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.
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.