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Blend of musicians, educators power Maryland Wind Festival

Blend of musicians, educators power Maryland Wind Festival

Five years ago, Tyler Austin and a small group of musicians set out to augment music education in schools with a summer program that would give students a chance to dig in and continue to grow as instrumental musicians.

Today, the Maryland Wind Festival, also known as MWF, is thriving in Washington and Frederick counties with live performances of wind chamber music as well as workshop and masterclasses. The faculty artists of the program hail from throughout the United States and come together for a week of rehearsals, performances and education.

Austin, a Boonsboro High School graduate, grew up in Knoxville, Md. He earned an undergraduate degree in music education at Susquehanna University, a master’s degree in bassoon performance from University of North Texas, and his doctorate degree in wind conducting at Michigan State University, and is now assistant director of bands at Oklahoma State University.

“I’m really passionate about coming back and being involved musically in this area,” Austin said. “I appreciate the opportunities I had and I’m trying to create and foster relationships with music teachers who are already doing a great job in the region.”

This year’s festival will feature a masterclass at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts on Friday, June 14, and a chamber music workshop at South Hagerstown High School on Tuesday, June 18, as well as performances at Frederick Presbyterian Church on Monday, June 17; Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown on Wednesday, June 19; and the Saint James Chapel at Saint James School in Hagerstown on Friday, June 21. Admission to all concerts is free.

Known as MWF performances, the Monday, Wednesday, Friday 7 p.m. shows have become a festival tradition. The Trinity Lutheran Church event will feature MWF artists joined by the woodwind quintet from the United States Army Field Band. The 2019 MWF Finale at Saint James School Chapel marks the beginning of MWF as artist in residence at the school.

“We are starting a partnership with Saint James in hopes of continuing to develop that into an education and performance residency in future seasons,” Austin said. “Saint James will be our home base and we will rehearse there.”

The school is building a new facility dedicated to the fine arts, he said.

“Saint James is already showing an investment in the arts not only by bringing us on, but by completing the new fine arts building. It will be finished next year. We are excited about the possibility of becoming a part of programming in that new facility,” Austin said.

Tyler Austin, a graduate of Boonsboro High School, directs the Maryland Wind Festival. (Submitted photo)

Partnerships with Washington County Public Schools will entail MWF artists presenting masterclasses at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts focusing on woodwinds in the morning and brass in the afternoon. South Hagerstown High School and its band director Scott Benford will host a chamber music workshop open to all middle and high school instrumental students.

“Students can come and learn about skills they can use to play in chamber ensembles, meaning small unconducted ensembles in concert music,” Austin said.

In celebration of its fifth anniversary, MWF will add Saint James as a new concert venue and community partner, and it will premiere the work of Composer in Residence Theo Chandler’s “Trailing Winds for Saxophone and Winds.”

“We look at these five years as sort of the end of our beginning, a time to look back on everything we’ve accomplished and enjoy the fact that we’ve had so much success,” Austin said. “We also look to the future and say, ‘What do we want this organization to grow into as we continue to mature? How do we want to engage the community, and how do we capitalize on resources that already exist in the area or do want to create new resources?”

MWF also will perform in a relaxed environment at Ayse Meze Lounge which serves Eastern Mediterranean cuisine in Frederick, Md., on Thursday, June 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. Music ranging from classical to pop will be performed by three small groups stationed in the bar, dining room and patio areas.

Austin said he is proud of MWF and what it has accomplished both in terms of performance and education.

“We have had the opportunity to bring some people who I believe are truly some of the greatest, young, passionate educators on their instruments to this part of the country. It’s just been a really fulfilling journey to be able to perform and to teach together,” he said. “We encourage everyone to come and see it once. If you do, you will want to keep coming back to enjoy the atmosphere because it is pretty special.”

If you go ...

WHAT: Maryland Wind Festival
WHEN: Friday, June 14-21
COST: Free
CONTACT: Visit Maryland Wind Festival on Facebook or go to Email for more information.

More information

MWF Concert

Monday, June 17 - 7 p.m.
Frederick Presbyterian Church
115 W. 2nd St.
Frederick, Md.

MWF Concert

Wednesday, June 19 — 7 p.m.
Trinity Lutheran Church
5 Randolph Ave.


Thursday, June 20 — 6 p.m.
Ayşe Meze Lounge
6 N. East St.
Frederick, Md.

MWF Concert

Friday, June 21 — 7 p.m. 
Saint James Chapel
17641 College Road

Masterclass for woodwind

Friday, June 14 — 10 a.m. to noon
Barbara Ingram School for the Arts
7 S. Potomac St.

Masterclass for brass

Friday, June 14 — 1 to 3 p.m.
Barbara Ingram School for the Arts
7 S. Potomac St.

Chamber music workshop for middle and high school instrumental students

Tuesday, June 18 — 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
South Hagerstown High School
1101 S. Potomac St.

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