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



The Northshore Concert Band 12th Annual Silent Auction

The Northshore Concert Band is thrilled to announce our 12th Annual Silent Auction!


Proceeds from our Silent Auction, held on Sunday February 18, 2018 in connection with our Winter concert, will benefit our Lifetime of Music education and outreach initiatives.

Our 11th annual Silent Auction, held on February 12, 2017, was a resounding success thanks to the generous support of the community, area businesses, arts organizations, band members, family members, friends, and others who support our mission!

Please consider donating to this year’s popular annual event!  Gift certificates and tickets from your business and organization will not only enable you to support the Northshore Concert Band, it will allow you to gain new business!


Our 2017 Silent Auction included items from Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Ballet Chicago, Begyle Brewing Company, Chicago Bears, Chicago Distilling Company, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago White Sox, Costco, Dboehm Photography, DD Guitar Studio, DePaul University Athletics, Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater, Fix This! Instrument Repair/Horn Stash, Giordano Dance Chicago, Golfsmith, Goodman Theatre, Hackney’s on Lake, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, iO Chicago, Jarosch Bakery, Lou Conte Dance Studio, Music of the Baroque, Northwestern University Athletics, Portrait Innovations, Quinlan & Fabish Music Co.,, Shedd Aquarium, Spacca Napoli Pizzeria, The Joffrey Ballet, Weiss Ace Hardware and many generous donations from people like you!

As a thank you for your generous donation, the Northshore Concert Band would like to offer you two complimentary tickets to our Winter concert TRULY WONDERFUL THE MIND OF A CHILD IS… on February 18, 2018. We will also acknowledge your contribution in our Spring concert program book as well as on our social media channels.

Follow this link to the donation form

If you have any questions about what you should donate or need help with your donation, one of our Silent Auction committee members would be happy to help!

Email us at or phone 847-432-2263.

12th Annual Silent Auction
February 18, 2018
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall lobby, Northwestern University campus, Evanston
Bidding begins at 2:00 pm!

*There is no fee to attend the Silent Auction but a ticket is required for the concert.

The Northshore Concert Band is a not-for-profit (501c3) organization. Donations may be eligible for a tax deduction.



Composer Viet Cuong

Sound and Smoke is a highlight of our winter 2018 program.  Both the title and concept of Sound and Smoke were derived from a line from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s play Faust, when Faust equates words to “mere sound and smoke” and declares that “feeling is everything.”


Read the program notes for Sound and Smoke here.

Called “alluring” and “wildly inventive” by The New York Times, Viet Cuong’s music has been performed on six continents by a number of leading soloists and ensembles including the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Sō Percussion, JACK Quartet, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Albany Symphony, Gregory Oakes, and Mimi Stillman, in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Aspen Music Festival, International Double Reed Society Conference, US Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, Midwest Clinic, and CBDNA conferences. Viet’s awards include the ASCAP Morton Gould Award, Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Award, Theodore Presser Foundation Music Award, Cortona Prize, Walter Beeler Memorial Prize, Boston Guitarfest Competition, Dolce Suono Ensemble Competition, and Prix d’Été Competition. He also received honorable mentions in the Harvey Gaul Memorial Competition and two consecutive ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prizes. Viet has held artist residencies at Yaddo, Ucross, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and was a scholarship student at the Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab, Copland House’s CULTIVATE Institute, and the Aspen and Bowdoin music festivals. Currently a Diploma student at the Curtis Institute and a Naumburg and Roger Sessions Doctoral Fellow at Princeton, he holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Peabody Conservatory.

We contacted Mr. Cuong and asked him to share with us his thoughts on his journey in music, his 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.  There aren’t any musicians in my family that I know of—my mom and brother are engineers and my dad is a scientist. However, my mother thought it would be good for me to start piano when I was quite young, I think around 5. She read somewhere that learning classical music could make me better at math later on in life! I never really enjoyed practicing, so I stopped lessons after about a year. But I thankfully didn’t write off music completely—when I got to middle school I joined band as a percussionist and miraculously remembered how to read music. Around this time I decided to try piano lessons again, and (surprise, surprise) still didn’t like to practice, but I did discover that I really enjoyed making my own music from scratch. One day I downloaded Finale Notepad and began to actually write down my piano improvisations, as well as some of my early attempts to imitate music we played in band. Since I was a percussionist, I was often counting rests and observing how composers wrote for the ensemble; in many ways, this is how I originally taught myself to write for winds. All throughout high school I played percussion and clarinet in the band program, and composing was something I enjoyed doing on the side. I never really had a composition teacher until I went to the Peabody Conservatory for college and majored in music composition. After Peabody I did graduate work at Princeton and right now I’m now at the Curtis Institute pursuing an AD.

