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About the Arizona Wind Symphony

 

Soon starting its 24th season, the Arizona Wind Symphony (AWS) entertains Tempe and  surrounding communities with an enjoyable variety of music in the beautiful Tempe Center for the Arts. Founded by conductor William J. Richardson, the AWS grew to a 90-piece concert band prior to an activity pause due to COVID.  It has now resumed regular rehearsals and concerts under the baton of Jon Gomez (see below). The ensemble is comprised of musicians passionately committed to presenting music of the highest caliber. AWS is comprised of music professionals, non-professionals and students. Joined together by a shared joy and commitment to the arts, AWS musicians are proud to share their time and talents for enriching the cultural landscape of our community. 

 

A registered 501(c)(3) non-profit, the Arizona Wind Symphony is partially supported by funding from the City of Tempe, the Arizona Commission of the Arts, and donors like you!

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Conductor Jon Gomez

 

Jon Gomez serves as a National Educational Clinician providing services as a conductor, music educator, consultant, public speaker, adjudicator, and producer. His experience in the profession spans over thirty years and he continues to believe in creating positively life-changing experiences through music.

Mr. Gomez was the Former Director of Bands and Department Chair for the Performing Arts at Dobson High School in Mesa, Arizona (2000-2016). In prior years, he served as Director of Bands at Coronado High School and as the District Team Leader for Bands in the Scottsdale Unified School District. Jon received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a Master’s degree in Education Administration from Arizona State University. 

Through the years, his bands earned numerous accolades and have presented distinguished performances, including the World Expo in Shanghai, China (2010), multiple invitations to the Music for All National Concert Band Festival (2015, 2013, 2007, and 2004), Carnegie Hall (2005), Arizona Music Educators Conference (2012, 2010, 2008, 2005, 2002), and have toured throughout Europe (1997).

 

Jon Gomez serves as a Clinician for Conn-Selmer as well as Judge for Bands of America. He is associated with The Midwest Clinic Advisory Committee, Arizona Music Educators Association, and several state music organizations, including Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association, and the Utah Music Educators Association. He is a Charter Member of the Kappa Zeta Chapter of Phi Beta Mu (Honorary Band Masters Fraternity). Jon is also the Recipient of the Arizona State University School of Music Alumni Award and the AMEA O.M. Hartsell Excellence in Teaching Music Award.

 

Gomez has been associated with Northern Arizona University (Interim Associate Director of Bands and NAU Curry Summer Music Camp Faculty), East Valley Youth Symphony (Conductor), and the Tempe Wind Ensemble (Original Member). He has served with the Music For All National Concert Band Festival (Host and Advisory Committee Member), Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association (Past President & Board Member), and the Summer Marching Academy (Co-Founder).

Founding Conductor Bill Richardson

 

William J. “Bill” Richardson, the founding Conductor for the Arizona Wind Symphony, is a dedicated music educator with over 30 years of service in Arizona. Mr. Richardson (Mr. “R” to his colleagues and students) received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education from the University of Arizona. His teaching career includes Casa Grande Union HS, Marcos de Niza HS, and Camelback HS. Retired in 2003 from Corona del Sol High School, he continues to be active in music education.

Mr. Richardson has been a clinician and guest conductor for honor bands and music festivals throughout the American Southwest. He was a trombonist with the Tucson Symphony from 1968-1976 and the Tempe Symphony Orchestra from 1978-2018.

Mr. Richardson helped to establish two programs for the City of Tempe – an extra-curricular performance opportunity for middle school instrumentalists called Tempe Youth Symphony (performed at the Tempe Center for the Arts), and an annual outdoor concert for the public, Music Under the Stars (currently held at Tempe Diablo Stadium).

Founding Director for the Arizona Ambassadors of Music, Mr. Richardson coordinated 17 biennial concert tours of Europe for 6000+ Arizona high school students and staff from 1987-2019.

Mr. Richardson is currently employed by Arizona Music Educators Association as chairman of the annual AMEA Teachers In-Service Conference which serves over 800 music teachers across Arizona.

Accolades received by William J. Richardson during his years of service include the following:  ASBDA Stanbury Award for Teaching Excellence at state and regional levels in 1975 and the AMEA Golden Anniversary Commemorative Award for Teaching Excellence in 1989. He received the ASU Lillian Williams Outstanding Band Directors Award in 1990, and the George C. Wilson AMEA Leadership/Service Award that same year. He was named Teacher of the Year at two different schools and was honored as AMEA Music Educator of the Year in 1992. He was inducted into the Corona del Sol High School Hall of Fame and the Salpointe High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 2003. He received the AMEA Retired Music Educator Service Award in 2020. And, in 2022, he was honored by the National Band Association with a Citation of Excellence for his work with the Arizona Wind Symphony.

Tempe Center for the Arts

 

The Tempe Center for the Arts (TCA), completed in September, 2007, is a vibrant gathering place for regional performing and visual arts events. Although designed for all audiences, the facility is the new home of a number of children’s performance groups. TCA forms a crossroads for performing arts and park activities; framing scenic vistas, integrating pedestrian connections to a new riverfront park, and reflecting the important cultural traditions of the City of Tempe.

 

The Center's character reflects its function as a civic meeting place and a symbol of Tempe's desert landscape and history. Its design draws upon significant historic, climatic, and contextual traditions for inspiration, while utilizing modern technology to create outstanding performance spaces that promote flexible use and allow intimate connections between performer and audience. On the exterior, a curved concrete wall serves to enclose and unify the main building, while a sculptural shed roof provides necessary acoustical and solar protection, and serves as a memorable icon when viewed from the river area, landing aircraft, and the City of Tempe.

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