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Prairie Winds Concert Band set to impress at fall concert

On Nov. 20, the Prairie Winds Concert Band will perform its fall concert, giving the audience a chance to hear many different pieces from the band's repertoire.

Prairie Winds Concert Band
The Prairie Winds Concert Band performs at the Willmar Education and Arts Center in Willmar. The band will be presenting its fall concert at 2 p.m. Nov. 20 at the WEAC.
Contributed / Dennis Benson
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WILLMAR — The Prairie Winds Concert Band might be made up of volunteer and amateur musicians, but the group's concerts are anything but amateurish. The band hopes to prove this at its fall concert at 2 p.m. Nov. 20 in the Willmar Education and Arts Center.

"We have songs that are really difficult and songs that are really sweet and downright pretty," said Dennis Benson, trombone player and summer conductor of the band. "It is going to be a fabulous concert."

Tickets for "Composers Old & New" are $10 for adults and can be purchased at the door. Those 18 and younger get in free.

The show will feature works by a variety of composers — including Alfred Reed, Percy Grainger and Gustav Holst. Benson said Director Brock Duncan created a very good program that will show off the band's talent. The band started practicing for this show back in September.

"We get really good by the time we're ready for the concert," Benson said.

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Prairie Winds Concert Band director Brock Duncan directs the band during a practice session for "Music in Color" on Monday, April 18, 2022, at the Willmar Education and Arts Center.
Prairie Winds Concert Band director Brock Duncan directs the band during a practice session for "Music in Color" on Monday, April 18, 2022, at the Willmar Education and Arts Center. Duncan will also be leading the band for its fall concert on Nov. 20.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

In addition to the fall concert, the PWCB also performs a spring concert and a five-show summer concert series at Rice Park in Willmar. Benson conducts the band for the summer shows.

"The thing that really impresses me about the community band is the wide variety of musicians that play," Benson said.

The Prairie Winds band is made up of musicians from across the region. Benson said there are players from Paynesville, Litchfield, Olivia, Renville and several cities in Kandiyohi County.

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"We have about 50 in the band this fall," ranging in age from high school freshmen to musicians in their 80s, Benson said. "It is really a great band."

The band provides players the chance to continue playing their instruments and grow as musicians. Benson feels this is especially important to show to the younger musicians who are getting ready to graduate high school or college.

"It shows that when you get older you don't have to quit, you can keep playing," Benson said. "Music is one of those lifelong things."

The band also provides a community for musicians of all ages, many of whom probably wouldn't otherwise have the chance to play with a group.

"It gets kind of boring playing in a practice room your whole life," Benson said. "It is for the fun of getting together and playing good music."

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Members of the Prairie Winds Concert Band practice for their upcoming performance of "Music in Color" during a rehearsal session at the Willmar Education and Arts Center Monday, April 18, 202
The Prairie Winds Concert Band is made up of musicians of all ages from across the region.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

The PWCB has been a musical staple in the community for decades, along with other organizations such as the Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra and the West Central Singers. Benson said these groups, and those like them, provide something very important to their communities.

"I am a firm believer in the fact that the arts are very important in social, spiritual and personal growth and well being," Benson said.

And, in this day and age, Benson thinks society needs music and the arts more than ever.

"The world is so dark and screwed up," Benson said. "We need some harmonious thing happening and this is what music can do."

Benson invites everyone to come see and hear the Prairie Winds Concert Band in action.

"I guarantee anybody who comes to the concert will not walk away disappointed," Benson said. "And it's only $10. How good is that?"

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Trombone player Dennis Benson hopes people come out to see the Prairie Winds Concert Band in action on Nov. 20, 2022. He is sure no one will be disappointed in what the band has to offer.
Contributed / Dennis Benson

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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