|SPC WIND SYMPHONY: The first performance for the SPC Wind Symphony is 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg.|
Nathan Muehl arrived at St. Petersburg College in fall 2012 with an ambitious idea.
The new band and orchestra director wanted more opportunities for his students to perform. He wanted to expose students to accomplished musicians from the community. And he wanted to give those classical musicians in the community a venue to play challenging, mature compositions.
His dream has now come together. The St. Petersburg College Wind Symphony — 44 members strong — takes the stage for the first time Thursday.
“The Wind Symphony is dedicated to performing the Masterworks of the great composers of the past and present generations,” Muehl said. The ensemble’s musical repertoire spans from classical to romantic to modern – all high quality, challenging compositions.
About two-thirds of the Wind Symphony’s members have a bachelor’s degree in music or higher.
“The idea of what we’re doing here came from a community college I was involved with as a participant,” Muehl said. Sinclair Community College, a large two-year school in Dayton, Ohio, developed a unique structure that involved both community members and the college’s music students. SCC’s Wind Symphony has been in existence for more than 30 years and has allowed these collaborating musicians to learn from one another and play music at a more advanced level.
Since implementing the Sinclair model, SPC has experienced a 490 percent increase in wind ensemble participation since fall 2011. In addition to the new Wind Symphony, SPC’s Community Concert Band, a required ensemble for music majors in which community members also can participate, has grown from 19 to nearly 70 members.
Muehl hopes the Wind Symphony also will raise the profile of the college in the arts community, showcasing the skill of SPC students and the strength of its music programs.
Muehl loves to share his passion for music and promote the music programs at SPC. Besides his work with college students and community musicians, he has done outreach into the high schools, encouraging musicians there to continue their educations.
An accomplished flautist, he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in music education from The Ohio State University. Prior to his appointment at SPC, Muehl taught various instrumental studies for five years at Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia and also served as a high school band and choral instructor in Columbus, Ohio.
Muehl also worked with the director of the Philadelphia Wind Symphony, a volunteer ensemble formed in fall 2011 that now boasts 50 members.
The first performance for the SPC Wind Symphony is 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg.