Who knew that the city of Bowie has its own march?
Charlie Fix, former band director at Bowie High School, says he found it buried in the school’s music files.
“I dusted it off, and we performed it in 2008 at a band concert attended by parents,” he says.
Written by one-time Bowie resident Charles T. Gabriele in 1979, the march is one of the works Fix and other members of the Category 5 Wind Ensemble will perform Saturday at the Bowie Performing Arts Center.
“We thought it was a fitting piece to put on our program,” Fix says about the concert band’s first performance in Bowie.
“I think this is the first time that it’s been performed by a [nonstudent] local group in a long time,” he says.
Also on Saturday’s program is “Russian Christmas Music” by Alfred Reed, “Handel in the Strand” by Percy Grainger, “William Byrd Suite” by Gordon Jacob and “Festive Overture” by Dmitri Shostakovich.
The concert is free, but donations are welcome to help cover the cost of music and rental fees.
Formed in 2011, the band’s name comes from the Saffir-Simpson hurricane rating scale. Category 5 storms, the strongest hurricanes, “can be described as having howling, relentless winds and deafening, percussive thunder,” according to the band’s news release.
Made up of school music teachers, military and professional musicians and college music majors, the professional-level wind ensemble is “more of an orchestra but without the strings,” says Fix, referring to the lack of violins.
“We enjoy making and playing music,” says Fix, who is the group’s treasurer.
An Odenton resident, he also plays the trumpet and sometimes conducts, a task that rotates among other volunteers in the group.
The wind ensemble got its start after a group of Prince George’s County teachers got together to form a reading band to try out some new band music to see what it sounded like.
“We had such fun playing with each other, we thought we should try to keep it going,” he says.
Last fall, the band played at Laurel High School, and it also has played in Annapolis and Washington, D.C.
There are now about 45 people involved, and members play at various times depending on what each concert’s musical selections require.
“Our goal is to put on a concert every two or three months,” Fix says.