Bethany Wiese, a sophomore tuba player from Davenport, Iowa, has been chosen to perform with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (AWSO) during a month-long tour in June.
Wiese, who auditioned through a CD submission, was selected from among a distinguished group of young musicians that included doctoral students from around the nation. She will be the only tuba player in the 40-member AWSO, which performs mostly waterfront concerts on a specially-designed barge.
Wiese will join the orchestra on Monday (June 5) for rehearsals and play her first concert on June 7. She will perform a concert every day with the orchestra through July 6.
“It came out of the blue,” said Wiese, who heard about the audition early last month from her tuba instructor, Marty Erickson. “It’s a pretty interesting group. The orchestra will include 10 musicians from Japan.”
“Beth was prepared and took advantage of an opportunity,” said Erickson. “She’s a wonderful musician. It’s been a joy to work with her.”
This year’s tour will be held primarily in Louisiana and will include stops in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The tour includes community performances and residencies. As part of the residencies, members of the orchestra will perform at schools and teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade instrumentalists as part of the AWSO’s “Winds on the Mon” education program. After finishing the tour in Louisiana, the orchestra will travel to Pennsylvania for a final concert and to record a CD.
“We will be in a lot of areas affected by the hurricane,” Wiese said. “It should be an interesting combination of experiences. The residencies will be a way to apply the skills I’ve learned in school.”
The AWSO was founded in Pittsburgh in 1957 by Robert Austin Boudreau, who has been conducting the orchestra for its entire 50-year history. Initially, the AWSO performed concerts on a renovated coal barge on the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania’s Point State Park. In 1976, the orchestra began traveling with its new multi-million dollar floating arts center, Point Counterpoint II. The self-propelled PCP II features a concert stage with an acoustical shell and a chamber theater.
The orchestra has given major waterfront concerts, chamber group programs and church concerts in communities on all the major waterways, including the East Coast, the Intercoastal Waterway, the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Caribbean. In 1989 and 1990, the AWSO traveled to European waters when the orchestra visited the British Isles, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the Baltic countries.