Musicians & Music

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


Debbie Durham

Debbie Durham plays the Clarinet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 1979. She is a retired band director and lives in Mundelein.

When and why did you start playing?  I started playing when I was 10 years old.

What do you enjoy most about playingI enjoy playing because it challenges me.  It challenges me cognitively, physically, and emotionally.  It is the interaction of these aspects that drew me into music as a profession.  It continues to hold this mystique for me all these many years later.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  One of my most favorite musical memories was playing “The FInal Covenant” with John Paynter conducting.  The sheer richness of sound and emotional context was almost overwhelming.  I remember seeing tears in JPP’s eyes.  Just an awesome experience.

What are your musical influences?  My early mentors were my band director, Jimmy (Scooby) Burns and my clarinet teacher, Curtis Craver.  My undergraduate musical influences were Raymond Gariglio (conductor and clarinetist) and John Weigand (clarinetist).  In graduate school, my greatest influences were John Paynter and Clark Brody.  I continue to be influenced by John Lynch, Mallory Thompson, and other fine musicians that I meet through the Northshore Concert Band.

Who was your most influential music teacher?  It is difficult to just pick one.  For clarinet, my most influential teacher was Clark Brody, who I studied with at Northwestern.  For almost everything else, it would be Barbara Buehlman, whom I affectionately called Auntie Barb.  She was my first boss and mentor.

Does anyone in your family play music?  My brother, who passed away in 2016, also was a musician.  He played guitar and sang. 

What’s on your iPod?  I listen to music when I work out so it is a very eclectic mix.  I have Weather Report; Earth, Wind, and Fire; Eric Clapton; Joni Mitchell; Black Crowes; Take 6; The Beatles; Bruno Mars; Samuel Barber; Sting, Bach, Philip Glass, Berlin Philharmonic, Bobby Caldwell…

Do you have any advice for young musicians?  Practice, listen, observe, and learn.  I can’t say enough about practicing.  It is a mantra for me.  Being recently retired I am relishing in the opportunity to extend my practice time and play with several different types of ensembles.  I love listening to music of all types.  It is important to expand your musical horizons by broadening your listening repertoire.  When I go to conventions or clinic, I like going to rehearsals almost more than the performances.  Watching a great conductor work through a composition and the interaction between conductor and ensemble is very interesting and instructive to me.  I always think you can learn from every experience. Always be open to taking something away

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? The caliber of conductor and musicians in the group and their commitment to excellence makes this very different from other groups. 

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band Dedicated, challenging, evolving

Please add anything else that you would like our audience to know about you. I am a retired band director.  I have taught elementary, middle school, and high school band.  I also taught AP Music Theory.  In my retirement, I am enjoying photography with my husband, Ralph.
Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at

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Carl Grapentine Awarded NCB Lifetime Achievement Award

It gives us great pleasure to announce that WFMT’s longtime Morning Program host Carl Grapentine has been named the winner of the Northshore Concert Band Lifetime Achievement Award.

Past recipients of this award include Harry Begian, Barbara Buehlman, Larry Combs, Ray Cramer, Frederick L. Hemke, Karel Husa and John P. Paynter.


Carl Grapentine is the host of the Morning Program on WFMT/ 98.7 FM, Chicago’s Classical music station, weekdays from 6-10 a.m. He joined WFMT in 1986 after serving as the morning host of the classical music station in Detroit for thirteen years.

An alumnus of the University of Michigan School Of Music, Carl Grapentine has been the “stadium voice” of the University of Michigan Marching Band for forty-eight seasons—his voice being heard on national telecasts of sixteen Rose Bowls and numerous other bowl games. In 2006 he also assumed the responsibilities of game announcer at Michigan Stadium. An accomplished conductor and singer, he has many years of experience as a church music director. Currently, he sings in the choir of Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest. He also has sung the national anthem for professional and collegiate sporting events at Wrigley Field, old and new Comiskey Park (now Guaranteed Rate Field), Tiger Stadium, the Pontiac Silverdome, and the University of Michigan’s Crisler Arena.

Mr. Grapentine presents pre-concert lectures for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, and many other groups. He has also performed as narrator with the Chicago Pro Musica (members of the CSO) and hosts concerts for numerous community orchestras and bands. He has been the host for the nationally syndicated broadcast concerts of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra on the WFMT Radio Network, and he hosts the National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis each spring.

Carl Grapentine has been a member of the Northshore Concert Band Advisory Board since 2012. We recently sat down with him and talked about his musical influences, memories, and thoughts on the future of classical music.


Please tell us a bit about your musical and life journey. I was born here in Chicago, but we moved to Michigan when I was 6. My mother was a music teacher and my father was a minister

At the University of Michigan, I was a music education major and played oboe and sang. My initial goal was to be a band director, though I mostly played in the orchestras at Michigan. Then I was considering being a choral director. Then I was planning to go to seminary to become a minister.

Instead, I “ran away to be in show business!”

