#GivingTuesday

Kick off the Season of Giving with a Donation to the Northshore Concert Band!

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This year Northshore Concert Band is participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving, on Tuesday, November 29, 2016.

Last year, more than 45,000 organizations in 71 countries came together to celebrate #GivingTuesday. The good being done on a global level is inspiring. Northshore Concert Band is joining the effort for the first time this year to help us pursue our mission to inspire, engage, and excite our audiences, to continue our music education outreach programs  and encourage involvement in music for people at all stages of life.

The Northshore Concert Band has brought music to the Chicago metropolitan area for 61 years. We have become internationally known and respected for our musical excellence, leadership in community music, and service to music education.

Performing up to 15 concerts a year and reaching over 20,000 people annually, our season includes a four-concert subscription series, educational outreach programs at area schools, summer concerts, and professional band festivals and conferences.

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Last year, over 3,500 young music students and their instructors participated in our three-day Festival of Music at Northwestern University, and 50 Chicago area students performed alongside NCB musicians at the annual Lifetime of Music concert in February.

We are deeply rooted in the concept of “community” and in encouraging involvement in music for people at all stages of life. Our engaging music education programs demonstrate to younger musicians that there are opportunities for them to play and enjoy their instruments their entire lives, regardless of whether they choose a musical vocation.

We rely on the generous donations of our supporters to continue our programs.

We ask you to please support our cause by donating and spreading the word on your social media networks. Please help us kick off the season of giving with a donation now and on November 29th for #GivingTuesday!

Here’s how you can help

  • Liking our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and encourage your network to do so as well. Tag and mention Northshore Concert Band on these social media channels and encourage your friend to donate!
  • Posting a photo on 11/29 on Facebook and/or Twitter that shows your familiarity with Northshore Concert Band or how you are connected to the organization.
  • Use the hashtag #GivingTuesday

Your donation will enable the Northshore Concert Band to inspire, engage, and excite our audiences, to continue our music education outreach programs  and encourage involvement in music for people at all stages of life.

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Support Northshore Concert Band!

We thank you for helping us make an impact in your community!

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photo credit: Ralph Durham

Students Meet NCB Tuba Players & Gene Pokorny!

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The Northshore Concert Band tuba players met with a group of over 3 dozen students and their parents before Sunday’s season opening concert, for a lively meet and greet.  They shared stories about their experiences, answered questions and passed out souvenir keepsakes.

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Northshore Concert Band artistic director and conductor, Dr. Mallory Thompson stopped in to say hi to everyone as well!

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Those attending this fun and informal gathering were thrilled when Gene Pokorny, principal tuba with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra joined the group and shared stories about his musical background and offered encouraging words to the student musicians in attendance!  The event ended with a group photo that included the students, the NCB Tubas and Gene Pokorny.  Students were given a copy of this photo as a memento of this unforgettable experience!

We were honored to welcome Mr. Pokorny for his first solo performance with NCB!

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The Northshore Concert Band tuba players include John Harshey, a band director from Mundelein who has been with NCB for 31 years,  Rodney Owens, a band director from Lake Forest, who has also been with NCB for 31 years, Peter Lograsso, an orchestra director from Westchester who has been with the band for 28 years, Kevin Baldwin, a mechanical engineer from Des Plaines and NCB member for 10 years and Eric Weisseg, and IT manager from Chicago who has been an NCB member for 9 years.


The next Northshore Concert Band concert is our highly anticipated annual “Lifetime of Music” program.  In a highlight of the season, we are joined on stage by some of the most talented young musicians in the Chicagoland area!

Youthful Spirit

Sunday, February 12, 2017, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

For More Information:
Visit www.northshoreband.org or call (847) 432-2263.

 

Images: Courtesy of Douglas Boehm

Gene Pokorny Interview (Part Two)

The Northshore Concert Band is honored to welcome Guest Soloist Gene Pokorny, Principal Tuba Of The Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the first concert of out 61st season!  Widely considered the finest tuba player in the world today, our November 6, 2016 concert, entitled Reflections, marks his first solo performance with the Northshore Concert Band!

Northshore Concert Band member Paul Bauer recently interviewed Gene Pokorny. Below is part two of this fascinating peek into the life of this remarkable musician.

Read part one of the interview here

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What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?

