The winds of change blew through Lake Highlands resident Robin Garner’s life in more ways than one. Yearning to turn her musical talent into something more than a side hobby, the clarinetist created the flourishing organization Camerata Winds and is happily playing a different tune.

What inspired you to create Camerata Winds?
About four years ago, I started to feel like I needed to reinvent myself. I had started a family and sort of changed the trajectory of my career path in music. I knew I needed to take a good look at myself and decide what I was really going to do with my life. Around that time, I met Jeff and Mayve Strong through the local music scene and found that they shared my passion for wind instrument chamber music and education. We founded the project as a nonprofit in 2004 with an emphasis on chamber music for wind players and music education within the community.

How is your organization different from other local music programs?
Our organization offers the chance to explore music that isn’t typically heard. I feel we have an exceptional product to offer both the music connoisseur and persons curious about entering the world of classical music. Wind instruments require that the musician blow into or over a mouthpiece and fall into one of two categories, brass and wood. The sound of a wind instrument is lovely. We host pre-concert talks and receptions after our shows. It’s great to hear guests say they got a real feel for the music and an understanding of the composer through our sound. I think guests are attracted to the up-close and personal experience they get with the musicians at our concerts. It’s exciting to see that kind of interest.


Where are your performances held, and what songs do you play?
With help from the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and SMU faculty, we work with groups of up to 15 players. Our subscription concerts are held at the First United Lutheran Church, schools and other community venues. Our membership is a very diverse, open and heartfelt group of people, and we play pieces by composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Copland and Strauss.

How has the organization helped you find your true calling?
It lets me combine my experience in social work with my love of musical education. Using music as therapy can be a very powerful way to reach children and adolescents because it helps people express their feelings. Creative therapy can reach people in ways that traditional therapy sometimes cannot. We offer a variety of outreach programs, including community, educational and private concerts throughout the Metroplex. Personally, the reward for working at a nonprofit like Camerata has been not only the opportunity to make great music for an appreciative audience, but the personal moments, too. I’m talking about those ‘ah-ha’ moments when a child understands something new about my instrument at an outreach concert, or watching relationships grow between our musicians and an audience. It’s a great feeling to know we provide a very special experience through which families connect with each other and the world through music.


What are your future goals for the organization?
Our main goal is to continue getting the word out to the community in order to expand our Dallas audience. We’re a small, fairly new nonprofit, and it’s important that we continue increasing our audience size. While we receive some community grants, it isn’t always enough to cover every need. We welcome new community partners and invite anyone interested in contributing their talents to join our mission. Next year will mark our fifth season, and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

Camerata Winds concert tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors and $8 for children. For information, call 214.731.0044 or visit cameratawinds.com.