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After 3 years, Manitou Winds takes the stage for 'Colors passing through us' concert

Manitou Winds 2021
Manitou Winds - Back from left: Sam Clark, Anne Bara, Laura Hood, Jan Ross. Front from left: Lauren Murphy, Jason McKinney

Members Anne Bara, Sam Clark, Lauren Murphy and Jason McKinney visited Studio A to perform music of Richard Rodney Bennett.

Even though the five members of Manitou Winds play the five instruments that make up a typical wind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn), there is nothing typical about this quintet or the music they play.

"We call ourselves a versatile, eclectic ensemble," says Manitou Winds founder and creative director Jason McKinney.

Each member of the ensemble plays at least two different instruments, and the five members play in a variety of smaller combinations.

Sam Clark plays piccolo and flutes, Anne Bara plays clarinets, Laura Hood plays horn and guitar, Lauren Murphy plays bassoon and Jason McKinney plays oboe, English horn, saxophones, lever harp and piano.

Add to that list the group's reader/narrator Jan Ross as well as myriad guest artists, and the possibilities for different sounds are endless.

When asked if he'd ever calculated the total number of possible combinations that Manitou Winds could create, McKinney replied that he had not yet.

"I have yet to make a spreadsheet," he said. "I love spreadsheets."

Like many music groups, Manitou Winds took a long break from rehearsing and performing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McKinney said that, although losing touch with people socially during the pandemic was hard, so was losing contact with other musicians.

The members of Manitou Winds did gather a few times during the height of COVID, including a memorable rehearsal in a barn where they were seated 30 feet apart from each other.

"It wasn't the best music-making we'd ever done, but it kept us together," McKinney said.

The concert they're giving this weekend will be their first seasonal concert since September of 2019.

Four members of Manitou Winds visited Studio A recently to play selections from "Travel Notes 2" by Richard Rodney Bennett.

They'll perform the complete work this weekend on their concert, which is called "Colors passing through us."

McKinney said reader/narrator Jan Ross suggested the concert's title and theme, inspired by a Marge Piercy poem of the same name.

The concert includes one of McKinney's original compositions, a piece for wind quintet and organ called "Traveling Mercies." For that piece, Manitou Winds will be joined by guest organist Thomas Bara.

The concert will also include homemade pumpkin pie granola for purchase.

Manitou Winds will perform Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City. More information available here.

4 members of Manitou Winds perform in IPR's Studio A
Interlochen Public Radio
Members of Manitou Winds perform in IPR's Studio A. L to R: Sam Clark, Jason McKinney, Lauren Murphy and Anne Bara

Music performed in Studio A
Richard Rodney Bennett, Travel Notes 2
I. In an air balloon
2. In a helicopter

Stefan Wiebe engineered this edition of Studio A

Kacie Brown is IPR's digital content manager.

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.