What have been some of your musical influences?  Stravinsky, John Adams, Ravel, Ligeti, Bach, and lots of pop music. All of my teachers and their wonderful music have really influential on me as well.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory?  I’ve had so many great experiences with music, and it’s really hard to choose…I did recently have a premiere of a percussion quartet concerto with Sandbox Percussion and the Albany Symphony that was a blast!

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why? Beethoven. If his music is any indication, it would be a complex and amusing conversation. They also say he was a big fan of coffee!

What inspires you? Listening to the music of other composers and musicians is always inspiring to me. I’m also inspired by the idea of pushing myself with every new piece to try something I haven’t done before.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Every so often encourage yourself to listen, perform, or write a piece that you would have originally thought to be unenjoyable.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band. I’ve been a fan of Northshore for years, and I’m so excited to be a part of this concert. Thank you so much!


Viet Cuong and Mallory Thompson at The Midwest Clinic, Chicago, 2017

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

Truly Wonderful The Mind of a Child Is…

Sunday, February 18, 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.

Musicians & Music

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


Diana Economou

Diana Economou plays the Clarinet and joined the Northshore Concert Band in 2017. She is a band and orchestra director and lives in Wilmette.

When and why did you start playing? 12 years old – 5th Grade

What do you enjoy most about playing?  Being able to communicate my inner feeling without words

Do you have a favorite musical memory? Once during a recital I played a piece and everything and everybody around me disappeared. It was just me and my instrument. When I finished my last note, before the audience clapped, somebody said, “Beautiful”

What are your musical influences?  Greek CDs my parents played in the house as a child, my older brother playing classical music loudly while he showered, my high school band teacher.

Who was your most influential music teacher?  Matthew Temple

Does anyone in your family play music?  My brother plays piano

What’s on your iPod?  Classical music, mostly Orchestral.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Stick with it, and one day you’ll express yourself in a way you never would have imagined.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different from performing with other groups?  Don’t know, yet. I’m new.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band  Northshore, Band, Great….


Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at

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


Musicians & Music

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


Sandy Ellingsen

Sandy Ellingsen plays the Flute and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 1990. She is a college education license officer and lives in Buffalo Grove.

When and why did you start playing?  When I was 10 years old (5th grade).

What do you enjoy most about playingThe beauty and expression of music. 

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  The NSCB trip to France and a small group of us went to England on the front end.

What are your musical influences?  My parents are very musical and I had great flute teachers and band directors.

Who was your most influential music teacher?  My flute teachers and high school band director.

Does anyone in your family play music?  My Mom played clarinet and my Dad played trombone and they both still sing in a group. I have 2 boys and they play trumpet and trombone.

What’s on your iPod?  All different kinds of music.

Do you have any advice for young musicians?   Have fun and practice. Some of your best friends will be band friends.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different from performing with other groups?  The talent in the group and the caliber of the performances is excellent and fun.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band  Fun, excellent, friends.


Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at

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

Karel Husa’s Smetana Fanfare


The Northshore Concert Band opens its 2017-2018 season with some star works of the  wind band world including Karel Husa’s dedicatory Smetana Fanfare, in memoriam of the great composer’s recent passing.

Karel Husa was born in Prague on August 7, 1921 and immigrated to the United States in 1954. He became an American citizen in 1959 and taught composition and conducting at Cornell University for 38 years until his retirement in 1992. Mr. Husa won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1969 and the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 1993.  He died at the age of 95 on December 14, 2016 at his home in Apex, North Carolina.

Dr. Mallory Thompson, now in her 12th year as full-time Artistic Director of the Northshore Concert Band, is director of bands, professor of music, coordinator of the conducting program, and holds the John W. Beattie Chair of Music at Northwestern University. Dr. Thompson had this to say about Karel Husa:

“My friendship with Karel Husa began in 1984 and is one that I’ve valued ever since. His Concerto for Wind Ensemble was the subject of my doctoral dissertation and I had the pleasure of interviewing him in person, having him attend a rehearsal with me conducting the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and his attendance at our performance. Karel was a gentle, generous, inexhaustibly positive human being. Through the end of his life, he would send handwritten letters of thanks to anyone who performed his music, which is unbelievable considering his fame and accomplishments. The Northshore Concert Band honored Karel with the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his singular contributions to the profession.”

