Rosemont-based Chromium Winds marches to third championship
The Chromium Winds, a marching ensemble of wind instruments organized by The Cavaliers drum and bugle corps, is three for three.
Earlier this month, the more than 30 high school and college-aged musicians wrapped up their third gold medal in the Independent Open Division at the Winter Guard International world championships in Dayton, Ohio.
The 2019 championships featured more than 250 percussion and wind ensembles from across the country, and a few from overseas. Ensembles competed inside arenas in and around Dayton, including those at the University of Dayton, Wright State, Xavier and Northern Kentucky University.
"After this victory, we are proud to now be the three-time defending champions of Independent Open class," says Andrew Zweibel, ensemble director of the Chromium Winds.
The Cavaliers, based in Rosemont, began offering an ensemble to compete in Winter Guard competitions, which take place from January through mid-April across the Midwest.
Unlike the Cavaliers, which is all male, the Chromium Winds is coed, offering the marching experience and high-level musicianship to motivated girls as well. Members this year came from Glenview, Itasca, Lemont, Palatine, Plainfield and Tinley Park, to name a few.
Audition clinics typically take place weekends in October and November at Rosemont Elementary School. The ensemble draws high school musicians who want to experience the world of drum and bugle corps, as well as current Cavaliers, who want to stay in shape in preparation for their summer season.
"As a leader in the activity, we've gotten to push the boundaries," Zweibel says. "We get to set the standard and show what excellence looks like."
This year's program was sophisticated, both in its complicated drill and in the music. Called "Left to Right," it explored opposite directions in both visual and acoustical ways, and even explored the neurological differences between the left brain and the right brain.
Even their costumes reflected the left side of the brain and its functions, and the right side of the brain.
"In Winter Guard, we have more flexibility with costuming," Zweibel says. "You won't see traditional uniforms like you do with The Cavaliers. In Winter Guard, the costumes are tailored to the show's concept."
In the wind ensembles, students play traditional brass instruments, including trumpets, mellophones, baritones and tubas, as well as alto, tenor and baritone saxophones.
They performed music based primarily on Caroline Shaw's "Partita for Eight Voices," which was arranged for band music, as well as parts of "Everything in its Right Places" by Radiohead and some original music written by Michael Martin, brass arranger for The Cavaliers.
They rehearsed the program on Sundays, most often at Rosemont Elementary, where they practiced both music and the drill in the school's gym. During the season, they traveled to four competitions, including the world championships in Dayton.
"The Chromium Winds also are getting to shape the direction that the activity is going," Zweibel adds, "and we're thrilled to be able to offer that kind of opportunity for the kids."
For information about Chromium Winds, visit cavaliers.org/chromium-winds.