Lowcountry Wind Symphony – A Night of Firsts

By Christine A. Raskind

The Lowcountry Wind Symphony announced its presence in the Beaufort musical community with a big bang on Wednesday, May 6th in the Beaufort High School Auditorium! This was the first public performance for the LWS, which formed last October, under the musical direction of Donald F. Jemella. Along with LWS, last week’s concert featured the talents of Beaufort High School Concert and Symphonic Bands under the baton of Mr. Nathaniel Drake and The Parris Island Marine Band, conducted by CWO2 Steve Giove. The audience of over 500 appreciative local residents gave each group a rousing ovation. The biggest cheers were reserved for the final selections, with all three groups, numbering over 100 players, performing together on stage! Before the last notes had died away, plans were already underway to make this joint concert an annual event.

Lowcountry Wind Symphony
Lowcountry Wind Symphony

As the first performance of the Lowcountry Wind Symphony showed, it is well on its way to becoming an outstanding addition to the Beaufort musical scene. Following the concert, Musical Director and conductor, Donald Jemella spoke about LWS and the vision he sees for its future. “The focus is on music across all genres from Sousa marches and Broadway show tunes to the great literature written and transcribed for the traditional wind band”. (Unlike an orchestra, which includes string instruments, a wind symphony is another name for a concert band, which is comprised of brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments).

Jemella believes there is a vast untapped potential in our area for musicians from student to senior citizens who will enjoy performing in the LWS. He may well be right, as evidenced by the numerous calls and inquiries from area players who have expressed interest in joining the band. LWS is an open ended musical group, which welcomes all area musicians at any time to participate and does not require an audition. Talented high school students are especially invited to become part of the group. One of our missions is to support and further music education for all ages. Present members of LWS include high school students and adult musicians from Beaufort, Bluffton, and Hilton Head Island.

In addition to being very serious about making music together, LWS is a collegial and inclusive group. According to one member of the percussion section, “This is just such fun; I can’t wait to get to rehearsals each week. Director Jemella knows his stuff and is at home on the podium conducting any type of music!”

Mr. Jemella also noted the strong partnership the Lowcountry Wind Symphony has with the Parris Island Marine Band (PIMB), whose director, CWO2 Steve Giove, is the Assistant Conductor for the LWS. “Members of the Parris Island Marine Band have been rehearsing with us over the past few months, and we are honored to have them with us as their schedule allows,” Jemella stated.

While the LWS’ first public performance was this past week, planning for the 2015-2016 performance schedule is well underway, starting with a Veteran’s Day program in November.

The LWS rehearses on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the ArtWorks Building, 2127 Boundary Street, Beaufort (in the Kmart Shopping Plaza). Rehearsals will continue throughout the summer months on a planned schedule, with full rehearsals to begin in September. Interested musicians should contact the LWS at the following: Lowcountry Wind Symphony at info@lowcountrywindsymphony.com or Donald Jemella at djemella@yahoo.com.

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