Weather Forecast


'Academy Winds' visit UW-RF, perform concert

The performance hall at Kleinpell Fine Arts Center was about three-quarters filled for Monday night's concert1 / 2
TSgt. Nancy Poffenbarger, from San Antonio, Tex., is on her final tour with the group, concluding 20 years of USAF service as a band member and vocalist. Poffenbarger, like others, plays a variety of instruments.2 / 2

The seven-member Academy Winds ensemble, attached to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Col., played to about 300 people Monday evening as part of a week-long Wisconsin tour that included an afternoon teaching session with music students at UW-River Falls.

The group is part of the larger U.S. Air Force Academy Band that travels America and abroad, "using the power of music to inspire Air Force personnel and communicate Air Force excellence to people around the globe," according to program narrative.

The musicians, accompanied by a sound technician who also totes their instruments and sound gear in a 25-foot truck, spent Monday afternoon working with students of Associate Professor Dr. Kris Tjornhoj at the university. Ten young musicians also joined Winds members on stage Monday evening to perform a John Philip Sousa march.

Monday's program offered a variety of pieces ranging from a somber processional at the beginning to an Irish arrangement, a Benny Goodman piece, a Latin medley and an American salute, that recognized audience members who were veterans or have children or relatives who've served in the armed forces. Several of the compositions were pieces arranged by Academy Wind members, most of whom hold Master of Music degrees and also perform with various symphonies around the country.

Following a night at River Falls' Best Western, the group departed Tuesday for performances later this week in Eau Claire, Wausau, Rhinelander and Green Bay, according to Tsgt. Sarah Balian, the Non-Commissioned Officer In-Charge of Academy Winds.

Admission to the event was free. Arrangements and promotion were provided by UW-River Falls Music Department and the River Falls Journal.