Mar. 10, 2023
CWU Wind Ensemble earns ‘crowning achievement’ with selection to WASBE International Conference
The Central Washington University Wind Ensemble has built a stellar reputation over the years among its peers across the country.
Next summer, the elite group of 49 musicians and their conductor, Dr. T. André Feagin, will add some international acclaim to their résumés when they perform at the World Association for Symphonic Band and Ensembles (WASBE) International Conference in Gwangju, South Korea.
The biennial WASBE conference is the preeminent forum for groups like the CWU Wind Ensemble to showcase their work alongside other top musicians from around the world. Feagin said he couldn’t be more proud of his students:
“This is so huge for us. It honestly blows my mind. It’s almost surreal to know we have been selected to perform at such a prestigious event like this.”
WASBE is the only international organization of wind band conductors, composers, performers, publishers, teachers, instrument makers, and friends of wind music. They are dedicated to enhancing the quality of wind bands throughout the world and exposing members to new worlds of repertoire, musical culture, people, and places.
The news that CWU's Wind Ensemble was selected to perform at WASBE is notable in and of itself. But what makes their selection all the more inspiring is that their performances were peer-reviewed. They don’t just get to go; they were chosen.
As Feagin noted, “this isn’t something where you can just call up someone and make it happen.”
“The panel of adjudicators making these decisions is made up of the leading musicians from around the world,” he said. “These are all highly respected teachers, composers, and conductors who lead some of the finest ensembles in the entire world. That’s what makes this selection such a big deal for the CWU Music department—and, really, the university as a whole.”
The CWU musicians will be joining the ranks of some of the finest wind ensembles to have performed at the convention, including The President’s Own United States Marine Band, which took the stage at the 2022 event in Prague, Czech Republic.
Feagin was a presenter at last year’s convention, and after witnessing some of the best bands in the world, he decided to take a shot. As part of the lengthy application process, he submitted a portfolio containing live, unedited Wind Ensemble performance materials from his three years as Director of Bands. Feagin also delivered his philosophical approach, educational focus, and knowledge of repertoire.
“My top priority is the education and development of my students,” he stated in the application. “Using repertoire as the nucleus for teaching and learning, music in my classroom is carefully selected for its ability to teach advanced musical concepts geared at developing comprehensive musicianship skills, its ability to reflect the history and evolution of both non-Western and Western music, and its ability to promote positive attitudes toward cultural diversity.”
Prior to being selected for the 2024 WASBE Conference, one of the CWU Wind Ensemble’s most recent highlights was performing at the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) national convention in 2013. But this particular invitation sets the bar even higher.
Feagin referred to the Wind Ensemble’s selection to perform at WASBE as “a crowning achievement for the band program at Central Washington University.”
“It is also a crowning achievement of my career as a conductor,” he said. “In my professional opinion, this is the highest honor of its kind. Aside from maybe being asked to collaborate with the New York Philharmonic or the Los Angeles Philharmonic, this is one of the highest achievements a college band could ever ask for.”
Feagin was quick to point out that much of the credit for this monumental achievement should go to the students themselves, along with their dedicated instructors at CWU.
“I would be remiss not to thank, applaud, and cheer for my incredible applied faculty colleagues,” he said. “They are the reason I am able to do what I do. Their support and dedication to our students is truly amazing, and their work allows me to teach at the highest level. I work with some of the best music teachers in America, and I am genuinely inspired by their commitment every single day.”
Feagin and his colleagues will begin ironing out the logistics of the trip to South Korea this spring. They are also beginning to raise money so that finances don’t become a barrier for any member of the ensemble.
One of Feagin’s goals is to find opportunities for the students to perform outside of the convention so they can show off their talents to an international audience.
“We want to soak up every ounce of being in that space,” he said.
Media Contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs, David.Leder@cwu.edu, 509-963-1518