The Arizona Winds, which for decades had performed in Glendale, will be back with live music after a nearly 18-month pandemic-generated hiatus and in its new live space in Surprise.
The 85-member concert band is conducted by Lt. Col. Richard Shelton, USAF (Ret.), and is comprised of all ages and backgrounds.
The band will open its season of five concerts at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17 at The Vista Center for the Arts, 15660 N. Parkview Place, Surprise. (The date changed from Oct. 24 as previously announced.)
“We are so excited to begin performing again and doing so in a dedicated performing arts center that is so much more conducive to live musical performance,” Shelton stated in a news release. “And, with 1,300 seats, the new venue is much larger and more audience-friendly than our previous venue.”
Inspired by America’s renewed interest and recent events in the space program by NASA and space entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, Shelton has planned a spaced-based program for the opening concert called “Galactic Empires.”
The program will feature space-related videos and slides accompanying exciting and enchanting music to include the iconic “Also Sprach Zarathustra“ by Richard Strauss, used as a title opener to the movie “2001 A Space Odyssey,” music from “Star Trek III” by Hollywood composer James Horner, themes from the motion picture “Mission to Mars” by composing legend Ennio Morrocone, and a number of new works for the band including “Galactic Empires,” “Music from Space” and “Journey Through Orion.”
“The program will give the audience a taste of the incredible beauty and vastness of ‘space, the final frontier,’” Shelton added.
The holidays bring the show “The Joy of the Season” to the West Valley on Sunday, Dec. 12. The program includes new arrangements of Christmas tunes like “Greensleeves,” “Deck the Halls,” “Away in a Manger” and more.
For years, Midwestern University in Glendale has hosted the band’s Christmas concerts. However, this December, the concert will take place at the Vista Center for the Arts as the university is allowing only lecture classes in the large auditorium.
On Feb. 20 the band will present a classic movie music production of “oldies but goodies” that had originally been slated for April 2020. The movies and music highlighted in the February concert include the 1960 western “The Magnificent Seven” and the Academy Award-winning 1958 romantic musical “South Pacific.”
The band has been invited to perform, for the first time ever, at the national convention of the Association of Concert Bands in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in May 2022. A warm-up for that event will take place in Surprise on April 10, and will include classics such as Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture,” excerpts from Henry Mancini’s musical score to “Mr. Lucky” and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Dance of the Tumblers.”
The Arizona Winds conclude the season with a program titled “America, the Dream Goes On,” which honors the United States and the men and women who have served in the military. The concert will be filled with patriotic music.
In light of ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19, the band requests that patrons consider their current health status and individual level of comfort in attending its performances at the Vista Center for the Arts.
Arizona Winds concerts all take place at 3 p.m. at the Vista Center for the Arts