Nicholas Bratcher, assistant professor of music and director of bands at Cal State San Bernardino, has been named director of the San Bernardino Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble, a new music education initiative from the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra.

“We’ve been looking for creative ways to supplement the great music education that our young students already get in the San Bernardino School District,” said Anthony Parnther, San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra music director and conductor. “But in addition to that, we have resources and assets that we want to share with our community, and the greatest of those is our new SBSO Youth Wind Ensemble director, Dr. Nicholas Bratcher, who brings a long track record of excellence and dedication to our organization. We’re tremendously excited about implementing and growing a premier youth group that our region can be proud of.”

A champion of new wind band works and works by underrepresented composers, Bratcher plans to provide a unique artistic experience to members of the ensemble. 

“I’m very thankful to the San Bernardino Symphony Board for putting their faith in me to helm this endeavor and thrilled to be part of this creative team alongside Maestro Anthony Parnther and Principal Guest Conductor Lesley Leighton,” said Bratcher, noting that the new youth ensemble of this potential caliber will be huge for the local area. Leighton, fellow CSUSB assistant professor of music and director of choral studies, was recently named principal guest conductor of the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra.

“This new ensemble will provide a great way for young musicians to improve their skills, perform with some of the best students in the region, and grow not only as musicians, but as human beings through the wind band medium,” he said.

The San Bernardino Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble (SBSYWE) will provide a nurturing and creative environment where young musicians can grow musically and holistically through performance. It is a wind symphony for woodwinds, brass and percussion students ages 14 to 21 from the Inland Empire, Coachella Valley and surrounding areas. Instruments include flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, percussion and double bass. 

Dean McVay, Symphony Board of Directors president, said the ensemble has been a long-time dream of the organization.

“Accessible music and music education are the cornerstones of our organization and this new program will allow us to serve our community in an entirely new way,” he said. “We are extremely grateful to Maestro Parnther and Dr. Bratcher for creating such an amazing opportunity for the youth of our community.”

The SBSYWE will provide two concerts per academic year. The first concert is scheduled for June 5, 2022, with rehearsals beginning in early April.

Earlier this year, the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra partnered with Cal State San Bernardino to create a series of music education videos now offered on the symphony website. In addition to use by the public, the videos are also used at local school districts and by San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra docents in educational presentations at schools and libraries.

For more information about the organization’s music education programs, including SBSYWE audition requirements, please visit the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra website.