It is hard to get a position in an orchestra but there is always room at the top if you work hard enough and if you’ve got enough raw talent.  One caution, however.  If you want to become a professional player and have opted to be a music education major for some type of job security, fine.  But make sure you have the passion and interest for teaching.  If you really don’t care that much about being an educator and cannot be effervescent in front of a bunch of young people to turn them on to music, please do not get into music education.  The world does not need any more people in music education who are turning kids off to music.  Do something else with your life.  For everybody else, listen to as much music as you can and distill what you like or don’t like about the various music you hear. 

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?

Gerald Finzi (1901 – 1956, British composer) was a friend with Ralph Vaughan Williams. He wrote some of the most heart-felt songs based on poems by Robert Bridges, Thomas Hardy and others.  He was a remarkable musician who never received the proper accolades he rightfully deserved.  He was a simple man but not a simplistic one.  He seemed to have core values that kept him sane after having felt many hardships in his younger days.  I could have learned a lot from him.  A couple years ago I played his Five Bagatelles, originally for clarinet solo and piano, arranged for tuba solo and band by Joseph Kreines.  That was very memorable for me.  

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What do you do to relax?

I am a “foamer.”  That is supposed to be a derogatory term given by railroad people to those of us who are railfans and hang out at railroad tracks and watch trains.  I consider that term a badge of honor.  While I am a member of the 20th Century Railroad Club and the Union Pacific Historical Society, I will spend time hanging out on the Union Pacific West line.  Nothing like grabbing cinnamon rolls from Prairie Bread Kitchen in Oak Park and watch some heavy freights roll through.  We watch the big trains on vacations as well.  Our four basset hounds are perfect foils in case I am practicing or hanging out at the tracks too much.  One place Beth, the pups and I enjoy is the Rochelle Railroad Park.  It is a drive but there is plenty of railroad action as well as diesel and creosote smells.  What could possibly go wrong? 

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If you weren’t a professional musician what would you be?

I still have a passion for being a band director.  I think I would be good at it, but I don’t know that I could do it as well as others who have less “baggage.”  If I was not involved in music, I would probably do something involved with the railroad.  That may be a more romantic than a realistic notion.  I fantasize about being an engineer running a mile-long unit coal train with 18,000 tons behind me going up a 2.5% grade with my hands on the throttle of 24,000 horsepower.  Maybe it is the transportation equivalent of being a tuba player in an orchestra.  The contribution in terms of being a solo voice is minimal but if you provide smart, controlled, massive power, the tuba can elevate the level of the entire orchestra because of the reliable foundation it provides. 


Please join us on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University; 50 Arts Circle Drive in Evanston, Illinois for Reflections,  conducted by Artistic Director Mallory Thompson, and featuring guest soloist Gene Pokorny, Principal Tuba of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra!

Program highlights will include:
Elegy – John Barnes Chance
Gene Pokorny, tuba soloist
o Turbulence – Bruce Broughton
o Over the Rainbow – Harold Arlen/arr. Alan Morrison/trans. Joseph Kreines
Festive Overture – Dmitri Shostakovich/arr. Donald Hunsberger
October – Dmitri Shostakovich/arr. Preston Mitchell

Ticket Information:
Individual concert tickets are $20 each, seniors $15, students/children $10.                                To make these unforgettable performances accessible for music lovers of all ages we offer special group rates to groups of 10 or more.  Call us at 847-432-2263 or email adam@northshoreband.org  to customize your group ticket package today!

Tickets are available in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert.
The box office opens at 2:00 pm on the day of the concert.

For More Information:
Visit www.northshoreband.org or call (847) 432-2263.

Gene Pokorny Interview (Part One)

The Northshore Concert Band is honored to welcome Guest Soloist Gene Pokorny, Principal Tuba Of The Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the first concert of our 61st season!  Widely considered the finest tuba player in the world today, our November 6, 2016 concert, entitled Reflections, marks his first solo performance with the Northshore Concert Band!

Before joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra he was tuba player in the Israel Philharmonic, the Utah Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In addition to playing film scores in Hollywood such as Jurassic Park and The Fugitive,  he is a member of the Union Pacific (Railroad) Historical Society and spends time as a “foamer” (watching and chasing trains) as well as a card-carrying member of The Three Stooges Fan Club.

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Northshore Concert Band member Paul Bauer recently interviewed Gene Pokorny. Below is part one of this fascinating peek into the life of this remarkable musician.

Please tell us a bit about your journey through trumpet, saxophone, and clarinet to the tuba.

