First Flight

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Patrick Niemisto on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College in 2018, First Flight is a 16-track collection of all-original music composed by ensemble members Laura Hood and Jason McKinney. The eclectic set list captures the heart of Manitou Winds’ live performances, showcasing a mix of Classical, Celtic, and Folk music performed on a colorful array of instruments.

First Flight -- CD by Manitou Winds

To purchase your copy of First Flight, we hope you’ll visit our CD table at any of our seasonal concerts. There, you can find our recordings along with other fun Manitou Winds merchandise and know 100% of your purchase directly benefits our ensemble’s growing mission and outreach. We hope to soon offer the album in select local retailers as well, so be on the lookout for announcements.

For our friends living outside the Northern Michigan area, the CD will soon be available for purchase via CD Baby where you can place an order and have it shipped to you, or purchase mp3s to download directly to your preferred device.

Manitou Winds’ musicians are volunteers. Creation of this debut album was only made possible through support from our community — folks just like you — who donated to our Kickstarter fundraising campaign. We’re forever grateful for your support and are eager to share our music with you! Sales of First Flight will enable us to continue performing free concerts throughout Northern Michigan, collaborating with local artists of all kinds, and growing our mission of spreading inspiration and the intimate joy of chamber music.


Our Debut Album
First Flight is a 16-track collection of all-original works by ensemble members Laura Hood and Jason McKinney. Highlights from the album include:

    First Flight – (2016) A musical homage to Rebecca Lessard, founder of Wings of Wonder, a raptor sanctuary and rehabilitation center in Empire, MI. Composed by Laura for flute, clarinet, guitar, and harp, the two movements follow the story of a wounded raptor who is brought into the care of Wings of Wonder and eventually returned to the wild. Read more about it in our Manitou-Zine.

    The Wedding Suite – (2018) Jason originally composed this four-movement suite in October 2006 for the wedding ceremony of two friends. Originally scored for string quartet and piano, he revised and rescored it in 2015 for Manitou Winds. It was revised one final time in 2018 expressly for this recording. The four movements are a progression through a wedding ceremony from the processional to the recessional, highlighting many different styles and emotions.

    Sky Dance – (2017) Laura sketched the themes and poetry for this piece while on a camping trip to North Manitou Island in Lake Michigan. Inspired by the peaceful suroundings and deep feelings of gratitude, she sought to capture the tender, intimate moments of dusk. These moments transition into a celebraion of nighttime and a rare sighting of the northern lights. Features vocals by Laura and special guest Kristie McCaw. Read more about it in our Manitou-Zine.

    The Old Ash Tree – (2018) Jason composed and dedicated this piece in honor of his paternal grandfather, Bryant McKinney. A central theme is woven throughout, simliar to a rondo form. Each return of the theme is a reminder that Alzheimer’s disease may silence our loved ones, but it cannot erase them. Read more about it in our Manitou-Zine.

    Midwinter Twilight – (2018) This musical “painting” depicts a winter sunset Jason experienced while driving along a quiet, snowy country road near his home in Leelanau County, Michigan. Music and prose intertwine to create a landscape bathed in fiery colors. Read more about it in our Manitou-Zine.

Thank you for your generous support! We look forward to sharing First Flight with each of you!

MW & the Heron 2

Photo by Karin Willman of A la Carte Photography.

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