Santa Ana Winds

Band History


With a band as old and active as the Santa Ana Winds, the group is steeped in traditions, histories, tales of past tours and awesome achievements. The band continues to make history, but here's a little about our past.


A Short History

In the 1903 pamphlet "the Climatology of California," the Federal Government officialized the term 'Santa Ana winds' for the powerful gusts sweeping out of the desert along the Santa Ana Canyon and hitting the greater Los Angeles basin by force - also known as feun winds.

Knowing he would leave his teaching job as band director of Santa Ana High School, Robert Ward, hearing about a nearby youth band, thought that creating a band for young musicians would be the ideal way to remain in the musical field. In June of 1971, Mr. Ward, Mrs. Kortje, and some more of his friends brought together a small marching band of local musicians between the ages of 14 to 21. They called themselves the Santa Ana Winds, referring to the powerful canyon winds, the city of Santa Ana (the County Seat of Orange County), and the musical term "winds" describing musical instruments that require air.

On October 20, 1971, the Board of Managers of the Santa Ana/Tustin Y.M.C.A. approved the band as an affiliate club. The Winds were appointed as the "Official Ambassadors of Music for Orange County" by the county Board of Supervisors. Their original uniform consisted of blue jeans, red jackets, and white mock turtlenecks. Band dues were $5 a month. The next year, dues increased to $7.00. Cal Poly Pomona sold their old black, white, green, and gold uniforms to the band.

The third season brought dues up to $10 a month, where they remain to this day, diligently being taken care of by Mrs. Kortje.

The group received a $1000 grant from Disneyland in 1975 for community service by a non-profit organization in the field of fine arts. That year, with hard work by recycling newspapers, the band earned enough money to buy new uniforms, choosing the colors red, white, and blue in a design we still wear today. This winter uniform, with its white front and blue back, was first exhibited at the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration, awing the spectators. This event helped Mr. Ward choose our theme song, "Tiger Rag," due to the reaction of the crowd to the powerful band, the playful Dixieland song, and this new uniform style. Since then, numerous bands across the nation have chosen to use this unique bi-colored design.

SAW Logo Our star logo was designed by Penny Parkinson, an Anaheim school teacher and artist. Mr. Ward told her he wanted a logo with an all-American feel and attitude. She produced a starburst design with the famous lopsided star in the middle. Originally white, the logo became its present red hue to add color to the band.

Through its 35 plus years, the Santa Ana Winds have become an international symbol of youthful America and musical pride. We have had over 4,000 members join the band. Although Mr. Ward is no longer with us, he has passed the torch on to one who may not completely replace him, but can succeed him, Mr. Greg Rocheford. Greg is a Winds alumni and band director, and he now continues in the traditions that Mr. Ward started, steering young musicians toward greater musical understanding and respect. Each season adds new traditions, from our theme song "Tiger Rag" to our unique step-off on the right foot instead of the left, to our new left-handed "salute" when we come to attention. So let us be mindful of the past, honorable to the traditions, and grateful to the man who put it all together and, for over 35 years, kept his vision alive.

May the Santa Ana Winds never stop their powerful storm.



Robert L. Ward, Founder and Director (1971 - 2008)

Mr. Ward 1975 Mr. Ward

Left photo: 1975, right photo: 2001

Brief Bio:

Robert Ward was born in Gary Indiana. He came to southern California, at one time was band director for Santa Ana High School, and also had a job selling band uniforms for Stanbury Uniforms. In 1971, seeing the need for a group that the youth of the community could participate in, and with the help of some friends, he created the Santa Ana Winds Youth Band.

This article from the Orange County Register, from May 2008 is a nice tribute to Mr. Ward.

Gregory Rochford, Director (2008 - 2010)

Brief Bio:

Greg Rochford received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from California State University Fullerton and completed the requirements for a California Teaching Credential at Azusa Pacific University. He began his career as the Director of Bands at Sierra Vista H. S. in Baldwin Park, CA and is now in his twenty-first year at Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar, CA where he currently serves as Director of Orchestras and is Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. Greg was the 1995 Chaparral Middle School Teacher of the Year. He has also been named to the Who's Who Among America's Teachers.

Greg has studied clarinet with Jules Karner (National Symphony) and Kalman Bloch (Los Angeles Philharmonic) and conducting with Tom Cole, Benton Minor, and Gordon Paine. Greg credits his desire to teach to his former music teachers; Ms. Pat Puleo (JHS), Mr. James Young (HS), and Mr. Robert Ward (Santa Ana Winds Youth Band).