I started my first radio job in 1972 on the overnight shift at WBFG in Detroit (98.7FM). The next year I started a 13 year run on the morning show on WQRS, the Classical station in Detroit. I moved to 98.7 WFMT Chicago in January of 1986.

As I approach retirement at the end of July, my stats are: 46 years in radio; 42 years of morning shows; 32 years in Chicago.

In addition to my WFMT role, I present pre-concert lectures at the CSO and Lyric Opera and have served as music director for a number of local churches. I have served as the stadium voice of the University of Michigan Marching Band for 48 years, including 16 Rose Bowl appearances.  Since 2006, I have also served as the stadium game announcer at Michigan Stadium. I also host the National Concert Band Festival every year in Indianapolis.

What have been some of your musical influences? My Mother was my first musical influence. She was my first piano teacher, elementary school music teacher, and my first choir director. I still remember the first time I filled in for her for a week as our church choir director. My high school choral director was also very important in imbuing a love and passion for making music.

 At The University of Michigan, it was William D. Revelli. Just listening to his band rehearse was a revelation. I played oboe in his last Symphony Band during the year leading up to his retirement. This included our 4-week tour of Europe and also his retirement concert at Carnegie Hall in May 1971.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory? Oh, so many. Here’s an early one and a recent one:

A 7th grade junior high band trip to hear the Michigan Symphony Band concert with Rafael Mendez as trumpet soloist. Sunday afternoon band concert with 5,000 in the audience–I had to sit on the stairs!

I heard Bach’s St. Mathew Passion at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany in 2005.

Which composer would you most like to meet? J.S. Bach. There are about 200 Bach Cantatas in existence. But there are estimates of another 300-400 cantatas that did not survive. I’d love to see those

What are your thoughts on the future of classical music? People have been concerned about the “graying” and loss of the classical music audience for many years. Not so long ago, Henry Fogel quoted an article about being at a symphony concert and being dismayed because of the prominence of gray hair, etc. And then Henry revealed that the article had been written in 1935. But that’s not to say there is nothing to worry about.

The younger generation today does not really listen to the radio that much. They are listening online, with iTunes and Spotify. But that can limit one being introduced to new pieces of music. I think the most common way for folks to get introduced to classical music has historically been in their school music programs. The reductions we now see in funding for school music are a threat to the development of future audiences.

What music do you listen to when not programming WFMT? In the car, either WFMT, sports talk, or maybe some oldies pop music. We all like the music from our high school/college days…..late 60’s early 70’s is my era – Beach Boys, Beatles, Supremes, Simon & Garfunkel, etc. I was a big Blood Sweat &Tears fan too. Some jazz/big band – I was a big Stan Kenton fan

What inspires you?  “Greatness.” The sense of something greater than ourselves. Greater than our everyday existence.  Greatness in music; greatness in worship; even greatness in sports.

The music still moves me. There are times when I’m on the air and have difficulty with a “back announcement” because the music chokes me up..

What do you do to relax?  I watch sports. I am a big Cubs fan and still a Detroit Tigers fan. Mainly, I live and die with Michigan football. I also read about music. And I’m a bit of a news junkie, too.

Do you have any advice for young musicians?  Learn all you can. Learn from the best–and then strive to do the same. But love the music even as you’re working hard.

Please share any thoughts you may have about wind music.  High school band programs seem to still be flourishing. I am amazed at the repertoire played by HS bands at the National Band Festival – pieces like Husa’s “Music For Prague 1968,” and new music by David Maslanka and Frank Ticheli among others. School band programs are important because they remain the most likely introduction to music for many students. Dr. Revelli and the people he hired in the 1930s and 1940s were not only concerned about the University bands, but also the high school band programs in the state of Michigan.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  I was aware of the Northshore Band even before moving to Chicago. Its reputation preceded it!  And those early years of the National Concert Band Festival gave me the opportunity to work with some of the legends of the band world: John Paynter, William Revelli (again), Frederick Fennell, etc. I think the Northshore Band is a great model to inspire kids. They can learn a wide range of the very best repertory…and they have that standard of excellence to hear.

The award presentation will be during the June 17, 2018 concert A LONG TIME AGO…at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Evanston, Illinois. Mr. Grapentine will retire from WFMT on July 27, 2018.

Audience members will have the opportunity to meet Carl Grapentine at a post-concert reception, congratulate him on his award, and wish him a happy retirement!


Sunday June 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall

Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois


Tickets are $20 each, $15 each for seniors and $10 each for children/students.

Tickets available online at or call 847-432-2263.

Bring a group and save! Call us today to learn about discounted group tickets!

