Rodney Winther

Rodney Winther

CCM’s Director of Wind Studies Rodney Winther was recently given one of the Venezuelan state of Táchira’s highest honors for directing the state orchestral band during the 450th anniversary celebrations of the Táchira capital city of San Cristóbal.

Besides standing ovations at every performance, Winther, who has conducted the state band several times over the past 15 years, received the Manuel Felipe Rugeles medal, the state’s highest cultural award, from Táchira Governor César Pérez Vivas. Several diplomatic representatives, including U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Officer Sally Hodgson and Cultural Affairs Specialist Elena Broszkowski, were awarded buttons of merit by Mayor Mónica de Méndez and Governor César Pérez Vivas for helping to bring Winther to the city.

The band’s performances, directed by Winther, were carried live on satellite TV affiliates throughout Venezuela, on state TV and were featured in several newspaper articles. Winther also conducted several workshops for 25 Venezuelan conductors, and for another group of Colombian conductors who heard of his visit and travelled to San Cristóbal to participate.

Táchira state is an important opposition-led, very pro-American state at the border with Colombia. Until recently, all travel by United States Government officials was barred because of leftist and rightist guerrilla activity in the area. Because of this, there have been no public diplomacy programs in San Cristóbal, the state’s capital, for several years. The visit of Maestro Winther to Táchira state was one of the highlights of its capital’s anniversary and will be remembered for years to come.

You can read Janelle Gelfand’s coverage of the event here.

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