MOTM September 2018 - Dr. Richard Mayne

Welcome to the Fort Collins Wind Symphony Blog, Musician of the Month!

In our inaugural post, we are pleased to feature Dr. Richard Mayne as our September 2018 Musician of the Month! Dr. Richard Mayne has provided many great years of service to the FCWS and has developed the organization into Northern Colorado’s premiere wind ensemble! 

In addition to his work with the FCWS, Dr. Mayne serves as the Associate Director of Bands at University of Northern Colorado, where he specializes in music education and wind band performance. Full details of his biography can be found at

To celebrate his contribution to the organization, we interviewed Dr. Richard Mayne to share his thoughts and vision for the FCWS.

FCWS: “What is your role in the symphony, in your own words?”

R Mayne: “Well, my role is to select good music that I think will connect with the audience. And to me, the audience is very important, so I’m always thinking about ‘Why are people going to want to come to this concert?’ and, ‘Are they going to enjoy it enough to want to come back?’. Especially for a community group, it’s really important to have an audience to play for.”

FCWS: “So you didn’t include the term ‘conductor’, or ‘artistic director’ or ‘musical director’, though I’m sure most of the members would describe you as that. Why did you choose to not include that in your response?”

R Mayne: “Well, I don’t know, I guess because I just assume that is part of what I do. But the reason why I do it is to get people back and build a community. So, yeah, conducting is a big part of it, but it’s not the whole thing. And I’ve done it for so long that I sort of take it for granted. I’m not out there to be the Maestro of the group and have the attention there, the whole purpose is for me to build an audience and community and have something that Fort Collins is proud of and all our members are proud of, that kind of thing.”

FCWS: “With that in mind, what sort of value does the Fort Collins Wind Symphony have for the community?”

R Mayne: “Well, that’s a good question! And, I’m not sure you can always answer that; however, when you step outside the auditorium before a concert and see a line of several hundred people and then the auditorium is full and then there’s still two or three hundred people trying to get in, that definitely says something. And it’s hard for me to articulate exactly why that’s important, but it obviously is. People want to be entertained and they want to connect through music which, as the performer Sting says, ‘Music has its own rewards’. It’s a hard thing for me to articulate in words because I don’t really know, I just know it’s true.”

FCWS: “So, we’re not a pop organization. I think we’re more of a classical wind band organization. You still think that classical music is important for people today, of all ages?”

R Mayne: “Yeah I do. Just like classical literature, classical art, classical painting, it can tell a story of history, it can connect people from different generations, from different cultures. Of course, so can current pop music. But, one is not better than the other, they are just all encompassing. And all of the stuff that we play is classical band repertoire that has stood the test of time. We do some new pieces but we play a lot of pieces that have been around for a long time.”

FCWS: “So when you prepare for a new season, or as you’re planning the repertoire for a concert, how do you balance some of the old standards for wind band versus new music?”

R Mayne: “Well, I have a hard time describing how I program, but, I’m always trying to take people on a musical journey. I’m not one that’s real big on theme concerts, because theme concerts, to me, limit what you can do, and with music you can take people on a journey so quickly and change styles so quickly and if it’s a good piece they’ll go right with you…Of course, we ask for recommendations and anytime I get a recommendation I look at it very carefully to see if it fits in the contour of the program and also if the band is going to be successful playing it. There are some pieces that for a variety of reasons may not be the best piece for the ensemble, and that’s one of the things that is my job as well, is to make [the] decision ‘Yes, we are going to be very successful with this piece’ or ‘No, we’re not’ for a lot of reasons. You may not have the right instrumentation. If a particular piece calls for a virtuoso pianist and you don’t have a virtuoso pianist then you stay away from it. But, I just like a lot of variety.”

FCWS: “Now, without taking up too much of your time, we’ll wrap it up with one final question. What should the audience be excited for this season?”

R Mayne: “I think they should be excited for everything. And they should be excited for every concert because they’re all different – every concert is going to be different. I just think every concert is going to have some really good pieces on it. Our holiday concert is going to be lighter and we’ve got some new things that I found for that concert. I actually commissioned a piece to be rearranged for the Fort Collins Wind Symphony that I heard so we’ll have that on the holiday concert. We’re going to do a piece by a former Fort Collins student, Chris Pilsner, who was at Rocky Mountain High School. We’re going to feature Shilo Stroman, a Fort Collins percussionist, and the trombone professor at UNC. So, everything!”