Two of the 2018 concerts are shared with other ensembles, and the LI Symphonic Winds will occupy the stage for 30 to 40 minutes. Along with performing on their trip, the ensemble will partake in two workshops led by Australian conductor and composer David Stanhope. Working with a composer from the area artists are performing in, gives the musicians an experience of a different culture, according to Leone. “You feel more attached to it and really understand where they are coming from once we are able to actually see things for our self,” she said.

Rehearsals for an event of this scale start early, so the students and alumni participating will begin meeting at the beginning of May.

Before the ensemble leaves for Australia, they will perform a send-off concert on Wednesday, June 27 at 7:30 p.m. Although no venue is set, the event will be free and open to the public. Dr. McRoy will release the information once finalized.

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