In 1998, Pat Lay was director of the McMinnville High School Band. After each concert, when parents and family members would come up to congratulate him on the performance, they would often reminisce about their own music-playing days or talk about how they wished they could do what their children or grandchildren were doing. Finally, Pat decided that enough was enough--it was time to do something about; it was time to create a band for adults. Pat organized a group of musicians and patterned it after the New Horizons Music Program developed by Dr. Roy Ernst, a professor at the Eastman School of Music in New York, but with some important differences. Dr. Ernst's New Horizons program required that its members be at least 50 years of age. An expression of his passion for music and people, Pat's vision was different -- he wanted to start a band that was community-based and open to all ages from junior high age and up.

The Second Winds Community Band held its first rehearsal on March 23, 1998. The ten musicians who started this group with Pat Lay included people who had never played an instrument; or hadn't played their instrument for years; or had decided to take up a different instrument from what they had played in the past. The band was intended for anyone who wanted to play, learn to play, or reacquaint themselves with their instrument. By September of that first year, Pat had started a second band of advanced beginners to accommodate the increasing numbers and varying skill levels of people joining the band. The two bands soon merged into one as the beginners quickly advanced in their musical abilities.

Many of the members of the band today were former musicians in high school, college or the military, and for whatever reason dropped out of music for a number of years. After hearing the Second Winds perform at a local concert event the musical “bug” bit them again, and they decided to give the joy of making music another chance in their life.

Now, more than ten years after its founding, the Second Winds Community Band has grown and prospered to included the fifty to sixty accomplished musicians from age 13 to well...never mind…comprising the organization today. The important thing is that there are no age requirements or tryouts to become a member and that we all have fun making music for the community!