The San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra (also known as SLO Winds) is a 45-member group of wind and percussion players that performs throughout the Central Coast of California. Organized by William V. Johnson, then director of bands at California Polytechnic State University, the ensemble gave its first performance on December 31, 1999, in the Old Mission Church in San Luis Obispo and has developed an annual series of five to six concerts reaching several thousand people. Perhaps the crowning achievement of the first 14 years of the group’s existence was the performance of the hour-long Queen Symphony, accompanied by a 150-voice choir, organ and strings for an enthusiastic audience of 1500 people. Mr. Johnson served as musical director until 2014, and was succeeded by the current interim musical director, Jennifer Martin, chair of the Performing Arts Division of Cuesta College.
With some of the most accomplished wind and percussion players in the area as its members, the orchestra is dedicated to performing the finest works written for the wind band at the highest possible artistic level. In doing so, the orchestra hopes to foster a better appreciation of the wind ensemble repertoire and make an important contribution to the cultural vitality of the Central Coast community.
A conductor whose repertoire is unusual in its breadth and depth, Ms. Martin has conducted or guest conducted many ensembles, high school bands, orchestras, and honor groups in California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada. She has also conducted numerous musical theater productions on the professional, college, and high school levels. As a trombonist and guitarist, Ms. Martin has played with numerous musical and theatrical groups in the west. A protégé of legendary conductor Frederick Fennell, Ms. Martin has taught at conducting symposia in Oregon and Washington. She is a member of the American Symphony Orchestra League and the College Band Directors National Association among others. Ms. Martin also concertizes as a solo fingerstyle acoustic guitarist. After a year as interim director, Ms. Martin accepted the position of Music Director of the SLO Winds in July 2015.
A published and award-winning composer, Rackley has scored video, commercials, and film productions for the Library of Congress, the A&E Network, The Learning Channel, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, and the Discovery Channel. He has received six Telly Awards, three Omni Awards, a CINE Golden Eagle Award, the Gold Apple Award from the National Education Media Network, a Gold CINDY from the International Association of Audiovisual Communicators, and two Bronze Awards from the WorldFest International Film and Video Competition. His composition, “Overture Calafia” was written for and premiered by the Cal Poly State University Wind Orchestra for the inaugural dedication concert of the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center. The Cal Poly Wind Orchestra performed his work, “Third Stream Bridge” for Jazz Piano and Wind Orchestra, in the Sydney Opera House in 2000. Rackley is currently Music Director for Grace Baptist Church, Santa Maria, CA. He is a member of the music faculties at Cuesta College, Allan Hancock College, and Chapman University.