Musicians & Music

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

MOLLIE MCDOUGALL

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Mollie McDougall plays the French Horn and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2005. She is a Band and Orchestra Director and lives in Evanston, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? Syracuse, NY – my grandmother used to play piano and everyone would stand around and sing – I wanted in on the action and started playing piano when I was 6 and horn when I was 10.

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love making music with others and finding what the greater group can create together. I love my friends in the band that support me and l love learning from them and passing on what I learn to my students.

Do you have a favorite musical memoryPlaying chamber music at Sarasota Chamber Music Festival with musicians from all over the world.

What are your musical influences? Gail Williams, Greg Miller

Who was your most influential music teacher? My high school band director, Andrew Perry

Does anyone in your family play music? My sister is a singer and violinist, my grandmother was a pianist and a great music appreciator.

What’s on your iPod? EVERYTHING – U2, Jazz, Rachimoninoff, Mahler, Bach, Beatles, Death Cab for Cutie, middle school band music….

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Stick with it! It gets more and more rewarding and fun!

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? Amazing leadership, musicianship and friendship

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Inspiring, motivating, engaging

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  I teach middle school band and orchestra in Highland Park and have twin 3 year olds and a golden doodle.

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!

Musicians & