Community Band Spotlight: Ottawa Wind Ensemble March 24 2010, 0 Comments

Contributed by Jack Kopstein

The Ottawa Wind Ensemble

Altissimo salutes our feature community band which is situated in the Canadian capital of Ottawa and performs numerous engagements in the capital region.

The Ottawa Wind Ensemble (OWE) was formed in 2005, drawing together current and former Canadian Forces musicians, music teachers, and other professional musicians, in a professional calibre group. Under the direction of founding conductor, Mark Rocheleau, this 35 member ensemble performs the symphonic wind ensemble repertoire made famous by the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the rich concert band repertoire from North America and Europe, and the orchestral transcriptions of the famous composers. While the OWE is technically a community band, most of the members are fully involved in a life of music, whether it be as freelance musicians, music educators, or full time professionals. The raison d’être of the OWE is to perform at the highest calibre of musicianship possible, and anyone who attends a concert will appreciate this for themselves. The ensemble’s conductor is Mark Rocheleau. Born and raised in Amherstburg, Ontario, (near the border city of Windsor Ontario), Rocheleau began his formal studies in 1979 at the University of Windsor, majoring on clarinet, and graduating with a Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Education. His private clarinet teachers were Dr. Imre Rozsnyai of the University of Windsor and Paul Schaller of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. After four seasons with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, he acquired a direct entry into the Canadian Forces Vimy Band in Kingston in 1985, where he broadened his musical experience playing both clarinet and saxophone. In August of 1994, he was posted to the Central Band of the Canadian Forces here in Ottawa and was eventually selected for a yearlong assistant conductor’s course, which he completed in 1999. In October of 2005, Mark had completed 20 years of service with the Canadian Forces and elected to retire. His project since then has been to form The Ottawa Wind Ensemble, which was founded in September of 2005. Mark Rocheleau is joined in the Ottawa Wind Ensemble by several former professional military musicians who reside in retirement in Ottawa and environs. Several of the musicians have outstanding backgrounds in the music field. Our hats off to the OTTAWA WIND ENSEMBLE, the Community Band Spotlight for March. For more information on the Ottawa Wind Ensemble, please visit their website. Please write to me if you would like your community band to be featured. The line is growing fast so GET ON THE BANDWAGON! **If you are in a band or know of a band we should feature in our Spotlight,  please contact Jack at or Krista at