About the Chinook Winds
Since their founding in 1992 by the Great Falls Symphony, the Chinook Winds have followed their mission to bring the highest quality chamber music to a wide variety of audiences in the Northwest.
The Chinook Winds was originally founded as a flute, oboe, and bassoon trio with the principal players from the Great Falls Symphony. Its first few seasons were dedicated to performing concerts for the Great Falls community and bringing outreach activities to schools in and around Cascade County. Eventually the trio expanded to become a standard wind quintet with the addition of horn and clarinet and the group broadened its geographical reach to more than 50 communities across Montana and surrounding states.
Today’s Chinook Winds ensemble draws talent from distinguished conservatories and orchestras around the country. Norman Gonzales, Lauren Blackerby, Chris Mothersole, Dorian Antipa, and Madeleine Folkerts are all “Montana transplants” with roots from Georgia, Texas, Washington, and California. The diverse backgrounds and personalities of the group are one of the most endearing aspects for listeners, as the eclectic group of individuals enables the ensemble to relate to a wide range of audiences and communities. The Chinook Winds travels hundreds of miles each year performing in communities large and small. Their programs include classic wind quintet literature, works featuring local composers and artists, and unique arrangements of popular songs—all executed with a captivating sense of energy that keeps audiences riveted.
During the 2015-2016 season the Chinook Winds were featured on Montana PBS’s 11th & Grant show hosted by acclaimed composer and musician Erick Funk. The quintet was also selected to perform at the International Horn Symposium in Los Angeles, California and has toured extensively throughout Montana and the Northwest.
In all performances it is evident that the Chinook Winds seek to make a real connection with audiences. The quintet accomplishes this by programming a broad range of repertoire that reflect the diverse tastes and backgrounds of their listeners while also broadening their musical horizons with works that are new, sometimes challenging, but always relevant. Whether the group is playing an overture to a Rossini opera, exploring the textures and colors of Ravel, or bringing down the house with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, the Chinook Winds deliver their art with an energy and precision that that astounds the ear and a sincere and joyous enthusiasm that captures the heart.
The Chinook Winds are committed and talented educators and strive to inspire the next generation of musicians and music-lovers. In addition to formal concerts, the quintet offers interactive educational presentations for K-12 schools and residency opportunities for the collegiate level.
Present in all of their performances is a passion for music, and an enthusiastic approach to sharing that music with diverse audiences. It’s the passion that draws you in…you won’t want to miss a note!