Category: Four Winds on Wednesdays

Four Winds on Wednesdays #11

Two Trombones and Woodwinds, Too

Opening with a rousing full band version of Shostakovich’s “Galop” from one of his more controversial ballets, we’ll then re-visit LA Winds veteran flutist — and piccolo soloist —Debbie MacMurry.  Debbie shares with us a segment of her sparkling performance of Stephen Bulla’s “Rhapsody for Flute” — which she performed on the piccolo with the the LA Winds! Please note the entertaining stills including “The Music Man” composer Meredith Wilson (flute and piccolo player in Sousa’s Band!), the lascivious god Pan, and an iconic “crying piccolo” player (recall “March Madness” Villanova vs. NC State) while listening to the “Rhapsody.”

Next you’ll hear from two trombone stalwarts from the LA Winds’ formidable Brass section.  Daniel Orkin will share pre-La Winds stories of his days as a “bugle boy” (not of Company B!) and a bag-pipe player. We’ll also talk with him about some very important work he does in the field of cyber-security. Mike Hicks then shares a beautiful video he produced with the multi-talented Andrea Vancura — another excellent LA Winds trombonist whom you met earlier in the “Four Winds on Wednesdays” series.  Feel free to sing along as they perform the 60’s classic, “The Sounds of Silence.” Mike will also talk to us about the memorable chance encounter he had playing a duet with the legendary Miles Davis.

Joining next is clarinetist Andrew Robinson whom you met last month when “Four Winds on Wednesdays” presented a discussion of music in the Zoom and Retail world.  Andrew shares a segment from Weber’s classic “Concertino for Clarinet.”  Some of you may recall several concerts in which the LA Winds performed this piece — with the entire Clarinet section as soloists!

Finally, tribute is given to the men and women members of the military who made the supreme sacrifice for our country as we prepare for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. A stirring rendition of “Armed Forces Medley,” performed by your LA Winds, brings this final edition of our live-stream broadcasts to a spectacular end!

Be sure to invite your friends to join our live stream and sign up on our website ( to receive the latest information on our upcoming July 18 “Summer Sounds at the Skirball” concert and “Julie and Steve’s Summer Soiree” on August 22.  And keep your eyes out for a special pre-concert video which will set the stage for our Skirball “Coming Out” concert July 18. Tickets will be available at the beginning of June.  Seating is limited and tickets are only $10, so I’d advise you to reserve your seats as soon as they become available.

Thanks, as always, for your continued support through our “Summer Sounds” and “Four Winds” series of presentations.  Let me also thank the nearly 75 members of the LA Winds who participated in these series of broadcasts as well as my colleagues Steve Woloshin, Paul Piazza and Chuck Fernandez. Without their countless hours of work “behind the scenes,” these memorable programs would not have been possible.  Bravi tutti!

Four Winds on Wednesdays #10

The Hollywood Recording Industry Today

This video is the 10th installment of your LA Winds’ bi-weekly “Four Winds on Wednesdays” and features two of our LA Winds’ most successful recording musicians — studio woodwind specialist Geoff Nudell and copyist, arranger, and music librarian Caryn Rasmussen.

Titled “The Hollywood Recording Industry Today,” this presentation spotlights performances by two LA Winds’ artists who also have strong ties to the entertainment industry — trumpet player (and screen actress) Carolyne Maraghi, and woodwind doubler, composer, arranger, and record producer Paul Frederick.

This week’s live stream begins with selections from a special performance of Kurt Weill’s and Bertolt Brecht’s “3 Penny Opera”  including “Mack the Knife.”  Many of you will remember this performance, presented at the Valley Outreach Synagogue, which featured a tribute to Jewish composers.  I’ve included some still photos of several productions of this opera as well as an eerie clip from the 1st film version of “3 Penny” — the classic 1931 German film directed by G. W. Pabst.  One of this week’s guests, Caryn Rasmussen, can be heard doing some great saxophone playing on the Outreach Synagogue recording I’ve added to the film, while last week’s guest, Dan Hernandez, offers some brilliant clarinet playing.

Be sure to invite your friends to join our live stream and sign up on our website ( to receive the latest information on our upcoming July 18 “Summer Sounds at the Skirball” concert and “Julie and Steve’s Summer Soiree” on August 22.  Be sure to also join us on May 26 for performances by LA Winds musicians Debby MacMurry, Andrew Robinson, Mike Hicks, and Andrea Vancura — as well as interviews with 2 of the LA Winds’ leading scientists and engineers—Noah Gordon and Daniel Orkin.

Four Winds on Wednesdays #9

A Prelude to Cinco de Mayo!

Your LA Winds Cinco de Mayo celebration begins with our latest Virtual performance project — thrilling performances of two South of the Border classics: the Zacatecas March and the Aztec Fire section of “La Fiesta Mexicana.” Mike Armstrong, the featured LA Winds member on our last “Four Winds on Wednesdays” live stream, has done another fantastic job of putting together the performances of nearly 60 LA Winds members in what promises to be an unforgettable musical experience for our LA Winds family!

