Arizona Winds opens new season with ‘American West’ celebration Saturday


The Arizona Winds, an 85-member concert band, opens its 2019-2020 season 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27 with a program called “Music of the Great American West” at the Cactus High School Auditorium, 6330 W. Greenway Road.

Admission is free.

The band will chronicle the conquering of America’s frontier from the wild a mining camps, to the rampages of the Civil War, to the many cowboys riding the range and driving herds westward, and from the Alamo to the oil fields of Oklahoma and Texas, and the beauty of the Grand Canyon to the iconic Mount Rushmore. The band’s music director and conductor, Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Rich Shelton, has put together a video production to accompany this program of music for an aural and visual experience.

“When programming for these concerts I always try to select music that is entertaining, fun, and inspirational so our fans leave with a smile and lighter step,” Col. Shelton stated. 

“This concert features a number of classic, familiar American tunes folks associate with the west or westward expansion like ‘Home on the Range,’ ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas,’ ‘My Old Kentucky Home,’ ‘Red River Valley,’ ‘I’m Bound for the Promised Land,’ ‘America the Beautiful,’ and ‘On The Trail,’ from composer Ferde Grofe’s ‘Grand Canyon Suite’,” Col. Shelton added. “We here in Arizona are so fortunate to enjoy the incredible beauty of the Sonoran Desert and Grand Canyon and those unbelievable sunrises. One of our selections, ‘Sonoran Desert Holiday,’ paints a musical portrait of the Sonoran Desert experience. Another symphonic portrait, ‘Tulsa,’ depicts the various stages of the oil boom of the late 1800s and early 1900s.”

Also on the program is Morton Gould’s musical portrait “Cowboy Rhapsody,” which portrays the life of the cowboy; a salute to the 200 brave Americans who defended the Alamo for 13 days against Santa Anna’s overpowering Mexican Army; music from the 1962 motion picture “How the West Was Won;” and, a musical tribute to the iconic Mt. Rushmore national monument.

“When you combine this great music with some stunning video and slides complimenting the music, you have what I think will be an unforgettable concert experience,” Col. Shelton stated.