By Krystal Sidzyik, Senior Staff Writer
The Nebraska Wind Symphony (NWS) is teaming up with Omaha’s middle school “All Stars” and the Omaha Percussion Ensemble for their formal winter concert, “With Bells On!” Sunday, Feb. 12, at UNO’s Strauss Performing Arts Center. The concert begins at 3 p.m. and will last about an hour and a half.
Tickets for adults are $10, students and seniors are $5 and children 12 and under are free.
The NWS is an adult community band of approximately 85 adults. They perform three formal concerts and two free summer concerts every year. The mission of the NWS is to “perform fine concert band music for the enjoyment and enrichment of musicians and audiences in the greater Omaha area.”
Each year, the NWS features one particular instrument section of the band. This year it’s the percussion section. Then they invite seventh and eighth graders who have been nominated by their school band directors to participate in the NWS in the concert.
“It’s a tradition started four directors ago,” said Chris Tucker, associate director of the NWS, in a phone interview. “It’s just something we do every year, and we select a different instrument each year.”
This year, the middle school “All Stars” will be performing a hand drum piece and the bell solo to “The Pink Panther.” The NWS will be the accompany part of the bell solo.
“Not only is [the concert] going to be a band concert, but the first half is the Omaha Percussion Ensemble,” Tucker said. “There is an extra amount of intrigue about percussion because there’s such a wide variety from your traditional band instrument.”
The first half of “With Bells On!” will be the Omaha Percussion Ensemble and the piece with the middle school “All Stars,” and the second half will be the traditional band concert. The audience will get a taste of unique and different as well as the traditional sound, Tucker said.
The NWS has been rehearsing for Sunday’s concert every Monday for two hours since early December.
“One of the missions of the NWS is to provide quality contraband music, not only as a playing opportunity for adults who played formally in high school and college, but also for audiences who are drawn to that type of music,” Tucker said.
The NWS hopes to continue providing performance opportunities of quality literature, as well as having audiences enjoy hearing that kind of music.
The NWS’s next formal concert is on April 29 at 3 p.m. and will also be at UNO’s Strauss Performing Arts Center. The first free summer concert is June 24 at Stinson Park Concert at Aksarben Village, followed by their annual Fourth of July concert at Chalco Recreation Area.