Dan Hernandez shares his own personal experience with Zacatecas, one of Mexico’s regional national anthems.  Nest up you’ll enjoy his beautiful clarinet artistry as he performs the opening to Robert Schumann’s classic “Fantasy Pieces.” Featured next are LA Winds’ flutists Susan Anderson and Debbie MacMurray who discuss the unique and fascinating qualities of “Big Flutes” which the Winds have featured both in concert and in our “Four Winds” series.  They’ll also share their experiences with a variety of performing ensembles both here in America and abroad.

We’ll close out our Cinco de Mayo festivities with the legendary Col. Arnald Gabriel leading the LA Winds in a lively performance of Clifton Williams’ evocative and energetic “Fiesta!”

Be sure to invite your friends to join our live stream and sign up on our website ( to receive the latest information on our upcoming July 18 “Summer Sounds at the Skirball” concert and “Julie and Steve’s Summer Soiree” on August 22.  Be sure to also join us on May 12 for performances by LA Winds musicians Carolyne Maraghi and Paul Frederic plus a fascinating interview with recording artists Geoff Nudell and Caryn Rasmussen on “The Hollywood Recording Industry Today.”

Four Winds on Wednesdays #8

Retail and Zoom Music Today

This Wednesday’s entertaining and informative installment of your LA Winds’ “Four Winds on Wednesdays” features a technology expert, a music retailer, beautiful melodies — and a rocket scientist! It’s called “Retail Music Today,” but it is much more than that. Maestro Piazza shares exciting news about LA Winds upcoming performances at the magnificent Skirball Center.

Then we’ll begin this week’s live stream with a prelude to our upcoming weeklong “Cinco De Mayo” celebration with an LA Winds video performance of Manuel de Falla’s electrifying “Ritual Fire Dance. Next up, Paula Savastano (whom you met when she discussed copyrights, royalties, and licensing) performs excepts from a lovely and poignant work entitled “Earth” by the contemporary Japanese composer Tagatsugu Muramatsu.

Next you’ll explore the world of “Zoom” recordings and the current trends in retail music. Our guests are Michael Armstrong, who has been your LA Winds “Zoom” recording engineer, and Andrew Robinson, a recent arrival to the LA Winds family from Florida (by way of Toronto and Kentucky). Andrew will shed light on current trends in the retail music world, while long- time LA Winds’ stalwart Mike Armstrong will give us a behind-the-scenes look at how he produces such fabulous “Zoom” recordings for the LA Winds and other 1st rate musical ensembles.

Finally, our resident rocket scientist, Winds’ saxophonist Noah Gordon, a graduate of Purdue University’s famed Aerospace program and now a Doctoral candidate at Stanford’s Aeronautics program, performs John Williams’ hauntingly beautiful solo, “Escapades,” from the motion picture “Catch Me If You Can.”

Be sure to also join us on April 28 when our “Cinco de Mayo” celebration begins with a special appearance by LA Winds’ veteran co-principal clarinetist, Daniel Hernandez. We’ll also premiere the Winds’ latest “Zoom” recordings of “Zacatecas” and “La Fiesta Mexicana.” In addition, we’ll reprise the classic recording Col. Arnald Gabriel made of “Fiesta” with the Winds nearly 20 years ago. Don’t miss either of these exciting “Four Winds on Wednesdays” live streams.

Four Winds on Wednesdays #7

A Multi-Dimensional Quintet Of LA Winds — Plus 1!

Episode 7 of your LA Winds’ “4 Winds on Wednesdays” highlights the five instruments of the standard, and much-celebrated, Woodwind Quintet.  We’re calling it “A Multi-Dimensional Quintet of LA Winds — Plus 1!” Our “Quintet” of Alicia Pizzi, Bom An, Stephen Piazza, Chuck Fernandez and Michelle Saddic are featured performing solos, duets, vocals, and original compositions as well as discussing Indian music and recording in Ireland — lots to include, except wind quintets!

We begin by hearing our former co-principal oboe, the “Plus 1!” mentioned above, Jessica Wilkins, in a stirring LA Winds performance of the Bacchanal from the biblical story of “Samson and Delilah” by Camille Saint-Saens.  Current LA Winds co-principal oboe Bom An next shares with us her hauntingly beautiful performance of Ennio Morricone’s main title music from the 1994 motion picture “Love Affair.”   Next, flutist Alicia Pizzi, who was scheduled to perform the passionately reflective “Meditation” from Thais with the Winds before the Pandemic hit, will lead us in a fascinating discussion of Indian music, while LA Winds horn player Michelle Saddic will talk about her work and study in Dublin, Ireland.  She’ll also present a very heart felt (and tongue in cheek!) tribute to the non-biblical contemporary cartoon “hero”— SpongeBob SquarePants.  And finally, bassoonist (and composer, conductor, educator) Chuck Fernandez and I will perform excerpts from the pen of the youthful Beethoven — his duo in Bb for Clarinet and Bassoon.  Without a doubtthis is a multi-dimensional quintet program is an outstanding video to view!

