Wind Orchestra Ready for Tour

Student orchestra holds concerts on campus before touring across the state

By Sam Desatoff

On Thursday, the Fresno State Wind Orchestra will perform in the Concert Hall in the Music Building on campus.

The concert will begin at 8 p.m.

Joshua Locher, the principal alto saxophonist for the orchestra, said the goal for the group is to spread attention to a genre of music of which the Central Valley may not be too aware.

“The wind orchestra offers an experience which cannot be found anywhere else in the Central Valley,” Locher said. “We hope to expose audience members to exciting new works, as well as perform the ones they may already know.”

The wind orchestra is primarily a touring band, performing at festivals and conventions across the state. However, each semester, the orchestra likes to hold at least two concerts on campus to give family and friends a chance to attend.

“It’s refreshing to play in a more-relaxed environment before we prepare to tour and host a wind festival this spring,” said Locher. “Although I think it is wonderful to play for those that never heard our band before, it is the friends and family members who come to each of our home concerts that really inspire us.”

As principal alto saxophonist, Locher plays an important role in the orchestra.

“You’ll probably hear at least a little bit of me on all the pieces,” he said.

Locher also serves as one of the publicity managers for the band.

“It is also my job to ensure that we fill as many seats as possible,” Locher said, “because concerts are the most memorable to us when we play to a full house.”

Locher said he hopes any middle and high school students attending the Thursday night concert might be inspired to pursue music as a major.

“A big part of the wind orchestra is reaching out to high school students in the area,” he said, “to expose them to our programs as well as give them an idea of what it is like to perform at a collegiate level.”

This semester, the wind orchestra has performed at a number of venues. Among them chiefly is the William Saroyan Theatre. On Feb. 20, the orchestra was the headline performance at California All-State Music Education Conference.

“Needless to say, it was a very stressful concert which required a lot of individual and group preparation,” Locher said. “But it was an amazing experience for the entire band.”

The audience at the conference included middle and high school students from across the state, as well as some of the best music educators from the West Coast and beyond. Locher’s enthusiasm for music stretches beyond just the wind orchestra to the department of music as a whole.

“The music department and Fresno State features some of the most gifted and passionate educators in the country,” Locher said. “It is astonishing how well the music students are guided and encouraged by their professors.”

Upcoming events for the wind orchestra include the 35th annual Lawrence R. Sutherland Wind Festival from March 21 to 23. The orchestra will also tour Northern California later this spring.

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