Composer Edward Gregson

Edward Gregson

Edward Gregson is an English composer of international standing, and one of the leading composers of his generation, whose music has been performed, recorded and broadcast in many countries. He has written orchestral, chamber, instrumental, vocal and choral music, as well as music for theatre and television, with his contribution to the wind and brass repertoire being of particular significance worldwide. He has been commissioned by many leading orchestras and ensembles, including the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and Halle orchestras, and has been nominated for both a British Composer’s Award and an Ivor Novello Award. (from

Edward Gregson2

His The Sword and the Crown is a highlight of the final program of our 62nd season. Mr. Gregson’s work evokes the image of an early Renaissance court, viewed through a modern lens. It was written to accompany productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company depicting the reign of Henry IV – one of the most turbulent periods of the British monarchy.

Edward Gregson had this to say about our June 17, 2018 concert:

I send my very best wishes to the NCB and the conductor [Dr. Mallory Thompson] for a successful performance!

A LONG TIME AGO…concludes our season of Sonic Stories.  This lively program includes music that draws inspiration from ages past. The following are Edward Gregson’s program notes on The Sword and the Crown.

In 1988 I was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company to write the music for The Plantagenets trilogy, directed by Adrian Noble in Stratford-upon-Avon. These plays take us from the death of Henry V to the death of Richard III. Later, in 1991, I wrote the music for Henry IV parts 1 and 2, again in Stratford. All of these plays are concerned with the struggle for power (the crown) through the use of force (the sword) and they portray one of the most turbulent periods in the history of the British monarchy.

This work quickly became established in the mainstream repertoire and has received performances worldwide as well as five commercial recordings and many broadcasts. In 2002 I was approached by the Parc and Dare Band regarding their summer festival and commissioned to do a version for brass band. This was given its first performance in Treorchy Hall by the combined bands of Black Dyke and Parc and Dare conducted by Nicholas Childs.

When the Royal Air Force Music Services commissioned me to write a work especially for their British tour in 1991 I immediately thought of turning to this music and transforming some of it into a three-movement suite for symphonic band.

The first movement opens with a brief fanfare for two antiphonal trumpets (off-stage), but this only acts as a preface to a Requiem aeternam (the death of Henry V) before changing mood to the English army on the march to France; this subsides into a French victory march, but the English army music returns in counterpoint. Finally, a brief reminder of the Requiem music leads to the triumphal music for Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, father of Edward IV and Richard III (the opening fanfare transformed).

The second movement takes music from the Welsh Court in Henry IV (part 1) which is tranquil in mood; distant fanfares foreboding battles to come are heard, but the folktune is heard three times in different variations and the movement ends as it began with alto flute and gentle percussion.

The final movement starts with two sets of antiphonally placed timpani, drums and tam-tam, portraying the ‘war machine’ and savagery of battle. Trumpet fanfares and horn calls herald an heroic battle theme which, by the end of the movement, transforms itself into a triumphant hymn for Henry IV’s defeat of the rebellious forces.

We hope that you can join us for the final program of our 2017-2018 season.


June 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.

Thank you to Edward Gregson for giving us permission to reproduce materials from his website.


Composer Michael Gandolfi

Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme by composer Michael Gandolfi is a highlight of our Summer 2018 program.


Mr. Gandolfi describes this work:

‘Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme’ is a set of fantasy-variations, on an anonymous Renaissance lute piece titled ‘Spagnoletta’ that I played on my guitar for decades throughout my youthful years. I chose to write this piece upon being commissioned by the President’s Own United States Marine Band, directed by Michael Colburn, at the time of composition. I intended it to be a showpiece for that ensemble.

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A self-taught guitarist, Michael Gandolfi began playing rock and jazz at age eight and eventually began formal instruction in composition during his teens. He earned his bachelor and master of music degrees from the New England Conservatory and studied with Oliver Knussen at the Tanglewood Music Center. He currently serves on the composition faculty at both institutions. Gandolfi has collaborated with many important figures in contemporary American music, participating in the Composers Conference at Wellesley College with Mario Davidovsky and Ross Lee Finney and teaching composition at Tanglewood with Osvaldo Golijov. His catalog contains several works for orchestra, including Impressions from “The Garden of Cosmic Speculation,” which has been championed by conductor Robert Spano, with recent or upcoming performances by the New World Symphony and the symphony orchestras of Atlanta and Houston. Gandolfi has also written for chamber, theater, and jazz/funk ensembles.

We contacted Mr. Gandolfi and asked him to share with us his journey in music, musical influences and inspirations, and words of advice that he has for young musicians.