Karel Husa was a longtime friend to the Northshore Concert Band.  The following appeared in the program notes of NCB’s November 9, 2008 concert at Pick-Staiger concert hall in Evanston, Illinois.

“In 1970..Mr. Husa was a visiting professor at Northwestern University for the summer session.  The Husa family arrived in Evanston to find that they were unable to get their assigned housing for several days. John and Marietta Paynter invited the Husas to be their guests. This was the start of a lasting friendship.  In fact, Karel Husa often referred to John Paynter as his “Cornish brother”.

In 1996, the Midwest Clinic commissioned Karel Husa to write a composition in honor of its 50th Anniversary Celebration. The Northshore Concert Band was selected to present the premier performance of the work Midwest Celebration, with Mr. Husa as guest conductor.

Mallory Thompson is also a lifelong friend of Husa.  In 2005 the Northshore Concert Band performed at the Midwest Clinic.  After the concert, at Dr. Thompson’s invitation, Mr. Husa attended the Northshore Concert Band’s post-concert party where he met Debbie Durham, principal NCB clarinet…and she asked if he would correspond with her high school theory students.”

Answering the students’ questions, Mr. Husa explained

“Composing is like learning new language. In addition, music writing goes through an interpreter (pianist, quartet, band, orchestra, chorus). This process is not needed in painting, poetry or novel. The painter shows his work, you read a poem or a novel from the writer’s pen.  As a boy I liked painting, poetry and also was learning how to play violin and piano.  I also played tennis, soccer, hockey and other sports! My parents however thought I would be an engineer, building bridges, etc. I enrolled in Prague University {in} 1939 but two months later they were closed due to protests over the killing of one of the students by Nazis. (Czechoslovakia was occupied at the time.) I was {then} lucky to get into the conservatory studio there until 1946.  Certainly my music is influenced by today’s life. We are part of it, and as Jean-Paul Sartre said, ‘We cannot escape.’ I think my music is part of what I have lived through.”

Bedřich_Smetana_monument in formt of the Bedrich Smetana Museum in Prague

Statue of Bedřich Smetana outside of the Bedřich Smetana Museum in Prague

Karel Husa’s Smetana Fanfare for Wind Ensemble was commissioned by the San Diego State University for a 1984 Festival of Music honoring Czech composer Bedřich Smetana. It was premiered by the SDSU Wind Ensemble on April 3, 1984 in San Diego,  The work uses two excerpts from Smetana’s symphonic poem the Wallenstein’s Camp, completed during his exile from Prague in 1859 in Gotenberg, Sweden.



featuring Smetana Fanfare by Karel Husa

November 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Evanston, IL.



Tickets available online at or call 847-432-2263

Composer Aaron Perrine

Tear’s of St. Lawrence is a highlight of our fall 2017 program.  This composition by emerging composer Aaron Perrine, captures the optimistic joy and wonder to be had on a starry night.


Tear’s of St. Lawrence was commissioned by the McFarland High School 9th Grade Concert Band, McFarland, Wisconsin (Joseph Hartson, Director).  Composer Aaron Perrine’s thoughts on this remarkable piece:


Early last summer, my then five-year-old daughter became very interested in astronomy. She read every book in the library on the topic and became obsessed with the idea of seeing a falling star. After scanning the night sky for a few months with no success, she began to give up hope. Fortunately for all of us, the annual Perseids meteor shower—often referred to as the “Tears of St. Lawrence”—was quickly approaching. One clear mid-August night, I woke my daughter a bit after midnight. Without telling her what was to come, we quietly made our way outside. After anxiously waiting for what felt like forever, we saw our first falling star together! In addition to the obvious sense of excitement, however, I couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic, because I knew that in a few short weeks, my daughter would be going to school for the first time. As we watched the stars, we took turns telling stories as we wondered what the next year would bring. Two hours and countless meteors later, I finally convinced my daughter to return to bed. Tears of St. Lawrence was inspired by the variety of emotions experienced during that memorable night.



 Aaron Perrine, a two-time winner of the American Bandmasters Association Sousa/Ostwald Award for his compositions Only Light in 2015 and Pale Blue on Deep in 2013, has received degrees from the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota, Morris and is currently on the faculty at Cornell College. A finalist in the first Frank Ticheli Composition Contest, he was included in the series, Teaching Music through Performance in Band ans his music for band has also been featured at The Midwest Clinic, The Western International Band Clinic, and at numerous all-state, state conference and honor band concerts.

