The El Paso Winds, formerly El Paso Wind Symphony is a concert band that was organized by Dr. Ron Hufstader and a small group of El Paso area band directors in the spring of 1995. Today, the band consists of greater El Paso residents, most of whom are band directors in public and private schools.
The mission of the group is:
· to provide a role model for middle school, high school, and college band programs;
· to provide educational opportunities for all music students;
· to present concerts of quality wind literature to the public on a professional level.
The El Paso Winds consists of approximately 45 players. This includes woodwind, brass, and percussion - the normal instrumentation for a concert band or wind ensemble. An 8-12 member Board of Directors is diligently working to find funding for the organization and to offer guidance for the group. This board is comprised of volunteers from the business and education fields who are donating their time and effort to help ensure the success of the Wind Symphony.
The El Paso Winds' regular season consists of 5 concerts including a Holiday concert in December. The TMEA Region XXII All State Players (high school musicians) are always invited to perform with the Wind Symphony at one concert. Another concert is set aside to feature the winner of the Concerto Competition where a high school soloist is accompanied by the Winds. In recent years, the El Paso Winds has also shared the stage with the winners of the school band with the most attendees at concerts contest. In the past, the El Paso Winds has performed for a crowd of ten to twenty thousand at the Music Under the Stars Fourth of July Concert.
In addition to the concert presentations, the EP Winds hosts an All-Region clinic for middle school and high school band students and plans are in place to bring back the summer band camp. El Paso Winds members serve as clinicians for both these events. It is through activities such as these that the El Paso Winds is realizing the goals of the organization.
These activities are all made possible through the support and sponsorship of small and large companies and corporation from the El Paso area.
Ron Hufstader has served as Director of Bands at the University of Texas at El Paso since 1976 and served as Chairman of the Music department from 1990 to 2002. He presently serves as Director of Instrumental Studies. He conducts the UTEP Wind Symphony, the UTEP Orchestra and teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting. It is under his direction that the Wind Symphony was selected to perform for the Texas Music Educators Association and the College Band Directors National Association conventions. Dr. Hufstader’s many professional activities include coordination of halftime shows for some of the major bowl games including the Sun, Alamo, Liberty, Gator and Sugar bowls. He played principal trombone in the El Paso Symphony Orchestra until 2005 and has played with orchestras such as the Greensboro Symphony, the Winston-Salem Symphony and the Classical Music Seminar Orchestra in Austria. Dr. Hufstader has served as a guest conductor and adjudicator throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Latin America. In addition to these duties, Dr. Hufstader serves as a rehearsal clinician and an in-service clinician for Conn-Selmer, Inc.
In 1995, Dr. Hufstader established the El Paso Wind Symphony, a professional concert band composed of music teachers and business people from the El Paso area. This group now has a subscription season of five concerts. In 2006, the ensemble was invited to perform for the Texas Bandmasters Association Band Symposium and again in 2016. The El Paso Wind Symphony changed its name to El Paso Winds in 2017.
Dr. Hufstader holds a Ph.D. in music education from the University of Iowa, a Master’s degree in performance from the University of Iowa, a Master’s degree in music education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Bachelor’s degree in music education from East Carolina University.