The Wind Ensemble goes on Midwest tour

The Wind Ensemble prepares for their performances in Chicago and St. Louis. Photo by Jonathan Wang


The Jordan College of the Arts (JCA) School of Music is venturing back on tour for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Butler University Wind Ensemble (BUWE) will travel to Chicago and St. Louis on Nov. 13 and 14 for a music clinic with local high schoolers. BUWE and other ensembles within JCA will rotate each year to spread the word about JCA’s talents and outreach to potential performers. 

Over those two days, the group will perform at Libertyville High School in the Chicago area and O’Fallon Township High School in the suburbs of St. Louis. 

Trae Blanco is the director of bands for the School of Music and the conductor for BUWE. He is excited about the new experiences this tour will provide to student performers. 

“One of the things that we have been talking a lot about in rehearsals is what it takes for us to be able to perform off campus,” Blanco said. “With multiple performances, students get an opportunity not just to have one time through it, but to also grow and develop those skills.” 

BUWE will be performing a variety of pieces by composers like Juan Pablo Contreras, who specifically composed a piece for the ensemble, and Ida Gotkovsky, a renowned winds composer from France. 

“[Poème de Feu by Gotkovsky is] important not only in our repertoire, but I think in the gauntlet — especially in the mid-20th century — of female composers,” Blanco said. “There’s not a ton of them writing for winds, and so to have this really amazing piece and take it on the road, I’m excited for people to hear that, because not everybody knows the piece.” 

Antonia Ayala Lopez is a first-year music education major and a bass clarinet player for BUWE. 

“I am looking forward to interacting with some of the high school students [during the trip],” Ayala Lopez said. “Just a couple of months ago, I was a high school student, so I know how it feels to join an ensemble, and I hope I can make those connections to help students decide [to continue playing in college].” 

After the tour, the group will return to Schrott Center for the Arts on Nov. 16 to play various pieces performed on the road. 

McLean Carter is a sophomore arts administration major and a percussionist for BUWE. 

“I have never really traveled to different venues to play before,” Carter said. “So I am excited for this opportunity to perform in a different setting.” 

Blanco hopes that this performance experience will ignite future tours through JCA. 

“This is an opportunity for us to have real-life practical experience,” Blanco said. “Teaching [and learning] while we are in the middle of a performance is something that will benefit the institution in the long run.” 


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