The Isle of Man Wind Orchestra came into being in 1997 as the brainchild of Chris Weldon, Henry Teare, and Paul Dunderdale. The first rehearsal was attended by 16 musicians; today, there are more than 35 active members of all ages in the orchestra. The orchestra is a “community band” as defined by BASBWE (British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles) and membership is open to all players of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments, regardless of age or playing level. The orchestra aims to advance, improve, develop, and maintain public education in, and appreciation of, the art and science of music in all its aspects through public concerts and recitals.
We have a wide and varied repertoire ranging from classic wind orchestra tunes and show music, to film scores and modern pieces. Highlights of past years include band tours to the Czech Republic and the Netherlands as well as Silver and Gold awards at National Concert Band Festivals. The orchestra has also worked with some of the UK’s top wind orchestra directors during their annual Workshop Weekends, including retired RAF musical director Duncan Stubbs, Colin Touchin (who composed Pictures of Mann for our 15th anniversary), and Phil Robinson.
Other creative collaborations include the premiere of Annie Kissack’s Curragh with the Manx Gaelic choir, Caarjyn Cooidjagh, as well as the European premiere of American composer Clare Shore’s atmospheric Midwinter.
In 2017/2018, the orchestra celebrated its 20th anniversary. For this big celebration, we commissioned two works. The first was a piece for violin and wind orchestra titled Huidd yn Geay (Wind Grew Quiet) from the very talented young Manx composer and violinist, David Kilgallon. The second was Five Manx Romances written for us by renowned English composer, Dr Martin Ellerby.
In 2018, we also premiered a piece inspired by us and our conductor Paul which was written by our friend, Wing Commander (Retired) Duncan Stubbs, former principal director of music for the RAF. Duncan named the piece Dunders’ Dance, and it’s a whimsical whirl of a piece which features comical musical references to members of the band. Our conductor would like it to be known that, in fact, Dunders DON’T dance – just in case anyone is in any doubt!