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Ithaca College Alumni Create and Transform the Brooklyn Wind Symphony

Jasmine Britt (2011), Jeff Ball (2008), MM Music Education
The Brooklyn Wind Symphony (formally known as the Grand Street Community Band) had its early beginnings in 2008. What started as a simplistic final project to complete a master’s degree at Ithaca College has now transformed into a true community staple, making a name for itself throughout the competitive Brooklyn and Manhattan music scene. Jeff W. Ball (MM 2008), the current Director of Bands at the Grand Street Campus High Schools in Brooklyn and director of the Brooklyn College Conservatory Wind Ensemble, has served as the artistic director of BKWS since its initial inception as his final project in finishing his Master’s at Ithaca College.

The Brooklyn Wind Symphony (formally known as the Grand Street Community Band) had its early beginnings in 2008. What started as a simplistic final project to complete a master’s degree at Ithaca College has now transformed into a true community staple, making a name for itself throughout the competitive Brooklyn and Manhattan music scene. Jeff W. Ball (MM 2008), the current Director of Bands at the Grand Street Campus High Schools in Brooklyn and director of the Brooklyn College Conservatory Wind Ensemble, has served as the artistic director of BKWS since its initial inception as his final project in finishing his Master’s at Ithaca College.

The group started as a compilation of 30 friends and various musical folk looking for an excuse to get together and play. At present, it is comprised of more than 80 musicians and is rapidly growing – so much so that many sections have a wait list of talented musicians, eager just to be involved. BKWS has performed in many locations throughout the Brooklyn and Manhattan community. Most recently, the group (while still under the Grand Street Community Band title) played for a sold out audience at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. “Our performance at Alice Tully was a highlight in my professional career,” said Ball. “We hope to play there again and are excited to have performed in such a prestigious hall.”

The Brooklyn Wind Symphony includes members from an array of careers and backgrounds. While many members are music teachers, the majority range from jobs in Law, Medicine, Information Technology, Social Work, Finance, Publishing, Photography, Advertising, Graphic Arts, Non-Profit, Marketing, Video Production, and more. Ball is not the only Ithaca College graduate in the ensemble. Hugh Ash (1999), Jasmine Britt (MM 2011), Kelly Cuevas (1995), Dieter Winterle (2000) and Michelle Free (2000) were all Music Majors at IC.

They are more than thrilled to be able to donate their free time playing with the band. Britt, whom recently received her master’s degree in music education from Ithaca College, has a crucial roll in the Brooklyn Wind Symphony as its president. “I have spent countless hours working hard for this group and wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think this could turn into something even better than it already is,” Britt said. “We have a great vision for the future and are lucky to have many dedicated members to volunteer their time and energy.”




Originally published in Intercom: Ithaca College Alumni Create and Transform the Brooklyn Wind Symphony.