As a retired school band director with 40 years of experience in the Chicago suburban area and a performer in the Suncoast Symphony Orchestra and Nature Coast Concert Band, Weeki Wachee resident Mark Hengesh had a single goal in mind: to bring the music home.
"You might have to go as far as Clearwater and Crystal River to find a community concert band," said Hengesh. "There was no concert band in Hernando."
This is the inspiration behind the Weeki Wachee Winds, a community concert band open to any musicians from high school age through post-retirement who play a woodwind, brass or percussion instrument.
"We will play a variety of music, what audiences want," said Hengesh. "Whether it's show tunes or movie themes, or something that really challenges our musicians, we aim to play something beautiful--and something fun."
The band, whose repertoire also will include light classical, standard concert band, and contemporary pieces, will be based at Nativity Lutheran Church, 6363 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee. Weekly rehearsals will take place Thursday evenings in Nativity Lutheran’s Winemiller Hall 7 - 9 pm beginning February 20 through April 23.
"The band currently has 35 members, we aim for a membership of 50-60," said Hengesh. "We'll play September through April."
Whether playing a holiday show or an arts event, a spring concert or a community event, the Weeki Wachee Winds will fill the venue halls with the sounds of drums, xylophones, trumpets, horns and flutes, bringing music to the public at least four shows per season.
The band will play its debut performances at Nativity Lutheran Church, at the 11 a.m. service April 19 and at an evening concert Thursday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m.
Hengesh traveled back to his native Chicago during the holidays to pick up instrument donations for the community band, a nonprofit organization that seeks more donations of instruments, music stands and folders, cash donations, etc. For more information or to donate usable instruments or funds, contact Mark Hengesh at 630-244-5105 or email at: [email protected] Also visit https://weekiwacheewinds.com/.
More musicians also are needed for the community band. No auditions are required; all of those interested should attend any of the weekly rehearsals at Nativity Lutheran Church, 6363 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee, Thursday evenings in Nativity Lutheran’s Winemiller Hall 7 - 9 pm beginning February 20 through April 23.
As the Weeki Wachee Winds concert band plays its music throughout Hernando County, Hengesh and company always will keep one mission in mind.
"To provide musical entertainment, music appreciation and opportunities for musical expression and growth to the community."