Please tell us a bit about your journey in music and in life.  I was fortunate to have been born into a musical household, with my two older sisters studying classical piano. There were two pianos in the house where I was born and lots of music making there. However, I was more interested in the Beatles than Beethoven, Bach or Brahms in those days. I taught myself to play the guitar and formed rock bands in grade school, blues bands in junior high school and jazz bands in high school. I loved to improvise (and still do). I sought formal lessons in junior high school and was fortunate to find a guitar teacher in my town of Reading Massachusetts, Edward Marino, who was also a composer. He introduced me to music theory and 20th-century music (Bartok, Stravinsky, Hindemith, Schonberg, et al). I always sought the most cutting-edge music then. In high school I met William Thomas McKinley, a fine composer, pianist, and professor of composition at the New England Conservatory of Music. I had lessons with him, became his assistant, and eventually enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music after briefly studying at the Berklee College of Music. My other mentors were Donald Martino, John Heiss. Malcolm Peyton (all of whom I met at NEC), Ross Lee Finney, Mario Davidovsky, and Oliver Knussen (all of whom I worked with as a fellow at various Summer programs – Yale, the Composers’ Conference, Tanglewood, etc.). After graduation from NEC my musical life revolved around New York City, where groups such as Speculum Musicae, Parnassus, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra commissioned and performed works of mine. I survived in those days on a few commissions and a healthy dose of part-time teaching at Phillips Academy – Andover. I took my first college teaching appointment at Harvard University in 1996 and later joined the faculty at the New England Conservatory. I also joined the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center in 1997, having been a visiting composer and performer at Tanglewood every year (except one) following my 1986 fellowship year. I was fortunate to have had so many fine musicians and ensembles commissioning, performing and recording my music, starting with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in 1988 and continuing to this day with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. I have had too many fine affiliations to list them all, but I will also credit the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Musica Viva, the Melrose Symphony Orchestra (I also have had very fruitful creative collaborations with community orchestras), The New England Philharmonic, the Grant Park Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Houston Symphony, the New World Symphony and the Cabrillo Festival, as among those with whom I have had a lasting relationship. Oddly, I did not write my first wind ensemble or concert band piece until my mid-career. That piece, ‘Vientos y Tangos,’ was commissioned in honor of Frank Battisti’s 70th birthday and received its premiere under the baton of Michael Colburn and the United States marine Band. They subsequently recorded it and toured with it, and on the success of that piece, the President’s Own USMB commissioned what became ‘Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme. As for my non musical life, I have a very keen interest in astronomy, physics, mathematics, and all things technology related. I am an avid baseball fan, love to read (mostly on Kindle these days, which has solved my bookshelf-space problem), and I continue to gain from teaching my students.

What have been some of your musical influences?  The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Allan Holdsworth, Van Halen, Sting, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, John Schofield, Pat Metheny, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Mike Stern, J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, Shostakovitch, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Ives, Harbison, Bolcom, Knussen, Ruth Crawford- Seeger, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Boulez, Schuller, Joan tower, Donald Martino, Babbitt, Carter, Reich, Glass, John Adams, John Corigliano, Sofia Gubaidulina, etc., etc. I have eclectic tastes, far too numerous to indicate in this short list.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory?  I had a masterclass with Leonard Bernstein while I was a fellow at Tanglewood in 1986. It was surreal. It was a pot-luck masterclass, nine fellows, a visiting composer (Robert Saxton) and Oliver Knussen as host. The ‘class’ started at 5:00 PM and was still going-strong at 2:00 AM when I left. The following day I learned that it concluded at 3:00 AM! Later that morning, 10:00 AM to be precise, Maestro Bernstein conducted ‘The Rite of Spring’ with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. Amazing! I learned a great deal that evening and at that rehearsal.

What’s on your iPod?  All of the Haydn symphonies (they’re ALL good by the way – no weak ones), all of the symphonies of Nikolai Myaskovsky, and all of the Shostakovich, Bruckner, and Prokofiev symphonies, as well as Alfred Brendel’s complete Beethoven piano sonatas. I place these giant oeuvres on my iPhone and listen to them in a loop whenever I am out-and-about. I rotate the list to other repertoire as time progresses.

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?  J.S. Bach. My all-time favorite.

What inspires you?  Notes! Physics. Structure. Beauty (defined as anything that creates goosebumps)

What do you do to relax?  ? I’m not sure that I ever do. I love exercise and long vigorous walks that I do on a daily basis. I used to find playing golf relaxing, but then I got too score-conscious and I no longer found it relaxing so I stopped playing. I do go to the range in the summertime at Tanglewood. I find that relaxing.

Do you have any advice for young musicians?Work hard but engage your mind in whatever takes you beyond the ordinary.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  I have known the Northshore Concert Band to be one of our nation’s finest community concert bands. They set the best example of the heights that can be achieved by applying hard work and dedication to the art of music-making. They also show other concert bands the riches and rewards of performing challenging and wide-ranging repertoire.

Please add anything else that you would like our audience to know about youThat I love life, music, and storytelling. I believe that storytelling is the principal expression of being human. It is what separates us from the rest of the work and art (especially music) is the pinnacle of this story-telling.

A special thank you to Mr. Gandolfi for speaking with us and giving permission to reproduce this material.  Please visit his website to learn more about this great composer.


A Long Time Ago…

Sunday, June 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University

50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews.



Enter to Win!

enter to win single ticket

It’s Raffle Time! All proceeds from this very important fundraiser benefit the band’s education and outreach programs.  Please buy a raffle ticket (or two) to help us with these important programs – you might even win a fabulous prize!