My dad was a trumpet player.  I followed in his footsteps and picked up the trumpet soon after I had started on piano.  I started on the wrong foot by using too much mouthpiece pressure and was very tense.  My dad knew this was not right so I switched to saxophone.  Soon thereafter I switched to clarinet.  When I was in 8th grade, the tuba player in the junior high band was graduating and they needed somebody to play.  When you’re sitting in a junior high clarinet section, the sounds are enough to make you start to see dead relatives…and my sounds were at least as bad as my clarinet-playing schoolmates.  So moving to the tuba at the back of the band room was the easy way out especially since it was also closest to the back door and a quick escape to snack period.  Eventually, I stuck with the tuba into high school.  At one point, one of the tuba players in the high school band said he wanted to have a brass quintet play at the Moravian Church of Downey where his dad was the reverend.  When we played at the church, I noticed the choir director pick up a trombone and started to play during the offertory.  I thought he sounded good and I told him.   I found out the next week that Jeff Reynolds (the choir director) had just won the Los Angeles Philharmonic bass trombone job!!  So I started to really get interested in low brass instruments.  I took some bass trombone lessons from him.  I realized right away that I would never, ever, ever become as good as he was on bass trombone.  So I thought it would be better to stick with the tuba.  I took some lessons from him, and eventually he said I should take some tuba lessons from Roger Bobo [tubist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic].  So I did.  I was getting hooked big time.  I started to listen to Roger Bobo’s recordings.  While I was impressed with his playing, my goal was to become a high school band director as a rebellion against my really diminutive high school music program: 2,300 students in the high school and we had 25 people in the band.  It was next to nothing and very depressing.  I kept the playing up but my main goal was to become a band director.  I was a music education major when I first went to college at the University of Redlands.  Everything changed however on the night of May 13, 1973.  A visiting orchestra came to San Diego which some of my pals at Redlands and I attended.  It was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Georg Solti playing Mahler Symphony #5.  That evening made a big difference in my outlook.  I decided to take the plunge and try to become a professional performer and leave the band director goals behind.   I transferred to the University of Southern California, because Tommy Johnson taught there.  He was the final word as far as learning how to play the tuba in Southern California although I still took lessons from Roger Bobo.  In the spring of 1975, I received a call from Bobo who said that there was a tuba position open in the Israel Philharmonic.  He thought I should audition for it.  I would be playing for Zubin Mehta [Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Conductor/Music Advisor of the Israel Philharmonic].  It was pretty easy to drive to the audition site at the Los Angeles Music Center.  The trombone section from the LA Philharmonic listened along with Mehta to me and a couple other players.  Mehta had some other people to listen to in other cities.  I drove back to USC and continued my day.  It was about two weeks later that I got a call from Bobo, who said that Mehta wanted me for the Israel Philharmonic and I should give him a call at a hotel in Italy.  I was on cloud nine.  I gave him a call and I got a contract in the mail. [Gene graduated from USC and then began playing with the Israel Philharmonic in 1975].

What do you enjoy most about your life as a musician?  

While I very much enjoy being on stage playing in the orchestra, I really enjoy playing recitals, picking my own repertoire, and having the privilege of introducing new music, old music, abused music and/or unused music, to people.    I like the opportunity to be able to stand in front of an audience and open the musical doors wide and be welcoming so people can relate to what they are about to listen to.  I think it’s really important to do that.  If you are playing a great piece of music, serve it on bona fide china rather than on a paper plate.  It will make it seem more special to the people listening.  By telling just a few facts about the music or the composer at the time of his writing a piece, you can greatly enhance the perception of how the piece is heard.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Russia and Italy Tour

CSO tuba Gene Pokorny hits a few high notes in warm up before a concert in Brescia.             © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2012

Please share a bit about memorable experiences you have had playing in bands.

