MISSION:  “Celebrating and sharing the great American Wind Band Tradition by presenting diverse and engaging programs and enriching music education by mentoring and inspiring students.”

Led by Music and Artistic Director Dr. William L. Lake, Jr., the Capital Wind Symphony is widely regarded as one of the nation’s premier wind symphonies.  Based near the Nation’s Capital, the ensemble attracts many of the finest musicians from DC, MD, and VA and welcomes new players each season by audition.  Members include military musicians, freelance players, studio teachers, and music educators. The group rehearses weekly from September through June and presents regular concerts in the community, including several programs that serve as education outreach. 

Capital Winds was created in 1991 by George Etheridge as an all-volunteer ensemble for musicians near the Nation’s Capital who were committed to playing the finest wind band literature at the highest level.  Soon after the inaugural season, the ensemble was invited to perform at the prestigious Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic.  In its 33rd season, the band continues to thrive and support its mission which is “celebrating and preserving the great American band tradition by presenting diverse and artistic performances of contemporary and classic works, and by working closely with music educators to nurture and inspire student involvement within their school music programs.” 

CAPITAL WIND WORKSHOPS, ™  the Capital Wind Symphony’s educational outreach program, offers a highly effective “side-by-side” musical experience for elementary, middle, and high school band musicians to rehearse and learn from professional musicians. 

Capital Wind Symphony is funded in part by ArtsFairfax Emergency Relief and Recovery Grant


Founder & Past Music Director


For over 40 years, George Etheridge enjoyed a varied and successful career as a performer, conductor, and educator in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area. Educated at the University of Michigan and The Paris Conservatory, Mr. Etheridge first came to the DC area as an Instructor of Saxophone at the University of Maryland. He has performed as a soloist at The Kennedy Center, Constitution Hall, The Smithsonian Hall of Musical Instruments, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Mr. Etheridge has also served as an adjunct professor of Saxophone at Howard University, Catholic University, Federal City College, George Mason University, and the College of William and Mary. In 1977, George Etheridge was appointed conductor of the famed Fort Hunt High School Band in Alexandria, VA a position he held until the school closing in 1985. During Mr. Etheridge’s tenure at Fort Hunt, the band was chosen to perform at Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic . In 1985, Mr. Etheridge was named conductor of Bands at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia; a position he held for 6 years, and in 1991 he returned to the Washington, DC area to form the Capital Wind Symphony. In 1994, the CWS was chosen to perform at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic. Today, the CWS has developed into an ensemble of 75 musicians, including many of the best players in the Washington DC metro area, Maryland and Virginia. In addition to his position with the Capital Wind Symphony, Mr. Etheridge is the founder and clinician for the SCORE educational outreach program, sponsored by the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. Under Mr. Etheridge’s leadership, over 200 workshops have been presented in Fairfax County Schools.