Windjammers Unlimited (WJU) is the circus music historical society. Organized as a non-profit and run by volunteers, WJU’s three-part mission is the preservation of, education about, and performance of circus music from the Golden Era of the American Circus. WJU was founded in 1971 and is celebrating its 53rd anniversary this year.

WJU welcomes both playing and non-playing members.


WJU stages two five-day events every year. When 80-120 WJU musicians convene in the Sarasota FL area every January, or at a non-Florida location in the summer, they are assigned to one or more bands. Over the next five days they rehearse and record some 60 pieces under a half-dozen conductors, perform public concerts, and host educational seminars. They play musical selections from Windjammers’ vast library of vintage music in genres including circus marches, galops, waltzes, rags, overtures and novelty numbers.  Check out this diverse playlist from the 2023 Summer Meet in Baraboo WI, hometown of the Ringling Brothers.

Windjammers Concert Band
Summer Meet,
Baraboo, WI

WJU members also perform at some other circus-related events, such as the 2015 Circus Fans Association of America Convention in Springfield, MA, the annual Circus Ring of Fame Induction Ceremony in January in Sarasota, FL, and the International Independent Showmen’s Association in January in Gibsonton, FL.

Preservation

WJU collects and digitizes circus music sheet music; preserves audio and video records of circus music performed by WJU bands, circus bands, and others; and prepares related educational material. This rich content is available to members on our website www.mywju.org.

2024 January Cover

Official Publication

Circus Fanfare is published for members four times a year. Each 28-page issue in full color is a fascinating historical journal of circus bands, bandmasters and musicians from circus days gone by, and also an interesting musical reference with topical articles such as appropriate tempos, pieces to accompany different types of circus acts, and actual musical programs by act for specific circus seasons. Each issue also provides current information about WJU’s activities. Five decades of Circus Fanfare issues are accessible to members on the website.  


About Our Name

MERLE EVANS
Ringling Bandmaster 1919-1969
November 30, 1969
Photo By Zack Bloom

Because circus musicians spent their days “jamming wind through their horns”, they were known to others in the circus as “windjammers.” And play they did. Typically, their day started with a circus parade announcing the circus’s arrival to town. Next up was a Center Ring Concert the hour prior to the start of the afternoon performance, and then playing for the two to three-hour performance itself. That evening, they did a repeat of the afternoon’s program. As the saying goes in the circus, “If the Ringmaster isn’t talking, the band is surely playing.”

Transparency

WJU welcomes donations to support operational needs and advance our mission. We practice openness and transparency and adhere to government requirements for a 501(c)(3) organization. You can inspect WJU bylaws HERE and our annual IRS Form 990 filing via the IRS.gov website HERE.

IF you require additional information or assistance, please feel free to CONTACT US.

This site was last updated on: April 9, 2024
Most recent Post: 2024-06-06 @ 23:41
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