New wind ensemble makes its debut at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Lakewood Ranch.
After its debut Nov. 24 at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Lakewood Ranch, one thing was apparent about the Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble.
It's going to need a bigger room.
The church's Parish Center was packed with 240 people who thoroughly enjoyed selections such as "Down Home Melody" by Venice's Dick Hyman, "American Salute" by Morton Gould and "Broadway Show Stoppers" that is arranged by Warren Barker.
The ensemble was brought together by Joe Miller, who performed with the Venice Symphony for 11 years. Miller moved to Lakewood Ranch a year ago and started to research the idea of founding a wind ensemble. In April, 30 musicians showed up at Manatee High School for a reading session and the ensemble began to take shape.
"But we had nowhere to rehearse or play," Miller said. "Saturday mornings was the best time for rehearsals but we would have had to pay money at all of the schools. Then we found Our Lady of the Angels."
Gia Havender, the Our Lady of the Angels music director, welcomed the ensemble and that led to the Nov. 24 concert, which featured 38 top musicians.
Sarasota's Karen Romig, the group's first flute, said many of the ensemble's musicians formerly played for the Venice and Port Charlotte symphonies and were seeking a new home.
"We have a great group of musicians here and it's been nice to collaborate with them," she said.
Percussionist Scott Blum of East County has been so impressed with the lineup, he gave up a paying gig Nov. 24 so he could perform in Lakewood Ranch.
"Joe (Miller) has a sense of energy and this has been a chance to play fun, challenging music," Blum said.
Miller said the wind ensemble is a work in progress and he welcomes experienced musicians to see if they would enjoy playing with the group. Miller can be reached at 518-376-7973.
The Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble expects to perform next in March.