As a new student on William and Mary’s campus, I was especially excited (and especially nervous) to find “my people.” I spent most of my time in high school steeped in music organizations — marching band, indoor drumline, Wind Symphony, you name it — so I was eager to find a similarly close-knit collegiate community that was equal parts performance and social. I transferred to the College after spending my freshman year at another school and, while enriching, the ensemble I joined lacked the challenging, exciting repertoire and deep-rooted member connections I craved.
Fast-forward to William and Mary. My first day on campus, I walked to the music building to sign up for percussion auditions. In the time it took me to walk down the hallway in Ewell, the then-President and Vice Presidents introduced themselves to me, excitedly saying how glad they were I was there, and telling me names of other Wind Ensemble members I should meet. They introduced me to Eric, another percussionist walking by, and I met Maya a few minutes later at the sign-up sheet. This was my first impression of the William and Mary Wind Ensemble: a group of welcoming, sincere and compassionate people who care as much about each other as they do the music (Eric is now one of my best friends, as is Maya, my apartment-mate).
The Wind Ensemble consistently allows me to push myself as a musician. We’ve played everything from Holst to Bach to Copland, but my favorite pieces so far have been Zion, a contemporary piece by Dan Welcher, Profanation by Leonard Bernstein and Vientos y Tangos by Michael Gandolfi. The Wind Ensemble standards and the talent of my fellow members inspires me to work hard — and I can genuinely say I grow as a musician each and every day as a WMWE member. I enjoy our active concert schedule — three to four campus concerts a semester, plus a tour in the spring — but one of the most memorable concerts for me was the Kennedy Center concert benefitting the ensemble’s 2015 tour to China. Walking around backstage at the Kennedy Center thinking “I’m about to perform here” is surreal in the best way, as is the exhilaration after performing one of the most demanding programs you’ve played at the highest level. I was in a state of complete joy, feeling so proud of what our ensemble achieved and so happy to be with my family, friends and their families. Being in the Wind Ensemble, to me, means doing what I love with the people I love, which is something that I will never take for granted. I could go on and on about how much this ensemble means to me — about how everyone carried a cardboard cutout of me around China when I couldn’t join them in person, every band dinner after rehearsal, every night watching Park and Rec or Shrek — but to me, Wind Ensemble means experiencing all of those little moments you realize stay with you forever.
Auditions are Aug. 22-26 and information is posted on our website (windensemble.wm.edu). Contact me ([email protected]) or our President, Arjun ([email protected]) if you have any questions or would like more information! We meet every Monday and Wednesday from 4-6 — we can’t wait to see you there!