The seed for starting Westwinds was initiated from Harry Pinchin, Director of Cosmo (Cosmopolitan Music Society, Edmonton). His job with the Alberta Band Directors Association was to establish and develop community bands in Alberta.
Dennis Orr had left teaching in Calgary and was missing music and so decided to give in and fill his music void. He realized that there had to be more people involved and so he reached out to Rod Pauls, with what at the time was "a pretty loose plan". They decided they needed financial support from people who loved music and Peter & Ildi Paulson were friends he had worked with and taught their children. The Paulsens contributed the initial seed money to get things rolling. Further, they felt they needed someone who was a successful businessman and manager.
A further connection, Peter was a past student of Harry Pinchin when Harry lived in Calgary. Dennis and Peter made a trip to Edmonton to meet with Harry and discussed a lot of the ideas that eventually became the basis of Westwinds.
Denis Jackson, who was the Supervisor of Music for Calgary Public Schools was asked to join as a co-conductor.
The final move was to include Lyle Bennet as their Business representative for music and instruments, as Lyle was managing St. John's Music at the time. Lyle was instrumental in setting up a rental program for all of the beginners.
In the words of Dennis Orr, "none of it would have happened without their equal vision, support, effort and commitment."
We are enormously grateful to everyone who committed to the founding of the Westwinds Music Society and the legacy that they have created.