A Short History of Windmill Music
2006 to 2016
‘Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen (Good Evening Brian, comes the response from the audience). My name is Brian Pritchard and I’m the Artistic Director of Windmill Music.’
Since September 2006 prompted by this introduction or close to it, the Windmill has been annually presenting a series of vocal productions which have been consistently supported by an enthusiastic and involved audience. So at this point having completed our 10th season we have mounted 56 productions which have resulted in 110 performances. Yes, it makes you feel a little dizzy!
Starting with a battered piano, a Roland keyboard which tended to overpower the sound board, and a dedicated group of singers Windmill commenced with 5 shows a season presenting each mostly for one night. This year we have presented 6 events 10 performances each featuring our vocal chorus, The Windmill Singers accompanied in turn by our String Quartet, our session Rock Band and The Windmill String Orchestra.
Our Chorus consists of trained vocalists all auditioned by our Musical Director. They are all equally comfortable singing solos or chorus works. Their versatility is evident in their remarkable ability to sing in all musical genres.
Windmill Music as an arts group has always been about the voice; singing. I had been involved in Community Theatre for a number of years but began to feel the pleasure of being involved in another Broadway show was being outweighed by the time required to bring the show to the stage. To my surprise it seemed a number of talented vocalists in the area felt the same way.
So it seem logical to find an outlet which would give these singers an opportunity to perform the great songs more frequently. This is the genesis behind Windmill Music. After directing a successful production of the Broadway show Ragtime it seemed an appropriate time to move on to Windmill and we performed our 1st show in September 2006.
The basis behind a Windmill show is to identify a musical theme. When the theme has been established the song list to echo the theme is created and then the singers are selected to perform the show. Over the years we have used this method to perform shows that have reflected such musical themes as Celtic, Italian, Jazz, Rock, Motown, humour, Love and so on. We have sung the music of Jason Robert Brown, Race Related Broadway Shows, Broadway shows that have fundamentally influenced the direction of the genre. The list is long and the inspiration endless. My favourite? I think it would be fair to say that our annual Christmas Show is now eagerly anticipated and lauded for its innovative approach and content.
Over the years we have developed the level and extent of our vocal accompaniment. We now have access to so many brilliant instrumentalists who provide the best back up from classical to the rock genre and everything in between. While we have a core of exceptional vocalist (some were featured in our first show) who remain the backbone of our group we are constantly adding to the chorus. As some move on to greater things our Bi Annual Vocal Scholarship has introduced a number of young singers to the ranks. They serve to maintain a vibrant level of performance and enhance our community involvement which is a key element of our general mandate.
To thank everyone involved in Windmill over the past 10 years would fill a book. But special thanks are extended to our Board, our Volunteers, our Sponsors, our Subscribers and our Performers. At Windmill the Joy of Music is strong and the joy of singing is our strength.
Windmill Music is dedicated to presenting and developing young local vocal talent. We present our singers with a stage and an audience to develop their skills. We pride ourselves in our capacity to mentor young talent and provide encouragement as they work towards a vocal career.