This year’s raffle is in conjunction with A Long Time Ago… the final concert of our 2017-2018 subscription concert season.  While winners do not have to be present at the concert to win we hope that you can join us for this lively program of music that draws inspiration from ages past.  It will be a Northshore Concert Band season finale you won’t want to miss!

raffle tickets


Raffle tickets are $5 each or $20 for a book of 5 tickets.

Tickets are available through all Northshore Concert Band members or by emailing

Tickets will also be on sale on June 17, 2018 in the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall lobby before the concert, beginning at 2:00 pm, and during the program intermission.


1. “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane” – 2 Round Trip Domestic Airline Ticketsairplane

2. “A Night at the Movies” –$200 Gift Certificate to AMC Theaters and gift box with snacks and goodies

3. “Cold, Hard Cash” – $250 cash



Sunday, June 17, 2018 at 3 p.m. at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the Northwestern University campus, Evanston, IL


Bring a Group!

Shared experiences become memories that last a lifetime!


Bring a group to the final concert of our 2017-2018 season of Sonic Stories! Our entire season took its inspiration from the Star Wars films and our Summer program is not an exception! Join us June 17, 2018 for A Long Time Ago…, a lively program of music that draws inspiration from ages past including a performance of Star Wars title theme which, since its premiere in 1977, has famously invited us to consider that which occurred “A Long Time Ago”.

The musicians of Northshore Concert Band represent many professional backgrounds, and approximately half are professional music educators; the rest have a diverse set of occupations. They 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.


Student groups attending a program of world-class music submerge into an invaluable cultural experience that might be out of their familiar comforts and habits, giving them a unique taste of the world around them.

Adult and Senior groups of 10 or more can experience the musical excellence of the Northshore Concert Band at special group rates, making these unforgettable performances affordable and accessible for music lovers of all ages!


CarlG1400x788Carl Grapentine will receive the Northshore Concert Band Lifetime Achievement Award on June 17, 2018 during the final concert of our 2017-2018 season. This award is presented in recognition of a career dedicated to the development and perpetuation of wind music.

He joined WFMT in 1986 and has been the host of WFMT’s morning program since 1996. He gives pre-concert lectures for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, and many other arts organizations. An alumnus of the University of Michigan School of Music, Carl has been the stadium voice of the Michigan Marching Band since 1970. His voice has been heard on national telecasts of 16 Rose Bowls and numerous other bowl games. In 2006, he became the announcer at Michigan Stadium. He has sung the national anthem at Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, and several other sports venues. Mr. Grapentine is a member of the Northshore Concert Band Advisory Board. While his last day as a regular WFMT host will be July 27, 2018, he will continue to work on special projects including a podcast series.


Audience members are invited to join us for a reception in the lobby of Pick-Staiger Concert Hall after the concert to greet and congratulate Mr. Grapentine.


When you bring a group, it’s easy and inexpensive to experience the world-renowned Northshore Concert Band! Senior groups pay only $10 per person and Student groups pay only $5 each! Let us help you plan your group outing today! To receive these special group rates please call 847-432-2263 or email  to customize your group ticket package today!

  • Adult groups are only $13 per person
  • Senior groups (65+) are only $10 per person
  • Student/Children groups are only $5 per person

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall has easy access for drop-off and pick-up!


Sunday, June 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

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

  • Festivo – Edward Gregson
  • Sword and the Crown – Edward Gregson
  • Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme – Michael Gandolfi
  • Sketches on a Tudor Psalm – Fisher Tull
  • Star Wars Trilogy, Main Title – John Williams/arr. Hunsberger


Rebellions Are Built On Hope…


We continue our  62nd season on Sunday April 15, 2018 with Rebellions Are Built On Hope….

This program celebrates the strength and nobility of America, drawing connections between various periods and aspects of our country’s rich history. William Shuman, one of the most noteworthy American musical figures of the mid-twentieth century, is celebrated through three significant pieces. His Chester and When Jesus Wept set timeless melodies from the Revolutionary-era American songbook “The New England Psalm Singer”, composed by the first American choral composer William Billings.

Frank Ticheli’s Sanctuary was composed for conductor H. Robert Reynolds as a symbol of their enduring friendship. The solo horn is this work’s main musical messenger and acts as a tribute to Mr. Reynolds, who was a horn player in his earlier days. If you missed our exclusive interview with composer Frank Ticheli, you can read it here.

Charles Ives, one of the most important American composers of the 20th century, wrote Variations on “America” at the young age of 16.   This piece, originally written as a work for organ, renders the familiar patriotic melody in numerous settings, ranging from light-heartedly playful to powerfully bold.


Commando March, written the year after Samuel Barber was drafted in the Air Force, encapsulates the patriotic spirit of American soldiers during WWII. It premiered in February of 1943 by the Army Air Corps Band under the direction of the composer.

