Arkansas Winds remember founder with Feb. 25 concert

Arkansas Winds remember founder with Feb. 25 concert

Piecing together a seemingly mismatched set of pieces, the Arkansas Winds Community Concert Band will present “A Musical Mosaic” that will pay homage to its founder in a special concert on Feb. 25 in Farmington.

“One of the things we say about our membership, is ‘It’s the the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker’ — housewives, and professors and teachers. Our memberships comes from a lot of different professions,” says Allen Fields, who serves as president of the nonprofit. “It’s a volunteer organization. So everybody in it is there just because they enjoy playing music.”

Their performance Feb. 25 will be in honor of their founder, Eldon Janzen, who recently passed away.

“He was the band director of the University of Arkansas from 1970 to 1995 and was the college band director for many of our members. He was the person who created the Arkansas Winds in 1988,” Fields explains. Most notable will be a performance of “A Hymn of Praise.”

“Mr. Janzen required all his conducting students to assess and conduct this piece for his conducting classes. The piece helps a conducting student understand and practice many of the attributes required for a conductor,” Fields explains. “The Winds are playing a concert band transcription of the orchestral piece written by Anton Brucker, the Austrian composer who displayed an intense devotion to the spiritual life during the mid-1800s.”

Fields says they will also perform “Wilson Park” by UA alumnus David Gorham, a piece that was “named for the park in Fayetteville where the Winds would perform outdoor concerts,” Fields says. “This piece was commissioned by the Winds to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the group.” Other compositions will include “Overture to La Belle Helene,” Jacques Offenbach; “Yellow: Primary Colors” by Drew Morris (another UA alum); “Pilatus: Mountains of Dragons,” Steven Reineke; “Hands Across the Seas,” John Philip Sousa; “A Festival Prelude,” Alfred Reed; and “Renaissance Reimaged,” Brian Balmages.

All together, the diverse lineup of compositions will create a an evening that fuses together multiple types of music played by a community of musicians of all ages and all levels of experience who choose make music and improve their skills in a supportive atmosphere.

“We’re currently in our 35th season,” Fields says. Right now he estimates that their membership is at 70-75 musicians who perform regularly depending on their schedules. The band is comprised of woodwinds, brass and percussion, a stand-up bass and xylophones, among other instruments.

“When I joined there were about 25 of us. So it wasn’t as large as it is now,” Fields says. “We’ve pretty much evolved over the years to where we are today.”

Fields says that all of the concerts are free, but they do take donations.

“We can borrow some music, but it’s always better to buy your own music,” Fields explains. “One of the things that people don’t know about buying music is you actually have to pay to perform that music. So there’s also performance fees. Then we do donate [money] to help the Farmington High School Band since they allow us to rehearse there.”

He adds that the organization also plays often at Butterfield Trail Village in addition to concerts for music students.

In April the band will present “The Four Elements” with conductor Michael Ferguson. Arrangements will be representative of the earth, water, fire and air. The performance is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 22 at the Farmington High School Performing Arts Center.

Keep up with the Arkansas Winds Community Concert Band at


A Musical Mosaic

WHAT — Arkansas Winds Community Concert Band will present an array of different songs in honor of founder Eldon Janzen, who recently passed away.

WHEN — 7 p.m. Feb. 25

WHERE — Farmington High School Performing Arts Center

COST — Free; donations welcome


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