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20190320 McAllen Wind Ensemble Group 92Q webThe McAllen Wind Ensemble is excited to announce its 50th Anniversary season. Their next concert, titled “Animation,” is Tuesday, February 13, 7:30 p.m., at the McAllen Performing Arts Center. Animation spans generations of styles, genres, and cultures.

From the earliest days of moving pictures, animation captured the hearts of audiences, often due to engaging music. Classic childhood cartoons often had a backdrop of classical music to add both gravitas and humor. The band will perform one of the most hummable examples of this in an arrangement of Rosini’s Barber of Seville. Modern composers draw on the memory of these classics and the band will perform one of the most creative adaptations with Russell Stanbridge’s Animation (Episode 1: WABBIT!).

Often animation starts on the printed page and is adapted through television and films. Classic American comics led to just as familiar musical composition. The Incredibles was a Disney Pixar film which was built off of the comic book genre in a fun modern way and features energetic, jazzy selections. Similarly, the rise in popularity of graphic novels internationally has led to an explosion of cult favorite anime films and shows. The band will feature one of the most enduring, Studio Ghibli’s Kiki’s Delivery Service.

One newer realm of music has resulted from the genesis and then massive growth of video games over the past several decades. Some of the most commercially successful games result from the skillfully composed music, including Legend of Zelda. Even more recent gaming releases feature epically scored soundtracks, many of which will be featured in a medley by the band.

The Presidents of the Board of Directors, Roy Contreras, notes, “Our Animation concert is a unique mix of musical pieces which include both familiar tunes and many new but exciting works. It has something for everyone!”

Currently, the McAllen Wind Ensemble has about 75 musicians from across the region ranging in age and professional background. Out of the love of music and a desire to improve the cultural offerings available in our community, they volunteer their time to rehearse once a week and perform regular concerts.

20240207 MWE LINDA 170715 webSome of those volunteers are Winter Texans. Two of them shared their experiences recently with the Winter Texan Times.

Linda Ingram, originally from the Midwest – Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee – is a converted Texan living at Lemon Tree Estates. She first came to the Valley in 1978 to visit her parents who were Winter Texans and eventually converted to full time Texans.

She has played with the RGV Concert Band since 2006 and she loves it, she says, but it’s a seasonal band. She told Carlos Cantu that she missed not playing during the summer months and was then invited to play in the Fourth of July concert. She loved being around new people, playing different music, and for a different conductor. It encouraged her to try out for the McAllen Wind Ensemble.

“I’m amazed at the talent in the band and love to hear the people around me play a solo part and ‘kill’ it,” she said about her experience.

Having been a country kid, attending a three-room school with no music program, it wasn’t until she was 13 that her parents paid tuition so she could get to a school and get into music. She played through junior high and high school.

The next 40 years, she became a nurse, got married, had a family, and then retirement came along. When she joined the RGV Concert band, she said it was like riding a bicycle … “you remember how.” Starting on the bari-sax in 2006, she recently switched to tenor sax. She learned on an alto and plays it at church occasionally. So, she has now been playing for about 20 years.

She’ll be 80 this summer and it makes her happy to be able to play with the ensemble.

“I feel very blessed to be able to play with such a great group of people that are so talented.”

Being in Texas is just a bonus. She said it’s convenient for her to fly to visit family, access medical care, she has wonderful friends, its beautiful weather, and it’s a good way to spend retirement income.

20240207 MWE RITA 116908 webRita Christenson Boyd said she wanted to join the band after she had been to one of their concerts. “Years and years ago I called someone, and they told me to show up,” she said. They told her to show up at a practice and they would let her know if she could join.

“Well, here I am all these years later. I look forward to practicing every Monday evening and seeing all of my friends.”

Boyd lives in Mercedes from November to May, and her other home is Barnum, MN. She looks forward to all the concerts because all of her Winter Texan friends can come and enjoy the concert. She said they are always appreciative of the opportunity to hear such great music at an incredible venue, for a reasonable price.

“It just fills my heart with joy when I go out into the audience to check with my friends to make sure they are enjoying the concert,” said Boyd.

Originally starting out on the trombone when she was 10, Boyd moved to the tuba at 12 and has been playing it ever since – for 60 years!

Her reasoning for being part of the ensemble is all about spreading joy. That she gets to bring joy to those in attendance and gets the chance to share it with her friends, too. It also helps that her tuba mates are a great group of guys, and they share the same joy of music and life.

“This makes performing super special,” she said. “Great people, great music, and great times – who could ask for more. LIFE IS GOOD!”

And what makes coming to the Valley great – she said, “It’s warm.” And there is so much to see and do. Also, the people are so friendly and polite. She now considers it to be her home since she spends the majority of her time in the Valley.

“It’s just a great place to be.”

This concert features a few promotions including buy one get one free for military veterans. Tickets start at $10, including fees, and can be purchased in-person at the McAllen Performing Arts Center Box Office or by calling 1-800-745-3000, or at www.ticketmaster.com (additional fees may apply). Reserved seating is available. Season tickets are available as well and offer reserved seating.

The anniversary concert season will conclude with a special birthday celebration concert on Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m.

As a nonprofit organization sustained by the community’s support, the organization also seeks to partner with local businesses who wish to advertise or sponsor programs. For more information, please contact info@mcallenwindensemble.org.