And, since no concert would be complete this season without a piece by lauded film composer John Williams, this reflection on America’s adventurous spirit concludes with an exhilarating piece from the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


Concert Information:

Rebellions Are Built On Hope…

Sunday, April 15, 2018, 3:00 pm

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

Ticket Information:

Individual concert tickets are $20 each, seniors $15, students/children $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.

Group ticket packages available.

For More Information:

Visit or call (847) 432-2263

Composer Frank Ticheli

Sanctuary is a highlight of our spring 2018 program.  Written in 2005, Sanctuary was composed for conductor H. Robert Reynolds.


Composer Frank Ticheli’s thoughts on this beautiful piece:

sanctuary_smI composed Sanctuary for Bob Reynolds. I wanted Sanctuary to be stylistically far removed from Postcard, which I had composed for Bob many years prior. I wanted something more soulful, more lyrical, more langorous. The first idea for Sanctuary came to me while improvising at the piano: a simple three-chord progression. The melody did not come right away, but slowly blossomed out of the improvised chord progression. I love the way it gradually and beautifully revealed itself to me.”

We contacted Mr. Ticheli and asked him to share with us his musical influences and inspirations and words of advice that he has for young musicians.

What have been some of your musical influences?  My earliest influences were New Orleans traditional jazz and Cajun folk music. I grew up near New Orleans. From there my influences broadened significantly as I developed as a musician. My greatest influences were composers and conductors: Bill Bolcom, Leslie Bassett, Bob Reynolds, Carl St. Clair.

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?  I’d like to sit down with Richard Wagner, to try to convince him as lovingly as possible to see the wrong-headedness of his views about people based on their ethnicity.

What inspires you?  Love.

What do you do to relax?  Run, hike, bicycle. I like to move. Sitting does not relax me because I already sit too much in life and work.

Do you have any advice for young musicians?  Keep reminding yourself that all the hard work is still supposed to be fun.

_mhd9535 copyFrank Ticheli’s music has been described as being “optimistic and thoughtful” (Los Angeles Times), “lean and muscular” (New York Times), “brilliantly effective” (Miami Herald) and “powerful, deeply felt crafted with impressive flair and an ear for striking instrumental colors” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel).  Ticheli (b. 1958) joined the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music in 1991, where he is Professor of Composition.  From 1991 to 1998, Ticheli was Composer in Residence of the Pacific Symphony.

Ticheli is well known for his works for concert band, many of which have become standards in the repertoire. In addition to composing, he has appeared as guest conductor of his music at Carnegie Hall, at many American universities and music festivals, and in cities throughout the world, including Schladming (Austria), Beijing and Shanghai, London and Manchester, Singapore, Rome, Sydney, and numerous cities in Japan.

Frank Ticheli is the recipient of a 2012 “Arts and Letters Award” from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, his third award from that prestigious organization. His Symphony No. 2 was named winner of the 2006 NBA/William D. Revelli Memorial Band Composition Contest. Other awards include the Walter Beeler Memorial Prize and First Prize awards in the Texas Sesquicentennial Orchestral Composition Competition, Britten-on-the-Bay Choral Composition Contest, and Virginia CBDNA Symposium for New Band Music.

Ticheli was awarded national honorary membership to Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, “bestowed to individuals who have significantly contributed to the cause of music in America,” and the A. Austin Harding Award by the American School Band Directors Association, “given to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the school band movement in America.” At USC, he has received the Virginia Ramo Award for excellence in teaching, and the Dean’s Award for Professional Achievement.

Frank Ticheli received his doctoral and masters degrees in composition from The University of Michigan. His works are published by Manhattan Beach, Southern, Hinshaw, and Encore Music, and are recorded on the labels of Albany, Chandos, Clarion, Equilibrium, Klavier, Koch International, Mark, Naxos, and Reference.

A special thank you to Mr. Ticheli for generously speaking with us and for giving permission to reproduce this material.  For further information about Frank Ticheli and his music, please visit the composer’s website at

Please join us on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 3:00 pm at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University; 50 Arts Circle Drive in Evanston, Illinois for REBELLIONS ARE BUILT ON HOPE…,  conducted by Artistic Director Mallory Thompson.

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  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 or call (847) 432-2263.


Partners in Performance


Wind & Rhythm is a one-hour weekly syndicated radio program devoted to the music of wind bands.  Founded in 2008, it is the “gathering place for people who love band music”. It’s mission is to build a community of individuals who love wind bands, grow a wider audience for the music bands play, and to provide a venue for band members and directors to speak about their art. It’s on-air and online programming  invite listeners to reconnect with their roots as members of bands as well as encouraging listeners to participate in community music-making.  Hosted by Doug Brown, Wind & Rhythm provides for listeners an opportunity to hear the best bands in the world. 


In September 2017, Wind & Rhythm announced Partners in Performance; a season-long partnership that will feature four adult wind bands. We are honored to be a Partner in Performance with the Dallas Winds, Eastern Wind Symphony and Lone Star Wind Orchestra.