My high school experience with bands was very unrewarding.  I learned that it could have been much different and a lot better when I went to several summer music camps.  One was at the Idyllwild School of Music and Arts [now called the Idyllwild Arts Academy]. The band director when I was there was Benton Minor [who taught at the California State University – Fullerton]. He was a highly-disciplined task master who insisted that you always show up at least 10 minutes before rehearsal and that you always have a rehearsal pencil.  If not, you would suffer.  That was not a threat; that was a promise.  There have been times when I left for rehearsal here [CSO], and if I discovered that I did not have my rehearsal pencil with me, I would go home to get it.  It was better than being guilt-ridden.  The lasting impression I had of Benton Minor was the idea of a pyramidal sense of balance, where the bottom register is the strongest and most reliable in pitch and rhythm.  Consequently, the highest notes in the ensemble are of lesser importance.  I heard this idea espoused by W. Francis MacBeth [renowned wind composer] and Clarence Sawhill [band director at UCLA] who taught at Arrowbear Music Camp in California.  I thought that’s the way an orchestra should be balanced.  I later found out that that is what George Szell brought to the Cleveland Orchestra.  Anyway, after my orchestra career started, I really missed playing in band and its repertoire – Gustav Holst’s Military Suites, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Toccata Marziale, H. Owen Reed’s La Fiesta Mexicana, music of Roger Nixon, etc.  The only band repertoire that made it onto the orchestra stage was when Erich Leinsdorf conducted the St. Louis Symphony in an orchestral version of Karel Husa’s Music for Prague 1968, which I remember from high school honor band. There have been times when I have gone incognito in some local community bands either hiding in the tuba section or hiding in the third clarinet section.

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What have been some of your musical influences?

Majors influences (some retired/late) include:

Larry Johansen – taught tuba at University of Redlands when I first arrived there in 1971.

Jeff Reynolds (bass trombone – Los Angeles Philharmonic, choir director – Moravian Church of Downey, California). Influential teacher, hero.  He was my model.

Roger Bobo (tuba – Los Angeles Philharmonic) The singularly most distinctive tuba sound around.  He is to tuba as Pavarotti was to being a tenor. 

Tommy Johnson (tuba – Los Angeles studios) Influential teacher during formative time.  Crown prince of the low register.

Red (David) Lehr (sousaphone – St. Louis; traditional jazz, ragtime, dixieland) I don’t know of a player who plays any smoother. Red is the most amazing legato tuba player I have ever heard, and his main influence was Pete Fountain (iconic New Orleans traditional jazz clarinetist)

Mordechai Rechtman (Principal bassoon – Israel Philharmonic) He could completely control the orchestra with his instrument from where he was sitting.

George Silfies (Principal clarinet – St. Louis Symphony) A consummate musician.

Arnold Jacobs (tuba – Chicago Symphony) had a distinctive sound and tension-less approach.

Floyd Cooley (tuba – San Francisco Symphony) Had a solo sound that offered another approach for me from my earliest influences

Rex Martin (Professor of tuba – Northwestern University) I’d describe him as a young and vital Arnold Jacobs with an amazingly large tool box to help fix playing problems.

Warren Deck (tuba – New York Philharmonic) Is probably my favorite orchestral tuba player.

Larry Combs (Principal clarinet – Chicago Symphony) One of those players who never failed to take my breath away. 

Steve (Stephen) Williamson (Principal Clarinet – Chicago Symphony Orchestra) I never thought I’d hear anyone as good as that.

Michael Mulcahy (trombone – Chicago Symphony Orchestra) The only predictable thing about Mulcahy’s playing is that it is unpredictable. When I attend a recital of his, I know I am going to have an exciting ride.


Please join us on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University; 50 Arts Circle Drive in Evanston, Illinois for Reflections,  conducted by Artistic Director Mallory Thompson, and featuring guest soloist Gene Pokorny, Principal Tuba of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra!

Program highlights will include:
Elegy – John Barnes Chance
Gene Pokorny, tuba soloist
o Turbulence – Bruce Broughton
o Over the Rainbow – Harold Arlen/arr. Alan Morrison/trans. Joseph Kreines
Festive Overture – Dmitri Shostakovich/arr. Donald Hunsberger
October – Dmitri Shostakovich/arr. Preston Mitchell

Ticket Information:
Individual concert tickets are $20 each, seniors $15, students/children $10.To make these unforgettable performances accessible for music lovers of all ages we offer special group rates to groups of 10 or more.  Call us at 847-432-2263 or email adam@northshoreband.org  to customize your group ticket package today!

Tickets are available in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert.
The box office opens at 2:00 pm on the day of the concert.

For More Information:
Visit www.northshoreband.org or call (847) 432-2263.

Musicians & Music

JASON BEAUMONT

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Jason Beaumont plays the French Horn and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2014. He is a Filmmaker/Video Producer and lives in Chicago, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started playing horn in high school when the marching band didn’t have enough horns and too many saxophones, which is the instrument I started on.

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love being a part of an ensemble and kind of syncing up, so to speak, with others in a way that only music provides.

