A New Sound for the First Coast!

Music • Band / Group

A New Sound for the First Coast!

No. 20401

The First Coast Wind Ensemble

This project is geared towards the funding of a commission for a major musical work by world renowned band composer, Robert W. Smith.

Funding Goal



Project Budget:
Commissioned Work - $6,000
Mr. Smith’s Travel Expenses - $3,000
Mr. Smith’s Conducting Honorarium - $1,000
Jacoby Hall Rental Fee and Staff - $2,500
Marketing and Promotions - $2,500

About Project

John Peasant, Music Teacher, Duval County Public Schools
Larry Shughart, Railroad Consultant, WorleyParsons
Artie Clifton, Music Professor, Jacksonville University
Steve Bowersox, Executive Pastor of Worship, First Baptist Church

The Team:
The First Coast Wind Ensemble

The First Coast Wind Ensemble is an all-volunteer community band located in Jacksonville, Florida.
The group is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is a member of the Association of Concert Bands.

The organization was founded in 1990 by co-conductors Artie Clifton, faculty member at Jacksonville University, and Dr. Dale Blackwell, faculty member at Florida State College at Jacksonville. It enjoys the support of Jacksonville University and The Bolles School, which provide both rehearsal space and access to their music libraries.

The mission of the First Coast Wind Ensemble is to:
1. Serve as a cultural resource by providing outstanding performances of quality wind music
2. Provide an opportunity for its volunteer members to participate in a cultural service organization
3. Provide an opportunity for musical expression and growth among musicians of advanced proficiency
4. Continue the community concert band tradition as an important part of America's musical heritage

The membership consists of 80 woodwind, brass and percussion instrumentalists who represent a number of different occupations including teachers, bankers, salesmen, attorneys, industrialists, military personnel, and computer technicians. Programs range from classical to popular band music, marches, show tunes, jazz arrangements, movie scores, and newly published works.

The ensemble performs 12 concerts per year around Northeast Florida. Venues include Jacksonville University, University of North Florida, The Cummer Museum of Art, The Landing, Penny Farms, Sea-Walk Pavilion, Thrasher-Horn Auditorium, Bolles-School, St. Johns Country Day School, Moosehaven, Edward Waters College, various churches and community centers.

Our small group ensembles support the community by performing every month at ArtWalk since 2009. We have also participated in charitable functions such as the Boselli Foundation, Race for the Cure, and Jaxtoberfest. Each year, the FCWE awards a $1,000 dollar scholarship to an outstanding high school musician who is also honored by performing a solo concerto with the ensemble.

The First Coast Wind Ensemble By-laws require that all concerts are free and open to the public.

As part of our 25th Season Celebration, The Creators want to commission Robert W. Smith to compose a major work for Wind Band that highlights the beauty, history, cultural diversity, and musicology of the Jacksonville region.

We want to have Mr. Smith travel to Jacksonville during February 2015 to conduct a concert in Jacoby Hall that includes the World Premier of this new composition.

Robert W. Smith is the most popular composer of band and orchestra works in the world. He has over 700 works published and has written music for middle school concert bands all the way to top-tier university and military groups. His symphonies and educational works have been featured across the globe. Mr. Smith is also a prolific speaker; having given lectures internationally on conducting and composing music. He is an active advocate of music education and is the co-author of the Expressions Music Curriculum, a K-12 program focusing heavily on teaching music through wind band. Mr. Smith is active in Drum & Bugle Corps youth education where he gained pre-eminence as Director of the Orlando based Suncoast Sound from 1983 to 1989. Currently he is the Brass Arranger for the Madison Scouts. Mr. Smith holds a B.S. Music Education Troy University, M.S. Media Writing and Production University of Miami where he studied under Alfred Reed.

Every future printing of the commissioned work will include concert notes that describe the history of the piece and explain the significance of the music as it relates to the Jacksonville region. Each sheet of music will indicate that the work was commissioned in tribute to the 25th anniversary of the First Coast Wind Ensemble, Jacksonville FL. This will bring positive attention to Jacksonville and the hard work of the FCWE members. A World Premiere concert will provide an opportunity to showcase our musical prowess and offer our interpretation of the music as a benchmark performance. A commissioned work will create and sustain excitement in our community and increase the awareness of our group and enable more people to enjoy our musical productions.

Project Showcase Proposal

We envision a mix of musical performances, multi-media presentations, and interactive games that visitors can play and win prizes.

