The River Valley Wind Ensemble is directed by David Conrad. The group performs professional-level wind ensemble literature in the Kankakee County area for the enjoyment and enrichment of both its performers and their audiences. Musicians include music teachers, college students, and other highly skilled musicians. Through concerts and school outreach, the group hopes to broaden the educational scope of band music and music education.




Missed Bizet’s “Carmen” at the Chicago Lyric Opera this winter?  Didn’t get a chance to hear this well-known work, filled with romance and drama, passionate orchestration and a hit parade of recognizable tunes, such as the “Toreador Song, and “Habanera”?

Then take advantage of the River Valley Wind Ensemble’s spring concert on Saturday May 13, 7:30 pm, at Bradley Bourbonnais Community High School, when flutist Stephanie Lupo plays “Carmen Fantaisie Brillante,” accompanied by the Ensemble.

From the downbeat of the director’s baton and opening notes of the overture, Bizet’s well known themes emerge in this spectacular arrangement by Francois Borne, as listeners are transported to exotic, sun-drenched Spain, amid bullfighters and gypsies, romance and tragedy.

Solo flutist Stephanie Lupo is currently working to complete a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Flute Performance at The University of Iowa. She earned a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance at The University of Akron in Ohio, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance from Bradley University in Peoria, IllinoisShe played Principal Flute and Piccolo in the Ohio Light Opera Orchestra, and has also performed in the Kankakee Valley and La Crosse Symphony Orchestras, the Peoria Bach Festival Orchestra, and withthe Chamber Singers of Iowa City.

Currently, she plays in the professional flute duo, Whisper Tones, as well as the River Valley Wind Ensemble, and is a substitute flute/piccolo player for many orchestras throughout the Midwest. Conductor Dave Conrad has noted that “The Wind Ensemble is fortunate to have a musician of her caliber.” 

The Wind Ensemble opens the concert with a composition called “Sailabration” by Jay Chattaway. This nautically flavored work, complete with wood planks and boatswain’s whistle, begins in the quiet of early morning and gradually picks up speed until there is nothing but open seas ahead. 

From the ocean, listeners are taken on a time travel experience with a suite written between 1914 and 1916 by Gustav Holst called “The Planets,” Conductor Dave Conrad has chosen two movements from this suite, arranged by Clark McAlister, and edited by Alfred Reed. “Mars: The Bringer of War,” is a dark and bleak tone poem that interprets the horror of mechanized warfare. In contrast, “Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity,” reveals the significance of Jupiter as the planet of benevolence and generosity.

Leaving the planets behind, the Ensemble performs “Carmen” with flutist Stephanie Lupo. Following “Carmen,” the Ensemble  then turns to an upbeat group of musicians called R.A. Brass, with Chuck Gray on horn, Tom Hentschel on tuba, Rod Williams on trumpet, Paul Germano on trombone, and Steve Tongren, also on trumpet. This experienced and talented quintet is well-known throughout the area, and has played gigs that include weddings and receptions, private and corporate parties, patriotic celebrations and grand openings, graduations, recitals, banquets and even funerals.  They expertly handle jazz, concert, classical and patriotic arrangements, with growing repertoire to meet the needs of their ever-expanding clientele.  

For the Wind Ensemble spring concert, R.A. Brasshas chosen a Dixieland selection called “That’s A Plenty,” by Henry Creamer and Bert Williams, and “America the Beautiful,” as performed by the Canadian Brass. 

The concert concludes with Henry Fillmore’s march “His Honor.”

As with all River Valley Wind Ensemble concerts, admission is free to the public, however, a free will offering will be taken to defray expenses.

For more information, contact the River Valley Wind Ensemble at (815) 932-5168 or visit their website at

The River Valley Wind Ensemble performs professional-level wind ensemble literature in the Kankakee County area. Members include music teachers, college students, band directors, and community musicians.  Through concerts and school outreach, the group aspires to entertain audiences as well as broaden the educational scope of band music and music education.

NOTE: Please include this concert on your community calendar.


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The River Valley Wind Ensemble is available for interviews and promotions.  

For more information, please contact David Conrad at or (815) 932-5168.