By Susan Nolan
Music is a timeless art, and if you ask the Bay Winds Band, it’s ageless, too.
Formed in 1980, the Annapolis-based concert band’s repertoire includes classical, jazz, marches, and even motion picture scores. They have played large and small venues for audiences ranging from school children to seniors.
The musicians, all volunteers, reflect that same diversity. While many are retirees, some are just in their teens. What they have in common is a passion for making music and sharing it.
Luke Zegowitz is a freshman at Crofton High School. He has been playing oboe with Bay Winds since 2020. “My friend’s mom recruited me because she played the flute and knew they needed an oboist,” he says, “and it’s so much fun. This group has a great energy and they pick out great music.”
Additionally, Zegowitz plays with his school band, Annapolis Symphony Academy’s Orion Youth Orchestra, and the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra. While he also plays clarinet, flute, trumpet, and French horn, the oboe is his favorite. “My dream job would be to play oboe professionally for a major symphony orchestra,” he says, “and to teach and freelance with oboe and French horn.”
While Zegowitz is the youngest member of Bay Winds, it’s hard to say who is the oldest. Up until last year, that title was held by 96-year-old Alice Hunter, who played the bass drum. Since her retirement, that honor may belong to 78-year-old flutist Leslie Andrews. A lifelong musician, she also performs with the Chesapeake Flute Consort and the Maryland All-State Community Band.
“I like playing with a group. I like the camaraderie and it’s nice to be a part of something,” Andrews says. “And playing with a group requires a different set of skills than playing solo.”
While not the oldest member, fellow flutist Tracey Cogliano may hold the record for the longest member of Bay Winds. She joined in 1982 while still in college. She met her husband, trombone player Dan Cogliano through Bay Winds. They are both still active today. Their sons inherited the music gene. Son Andrew, 23, is a percussionist and 28-year-old Adam is a vocalist and music minister in Houston. “Bay Winds has been a part of my life for so long that I’m afraid to stop,” Cogliano laughs. “Really, I can’t imagine what I would do or where I would play without this group.”
The Coglianos are just one family making music with Bay Winds. The Hornings, 19-year-old Andy, mother Andrea, and father Steven, are all Bay Winds musicians. Andy is a graduate of South River High School now working as a veterinary technician. He and his mother play trombone, and his father plays the euphonium. “My parents convinced me to join,” he says, but he has no regrets. “It gets me out of the house doing something I love.”
The band typically plays 10 to 12 concerts a year and is open to performing even more, says Director Joe Nalley. Choosing the music is among his most difficult but rewarding tasks. “This is a band composed of high caliber musicians, and I look for music that challenges them and entertains the audience.”
You can see Bay Winds perform in two public concerts in Annapolis this month. Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m. at St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. at Unity by the Bay. While the second portion of both concerts will consist of traditional holiday favorites, the first portion will focus on different kinds of celebrations.
“For example, one piece celebrates a life cut tragically short and another celebrates the promise of wind power,” explains Nalley. “It’s a varied collection for sure, but one that showcases the power of music and the colors of the wind band.”
For more information, visit baywindsband.org.