At Fassler

We contacted Mr. Brown and asked him about hosting a music program, how Wind & Rhythm began and what music means to him.

Please tell us a bit about your journey in music and in life.  The profound discovery after having put my trumpet down for more than five years was that expressing music with my instrument was part of my soul. You can put it down, but your soul longs for that expression.

What have been some of your musical influences?  At Michigan State, I was privileged to perform for Leonard Falcone and Harry Begian and I’ll never be without their influence in my life.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory?  On episode #1 of Wind & Rhythm I told my story of sitting in the band room at Michigan State for the first time. I had placed in 7th chair as a freshman and the chair was just in front of the snare drums. When we were asked to play the National Anthem it started (of course) with a drum roll. My head was inches from the drums. The drums were so intense that even though I knew I was playing, all – ALL – I could hear was the drum roll.

Please tell us when and why Wind & Rhythm began?   After I lasted 10 weeks as a music major (ha!) I moved my major to the Communication Arts department and fixed my attention on television and radio. Afterwards I began a career in sound design and consulting and never did more than teach radio production as an adjunct at the University of Tulsa. When their NPR station asked me to create a wind band show, Wind & Rhythm was born in 2008.

Please share with our readers what is your favorite part of hosting a music program?  Helping my fellow band members discover the amazing power of our community. There are over 38 million of us and once you’ve had the experience of playing in a band, it is a part of your character. Our music is the largest expression of classical music. Nearly every listener who enjoys classical music learned to love it while playing in a band. Wind & Rhythm started in 2008 in Tulsa but now is on 25 NPR stations and gets over 2 million listens a year!

I have been privileged to meet and get to know some of the greats in the wind band world and to be able to share their art with the audience is extremely rewarding.

What does music mean to you?  Music is life. In a wind band, you breathe the music. And, you don’t make it by yourself. You have a guide, you work closely with others for a single goal and when the audience applauds, it goes straight to your heart.

What inspires youThis question could be answered so many ways. In the context of your format I believe I would have to say that my mentors inspire me, composers can simply roll my socks up and down, and the amazing dynamics of a live performance, especially if you have the chance to be on-stage can transport me.

What do you do to relax?  I’m a workout kind of guy. Everyday. For fun!

Do you have any advice for young musicians?   When the audience applauds, let it into your heart. They appreciate what you’re doing. They recognize how difficult it is to make music. They want to reward you. Consider how to accept their appreciation.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert BandIf I were closer I would come to every concert. Your amazing tradition of excellence is inspiring. It is an honor to have your organization as a Partner in Performance!

Please add anything else that you would like our audience to know about you.  Because you hear me one-on-one it is easy to understand the magic of radio. It is mass media, and there are more than 40,000 listening to each program, but it is still individual and personal. People stop me and tell me that they know my voice. When they talk to me it is like we’re close friends. It is amazing!

Thank you Doug Brown for allowing us to use information from the Wind & Rhythm website.

Follow Wind & Rhythm on Facebook  or visit their website  for links to each broadcast.






A Lifetime of Music

On February 18, 2018, 47 Chicago-area student musicians will perform with the Northshore Concert Band as part of their annual Lifetime of Music program.


photo credit: Ralph Durham

This celebrated event, now in its 16th year, not only gives the students the opportunity to play side by side with members of a world-acclaimed music ensemble on stage at the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois, it provides them with a lasting memory!

“This was super fun and really cool,” said Victoria Venes, a student from Plainfield, Illinois who participated in this program last year. “I had a great time performing in front of so many people and it was great to get to know some of the musicians, and the director.”


photo credit: Ralph Durham

Participating student musicians are nominated by their band directors and music teachers. Tyler Hostrom has been a Northshore Concert Band member for four years and is a Lifetime of Music event coordinator. “Over the last few seasons, we’ve seen a huge surge in the number of nominations we receive.” He explained that “narrowing down the pool from 200 or more nominations down to 50 selected students is challenging! We do our best to select students of different backgrounds from all around the Chicagoland area. Some students are just a few miles down the road, while others come as far at 55 miles to join us for this event.”

Albright Middle School band director Steve Babiarz said of last year’s event, “This was by far the best outreach I have participated in and as long as I am a middle school band director, I will be nominating students to participate in this outreach. Such a wonderful opportunity for young musicians.”

This program is part of Northshore Concert Bands’ mission to encourage involvement in music for people at all stages of life and assist in the music education of young people. Their 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.


