The History of the Wisconsin Symphonic Winds

The idea to create an adult, professional quality wind ensemble was the outgrowth of a casual conversation during the fall of 2003 between Rand Skelton (retired music educator and active freelance musician) and Rob McWilliams (Director of Bands at the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh). Without any real thought towards a budget, a rehearsal hall, the availability of the requisite percussion equipment needed, or any one of many additional considerations, musicians were called and the idea for the creation of the Wisconsin Symphonic Winds was pitched. The response was overwhelmngly positive and the WSW was born. With the generous support of the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh Department of Music and its chairperson, a rehearsal hall was offered, music selected and the first concert season took place in the summer of 2004. The group has performed concerts every summer since that inaugural season in 2004 including two consecutive years as part of the prestigious Green Lake Festival of Music and an appearance at the WMEA State Conference in Madison. It is a testament to the quality of the musical experience and the commitment of its members that most of the musicians from the inaugural 2004 season continue to play in the group to this day.