Four Winds on Wednesdays #6

The Wearing of the Green and Other Blarney Stone

Episode 6 of your LA Winds’ “4 Winds on Wednesdays” is a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day titled “The Wearing of the Green and Other Blarney Stones,” featuring 3 outstanding members of our Winds family — Sue Winsberg, Andrea Vancura and Ruth Beaver — as well as the United States Marine Corps Band!

This show opens with a beautiful rendition of the traditional Irish hymn, “Be Thou My Vision,” as arranged by my colleague Travis Cross (Director of Bands at UCLA) and performed by our very own LA Winds. Next, is featured LA Winds co-principal flutist and Irish and Scottish music aficionado, Sue Winsberg, as she shares with us her expertise and experiences with Irish song and dance.

Before returning to Ireland, we’ll take a detour 900 miles East and 700 years back in time as we feature a work by LA Winds’ trombonist and composer Andrea Vancura. Andrea who talks about her Czech heritage and her powerful and inspiring composition, “Pravda Vitezy,” celebrating the Czech patriot Jan Hus. Excerpts from the LA Winds’ 2017 recording of this profound work is featured.

Next, LA Winds bassoonist Ruth Beaver — who like Sue and Andrea, was featured in our “Summer Sounds of Your LA Winds” series — performs an entertaining movement from a unique work inspired by precious stones. In this case, it’s not the Blarney Stone, but rather the purported healing powers and undeniable beauty of the “Tiger’s Eye” stone.

Closing out this live-stream celebration is the US Marine Corps Band (with LA Winds’ alum, Parker Gaims) in a very moving rendition of “Irish Tune from County Derry,” which many of us know as “Danny Boy.”  Sue introduces this work with a very touching reading of the poem. My guess is there won’t be a dry eye in the house!

Finally, be sure to join us on March 31 for our next live stream program — “A Multi-dimensional Quintet of LA Winds — Plus 1!” featuring 6 of your LA Winds’ most versatile instrumentalists, educators, composers, arrangers, publishers, pianists — and, yes, singers!

Our “Virtual Wind Quintet” will consist of Alicia Pizzi (flute), Bom An (oboe), yours truly, Stephen Piazza (clarinet), Chuck Fernandez (bassoon) and Michelle Saddic (horn).  Tune in on March 31 to find out some of the hidden talents of these engaging LA Winds stalwarts!

See you on Wednesday and thanks for your continued support!

Four Winds on Wednesdays #5

A Celebration of the LA (Wood) Winds

This fifth installment of Four Winds on Wednesday features three of our most talented and veteran members, Geoff Nudell, Bob Crosby and Chuck Fernandez. Please enjoy this musical treat!

These three outstanding woodwind specialists make up a core group of musicians who have helped transform the LA Winds into one of the nation’s premiere community ensembles. With a combined history of over 50 years with your LA Winds, they bring a wealth of experience, anecdotes and memories that I’m sure you will want to hear about.

Geoff performs a hauntingly beautiful selection from the 1953 motion picture “The Bad and the Beautiful” with some stunning photos of Lana Turner and Kirk Douglas, the movie’s co-stars.  Bob shares some of his extensive musical past — including a film clip from his appearance on the 1950s Dinah Shore TV show!  And Chuck shares with us a beautiful performance of the well known ballad “Tenderly” with jazz guitarist Massimo Sammi accompanied by Chuck’s “Song of Angels” flute orchestra — a fascinating combination and a real sonic treat!


Four Winds on Wednesdays #4

Two Musical Stars and Two Legal Eagles!

In this fourth installment of Four Winds on Wednesday attorney Mark Markus (clarinet) and administrative manager for intellectual property and royalties Paula Savastano (flute) are the featured guests. And two of your LA Winds “Co-Principals” – Juan Rivera (flute) and Jason Beaumont (horn) – share the sometimes-circuitous journeys that brought them to the Winds. Many of you will recall Juan’s stunning performance of the Mozart Flute Concerto a few seasons ago, as well as Jason’s spectacular presentation about the French horn for our “Summer Sounds” series. Please enjoy this musical treat!

Four Winds on Wednesdays #3

Gershwin, Guitars, Grand Cru … and Poppins too!

This session begins and ends with selections from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. You will also enjoy wine tasting with Steve Woloshin and Scott Mandell. The Pacoima Middle School Singers perform selections from Mary Poppins. Joel Amromin, guitarist and folksinger treats us to some cowboy country music vocals. Enjoy!!

Four Winds on Wednesdays #2

That’s Entertainment!

This session begins with a march “The Purple Carnival” by Harry Alford performed in 2013 by the LA Winds conducted by Maestro Piazza. Next we have featured host and solo clarinetist Stephen Piazza performing “The Terminal” followed by actress/trumpeter Carolyn Mareghi and technical director/saxophonist Claudi Peterson. You will also hear Maestro Piazza interview Caryn Rasmussen, the arranger of “The Terminal” and a beautiful tenor saxophone performance by Caryn.