FAQ's for New Students Interested in Bands/Wind Ensembles


1 . What is the Wind Symphony?*^

The Gonzaga University Wind Symphony is a fifty+ piece ensemble dedicated to the performance of the finest music composed for band and wind ensemble.  In the liberal arts tradition, members of the ensemble represent a cross-section of the Gonzaga community, combining Music and Music Education students with musicians studying other majors from the Colleges of Engineering, Business and Arts and Sciences.  Over 50% of the Wind Symphony is represented by majors other than music. 

* a more complete answer to this question is toward  the bottom of this page.

2 . When does the Wind Symphony rehearse? How demanding is the ensemble going to be on my time?^

The Wind Symphony recognizes the realities of today’s typical GU student schedule. The entire ensemble meets Tuesdays, 4-5:30, with occasional sectionals scheduled with consideration for student schedules.    Chamber Winds (woodwind, brass ensembles) are formed from the large ensemble, with consideration for student schedules.  A percussion ensemble meets Thursdays at 4 pm. The ensemble performs 1-2 concerts per semester.  The Wind Symphony presents 1-2 concerts per semester.  The performance home of the ensemble is the Bing Crosby Theater in downtown Spokane.

3 . Can anyone play?^

All members of the Gonzaga community are eligible to participate in one of the ensembles in the band program after a performance evaluation (audition) for Dr. Robert Spittal, Director of Bands.  (e-mail spittal@gonzaga.edu with any questions)

4 . Who is the conductor?^

The director of bands and conductor of the Wind Symphony is Robert Spittal, who established the first modern wind ensemble program in Gonzaga’s history in 1992.  Dr. Spittal is a renowned conductor and composer in the field of wind music who has led performances by numerous professional and academic ensembles, and has had his compositions performed by leading ensembles in North America, Europe, and Asia.  His works are published by the prestigious Boosey & Hawkes Co., and by Shaba Road Music.

5 . How do I schedule an evaluation/audition?^

Come to the Main Music Building (Monaghan Mansion) anytime during the first week on campus.  On the 1st floor, outside Dr. Spittal’s office, you will see sign-up sheets for evaluations taking place the first week of classes.  Just sign up for a time, and bring your instrument to the appointment.  (There will be special instructions for you if you don’t have your own instrument, or are a percussionist.  The University owns many instruments which can be contracted out to students.)

6 . More About the Wind Symphony^

Wind Symphony concerts are known for their innovative programs, which often combine traditional classics for wind band with contemporary and non-traditional music for winds.  Recent programs have included classic works by Holst, Grainger, Husa and Gould, new music by composers like Eric Whitacre, Frank Ticheli, and Eric Ewazen, and rarely-heard works like Kurt Weill’s “Threepenny Suite”.  The ensemble frequently performs with guest soloists and conductors, and has collaborated with composers on several premiers of new works.