Audra Kooi —Staff Writer
In May 2021, the Dordt University Wind Symphony recorded Music With Friends. A year and a half later, the album is being considered for a Grammy nomination for the Best Orchestral Performance and the Best Engineered Album, Classical.
The Grammy process has four levels. First, record labels submit hundreds of recordings to the Grammys for consideration. Mark Records label submitted Music With Friends along with hundreds of other recordings. From there, voting members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) pick which recordings can be considered for nomination. This is the current stage of the process. Dordt’s recording is against top-tier ensembles such as the Berlin Philharmonic and other global musical organizations.
Recordings that make it beyond the second stage are nominated for a Grammy. From there, NARAS members vote again to choose the final winners of each Grammy.
“Just the fact that we are under consideration is a huge deal,” Onsby C. Rose, professor of music and wind symphony director at Dordt, said. “If we were to be nominated, that would be earthshattering.”
No wind band has ever been nominated for a Grammy.
In both 2020 and 2021, the LA Philharmonic won the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance, and the Philadelphia Orchestra won in 2022. Previous winners of the Best Engineered Album, Classical include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. To even be considered in the company of such accomplished musicians is a great honor for the Dordt Wind Symphony.
The recording process took place over four days, full of joys and struggles. Recording one five-minute song took about four hours of recording. There were 30 hours of raw recording at the end.
“It was long hours of sitting and playing my instrument,” senior Dallas Johnson said. “But it was definitely when my clarinet playing peaked.”
From there, Rose picked the best parts of each recording that were then sent to the production team in New York. Three months and several edits later, Music With Friends was a finalized album. This is only the beginning for the Wind Symphony. In the spring, they will record music for a new album with a new story. Music With Friends consists of music that had never been professionally recorded previously. The upcoming album is a compilation of new music and old classics such as Holst’s Suite in Eb.
“This year, the CD is a combination of masterworks as well as new things,” Rose said. “It’s kind of a patchwork of music from all different areas.”
Grammy nominations will be announced on Nov. 15. While this could be the closing of an exciting time for the Music With Friends album, the future of the Wind Symphony is bright.