Portland Wind Symphony:
Our Historical Journey Along the Pathway to "Music for Life”

Since its inception, Portland Wind Symphony (formerly Pacific Crest Wind Symphony) has been both an artistic challenge and a labor of love. The ensemble and each of its diverse, auditioned members continue to set a high standard of musical excellence and continued artistic growth, providing our dedicated and ever-expanding audience with novel musical performances of all types of wind ensemble literature.

Our founder was Dr. Daniel Cole. In March of 1988 he established the Marylhurst Wind Ensemble as part of Marylhurst University. With his job change away from Marylhurst in 1990 our newly named "Pacific Crest Wind Ensemble" was born, along with the motto "Music for Life".  The wind symphony’s instrumentation was carefully patterned after the renown Eastman Wind Ensemble.  Under Dr. Cole's direction, the group continued to grow in musicianship. During the early years, Dr. Cole brought in a retired United States Army Band Director to work to expand the cohesiveness as a performing group. He also invited Guy Woolfenden, Composer and Music Director for the Royal Shakespeare Company in England to work with the group while visiting the United States. The ensemble performed one of his compositions at the annual Oregon Adult Band Festival.  In 1994 Pacific Crest Wind Ensemble adopted a new home at Warner Pacific College. By this time the group was at full strength and active in the community. Concerts were held at Warner Pacific College and in several churches in the Metro area. There were many opportunities for performances in various conference centers in downtown Portland. Performance of joint concerts with area high school band programs were held to help raise awareness and financial support for them. Upon the untimely death of the ensemble's principal oboe player, the Gerri Clark Memorial Fund was born. It provided free concert tickets to area school band students, upon the request of their directors.

After ten years of leadership from Dr. Daniel Cole, the band experienced it’s first change of the baton. The organization welcomed Dr. Robert Murray of the Dallas Brass to the podium in 1998. During Murray's leadership our name was officially changed to "Pacific Crest Wind Symphony" to reflect the group's regional growth and the increasing range and sophistication of its repertoire. The ensemble began to perform transcriptions of various orchestral, choral, and organ works, along with tackling the more contemporary works written specifically for wind ensembles.


Dr. William Tuttle, previous Director of Bands at Portland State University, graciously accepted the post of musical director and conductor for the group in 1999, upon Dr. Cole's retirement from the group. He served in that position until his own retirement in 2006. Under his leadership, musical growth expanded further.  Concerts were relocated to Portland State University. The group performed for several concerts around the state, including at the Washington Park Rose Garden Summer Concert Series, one of which featuring Robert McBride narrating "Peter and the Wolf". The group also performed several times for Portland Park's Summer Concert Series.

Dr. Edward Higgins, director of Bands at Portland State University took over the baton after Dr. Tuttle's retirement.   Under Dr. Higgins' creative leadership, the group continued to grow and expand exponentially in musicianship, and tackled new concepts for performances. For the first time, more collaborative types of concerts were created, including: professional singing groups; new concerts with 3 Leg Torso; members of the Northwest School of Dance; The Portland State University Wind Symphony; and guests from the prestigious Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Schlueter and Ron Barron, both former principal brass players.  Newly renamed Portland Wind Symphony, The group performed in several unique locations.  These include the Oregon Zoo in 2007 and the Roseburg Summer Concert Series with 3 Leg Torso in Roseburg, Oregon. The group also headlined the Oregon Music Educator's Conference in January of 2009.  In 2009 the band received a grant from a Multnomah County Arts Commission allowing travel to Portland retirement communities for performances on site.  The band also performed a concert for the Centennial Celebration of Mt. Tabor Park in the extinct crater.
Dr. Higgins retired from the group in 2014.

Now, in our current season, we are thrilled to announce that Dr. Chris Chapman, Director of Bands at Oregon State University is our new artistic director and conductor!  Dr. Chapman was one of several guest conductors that the band hosted during this past year.  We were honored and thrilled to have several other amazingly talented guest conductors, all of them bringing a high level of artistry, musicianship, and education into each of the player's lives.  Portland Wind Symphony is eternally grateful for the outstanding contributions of Dr. Dan Schmidt, Mr. Ben Brooks, Dr. Joseph Accuardi-Gilliam, and Mr. Pat Vandehey.


Portland Wind Symphony is a labor of love, and now you can see... a shining example of it’s motto, Music for Life! Come attend our concerts and we will capture your imagination. Find out what a group of everyday people can do with enough purpose, encouragement, musical skills, and skilled leadership. Please join us, and become a part of our future!



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