Wind Ensemble

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About

The Calvin College Wind Ensemble is the concert band of Calvin College and is conducted by Dr. Tiffany Engle. The Wind Ensemble performs regularly throughout the academic year with major concerts each semester and an annual Christmas Pops Concert in December. Appearances at the Fall Music Festival and in local churches fill out the band's performance schedule. The Wind Ensemble also tours annually within North America and has frequently traveled to Eastern Europe. In May 2012, Wind Ensemble spent two weeks in Central Europe, sharing the gift of music with a wide range of audiences throughout Hungary, Romania, and Ukraine.

Open by audition to students in all class levels, the Wind Ensemble rehearses on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

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Our History

For nearly 86 years, the concert band has played a vital role in the musical and spiritual life at Calvin College. The first photograph of the Calvin Band dates back to 1920, the same date when Calvin began granting BA degrees as a four-year liberal arts institution. This ensemble was comprised of seventeen members, all men. The first conductor of the Calvin Band was Cornelius Schooland. Additionally, Dick van Halsema and Henry Bruinsma were two other “first generation” Calvin Band conductors.

In 1946, Harold Geerdes joined the Calvin faculty as band director, a position he held for over twenty years. During his tenure, the Calvin Band grew in size and reputation. Professor Geerdes was the first conductor to take the ensemble off campus, engaging in several tours throughout the Midwest.

Following Professor Geerdes’ retirement, Dr. John Worst became the sixth conductor of the Calvin Band. Dr. Worst, who was also a professor of theory and composition, shared his musical leadership with the ensemble for eight years. Cornelius Van Der Puy later followed him, working with the Calvin Band on a part-time basis for three years.

Derald De Young came to Calvin from St. Olaf College in 1978. Upon his arrival, Dr. De Young aspired to raise the standards and heighten the visibility of the Calvin Band. He engaged in recording projects, including the production of four Calvin Band CDs. Dr. De Young also reinstated touring opportunities, traveling within the surrounding region as well as to different parts of North America. For instance, the Calvin Band has completed tours in Florida, California, Washington, Colorado, and Canada. In 1991, the Calvin Band completed its first international tour on a trip to Eastern Europe, where they performed in various Hungarian Reformed Churches. The Calvin Band has been blessed with the financial resources and community support which have allowed them to continue this particular musical ministry during the past decade; they returned to Hungary in 1996 and 1999. In 2002, the Calvin Band expanded their tour to include such neighboring countries as Poland and the Czech Republic. The most recent international touring opportunity was in 2012, when the Wind Ensemble spent two weeks in Central Europe, sharing the gift of music with a wide range of audiences throughout Hungary, Romania, and Ukraine.

Dr. De Young also established several other aspects of Calvin’s concert band program. Due to increased interest in concert band at Calvin, he founded an additional ensemble, the Knollcrest Band, in 1980. Now over twenty-five years since its inception, Knollcrest Band remains an integral part of Calvin’s music department. In addition to raising the artistic expectations of the ensembles through fine performances of quality repertoire, Dr. De Young also made significant contributions (musical and extra-musical) to the Calvin community. He helped to make the Calvin Band and Knollcrest Band distinctively Christian concert bands, those that collectively work to develop a deeper relationship with God, praise Him through the refinement of individual abilities, and support one another through prayer and fellowship. As conductor, Dr. De Young also instituted many beloved band traditions, including Fall Retreat, Pancake Breakfast, Christmas Pops, Cathedral Concerts, and trips to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

After 28 years of dedicated service, Dr. De Young retired from Calvin College in the spring of 2005. In a special concert, the Calvin Band premiered three pieces that were commissioned in his honor. Each piece was written by a former student of Dr. De Young from the institutions where he had taught during his career. Fred Sturm from Lawrence University (Rainier: The Mountain that was God), Timothy Mahr from St. Olaf College (Longs Peak: Mountain Prayers), and Jed Koops from Calvin College (Kilimanjaro) all contributed works for this event.

Tiffany Engle was appointed Director of Bands at Calvin College in the fall of 2005. Still in the early stages of her professional career, Dr. Engle has brought a freshness and vitality to the music-making in Calvin’s concert bands. She has sought to maintain the values and traditions of the past, while challenging ensemble members to rekindle their desire for Christian community, renew their commitment to musical excellence, and realize their responsibility for making the bands at Calvin the best ensembles (spiritual, musical, and social) they can be.

Now in her third year at Calvin, Dr. Engle is beginning to expand upon the foundational structure of the band program. Along with the traditional events established by those before her, ensembles are also enjoying an increased number of performance opportunities. For example, Dr. Engle has added another on-campus performance to the concert calendar. This extra concert, initially held in February 2006, marked the first time that Knollcrest Band and Calvin Band had shared a concert together. She has since built upon this idea, as both ensembles also perform a daytime concert for area schoolchildren. To further enhance the visibility of the music department and promote the wind/brass/percussion medium, Dr. Engle is currently collaborating with Calvin’s applied instructors to establish and maintain a chamber music program. Finally, the Calvin College High School Honor Band, first held in October 2006, is another “new” tradition that serves as an opportunity in which local instrumentalists can interact with a guest clinician/conductor and Calvin faculty members.