Do you have a favorite musical memoryIn college, I got to play in a pit orchestra for The Secret Garden and I was the only student playing with the faculty brass. I felt like a big shot.

What are your musical influences? Aside from the big composers of the last few centuries, I have always felt a huge connection with the great movie scores of John Williams and James Horner. And as a filmmaker now, that would explain why I’m always trying to shoehorn (pun very much intended) my horn playing into the indie films I’m shooting.

Who was your most influential music teacher? My high school band director, Ron Curtis. He was so supportive, gave great life advice, and someone I considered a great friend.

Does anyone in your family play music? My sister played flute in high school, but I think I’m the only one who regularly leaves the house in a tux.

What’s on your iPod? Let’s just say that it’s a weird enough array of music that a thief would probably return it just to see what kind of person I must be.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Keep at it and it will always bring you joy and a nice stress reliever. You don’t have to go pro to play in very talented groups, as this non-pro horn performance degreed person will tell you. Also, don’t get a performance degree.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? The NCB has both a great dedication to high musicianship and education outreach that I don’t see in many groups. It’s inspiring and makes me work hard.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Artistic. Prolific. Terrific.

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  Remember, it’s not spit that we French horn and other brass players are dumping out all through a concert, its condensate lung water. Big difference.

 

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews of Northshore Concert Band members in this Musicians & Music series!

41 Years of Musical Inspiration!

The 41st Annual Northshore Concert Band Festival of Music, held at the Northwestern University Campus in Evanston, Illinois, is March 17-18, 2017.

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This annual event offers more than 2,000 K-12 music students a unique musical experience by combining developmental performance opportunities with demonstration performances by outstanding local musicians. Over the past 40 years the Festival of Music has touched the lives of more than 100,000 music students.

Highlights of the Festival of Music include Concert Band Clinics, Solo and Ensemble Contest and a Northshore Concert Band concert at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Concert Band Clinics

Full concert bands will have the opportunity to work with highly regarded university directors, all of whom have a great deal of clinic experience, for a 50-minute clinic in a noncompetitive, non rated format. The clinics, which are not open to the public, are informal, with no requirements about the number or types of pieces that must be performed. It’s a unique no-pressure environment for your ensemble to work with and receive valuable feedback from top educators.

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The Festival of Music offers students a comprehensive musical experience. Public and private school band directors may bring their concert bands for a 50-minute clinic. This year’s outstanding clinicians include: from Northwestern University, Mr. Daniel Farris & from St. Charles North, retired band director, Mr. James Stombres. The noncompetitive, non-rated format of these clinics emphasizes education rather than a grade or score.  Like last year, all band clinics will take place in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.  This is a great opportunity for all bands, regardless of age, to perform in an outstanding venue.

Solo and Ensemble Contest

Student musicians will perform solos and ensembles for area band directors and musicians from the Northshore Concert Band, receiving both verbal and written feedback following the performance. Adjudication is available for all wind, string, and percussion instruments as well as voice and piano. Recipients of a I or II rating will receive an award medal.

Unlike other area solo and ensemble contests, the Northshore Concert Band Festival of Music is open to all public and private school teachers as well as private instructors, with no membership dues or fees. In addition, while students wait for their rating, they can attend a free Northshore Concert Band performance!

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Band Concert

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear a free hour-long concert by the 100-piece Northshore Concert Band, internationally recognized as one of the world’s best adult concert bands.

When  students leave the Festival of Music, they’ll have more than a rating. They will have the opportunity to leave as better well-rounded, aware musicians!


Register Today!

The 2017 Festival of Music Instructor Registration deadline is

October 5, 2016!

Slots for band clinics are limited and fill up quickly. Applications are accepted in the order they are received so don’t delay. For the solo and ensemble contest, simply estimate the number of students who may participate. Send no fees now. Payment information and solo and ensemble entry forms will be provided in our November mailing, or will be available in November for download from http://www.northshoreband.org.

We invite public and private school band directors and school and private music instructors  to please complete the online form available here to reserve a space for your students.