Under Greg's direction, the bands and orchestras at Chaparral have performed five times at the California Music Educators Association State Conference (1991, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007). In March 2003, the 8th Grade Orchestra traveled to Columbus, Ohio to perform as the only orchestra from the state of California at the American String Teachers Association with National School Orchestra Association National Conference. The 8th Grade Orchestra has traveled to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. In May of 2009 the 8th Grade Orchestra will perform as one of only 6 orchestras from the entire country at the Haydn Orchestra Festival to be held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

Greg is very active in the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association having served several times as the Manager of the All-Southern California Middle School Honor Orchestra, Honor String Orchestra, and Honor Band. He is currently a Festival Adjudicator, a Parade Adjudicator, and a Field Adjudicator. In addition, he is currently serving his second term as the Vice President of Elementary/Middle School Education.

Greg has served as a guest conductor for honor groups and at music camps throughout California. He currently performs on bass clarinet with the Claremont Winds and on percussion with the Irvine Valley College Wind Symphony. He is also the Music Director of the Santa Ana Winds Youth Band of Orange County, CA.

Greg's professional affiliations include: National Education Association, California Teachers Association, Walnut Valley Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, American String Teachers Association with National School Orchestra Association, California Music Educators Association, California Orchestra Directors Association, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association, and the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity.

Anna Sintora, Director (Summer 2010 - Present)

Brief Bio:

Coming Soon



These are the Competition Awards won by the Santa Ana Winds. We do not have ALL awards, but we would love if you sent us updates. Everyone wants to know how the Winds are currently doing in competitions.


Reunion Info

The dates for the Santa Ana Winds Reunion were: August 18, 19, 20 of 2006. Activities included a reception, concert, and formal banquet.

If any of you have pictures of the band from previous years, please feel free to email us with the photos, or post them to a photo hosting site such as Flickr or Yahoo Photos, and send us the link.


2001 Pacific Northwest Tour

Here is the page made up during the 2001 Tour of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest with photos, iteneraries, and a wrap-up page.


Alumni Archives

We want alumni to send stories. If you have a special memory of the Santa Ana Winds, please email us with the story in your own words and the approximate year of the event, and we will add your cherished memory to our archives.

Any stories are appreciated: band trips, personal jokes, or the many love stories that we see even now. Also, to members who later became band directors, teachers, lawyers, doctors, politicians, computer techs, whatever profession, please tell us how the Winds made you into who you are today. Old photos are helpful as they bring the past to life.

I believe the future should learn from the past, and with over 3,500 members having passed under the batons of Mr. Ward and Mr. Rochford, I know there is much we can learn!

The following are the stories that have been emailed so far.


Louisa Martinez:

I joined the Winds in the summer of 1974. Something I have to share are the words to the theme song we made up during the Cavalcade of Bands tour in 1976.

To the tune of "The Ants go Marching One by One"

The Winds go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah,
The Winds go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah,
The Winds go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah,
To see the sights of Washington

2 by 2  if you don't move we'll go over you
3 by 3  paying such a tremendous fee
4 by 4  carrying suitcases through the door
5 by 5  from New York City we stayed alive
6 by 6  as new friendships began to mix
7 by 7  and Washington Monument stretches to heaven
8 by 8  as we head for our Golden Gate
9 by 9  as everyone tries to march in line
10 by 10  the Annex is called home again.


TigerRag Newsletter

Read old editions of the TigerRag Newsletter.

Someone currently in the band should really think about starting this up again, either online or in print. The trouble: getting submissions. The person in charge usually ends up writing 75% of the newletter. ^_^



We have a collection of photos from the band's first decade:
Photos of the 1970s

We would like to start a section of the 1980s as well. Please send your photos to The TigerRag WebTeam.

Rick Vermillion-Salsbury:
I'm a Santa Ana Winds alumnus ('86-'87 seasons), and I've dug up a photo you may be interested in.
It's a posed shot of the entire band -- taken in front of the White House on July 4th, 1986.

The Santa Ana Winds Trip to Washington D.C. in 1986

Here's a picture given to us by Flag member Sarah.

Orange County Fair standing concert 1989


Who Joined When?
What year did YOU join the Santa Ana Winds. Please check the year you STARTED and click SUBMIT.

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