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Founded in 2014, the Wilmington Symphonic Winds (WSW) is a symphonic band active in the Cape Fear region of North & South Carolina. Striving to be a resource to our community, the ensemble’s mission is to provide educational outreach as well as memorable performances of the highest quality wind band music in a variety of musical styles for the public at large. The ensemble’s musical leadership has been provided by Artistic Director and Conductor, Mr. Dominic Talanca, since the ensemble’s fourth season.

The ensemble’s membership consists of over seventy musicians from all walks of life. Many teachers call the WSW home, along with doctors, administrative professionals, homemakers, lawyers, designers, accountants, consultants, and current/retired musicians from the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra; Long Bay Symphony Orchestra; UNC Wilmington & Cape Fear Community College faculty; the United States Marine, Air Force, Navy, Army, & West Point Bands; North Myrtle Beach Concert Band; Brunswick County Concert Band; and the Onslow Winds. A full concert season includes three performances, presented in the fall, winter, and spring.

The Wilmington Symphonic Winds was founded by Tom Smicklas and John LaCognata. Both agreed that the southeastern region of North Carolina would benefit from a musical ensemble of this type. Dr. LaCognata, the Director of Bands at UNCW at the time, agreed to assume the position of artistic director. Tom Smicklas, a former band director and administrator, agreed to assume the organizational responsibilities by coordinating personnel and providing logistical assistance. An advisory committee, which later became the board of directors, was formed to manage the administrative needs of the ensemble.

Recent highlights for the Wilmington Symphonic Winds include a world premiere performance of a commissioned piece entitled Gehrig by Mark Camphouse, a featured performance at the North Carolina Music Educators Association Convention, and the opportunity to welcome two guest artists for our John Williams: At the Movies concert.

2019-2021 Board of Directors

  • Tom Smicklas president

  • Cheryl Stamp president-elect

  • Sarah Parker secretary

  • Shawn Lamb treasurer

  • Pam Merritt administrative coordinator

Past Presidents

  • Robert Parker 2015-2016

  • Deborah Phillips 2016-2019