What people are saying about the Northshore Concert Band Festival of Music:

“The Northshore Concert Band is an example of perfection in concert band performance. To have these outstanding musicians available to share their expertise and love of music with student musicians in a very positive and encouraging way is an invaluable learning opportunity.”                                                         — Patricia White, Private Teacher, Addison, IL

“The trip to Northwestern University to perform as part of the Northshore Band Festival is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. The bonding done by students while visiting the city and performing together in Pick- Staiger is invaluable to the program. The band immediately plays with more focus and accuracy after attending a clinic. It is truly one of the most beneficial activities you can do with your band.”                                                                                                               — Michael Ross, Band Director, Appleton West High School Bands, Appleton, WI

“It is a rich and rewarding experience for students to prepare and learn from experts in their fields. Add the inspirational setting of Northwestern University and the students walk away with memories that will last well into the future!”                                                                                                     — Renee DeJager, Band Director, Timothy Christian Schools, Elmhurst, IL

 “The biggest advantage for me to come to the Northshore Band Festival is that it accommodates my group which consists of a multitude of ages—5th graders through seniors in high school. We get a variety of experience, and I don’t have to go to different sites to get the same job done. I get everything done in one day.”                                                                                                                                      — Karen Kurtz, Band Director, Westlake Christian Academy, Grayslake, IL


If you have any questions please contact the Northshore Concert Band Festival of Music manager Kendra Gohr at 1-847-432-2263 ext. 701 or festival@northshoreband.org.

Musicians & Music

Meet the extraordinary men and women of Northshore Concert Band who have dedicated their lives to making music!

JENNIFER NELSON

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Jennifer Nelson plays the Flute and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2001. She is a Private Music Teacher and lives in Chicago, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started my first instrument, piano, the summer after first grade. I started flute in fifth grade. The selection of both instruments was influenced by hearing my sister play them. My sister was in high school when I was born, so she played both very well by the time I was hearing her, and I wanted to do that too.

What do you enjoy most about playing? Music is the universal language. I have traveled and played with people in Europe, China and Argentina. Even when we couldn’t necessarily understand the foreign languages, we could still communicate musically, and the expression comes through no matter what the language. Music can bring diverse groups of people together and form connections that are difficult to achieve otherwise.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  On the trip to Argentina with my church, a group of third graders sang for us. They sang the hymn “How Great Thou Art” in Spanish, and they sang so expressively that even though we could not understand the words, we could tell what part of the hymn they were on just by how they were singing it. It was an amazing experience. And one of my favorite musical memories involving my own playing is from right after I joined the Northshore Band in late 2001, just before the band performed at the Midwest Clinic. I remember the first rehearsal that Mallory did with us was the Elgar Nimrod, and I was totally blown away by what she did expressively with that piece.

What are your musical influences? Music played a big role in my upbringing. My mom was very active in getting me to play and keeping on top of me in the area of practice. In the first few years of piano lessons she would hover over me while I practiced and make sure my rhythm was good by whispering the counting while I was playing, which was highly annoying at the time, but I’m so grateful now that she was such a stickler.  Growing up, my parents exposed me to a lot of light classical music; many Boston Pops recordings, Sousa marches, and my dad, a World War 2 Navy veteran, played his LPs of Victory At Sea A LOT.  Today I am inspired by the many great works we play in NCB: the Hanson Romantic Symphony, Kalinnikov Symphony No. 1, Ito Gloriosa, and the Bernstein Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, just to name a few.

Who was your most influential music teacher? My 7th grade homeroom teacher, Tim Dommer, was also the choir director for both kids and adult choirs, church organist, and also accompanied my flute solo for Contest. He also later became my piano teacher. He is really the one who made music come alive for me by getting me actively involved with playing flute in church. This was especially important for me because the band program at the school was weak and I was in danger of losing interest at the time, but he lit the musical fire in me. He was so passionate about music and taught me a lot about expressive playing.

My high school flute teacher, Kathy Brasky was also very influential in continuing that passion for flute, and in college Kay Ragsdale really got me prepared for intense rehearsal situations.

Does anyone in your family play music? My husband, Bruce plays euphonium in NCB. My sister played flute and piano, and my two nephews both played piano, and one also played trumpet and the other also played clarinet.

What’s on your iPod? In the classical section there’s a lot of orchestral, band, and instrumental solo works. I also have Broadway/Showtunes, some pop tunes, and there’s a lot of Christmas music on there.  When I run I often listen to some of the fast pieces we have played in NCB like the Maslanka Symphony No. 2, and the combination of the speed of the piece and the adrenaline rush I get from remembering the excitement of when we played it really gets me moving!

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Make music a lifetime event!