We contacted Mr. Perrine and asked him to share with us his thoughts on his journey in music, his 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 lifeI grew up in a musical family. My grandfather and father were both high school band directors, so music was always around the house when I was a kid. While I always had an interest in writing music, I didn’t really begin to “compose” until the beginning of my sophomore year in college. I entered college as a trumpet major, but at some point during my freshman year, my embouchure changed and I was forced to switch to the trombone. Feeling inadequate for a time on both instruments, my jazz band director asked me to write a chart for our jazz ensemble. While this piece no long exists—aside from the one paper copy I recently removed from my undergraduate institution’s library!—I learned so much about composing from this experience, and was very fortunate to have a director that was so willing to encourage and foster my compositional interests.

I taught high school band for five years in the Twin Cities area and eventually found my way back to graduate school and earned a Ph.D. in composition from the University of Iowa. I currently live in northern Minnesota and spend much of my time composing, but also continue to teach part-time at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

What have been some of your musical influences? A few composers that come to mind (in no particular order) are Michael Colgrass, John Luther Adams, David Maslanka, Maria Schneider, György Ligeti, Igor Stravinsky and Johannes Brahms.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory? I don’t know that I could say that I have a favorite as there have been so many, but one that is quite memorable is the premiere of a work of mine entitled, “Only Light,” which was commissioned by Mark Heidel and the University of Iowa Symphony Band. It’s a very meaningful work to me, and I don’t think I took a breath during the eight or so minutes it took them to perform the piece!

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?  John Lennon. The Beatles were my favorite band when I was young, and I think the way in which they impacted music and society was remarkable.

What inspires you?  Nature, poetry, art, live music

What do you do to relax?  Spend time with my family, golf, hike…

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Enjoy the process and joy of making music! It can be incredibly easy to get caught up in the technical aspects of performing, and while these are definitely important, don’t forget the reason you were drawn to music in the first place.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  The NCB is one of the finest groups of its kind. Thank you for the many years of excellence; you inspire me!


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


Star Wars: A New Hope

Sunday, November 5, 2017, 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.

Rising Star Andy Hudson

On Sunday, November 5, 2017, the Northshore Concert Band begins it’s 62nd season of musical excellence with Star Wars: A New Hope.  This premiere program will feature Andy Hudson, a virtuosic rising star on clarinet.  He will be featured on Michael Daugherty’s Brooklyn Bridge, a thrilling aural depiction of the New York landmark.

Andy Hudson_Fall+2017+image

Performances by clarinetist Andy Hudson have been hailed as “a treat for the listener” and praised for “an uncommon singularity of purpose, technical virtuosity, youthful vigor and a mature sensitivity.” Based in Chicago and active internationally, Andy has performed at the International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest, the World Congress of the International Alliance for Women in Music, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Music Teachers National Association Conference, Constellation Chicago, and regional gatherings of the College Music Society, the Vandoren Clarinet Ensemble Festival, and the North American Saxophone Alliance. A frequent soloist,

Andy has recently performed concerti of Weber, Gandolfi, Mozart, David, and Copland among others. Andy has received invitations to perform at the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Hot Springs Music Festival, and the Belgian Clarinet Academy. Andy was the grand prize winner at the 2008 MTNA National Senior Woodwind Competition, and has also won the Sewanee Summer Music Festival Concerto Competition, the MTNA Southern Chamber Music Competition, and both the Columbus State University and Northwestern University Concerto Competitions.

A fierce advocate for new music, Andy presented at the 2017 New Music Gathering, has premiered and commissioned dozens of works to date, and has performed with Chicago Symphony Orchestra MusicNow, F-PLUS,, earspace, 10th & Broadway, and the Zafa Collective. Andy is currently an Instructor of Music at Northwestern University, where he teaches courses in Music Theory, Aural Skills, and 21st Century Music, and a Lecturer in Music at Lake Forest College. Additionally, each summer he joins the Artist-Faculty of the Tennessee Valley Music Festival in Huntsville, AL. Andy is a current DMA Candidate at Northwestern University, where he also earned the Master of Music degree. He previously earned the Bachelor of Music degree from Columbus State University. Andy’s primary teachers have included Steve Cohen, J. Lawrie Bloom, and Lisa Oberlander.



