About Us

In 2001, a small group of musicians in northern Illinois met to discuss the possibility of forming a new, first-class wind ensemble in the Rockford community. Faced with creating a new ensemble that would enrich the cultural scene and provide challenging opportunities for local musicians, the group had several things to consider.

The Rockford area – the second largest metro-area in Illinois – was already home to several established community bands. The success of a more exclusive ensemble would depend on finding the right mix of talented musicians, securing sponsors, locating a performance venue, and eventually attracting an audience. To the extent that issues could be foreseen, plans were made to address them. The group approached Kevin Jensen, one of the area’s experienced high school directors, to serve as their conductor and the Rockford Wind Ensemble performed its premier concert in the spring of 2002.

Since that first “experimental” concert the RWE has gone on to an annual four-concert season that includes one concert with an all-star high school honor band. Working with the Rockford Park District, the RWE is responsible for the popular summer band concerts at the beautiful Sinnissippi Music Shell. Since 2002, the ensemble has performed nearly five hundred pieces in concert. Their performances have included a remarkable range of musical styles. RWE audiences have learned to expect historically significant works, outstanding soloists, world-premieres, as well as popular favorites and concert band standards. Concerts are presented at the newly remodeled Sullivan Theater inside the Nordlof Center in downtown Rockford.

Our Board of Directors:

  • Executive Director: Paul Saltzgiver
  • President: Matt Guschl
  • Vice Present: George Espino
  • Secretary: Sue Sweeney
  • Treasurer: Doug Hoffman
  • Summer Band Representative: Wally Remmers
  • Music Director Search Committee Chair: Kristine Mertens