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? The biggest difference is the commitment to the Lifetime of Music concept. We not only encourage kids to keep music a part of their lives no matter what career path they choose by doing outreach concerts in schools, but we act on that by devoting an entire concert to welcoming kids to come play with us and interact with us. We also play outreach concerts at schools to further this concept.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Powerful, expressive, dynamic

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  Everyone always asks “what’s that black thing on the floor by your foot?” That black thing on the floor by my foot is my page turner.  All my music is on my tablet, and that thing on the floor is connected by bluetooth to the tablet and can turn the pages forward or backward, hands free!

 

 

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews of Northshore Concert Band members in this Musicians & Music series!

 

Magnolia Star by Steve Danyew

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Steve Danyew is an award-winning composer for wind, choral, orchestral + chamber groups. He received a B.M. from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and holds an M.M. in Composition and Certificate in Arts Leadership from the Eastman School of Music.

Magnolia Star, a highlight of our fall 2016 concert Reflections, is an energetic piece that was written for wind ensembles.  The Magnolia Star was a train that ran from New Orleans to Chicago with the famous Panama Limited in the mid 20th century.This work evokes train travel with driving rhythms, train-like sonorities, and also uses the blues scale as the primary pitch material of the piece.

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Composer Steve Danyew has this to say about his fun and energetic Magnolia Star:

“When I was playing saxophone in my middle school jazz band, we started every rehearsal the same way – with an improvisation exercise that our director created.  It was a simple yet brilliant exercise for teaching beginning improvisation and allowing everyone in the band a chance to “solo.”  As a warm-up at the opening of each rehearsal, the whole band played the blues scale ascending, resting for one measure, descending, and resting for another measure (see example below).

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During the measures of rest, each member of the band took turns improvising a solo.  Looking back, this exercise not only got the band swinging together from the start of rehearsal, but it made improvisation, a daunting musical task to many, seem within everyone’s abilities.

This experience was my introduction to the blues scale, and I have long wanted to write a piece inspired by this group of pitches. In Magnolia Star, I explore various ways to use these pitches in harmonies, melodies, and timbres, creating a diverse set of ideas that will go beyond sounds that we typically associate with the blues scale. I didn’t want to create a “blues” piece, but rather a piece in my own musical voice that uses and pays homage to the blues scale.  Nearly all of the pitches used in Magnolia Star fit into the concert C blues scale.  It is interesting to note that embedded within the C blues scale are both a C minor triad, an Eb minor triad, and an Eb major triad.  I explore the alternation of these tonal areas right from the start of the piece, and continue to employ them in different ways throughout the entire work.

Another influence was trains and the American railroad. The railroad not only provides some intriguing sonic ideas, with driving rhythms and train-like sonorities, but it was also an integral part of the growth of jazz and blues in America.  In the late 19th century, the Illinois Central Railroad constructed rail lines that stretched from New Orleans and the “Delta South” all the way north to Chicago. Many southern musicians traveled north via the railroad, bringing “delta blues” and other idioms to northern parts of the country.  The railroad was also the inspiration for countless blues songs by a wide variety of artists.  Simply put, the railroad was crucial to the dissemination of jazz and blues in the early 20th century.  Magnolia Star was an Illinois Central train that ran from New Orleans to Chicago with the famous Panama Limited in the mid 20th century.” (images and quote are reproduced from www.stevedanyew.com)

Join us on Sunday November 5, 2016 as the Magnolia Star returns to the Chicagoland area!

Reflections

Sunday November 6, 2016, 3:00 pm
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

 

 

For more information about Steve Danyew, visit www.stevedanyew.com.
To purchase tickets for this performance, visit www.northshoreband.org

The Northshore Concert Band Welcomes Guest Soloist Gene Pokorny, Principal Tuba of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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The Northshore Concert Band is honored to welcome Gene Pokorny, Principal Tuba of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for his first solo performance with NCB!

The program, entitled Reflections, is on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and is conducted by Artistic Director Mallory Thompson.

This concert opens our season of musical “Reflections” with a diverse program that embraces a world of freedom and fellowship. The concert’s driving opener, Magnolia Star, is a jazz and blues-inspired work by emerging American composer Steve Danyew that celebrates the Illinois Central Railroad and the symbolic way that its route brought art together in America.Reflections concludes with two contrasting works by Dmitri Shostakovich that commemorate the October Revolution of 1917. His familiar and celebratory Festive Overture was written and premiered in just three days in 1954. October, the composer’s only tone poem, was written in 1967 and depicts the struggle and triumph of humanity throughout history.  Program highlights featuring Mr. Pokorny  will include Turbulence by Bruce Broughton and Over the Rainbow by Harold Arlen, arranged by  Alan Morrison and transcribed by Joseph Kreines.

