Wynter Year ‘Round in Winston-Salem

Music Notes: Courtney Wynter
Courtney Wynter with Sax

By Ron Eldridge

What is your favorite season of the year? Springtime offers blooming flowers. Summer brings picnics and vacations. Fall brings multi-colored leaves and football season. And winter…well, my “Wynter” may be slightly different from yours.

Let me tell you about a Forsyth County resident who has covered the globe playing the music of his heart to thousands of people and teaching hundreds of students. Originally from Antiqua, his musical story began with his first instrument – his Grandmother’s broom stick! Eventually he graduated to master level on seven different woodwind instruments: flute, piccolo, clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, bassoon, soprano sax.

His educational and musical heritage reads like a world class Who’s Who. Just a few of his educational and musical achievements:

  • Instructor at the Harlem School of the Arts and Dance Theatre of Harlem.
  • Music Director of the Antigua Cultural Department
  • Founder and Director of the Antiguan Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Former Band Director of Hill Middle School, W-S.

His Broadway experience includes Tony nominations and/or wins for:

  • My Fair Lady
  • Promises, Promises
  • Purlie (Dean Jones)
  • Ain’t Misbehaving (Nell Carter, Andre De Shields)
  • Timbuktu (Eartha Kitt)
  • Beatlemania
  • Stop The World, I Wanna To Get Off ( Sammy Davis Jr.)
  • Lady and Her Music ( Lena Horne)
  • West Side Story

He has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Mongo Santamaria, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Nat Adderley, Harlem Philharmonic, Skitch Henderson’s Big Band, Hampton Opera Society, Paul Jeffries, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Denise Williams, Jeffrey Osbourne, and he was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.

This man of distinction lives quietly here in Forsyth County, but folks can still experience his intense horn performances in various locations throughout Winston-Salem. You can catch him at Foothills Brewery most every Sunday evening between 6 and 8 p.m. If you listen intently you can almost see, and more so feel, the notes streaming out of his solos. Young children will sometimes stop their Mommy and Daddy to bounce up and down to his swinging grooves right along with grownups.

By now I’m sure you’re wondering: who is this amazing man?

Remember the season of winter? The only difference with this “Wynter” is that Mr. Courtney Wynter will set you on fire with his solos and heat you up with his melodic ballads. The only “ice” you will experience is the cubes in your beverage!

When Courtney Wynter was asked what music has meant to his life, he responded, “It’s all a spiritual experience in practice or performance … the instruments I play are a part of my soul. For me to share each note that I play is a gift that I feel is an honor to share with the world.”

Welcome to the season of “Wynter.”


About: Ron Eldridge

Ron Big “E” Eldridge is a Winston Salem resident and aspiring freelance writer. Listen to Big “E” radio program, “Sunset Jazz,” on WNAA 90.1 FM every Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m.

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