William Todd Hunt prepares to conduct “Sleigh Ride” Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

William Todd Hunt prepares to conduct “Sleigh Ride” Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Blown away: Taku Winds plays holiday show

Holiday concert blends familar tunes with creative picks

And out came the Santa hats.

Taku Winds Homemade for the Holidays concert concluded with “Sleigh Ride,” and the members of the band and conductor William Todd Hunt donned festive headwear after Hunt delivered a short, non-introduction for the piece.

“It’s ‘Sleigh Ride’ — I don’t think it needs an introduction,” Hunt said.

The Homemade for the Holidays concert was the first holiday concert for Taku Winds. Normally, they play a spring and fall show, but scheduling conflicts pushed the fall show back.

The name of the event was in reference to the all-local makeup of the Taku Winds players, and the origin of the cookies and cocoa that were available to attendees at the Saturday night concert at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.

“We’re pretty proud of the fact we’re able to put this together with local musicians,” said Sarah McNair-Grove, President of the Juneau Community Bands Board of Directors.

The show featured many well-known holiday pieces, including takes on “Sleigh Ride,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and selections from “The Nutcracker Suite.”

“‘The Nutcracker Suite,’ are already selections from ‘The Nutcracker’ so it’s kind of selections from selections,’” Hunt said.

He said the pieces were a focal point of the show and something on which the players worked hard. After the musicians worked their way through six pieces from Tchaikovsky’s famous work, Hunt had the players stand by section for recognition.

One was a mash-up of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” with holiday carols. It opened the show.

“It’s a really fun piece,” McNair-Grove said. “You get the fun march and all of the Christmas carols.”

Hunt said the piece came into the band’s repertoire for a performance that fell on April Fool’s Day, and it made sense to incorporate into the holiday show.

A “Christmas Concerto” originally written for strings, a “Christmas Tryptich” and “The Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol” were some other lesser-known selections.

Hunt said Juneau-Douglas High School and Thunder Mountain High School opened up their music libraries for the show. Since Taku Winds don’t usually play a holiday show there weren’t past programs to consult.

“Pulling together Christmas music was actually a little bit of a challenge,” Hunt said. “We didn’t have a lot.”


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at 523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


Taku Winds players perform during the Homemade for the Holidays concerts Saturday, Dec. 8,2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Taku Winds players perform during the Homemade for the Holidays concerts Saturday, Dec. 8,2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Taku Winds players donned Santa hats, reindeer antlers and elf caps for the closing number during the Homemade for the Holidays concert Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Taku Winds players donned Santa hats, reindeer antlers and elf caps for the closing number during the Homemade for the Holidays concert Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora Forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Feb. 5

Folks at the Alaska State Capitol openly admit to plenty of fish tales, but to a large degree in ways intended to benefit residents and sometimes even the fish. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The bizarre bills other state legislatures are considering

Alaska’s Legislature isn’t mulling the headline-grabbers some statehouses have in the works.

This photo shows snow-covered hills in the Porcupine River Tundra in the Yukon Territories, Canada. In July 1997, a hunter contacted troopers in Fairbanks, Alaska, and reported finding a human skull along the Porcupine River, around 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the Canadian border. Investigators used genetic genealogy to help identify the remains as those of Gary Frank Sotherden, according to a statement Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, from Alaska State Troopers. (AP Photo / Rick Bowmer)
Skull found in ‘97 in Interior belongs to New York man

A skull found in a remote part of Alaska’s Interior in 1997… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Officer William Hicks stands with JPD Chief Ed Mercer and Deputy Chief David Campbell during a swearing in ceremony for Hicks on Thursday at the JPD station in Lemon Creek. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
New officer joins JPD’s ranks

The Juneau Police Department welcomed a new officer to its ranks Thursday… Continue reading

These photos show Nova, a 3-year-old golden retriever, and the illegally placed body hold trap, commonly referred to as a Conibear trap, that caught her while walking near Outer Point Trail last week. (Courtesy / Jessica Davis)
Dog narrowly survives rare illegally placed trap in Juneau

State wildlife officials outlined what to do if found in similar situation

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Public defender agency to refuse some cases, citing staffing

ANCHORAGE — A state agency that represents Alaskans who cannot afford their… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police: Gift card scam connected to hoax Fred Meyer threats

This article has been moved in front of the Empire’s paywall. A… Continue reading

This is a concept design drawing that was included in the request for proposal sent out by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities seeking outside engineering and design services to determine whether it’s feasible to build a new ferry terminal facility in Juneau at Cascade Point. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
DOT takes steps toward potential Cascade Point ferry terminal facility

It would accommodate the Tazlina and or Hubbard, shorten trips to Haines and Skagway

Most Read