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Community Winds makes semifinals in prestigious competition

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By Tris DeRoma

The Los Alamos Community Winds concert band has a lot to celebrate these days. 

For one, the band is currently hard at work preparing for its March 2 midwinter concert. Second, the band was recently told by the Hat City Theater organization that the Los Alamos Community Winds is a semifinalist for the “American Prize.” 

The non-profit organization administers the well-known prestigious prize to ensembles and individuals every year for the best concert performance. Applicants submit a recording of the performance to the prize committee along with supporting documentation.  The Community Winds are semifinalists in the community division, along with bands from Tarrytown, New York, Allentown, Pennsylvania, Quincy, Illinois, Davenport, Iowa and Sacramento, California. 

Although there is no physical trophy, the prize can bring recognition and prestige to not only the band, but the community the band is based in as well. 

Ted Vives, the Winds’ conductor and director, said his 50-plus member ensemble are excited to be semifinalists.

“I find us to be in very good company. One the finalists are the Allentown Band out of Pennsylvania, which has won every possible award that you can think of in the concert band world that you can think of, including the Sudler’s Flag of Honor from the  John Philip Sousa Foundation,” Vives said.  

The Winds were also a runner up for the American Prize in 2012 with another band that’s in the same category again this year, the Quad City Wind Ensemble, the band  from Davenport. In 2014, the Community Winds took third place.

“The level of quality and precision among the applicants continues to increase every year. It puts you in very good company,” Vives said. 

Vives credited all the Winds players for their dedication to the band and the music for getting the Winds to the semifinals. He also said he was not surprised by their dedication. 

“There’s this drive among the players to be good, to be the best to be the most knowledgeable and be the best that they can. I’m a very lucky beneficiary of that,” Vives said. 

The American Prize is awarded annually. Hat City started the prize in 2009, and it does include cash awards. Over $60,000 in prizes has been awarded since 2010. It’s open to all American citizens. Finalist and winners could be announced as soon as March or April. 

Band Spokesperson Heidi Morning and flutist was proud of their efforts also, and can’t wait to here what the next round brings. 

“I am so proud of our ensemble. The audition tapes that were submitted came from our live concerts, and the fact that we were recognized off of these recordings demonstrates the quality of our performances,” Morning said. “I am excited to see how far we get in this competition, and I am sure that our cohesiveness as a group will increase as the seasons progress. In the spirit of the #lovelosalamos campaign, I encourage my fellow community members to support their community wind ensemble and join us in this proud moment for Los Alamos.”

The Wind’s next concert will be March 2 at the Crossroads Bible Church. The concert’s theme will be Music of Rebellion, Revolution and Democracy.