MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — The McAllen Wind Ensemble has reunited after missing out on its 45th season. Now, they are preparing for a July performance.
The ensemble had been an integral part of the Rio Grande Valley’s fine arts scene for decades. It is made up of more than 70 volunteers from all walks of life who share a love for music.
“One of the great things is that it’s a place where people can live out their passion for performing music, and do so and have their careers and families,” Town Band Association Board Member Jon Stevens said. “It is made of up community members and run by community members.”
The Town Band Association is the nonprofit that runs the ensemble.
When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, their practices and concerts celebrating their milestone 45th anniversary came to a halt. Now that the community is getting vaccinated, the ensemble is back together.
Stevens said it was bittersweet missing out on a full season, but there is a silver lining.
“It did cause us to do new things. Trying things out digitally and producing a concert that was fully streaming,” Stevens said. “We’d never done that before. I think any organization, as it grows needs to evolve. So, in some ways, it was a year that pushed us to evolve.”
Stevens added the members returned with more enthusiasm and there is a new sense of camaraderie.
“People were just thrilled to be there,” he said. “Before we even had first downbeat of rehearsal someone said something positive and there was a cheer in the room because people were very excited to be able to perform music.”
“People can practice on their own, but a lot of the motivation of a musician is performing with others.”
Currently, everyone is hard at work rehearsing and preparing for the first post-pandemic concert, which will be held at Archer Park in McAllen for the July 3 Freedom Festival.
This concert is just the beginning of what Stevens said will be an exciting season.
“This year we’re really going to try to emphasize that community aspect, people coming together to see it live, enjoying with others, connecting,” Stevens said. “We all connect emotionally and there are different stories and histories that connect to music, so we are planning different guest features throughout this year that are going to connect to that communal aspect of music.”
Stevens encourages everyone make it out to the festival to help support the arts. Another way to support is to become a sponsor.
For sponsorship information and to stay updated on upcoming auditions, visit their website.