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)

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