Blue Lake International Northern Winds

The 2020 Blue Lake International Northern Winds is comprised of the instrumentation found in a traditional symphonic wind ensemble, with woodwind, brass and percussion sections. The group's repertoire will range from traditional American symphonic literature to orchestral transcriptions and classic marches, such as Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever.

Each of the groups in the Blue Lake International Exchange Program will visit five to seven towns (hosting communities) in Europe. Tentative countries for the 2020 International Northern Winds are Germany, Denmark, and Belgium.

2020 International Northern Winds
Brian Balch, Musical Director

Brian BalchMr. Brian Balch is in his 14th year of teaching, 12 at Big Rapids Public Schools. Prior to his appointment in Big Rapids, he was a band director in the Hastings Area School System. He received his bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Grand Valley State University in 2005 and his master’s degree in Conducting from the American Band College of Sam Houston State University in Ashland, Oregon in 2012. Mr. Balch is an active adjudicator for MSBOA marching and concert festivals as well as the Scholastic Marching Band circuit. Mr. Balch plays the tuba in the Con Brio Voce chamber brass ensemble of Big Rapids under the direction of Kent Boulton and also performs in a brass quintet. Mr. Balch conducts the Big Rapids High School marching band, concert band, wind symphony, jazz ensemble as well as a dozen other chamber ensembles that meet from late fall through early spring. The Big Rapids High School Wind Symphony performed at the 2016 Michigan Music Conference marking Balch’s 2nd appearance at the conference (2012, 2016). This is his fifth season at Blue Lake and first year conducting the Northern Winds.