The rehearsal of Monday evening, September 14, marks the start of the 15th season of the Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble, the community concert band based in Chestertown. The ensemble was created in 2001 by a group of community wind- and percussion-instrument players who recognized a need to have not only a local community marching band but also a concert band in which to learn and perform various types of music.
Dr. Keith A. Wharton, a veteran of more than 30 years as a music teacher in the Kent County Public Schools and also on the music staff of Washington College, has been the band’s music director from the beginning. He has programmed more than 60 concerts for the wind ensemble, and some of the founding members have performed in all or nearly all of them. The ensemble and Dr. Wharton still maintain their original philosophy of “providing a music group in which the members can expand their skills, play quality music, and enjoy themselves in a supportive, collegial atmosphere as well as entertain audiences.”
The band’s first free concert, one of the musical events of Schooner Sultana’s Downrigging Weekend, will be at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 1, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in downtown Chestertown. The program will be a combination of pieces oriented towards Halloween (such as the ominous contemporary piece “Nemesis” and “Cycle of the Werewolf,” the latter inspired by the Stephen King story of the same name) and pieces of a more operatic nature (such as “Intermezzo” from Pagliacci, selections from The Pirates of Penzance, and C. Barber’s “Aria Without Words”).
The next concert will be a Christmas/winter-holiday concert on December 6. Concerts during the second half of the season will be on March 20 and May 22. All will be at Emmanuel Church, with free admission. The ensemble is partially supported by the Kent County Arts Council and by community donations.
The band welcomes new members at any time, without audition or fee, but the start of a new season is an especially good time to join. Since its founding, the band has rehearsed at Kent County Middle School, but starting this season rehearsals will be on most Monday evenings in the band room at Washington College (No. 116 in the Gibson Center for the Arts). Rehearsals begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. and end promptly at 8:30.
Members range from advanced middle-school instrumentalists to retirees, some of whom have returned to playing their instruments after years away from them. Members have a variety of musical and vocational backgrounds and experiences but have a very consistent record of attendance, a testament to their dedication and enjoyment. For further information or to join, prospective members may call 410-778-2829 or 410-810-1834. Or to simply join, they should just arrive at the first rehearsal somewhat before 7:00.