West Valley Wind Ensemble to Perform Free Concert March 22

Shirlee Lansing

The West Valley Wind Ensemble is giving a free concert in the Eagle’s Nest Ballroom on March 22 at 3 p.m.

The West Valley Wind Ensemble (WVWE) is a 70-piece concert band comprised of volunteers who enjoy making music long past their high school and college years. The band plays music written for American concert bands, transcriptions of orchestral repertoire, newer music, marches, and an occasional showtune.

Our members come from all walks of life and many of us are happy retirees, four of whom live in PebbleCreek. Steve Thomas, a retired high school principal from the Chicago area, has played clarinet with the band for four years. Steve also plays in the Surprise Pops Band, a clarinet choir called Cactus Clarinets, and in the Estrella Mountain Community College Band. Retired clinical social worker, Shirlee Lansing, joined the band three years ago as a clarinet player. Shirlee has played her instrument since fourth grade, including in college and community bands in Bloomington, MN before coming to PebbleCreek. She currently plays in the Arizona Winds, the Surprise Pops Band, and Cactus Clarinets, in addition to the WVWE. Darrel Bjornson plays trombone in WVWE and also was one of the original members of the PebbleCreek Big Band, playing for 15 years. Darrel also plays in the Estrella Mountain Community College Band. Darrel served in the military for 24 years and, after retirement, joined the faculty in the College of Pharmacy at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa before moving to PebbleCreek in 2003. Another trombone player, who still plays with both WVWE and the Big Band is Larry Tallant. Larry has lived in PebbleCreek since 2007 and is a retired engineer for Lockheed-Martin. Larry comes from Denver, CO.

Our director, Clark Chaffee, is in his sixth season. Mr. Chaffee, a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, has earned music degrees from the University of Michigan and Northern Illinois University and was an active music teacher for 40 years before moving to the Valley. He has performed in the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Elgin Symphony, and a variety of big bands and combos. In addition to his role as conductor of the WVWE, he conducts the Surprise Pops Band, is principal viola in the Sun Cities Community Orchestra, and is music director/drummer for the Sun City All Stars Jazz Band. He performs regularly as a drummer and vocalist in several West Valley jazz ensembles.

West Valley Wind Ensemble has been performing concerts in the West Valley since 1992. We perform primarily in Sun City West and Sun City. Many of our concerts are in churches, some are outdoors, and we have played at adult living communities, such as Arizona Traditions and Corte Bella.

We are a non-profit 501(3)(c) and are funded by donations we receive at our concerts or contributions online or by mail.

Snacks will be provided and beverages can be purchased at the Eagle’s Nest Lounge and brought into the concert.

Please bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to the Valley View Food Bank with whom we have a strong relationship.