Central Florida Winds conductor puts meaning into music


Members of the Central Florida Chamber Winds have performed with top military bands and nationally known music groups.

Courtesy of Richard Sabino

Richard Sabino was 6 when he began his musical training, first with the piano and trumpet. Later, in junior high school, his interest shifted to conducting.

At 16, while taking part in a summer music festival with the London Symphony Orchestra in Daytona Beach, he received his first important conducting advice from the late Andre Previn, a German-American pianist, composer, arranger and conductor.

“Conduct what you wish to hear, not what you are hearing,” Sabino said Previn told him.

Sabino explained that, otherwise, “the conductor is reacting to the group, rather than leading them … and the music is not as fluid.”

For the past 20 years, the Satellite Beach resident has conducted the Central Florida Winds (CFW) and Central Florida Chamber Winds (CFCW). Members of the CFW, comprised of 50 professional musicians and music educators, have performed with top military bands and nationally known music groups.

“I wanted to put a group together with music that’s challenging,” Sabino said.

Their 20th anniversary program at 3 p.m. March 1 includes Igor Stravinsky’s “Circus Polka” and “Les Preludes” by Franz Liszt. They’re also performing Egmont Overture in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday.

The free concert will be held at Suntree United Methodist Church at 7400 Wickham Road in Suntree.

They have a core group from Brevard County and Orlando, but about 60 percent of the musicians are from outside the area.

“I have to be very thoughtful about the use of the musicians’ time because so many come from so far away,” he said.

Sabino said there’s a difference between playing the notes on the page and communicating the nuances of a story to the audience.

“Musicians try to get beyond the notes. It’s like reading a play. You’re not just reading the words. You put meaning to it.”

“Have you ever gone to a theater performance where reality has been suspended? It totally grabs your attention,” Sabino said, adding that, later, you start thinking about what you saw and heard. That’s what he wants his audiences to leave with.

While their concerts draw about 300 people, Sabino said he’d love to see more young people attending.

“I’ve conducted concerts in the Ukraine and Romania. Lots of young people were in the audience,” Sabino said.

“Here, our tastes are driven by a diet of pop commercial sound. The younger ones love playing music. They understand it.”

Sabino said the only way to get more young people to appreciate music is by reintroducing them through music programs, starting in grade school.

For more information, videos and recordings, and concert dates, go to cfwinds.com.