Our capstone event will be four performances by our 60 piece ensemble on Friday evening and Saturday evening.
1) We will have a central display showing pictures of the Wind Ensemble
2) We will have posters that describe the history and importance of the American Community Band Tradition
3) We will hand-out pamphlets that describe our project, invite visitors to future concerts, and give them an opportunity to send in money to support our project
4) We will have a Large Flat Screen TV that will be scrolling a video of excerpts of our performances mixed with short educational vignettes
5) We will offer visitors a fun quiz game that they can fill out and if they get all of the answers correct, we will give them a free CD or DVD
6) We will have an instrument zoo where young people can try to play selected instruments

On approaching our venue, visitors will be attracted by exciting music coming from either a multi-media presentation or a live performance by a small group of musicians.

Our booth will be staffed with one or two volunteers who can answer questions about our project and guide visitors through the quiz game.

Throughout OneSpark, we will present live musical performances by musicians from the First Coast Wind Ensemble including Brass Quintet, Jazz combo, German Polka Band, Dixieland Ragtime Band, and other woodwind and percussion ensembles.

On Friday Night and Saturday Night, the Entire 60 Piece ensemble will perform a short 40 minute concert for visitors who wish to attend a Professional Quality Concert in the Community Band Tradition. We anticipate these concerts will start at 6:00 PM and at 8:00 PM each night so folks can enjoy dinner before or after their selected performance.

The following venues would be ideal for us to showcase our Project:
Florida Theatre
Hyatt Ball Room
Modis Lobby/Atrium
The Jacksonville Landing Main Stage
The Times-Union Center

Project Showcase Requirements

Indoor/Outdoor Est. Dimensions
outdoor Length: n/a Width: n/a Height: n/a

Project Questions

What city is your project based out of?

Jacksonville, FL

What sets your Project apart from what is currently available?

This will be the first major work commissioned by a Jacksonville community music organization.

There are no major musical works by a world renowned composer that promote the Jacksonville region.

Robert W. Smith commission works for bands with an elite reputation.

The milestone achievement of 25 years of service by the FCWE to the Jacksonville community deserves to be marked and celebrated by such an event as this World Premier in our world class Jacoby Hall.

The First Coast Wind Ensemble has been preparing for this event for the last several years by bringing in other leading composers to work with our band and guest conduct a concert of their music. The band has learned and grown from these experiences.

Guest Conductor Comments

"My sincere thanks to Artie Clifton and the First Coast Wind Ensemble for inviting me to share a concert with them in a performance of my music. As a composer, it is always gratifying to be asked to conduct my own works with an ensemble, but to hear such an outstanding group of musicians performing at such a high level of musical integrity was a special treat. What a fantastic wind ensemble! Their professionalism, artistry and energy certainly make this one of the premiere community bands in the country, and certainly one of the musical crown jewels of Florida. Best wishes for continued success!" -Robert Sheldon, Feb 2013

"Guest Conducting the First Coast Wind Ensemble will go down as one of my fondest memories as a conductor, music educator and composer! The quality by which this professional sounding ensemble promotes the arts through concerts and outreach programs makes them one of the most influential and relevant ensembles of our time!"- Richard L. Saucedo, Feb 2012

"The First Coast Wind Ensemble is a hidden gem on the verge of greatness! Marvelous musicians under marvelous leadership! Wind and Percussion fans take note. These are concerts you will NOT want to miss!"- David Holsinger, Feb 2011

Why are you and your team the best people on the planet to handle this project?

The First Coast Wind Ensemble has already brought national and international recognition to the Jacksonville region. Over the last 24 years, our group has strived to reach new levels of performance excellence, to work with renowned composers, and to perform in venues that expose us to audiences of Band Leaders from around the Country.

The ensemble achieved national recognition after acclaimed performances in April 1995 (17th annual) and in April 2003 (25th annual) National Convention of the Association of Concert Bands. A highlight of the 1997-98 concert season was a performance at the Southern Division Conference of the College Band Directors National Association.

The First Coast Wind Ensemble was honored to be asked to participate in the inaugural concert gala opening of Jacoby Hall in 1997. In 2009, the band partnered with the Jacksonville Historical Society to reproduce the John Phillip Sousa concert under the Treaty Oak 100 years after the original presentation.

The First Coast Wind Ensemble has recorded three compact discs: “Prevailing Winds” – 2001 - featuring the music of Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and George Gershwin: “A Christmas Celebration” – 2007; “Symphonic Spirit” - 2012 - celebrates the group’s 20th year. In 2012, a DVD “Sounds of the First Coast” was released that includes live concert performances with each song preceded by an educational vignette.

The First Coast Wind Ensemble is widely regarded as one of America’s highest quality, all-volunteer community concert bands. Many of our concert productions are posted on You-Tube and used by band directors around the world as bench-mark performances to copy and learn from.