About Us

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.

Our Mission

The mission of the San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra is to perform symphonic wind band music in a variety of styles at a professional level. We seek to captivate our audience while providing an opportunity for volunteer musicians to improve, grow, and play for the joy of it. We hope to enhance the cultural landscape of our community through our concerts, education and outreach. The organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, under the auspices of Cuesta College Community Programs. Funding for the operation of the organization comes from members’ class fees, donations, ticket sales, grants, and fund-raising events.


Jennifer Martin

Jennifer Martin joined the Music Faculty at Cuesta College in the summer of 2004 as the conductor of the Cuesta Wind Ensemble. She also coordinates the department’s Applied Music program, and teaches Class Guitar. In 2008, she was selected to be the Performing Arts Division Chair. She became a staff conductor for the San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra in 2010. Previous to her appointment at Cuesta, she was the Music Department Chair and conductor of the Reno Winds and the Truckee Meadows Community Orchestra at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, NV, where she was the founding faculty of the Music Department. Ms. Martin holds the B.A. degree in Music Education from California State University, Fullerton, and the M.M. degree in Conducting from the University of Redlands.

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.

David Rackley

David Rackley was born and reared in Modesto, California, and received his bachelor of music and master of arts degrees in theory and composition from San Francisco State University, where he studied conducting with Lazlo Varga, and composition with Luigi Zaninnelli, Roger Nixon, Peter Sacco, Carl Sitton, and Pulitzer Prize winning composer Wayne Peterson. Upon completion of his studies, Rackley entered the United States Air Force Bands and Music Program. During his Air Force career, he conducted numerous bands in various worldwide locations, including the United States Air Force Band, Europe, where he was also a frequent guest conductor of the Southwest Radio Orchestra in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and the United States Air Force Band of the Pacific, where he was permanent guest conductor and clinician for the Southeast Asian International Schools Music.

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.


Please Consider Sponsoring A Musician

What Is SLO Winds Musician Sponsorship

Our musicians are not only some of the top wind instrumentalists in SLO County, they pay fees of $100/year to rehearse at Cuesta College. Musicians have added expenses such as parking fees, equipment costs, and more. It’s the goal of the San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra to get all of our musicians sponsored. Your donation of $100 will sponsor the musician(s) of your choice for a full year so they do not have the burden of paying registration fees to play in our orchestra.  Your donation may also go to programming expenses. View List Of All Sponsored Musicians

How To Sponsor A Musician

  • You can donate to sponsor a musician online by clicking the donation link and specifying the name of the musician you wish to sponsor.
  • You may also send in a check payment to: PO Box 471, Arroyo Grande, CA. 93421.

Our sincere thanks to you for considering musician sponsorship. We are a growing group of musicians and it’s our mission to keep music alive while enriching the lives of residents on the Central Coast through symphonic wind music. Your support helps ensure that we keep orchestral music a thriving part of our community.

Sponsor A Musician

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