The Richmond Hill Middle School Wildcat Winds will entertain and inspire music teachers from around the state in a concert at 11:15 a.m. today at the 89th annual Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) In-Service Conference at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.
The concert is the first to be presented by a local band at the annual conference and will feature works by Vaughan Williams, Rimsky-Korsakov, John Philip Sousa and others around a theme of “Celebration of the Human Spirit.”
Guest conductors include Dr. Hoyt LeCroy of Piedmont College and Tom Brown of Veteran’s High School in Warner Robins. Local professional flutist Ana Bertoluzzi will perform “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Rimsky-Korsakov. Bill Hunter will also accompany the band on bagpipes in a special piece that he arranged specifically for the Wildcat Winds.
The Wildcat Winds are in their fifth year as the advanced instrumental ensemble at Richmond Hill Middle School. The band is made up of seventh- and eighth-graders that are chosen through a competitive audition. The more than 50-member band has previously played at events around Georgia, including the Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival, Arts on the Coast festivals, Relay for Life, National Adjudicators Invitational festivals at Atlanta Symphony Hall and the Southern Star Music Festival.
The Wildcat Winds are under the direction of director Dr. Emery Warnock and assistant director Alisha Bowden. In addition to his work with Wildcat Winds, Warnock is widely published in academic journals and has arranged several works for young concert bands published by DeHaske in Europe, PEL Music and Red Barn Road Music. Bowden is originally from Warner Robins and is in her third year teaching band and general music at Richmond Hill Middle School. She continues to perform and has appeared with the Tara Winds, LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the Savannah Winds.
The GMEA conference brings together more than 6,000 educators, guests, exhibitors and performers from around the south, primarily Georgia. The organization was founded in 1922 and currently boasts a membership of more than 2,500 that “seek to advocate for quality music education at all educational levels,” according to the GMEA website.