We know that you will enjoy this exclusive NCB interview with Mr. Hudson.

Please tell us a bit about your journey in music and in life.  I was born into a family with a Choir Director for a mother and a recovering-hippie Bass Guitarist for a father. Because of this, I learned to love a wide variety of musical styles from an early age, and I still maintain a deep love for both the classical and popular music realms! I took up the clarinet and the guitar in elementary school, and I can honestly say I never dreamed I would be lucky enough to still be performing.

What have been some of your musical influences?  I think most often of those who have poured themselves into me throughout the course of my career. I’ve had so many great mentors, people like Mallory Thompson, Steve Cohen, Lisa Oberlander, Eric Mandat, and Lawrie Bloom. I feel a deep desire to honor their investments in me and to pay it forward by empowering future generations of musicians to realize their potential.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory?  There are too many to count! However, one recent performance I found very meaningful was Northwestern SWE’s performance at the CBDNA National Convention in Kansas City. We performed a powerful program of repertoire that dealt with themes of identity, love, loss, hope, and innocence. To share this moment in a beautiful concert hall, surrounded by people I love, was truly stirring.

What’s on your iPod?  A little bit of everything! Recently, I’ve been listening to Bartok, Bon Iver, Kendrick Lamar, Debussy, Brand New, Caroline Shaw, and The War on Drugs. I also love folk music and Americana, but I’m always looking for something new to inspire me. New music is like fresh air!

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?  Igor Stravinsky. As far as I can tell, The Rite of Spring is musical perfection, and The Soldier’s Tale is one of my all-time favorite pieces. Stravinsky worked in a vocabulary wholly distinct from his contemporaries, and his music still feels remarkably fresh to this day.

What does music mean to you?  Music is not meant to terminate on itself, but rather it must be leveraged to enact as much good in the world as it can. While I take tremendous joy in my own practicing and performance, I feel that music is something I can offer the world. It can bring peace or beauty into a world that desperately needs it, or it can provide a vessel for interacting with and processing the pain we encounter. Music can be a tremendous force for healing and for good. As the saying goes: “Perhaps it is music that will save the world.”


What do you do to relax?  I love to bicycle, run (distances from 5k to the Marathon), and hike whenever possible. I find that enjoying a physical hobby allows me to channel the intensity of the music process in a way that energizes and refocuses me. I also try to spend as much time as I can with my wife and two kids! Together, we love to listen to records, cook, and watch movies – especially Finding Dory.

Do you have any advice for young musiciansLearn to love the grind! Music is a process, and even as we progress, we never really arrive. Each day we must strive to be better than the day before, and if we can learn to love the process – not just the results – then we have a real shot to love and make music for our whole lives.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  The Northshore Concert Band is amazing! During my Master’s Degree at Northwestern many years ago (I won’t tell you just how many!), we had the opportunity to perform a side-by-side of “Dionysiaques” with SWE and NCB. The love of music, excellence in performance, and community dynamic that NCB embodied have made that performance a treasured memory. I’m simply delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Mallory Thompson & the NCB for this upcoming concert!

A special thank you to Mr. Hudson for generously sharing with us his thoughts and experiences! Please visit his website at to learn more about this rising star!

Don’t miss Andy Hudson’s solo clarinet performance during Star Wars: A New Hope, 3:00 pm November 5, 2017 concert at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the beautiful Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois.  Reserve your seat today!

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Musicians & Music

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


Kelley Gossler

Kelley Gossler plays the Clarinet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2011. She is a music teacher and lives in Chicago.

When and why did you start playing?  I started playing in 5th grade because almost everyone joined band!

What do you enjoy most about playing?  It’s fun, I love working towards a bigger goal and hearing everything come together.

Do you have a favorite musical memory? Too many to choose from!!!!

Who was your most influential music teacher?  It’s difficult to choose just one teacher! My first greatest influence was my high school band director, Mr. Bixby. He made music incredibly fun and pushed our band to play at a very high level which was very satisfying. Another incredible influence has been Dr. Thompson! She was my mentor during my graduate degree at Northwestern and has proven to be an incredible teacher and role model.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Learning an instrument takes a lot of work! Keep on trying, ask for help, listen to great performers, and never give up! And of course, make sure you’re always having fun and enjoying what you’re doing.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups?  My two favorite things about Northshore Concert Band is our commitment to excellence and the wonderful camaraderie within the band.  

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band  Friends, music, challenge


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