About 15 years ago, Joe Miller realized he was hearing a common complaint from fellow professional musicians around the Capital District: They missed playing complex, involved pieces like they had when they were studying in college.
So Miller launched the Capital Region Wind Ensemble. He wasn't a stranger to community music groups; his dad, Chris Miller, was heavily involved with the Mechanicville City Band, and Miller essentially found his love of music among the members there.
From the beginning, though, the wind ensemble differentiated itself from other groups in the area.
The 45 members are largely current and retired music educators, and their focus extends beyond typical town band fare such as patriotic marches and medleys to classical and contemporary band literature.
Residents can hear the difference for themselves at the wind ensemble's third concert of the season on Sunday, June 8, at Schenectady County Community College. Slated for 3 p.m. in the college's Carl B. Taylor Community Auditorium, the show will feature numbers such as Brehmer's Early Light and Tichelli's "Sun Dance."
Brett Wery, who conducts the wind ensemble at SCCC, joined the Capital Region Wind Ensemble in 1996, two years after its founding. He played the E flat clarinet -- a terrible instrument, he joked, that is "high and squeaking."
Like other members, though, Wery is serious about his music, and he found the wind ensemble was a great place to immerse himself in the kind of elaborate compositions he didn't get a chance to regularly play.
"It started with a lot of like-minded people," Wery said. "I think it's the love of literature that makes it work."
The fondness for the music isn't all the members have in common. Wery said the group is one of the closest he's ever played in, with members thinking of one another like family.