Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony

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Meet our ensemble



The Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony, founded in 2015, is the northeast's premier fully professional wind ensemble made up of forty five superior woodwind, brass, and percussionists from all across the United States. The ensemble is currently the only professionally touring concert band in the United States. The ensemble is the vision of Artistic Director, Lance C. Ohnmeiss, and was founded by performer Daniel E. Lamade and Lance Ohnmeiss. The ensemble has been designed to perform at the highest level of excellence and deliver custom show productions that deliver eye opening experiences that create a direct connection to the hearts of our audiences.


We have chosen Williamsport, PA as a home base of our business operations because it is a vibrant community that has continuously demonstrated a deep appreciation for fine music and the arts, and has a history steeped in music from publishing houses, to world renown musical instrument factories. Also there is a tradition of having a valley filled with talented musicians. Williamsport is also strategically located, geographically central to most of the major cities in the northeastern US.  This ideal location will facilitate our growth throughout the region.


Lance C. Ohnmeiss is the Artistic Director of the Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony (NAWS) located in northeastern Pennsylvania. Working with this nascent group of professional musicians, Ohnmeiss has launched his professional conducting career. The Wind Symphony has also allowed him to remain active in his lifelong commitment to music and academic study of scores and conducting styles.


An alumnus of San Francisco State University, Ohnmeiss holds a Bachelor of Music (BM) degree with an emphasis in music education. He has a Master of Music (MM) degree in conducting from Messiah College, located in Grantham, PA. Ohnmeiss studied with Wendell Rider on his primary instrument  and conducting with Dr. G. “Mancho” Gonzalez, Dr. Bradley Genevro, and Dr. Cyrus Ginwala.


Ohnmeiss has a rich and diversified background in music education, conducting ensembles in the San Francisco Bay Area after his graduation from SFSU in 2010. He was the student conductor the the San Francisco State University wind ensemble, the founder of the SFSU Gator Band, and a regular guest conductor for the Daly City Community Band in Daly City, California. He is the immediate past musical director of the Williamsport Imperial Teteques.


Ohnmeiss is a professional hornist having performed with the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, the Penn Central Wind Band, the Great Lakes Wind Symphony, the Repasz Band of Williamsport, the Milton Community Band, the Susquehanna Valley Chorale Orchestra, and with many musicals and chamber groups. During his time on the west coast, Ohnmeiss also was the associate principle horn for the Pleasanton Community Band in Pleasanton, California, and principle horn for the College of San Mateo Symphonic Band. In addition to playing the horn, Ohnmeiss also plays the trumpet and is an accomplished bagpiper, where he served as co-founder and pipe sergeant of the former Stanislaus County Sheriff's Pipe Band in Modesto, California.


As a lifelong learner himself, Ohnmeiss remains active in music education. As a music educator, clinician and conductor, Ohnmeiss worked with school groups throughout North America and the west coast teaching band as an assistant director, private music instructor, and small group ensemble coordinator. He taught music clinics for Mount Boucherie Secondary School in West Kelowna, British Columbia, and John F. Kennedy High School, Los Angeles, California and other schools involved with the Northern California Band Association. An accomplished private drum major coach for nine years, he coached six Northern California Drum Major Champions. In addition, Ohnmeiss  taught drum majoring at the Silverlake Band Camp in northern California.


Ohnmeiss has been a member of many musical and educational organizations such as the Northern California Band Association where he was an adjudicator, California Band Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, California Music Educators Association, Windjammers Unlimited, Association of Concert Bands, International Horn Society, National Band Association, International Conductor's Guild, and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.


A native of north eastern Pennsylvania, Ohnmeiss's passion for teaching music and his drive and commitment to enriching the lives of the people he works with enabled him to share his love of band music with young people. Now, on the east coast, and with the Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony, Ohnmeiss can share this love of this American genre of music with audiences of all ages.


Each member of our musical family is trained and experienced. Ninety-six percent of our performers have degrees in music. All of our contracted players are auditioned. Please check back here for information on our players in the coming months.



This team of volunteers guarantees the continued operations of our ensemble.  We are always looking for new members! If you are interested in joining our team please send us an email and attend a meeting in person or via FaceTime or Skype.




asked questions

Is the Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony (NAWS) a band or an orchestra?


The NAWS is a band. The term band has become synonymous with many types of instrumental ensembles and refers to any gathering of instrumental musicians.


In many countries the term band and orchestra are used interchangeably, however, in America it refers to an ensemble containing woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. There are a variety of band types in the United States today—brass bands, marching bands, community bands, circus bands, civic bands, concert bands, symphonic bands, wind ensembles and wind symphonies. Each of these categories means something slightly different and is made up of different instruments and different numbers of players.


NAWS is a wind symphony, but what is a wind symphony?


 A wind symphony is a mixed instrumental ensemble performing on woodwind, brass and percussion instruments, and usually contains one to two players per part. A wind symphony is a highly versatile ensemble being able to perform longer, more complex musical works for multiple instruments as well as small flexible ensemble musical scores with one performer to musical part.


Why wind music?


