Wind Ensemble

The Houghton Wind Ensemble (HWE) is a premiere ensemble with critical acclaim for its performances and impact to its players and audiences. This wind band of select members exposes its students and audiences to the highest quality music written for wind and percussion instruments. Currently made up of approximately 65 percent music and 35 percent non-music majors, the ensemble welcomes all instrumentalists! Part assignments are done on a rotational basis, so all students get experience on all parts. The ensemble performs a wide range of the finest repertoire exploring all facets of wind band music, including chamber music. While maintaining an emphasis on newer music, the traditional music for wind bands is well-represented. For specifics on past programming, see the Recent Repertoire page.

Dr. Timothy McGarvey, professor of conducting, leads the ensemble. Graduate conducting assistants regularly conduct this outstanding ensemble. Guest and student soloists are regularly featured as well as working with composers from around the country on recent compositions and premieres. The HWE performs multiple times each semester on campus, in the region, tours regularly in the spring semester and has full-length CDs on the Mark Records label.

The HWE believes in and explores the incredible world of collaborative musicmaking, stressing the value of each player working closely with one another. The communication found in ensemble music making is a unique experience that is enhanced through a tight music and spiritual community who explores God’s incredible gift of music and the phenomenal impact it has on each person.

Instrumental Ensemble Protocols 

With the emphasis on safety and mitigating risk all Houghton Instrumental Ensembles will observe the following protocols in all rehearsals and performances until further notice. This is all based on current research specific to making music and reducing the risk of transferring a virus.

  1. When we breathe out we produce droplets and aerosols which are the danger with COVID-19.
  2. All instrumentalists will wear masks entering and exiting the rehearsal/performance spaces
  3. All instrumentalists will wear masks throughout the rehearsal including while playing
  • Wind instrumentalists will provide their own mask with a slit in it to allow the mouthpiece/reed to enter the mouth.
  • Flute players will insert the flute from the side of a mask. (here is an example

4. All wind players will provide and use their own bell mask for the end of their instrument. This needs to be double layered material.

  • (Aerosols do exit the end of the instrument) You can find many examples online, both purchased and homemade. Please do your own search before asking questions.
  • French Horn players can purchase bell covers with an opening for the hand or simply make their own. ( is an example of a one available for purchase – could also be used as a model for making your own  )

5. We will maintain 6’ social distancing while playing. Trombones will maintain 9’ distance in front of them and 6’ on the 3 other sides. Rehearsal setup will take care of this for us. We will not be changing positions in rehearsal as we have done in the past.

6. Entry to the IRH (Instrumental Rehearsal Hall) will be through the West door (chapel side) or from the instrument storage room.

7. Exit from the IRH will be through the East door (Recital Hall side) or from the instrument storage room.

8. When ensembles are rehearsing in the chapel:

  • Enter instrument storage room from the hallway an depart through the IRH.
  • Viruses can be transferred through physical contact with others and through commonly held items.
  • Hand sanitizers are now placed in many places throughout our building and campus. Please make ample use of them.
  • Percussionists should use their own mallets/sticks as much as possible. When percussionists end up sharing instruments the touched areas need to be disinfected before transferring to another player. Disinfectant wipes will be available for this.
  • No students should ever use another person’s instrument.
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