Concordia Wind Orchestra
In 2005, Jeff Held joined the faculty of Concordia University Irvine as its first full-time professor of instrumental music. Upon arrival at the university, he transformed the university wind ensemble from a group of 10-15 students that performed one or two concerts per semester into a major ensemble that performs more than 25 times per semester. The Concordia Wind Orchestra is one of the premiere musical ensembles on campus. It has performed for major events such as the Christmas concerts, the Lessons and Carols Service, President Krueger's installation service, Opening Convocations and Baccalaureate services, a Sept. 11 Remembrance event, festival chapel services, and its own concert series. In addition, the ensemble performs frequently off-campus, especially for Lutheran congregations and high schools. In recent years, the CWO has traveled to Texas, Arizona, and Northern California to present concerts, hymn festivals (with local choirs), and to lead worship services. The mission of the CWO extends well-beyond that of the typical college wind band. Like most others, the CWO strives to expose its students and audiences to the finest in wind band literature, including new music (some of which is commissioned by the CWO). In addition, the CWO is a musical service to the Church through its role in enhancing worship.
Students in the Concordia Wind Orchestra come from a wide range of majors and most are not music majors. Their dedication to music is obvious, thanks to a commitment to not only perform a heavy amount of repertoire throughout the year, but also to rehearse 3 ½ hours per week. All students in the CWO, regardless of major, take private lessons (or have passed the requirement) from Concordia's music faculty. This involves a commitment to personal practice time and public solo performance through Concordia's noon recital series and juries at the end of each semester.
Students in Concordia's music ensembles form a very close, supportive community of friends who each have diverse backgrounds in academic interest and musical experience. Concordia University can successfully prepare music students for graduate-level study, while at the same time it provides a unique opportunity for dedicated non-majors to perform at the highest level, side-by-side with musicians preparing for careers in the profession. For students who are not ready to perform in one of the university's major ensembles, there are many opportunities to get involved musically. Concordia currently offers 24 performance ensembles, an impressive array for a university that has 1400 traditional undergraduate students.