Mandan News

Community band kicks off summer season of shows

The age-old tradition of summer band music in the park continues as musicians from Mandan, Bismarck and surrounding counties gather once again to form the West River Winds Community Band.

Founded in 1983 by former Mandan High School music educator John Warren, the West River Winds Community Band currently boasts an all-volunteer group of 70 to 80 musicians under the leadership of Ernie Borr, director of the Mandan High School band program in the ’60s and ’70s and founder of the University of Mary instrumental program. Assisting is Associate Director John Darling, Professor of Music at Bismarck State College.

The band has begun rehearsing twice weekly in the Mandan Middle School bandroom. The first performance this summer will be at the Mandan High School Auditorium on Monday, June 3, at 7:30 p.m. Outdoor performances include June 10, 17 and 24 at the Mandan Band Shell at Dykshoorn Park on Main Street. The band will also be performing on July 3 at 5:30 p.m., in conjunction with Art in the Park to celebrate Independence Day.

A special addition to this year’s schedule is the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg on Monday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. The West River Winds will be joined by a community chorus of singers under the direction of Tom Porter and Vicki Boechler for a program of Civil War music on the Badlands Plaza of the expanded Heritage Center located on the state’s Capital Grounds.

Individuals with band experience are encouraged to join, as the band will be performing an diverse repertoire, including toe-tapping marches, showtunes, novelty numbers, and ensemble spotlights.

Visit the band’s website at or call 258-2431 for updated rehearsal information and section availability.