Lifetime of Music, 2017

Mallory Thompson is the artistic director and conductor of the Northshore Concert Band and director of bands, professor of music, coordinator of the conducting program, and the John W. Beattie Chair of Music at Northwestern University. “The Lifetime of Music concert is a powerful visual and sonic representation of the wonderful things that can happen when people come together for a positive purpose!  The students are inspired by the expertise and maturity of the adults and the adults are renewed by viewing the art of making music through the eyes of the students,” Thompson said. “It reminds everyone that beautiful music is magical, and there is particular meaning when people ranging in age from 11-80 join to share in that sense of wonder”

In addition to Robert Sheldon’s Lindbergh Variations, James Barnes’ Yorkshire Ballad and John Philip Sousas’ The Washington Post, widely considered one of the most popular marches throughout the United States, the Lifetime of Music musicians will perform John Williams’ The Star Wars Saga as part of Northshore Concert Bands’ 2017-2018 theme, Sonic Stories, which takes its inspiration from the Star Wars films.

This event is not only a memorable experience for the participating students; it is a highlight for Northshore Concert Band members. “Without a doubt, this concert is one of the most rewarding of the season” said Holstrom. “From the first notes we play together, you can see the surprise and joy on the students’ faces as they think, “Wow, my instrument can sound like that?!” We put some very challenging music in their hands, and they always show up prepared and ready to put this concert together in a quick, one-hour rehearsal.”


photo credit: Ralph Durham

And let’s not forget the families of these talented student musicians. Each year parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings are given the opportunity to see their family member perform on the big stage. “There are precious moments in life when you feel so proud of your child.” said a parent of a 2017 Lifetime of Music student musician. “Watching him at dress rehearsal and seeing him perform at today’s concert are more of those moments.   Seeing him succeed and be part of something special was truly awesome.”

The following students are included in the 16th Annual Northshore Concert Band Lifetime of Music concert:

FLUTE – Katherine Chen (Whitney Young Academic Center, Chicago), Nicole Pearl Gerona-Frias (McCracken Middle School, Skokie), Abigail Kaushanski (Plum Grove Junior High School, Rolling Meadows), Elyse Malamud (Wood Oaks Junior High School, Northbrook), Elizabeth Walther (Central School, Glencoe)

OBOE – Brett Augustyn (Richard Bernotas Middle School, Crystal Lake), Liam Carden (Clarendon Hills Middle School, Clarendon Hills)

BASSOON – Mirian Friedman (Edgewood Middle School, Highland Park), Ryan Zych (Summit Hill Junior High School, Frankfort Square)

CLARINET – Kaitlyn Bolton Shannon (James Hart School, Homewood), Makena Camden (Cass Junior High School, Darien), Ivan Castillo (Huntley Middle School, DeKalb), Marisa Johnson (Beach Park Middle School, Beach Park), Kamil Musial (Elm Middle School, Elmwood Park), Sharon So (Golf Middle School, Morton Grove), Cate Wollmuth (Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, Oak Park)

BASS CLARINET – Violet Czerwinski (Gavin South Middle School, Ingleside), Ben Lehrer (East Prairie School, Skokie)

ALTO SAXOPHONE – Julia Dudlak (Emerson Middle School, Niles), Anna Sheridan (Emmons School, Antioch)

BARITONE SAXOPHONE – Izabela Weglarz (Blackhawk Middle School, Bensenville)

TENOR SAXOPHONE – Akhil Kommala (Lake Forest Country Day School, Lake Forest)

TRUMPET – Owen Burnett (L.J. Hauser Junior High School, Riverside), Madeline Gann (Memorial Junior High School, Lansing), Caden Herron (Maple School, Northbrook), Sam Lopez (Northbrook Junior High School, Northbrook), Logan Murray (Conrady Junior High School, Hickory Hills), Brendan Sunnygard (Sunset Ridge School, Northfield), Anna Tooley (Algonquin Middle School, Des Plaines)

FRENCH HORN – Christina Fetterly (Westmont Junior High School, Westmont), Sarah Fischer (Hinsdale Middle School, Hinsdale), Ilana Friedel (Sunset Ridge School, Northfield), Claire Zhang (Kennedy Junior High School, Lisle)

TROMBONE – Ezekiel Brown ( Zion Central Middle School, Zion), Nathan Frewen (O’Neill Middle School, Downers Grove), Brady Rivkin (Daniel Wright Junior High School, Lincolnshire), Julian Spire (River Trails Middle School, Mount Prospect)

EUPHONIUM – Dyllan Bowering (McCracken Middle School, Skokie), Genevieve Levinson (Elm Place Middle School, Highland Park), Lorenzo Ramirez (Miguel Juarez Middle School, Waukegan)

TUBA – Isaac Fuksman (Carl Sandburg Middle School, Mundelein), Ally Gillono (Nathan Hale Middle School, Crestwood), Nathaniel Stall (Lake Zurich Middle School South, Lake Zurich)

PERCUSSION – Mya Love Griesbaum (Albright Middle School, Villa Park), Margaret Leger (Traughber Junior High School, Oswego), James Presslak (Lincoln Middle School, Park Ridge), Ryan Wilkov (Science and Arts Academy, Des Plaines)


Sunday, February 18, 2018, 3:00 pm

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

Ticket Information:

Individual concert tickets are $20 each, seniors $15, students/children $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

For More Information:

Visit or call (847) 432-2263