This medium is as American as apple pie! Wind music has been edified by Americans as their own unique musical tradition, and has deep cultural, moral and spiritual value that has touched everyone in our society at some point during their lives. It is in our schools, our government, our entertainment and even popular music! Inherited from European traditions but developed into maturity in the United States, wind music, just like our nation, is a melting pot of rich diversity that is uniquely our own.


How long have wind ensembles and wind music existed?


Contrary to the myths perpetuated by many musicologists, there is documented evidence that wind ensembles have provided music for the highest levels of society throughout history and that they were used no more or no less than orchestral music. Wind music and ensembles have had their own continuous and logical development since 100,000 BC to present.


Will I recognize any of the music NAWS performs?


Audiences will recognize much of the music that is performed, but will be introduced to new music as well. NAWS performs pop, chamber, jazz, large symphonic works and classical music styles. Music is all around us: in commercials, movie soundtracks, television themes, cartoons, retail shops and even the ubiquitous elevator music! While listening to one of NAWS’s concerts, you may think you’ve never heard that piece before or you may recognize a piece that you are quite familiar with.


How is the Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony different from other wind groups?


The NAWS is designed as a stand-alone professional ensemble that is not affiliated with or owned by another host organization, such as a university, community, symphony orchestra or business. All of our musicians perform after passing an audition and play at a professional level.


Are professional wind ensembles and bands still in existence?


Yes, although the large, multiple-player-to-a-part-professional-symphonic bands, such as that of Sousa, Gilmore, Fillmore, Pryor and Simon, faded during the 1930's. Smaller professional wind symphonies and ensembles have been around since the 1950's but are still rare today.


What to expect from a NAWS performance?


Each concert allows the professional musicians and troupe cast to act and perform with the goal to entertain. A NAWS performance is a unique experience combining audible and visual artistry that immerses audiences in a musical world that takes them on a journey of sight and sound. This delivers an eye opening experience and creates direct connections with our audiences.


How many NAWS performers possess degrees in music?


Approximately 92% of our musicians have degrees in music and at some performances, the rate is even higher, depending on the difficulty of the musical score.


Are the NAWS musicians paid performers?


Yes, all of the musicians receive a per-service salary for their participation in the ensemble. This is necessary to maintain a balance of performance, integrity and audience enjoyment.


How long are the concerts?


Concerts vary between 60 and 90 minutes. Often there will be several works in the concert revolving around a theme with choreography or other visual elements. Rarely there will be a single work presented in its entirety as the entire concert.


Where does the NAWS perform?


The NAWS performs at various concert halls and locations across the Northeastern United States. The organization is based in Williamsport, PA, and performs two concerts there annually.


How can I be notified of upcoming events and concerts?


Please find and like us on social media at You can also find information on our website and sign up for our newsletter. We post all of our events on local community calendars listing where and when we will be performing.


How much are tickets and where can I buy them?


Tickets range between $10.00 and $20.00 depending on the venue where we perform. We also provide free public concerts at several events each year. Tickets are available in advance on our website and at the door on a concert day. All tickets are general admission, so please consider purchasing them in advance to ensure availability.


What if I lose my tickets?


Tickets purchased in advance on our website are replaceable with a copy of your receipt at the door.


Is the Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony a non-profit organization?


NAWS is a tax exempt organization under the IRS tax code 501(c)3.


What does my advertisement and/or benefactor/sponsorship support?


Advertisements in our program, benefactors and sponsorships support the general fund of NAWS to offset operating expenses. The general operating expenses include musician salaries, fees for venues, music rentals and purchases, guest artist honorariums and touring costs. Audience admission fees generally cover only 20% of the operating costs.


What is the tax deductibility of my advertisement?


Your advertisement is 100% tax deductible, as it is part of the cost of doing business.


What does the program booklet for your concerts look like?


Our program booklets are between twenty five and fifty pages and are full color. They are high quality produced booklets and we print approximately 500 (sometimes more depending on the venue) programs for each of our concerts in a season.


What is the tax deductibility of my benefactor/sponsorship gift?


Your support is 100% deductible minus the value of gifts received. This amount will appear on your tax receipt included in your acknowledgment packet.


How do I receive my benefits of being a benefactor/sponsor?


Instructions for claiming benefactor and sponsorship benefits such as tickets, rehearsal passes and other materials will be included in your acknowledgment packet. If you have not received your acknowledgment packet for your recent patronage please contact us.


What if I do not want to receive gifts for my benefactor/sponsorship gift?


Please simply include a note with your gift and indicate that you wish your gift to be fully tax deductible. You will receive no benefits for your gift, such as free tickets, with this option.


Would the Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony perform at our Event?


Yes, we welcome requests to perform at events. Sponsors must provide a suitable performance location and local publicity for the concert (if for the public); Sponsors may be required to pay meal, lodging, musician and transportation expenses.


Is there currently an endowment for the Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony?


Not at this time. Securing an endowment is part of the long-range strategic plan for NAWS.


Copyright 2018

Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony

Williamsport, PA 17701

Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony
Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony
Northern Appalachian Wind Symphony