Gene Pokorny has been the tuba player in the Chicago Symphony since 1989.  Previously, he was tuba player in the Israel Philharmonic, the Utah Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In addition to playing film scores in Hollywood such as Jurassic Park and The Fugitive, he has played in chamber music, opera orchestras and orchestra festivals worldwide. He grew up in Downey, California, about a mile from where the Apollo command modules that first took man to the moon were built. He studied tuba in Southern California with Jeffrey Reynolds, Larry Johansen, Tommy Johnson and Roger Bobo.  In recent years, he has annually returned to Southern California teaching, playing and lecturing at the Pokorny Seminar given at the University of Redlands.  He assisted Rolling Stones’ trombonist, Michael Davis, in the production of his “Twenty Minute Warm-Up” along with having solo and educational CDs of his own. He has received an Outstanding Alumnus Award and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Southern California and University of Redlands, respectively. Pokorny is a member of the Union Pacific (Railroad) Historical Society and spends time as a “foamer” (watching and chasing trains). He is a card-carrying member of The Three Stooges Fan Club (a “victim of soicumstances!”) and is an avid enthusiast of his good friend David “Red” Lehr, the greatest Dixieland sousaphonist in the known universe. Gene, his wife Beth Lodal (the one in the family with a three-digit IQ) and their basset hounds, (nonmusicians who happen to have real lives), regularly forage from their refrigerator, which is located in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago.  (Biography courtesy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra )

Reflections

Sunday, November 6, 2016
3:00 pm
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

Please join us for this special performance!  Individual concert tickets are $20, tickets for seniors (65+) are $15 and student/child tickets are $10. Tickets are available in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert. The box office opens at 2:00 pm on the day of the concert.

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For More Information visit www.northshoreband.org or call (847) 432-2263.

 

 

 

Musicians & Music

Meet the extraordinary men and women of Northshore Concert Band who have dedicated their lives to making music!

TYLER HOLSTROM

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Tyler Holstrom plays the Clarinet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2014. He is a Private Instructor and lives in Mokena, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started playing clarinet when I was eleven years old. My sister had started playing clarinet the year before, and this was my next scheme to one-up her in every way possible!

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  My favorite musical memory is my final wind ensemble concert as a student at the Chicago College of Performing Arts. The program was incredibly challenging: Ryan George’s “Firefly,” Ingolf Dahl’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone with Northwestern alumnus Sean Hurlburt, Florent Schmitt’s “Dionysiaques,” and Karel Husa’s “Music for Prague 1968” (which you heard at our season-opening concert, Zero to Sixty). It required countless hours of hard work from every member of the ensemble, but the reward was tremendous!

What are your musical influences? It goes without saying that Dr. Mallory Thompson is an incredible musical influence in my life, pushing me to perform at levels I didn’t even know I was capable of and enlightening me with countless new ideas every week. Aside from Dr. Thompson, my musical influences include Charlene Zimmerman (my former clarinet teacher) and Stephen Squires.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Professor Stephen Squires at the Chicago College of Performing Arts. After working with him in high school, I was blown away by his incredible musicianship, keen ear, and outrageous sense of humor. He’s the reason I chose CCPA, and continues to be a huge influence in my musical life.

Does anyone in your family play music? Nope! My sister quit playing once I beat her in chair placements in junior high.

What’s on your iPod? Exclusively classical and instrumental music: a lot of Dvorak, Barber, Britten, and Prokofiev. I also have a massive playlist of all my favorite band pieces, which gets played on constant repeat. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough room for all the music I love!

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Always keep pursuing music! There are always opportunities to play and be involved in music, even if you decide to do something else professionally.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? Playing with Northshore Concert Band was a dream of mine since the first time I heard the band as a child. In Northshore Band, you get to perform repertoire of the highest quality at a ridiculously high level – an experience that is hard to find outside of military bands. It’s also a great way for those of us who are not pursuing a performance career to keep playing great music with great people every week.

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  Fun facts about me: 1) I have an obsession with the aliens from Toy Story (“The CLAAAAAAW”). 2) One of my life goals is to own a French Bulldog. 3) My parents have come to every single one of my concerts since I started playing the clarinet in 2003. They may not have been awake for the whole concert, but they were there!

 

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

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