Tara Winds bringing ‘world-class’ entertainment to McDonough

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

Some of metro Atlanta’s finest musicians are bringing their acclaimed talents to Henry County, to promote art and music programs in local schools.

Soloists Matt McCord (from left) and Amber Greer perform alongside the Tara Winds ensemble group. Tara Winds will appear for a concert in McDonough May 17. Special photo

The Tara Winds community ensemble group will take the stage May 17 at 4 p.m., at the Henry County Performing Arts Center, 37 Lemon St., in McDonough. Tickets for the event, sponsored by McDonough Arts, are $12 for adults and $7 for children in advance. Admission at the door is $14 for adults and $9 for children.

Tara Winds, founded more than 25 years ago, comprises a community of more than 70 wind musicians, many of whom hail from the south side. McDonough attorney Matthew McCord, who has been associated with the group for the last 15 years, will serve as emcee for the performance and says Tara Winds has achieved its share of fame well beyond the Atlanta area.

“Two of the guys that founded it were my music teachers in school, so I’ve known them that long,” says McCord. “They play all over the world. They’ve played in Italy, Chicago, and out on the west coast.”

McCord, a tenor soloist, will also perform a world-premiere arrangement of “Amazing Grace” that is specifically arranged for him and Tara Winds during the event. He says he is excited about appearing with them in Henry County.

“For me, it’s great to have them back at home,” he says. “They’re good people, they’re entertaining, and I think they’re good for our community.”

During the concert, selected Henry County high-school band students will have the opportunity to perform with Tara Winds, says the group’s Conductor and Artistic Director, Andrea Strauss.

“We’ve asked each high-school band director to nominate one student to perform with us,” she says.

Strauss has been involved with the group since its inception in 1988. She says Henry County is well represented within Tara Winds’ ranks, and that she is looking forward to being in McDonough for the concert.

“We have members from all over the state, but I would say we have a good portion of our members from the south side,” says Strauss. “We pride ourselves on performing all over Georgia. McDonough is one of the major cities in our state, and we like to celebrate by performing for the McDonough community.”

The accolades keep coming on a national level for Tara Winds members as well. Strauss says they have been invited to perform for the prestigious Midwest Clinic, the 69th Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago, for December 2015.

“More than 17,000 educators will attend, representing over 30 countries,” she says.

McDonough Arts President Jea Gackowski could scarcely contain her anticipation regarding Tara Winds’ upcoming performance. She says the group will bring its brand of “world-class entertainment” to McDonough for a good cause.

“We are going to be able to give 100 percent of the proceeds to the art and music programs at schools in Henry County,” says Gackowski. “We just appreciate their ability to serve the citizens of the county and to be able to give back to the kids in the schools.”

For more information, visit http://tarawinds.org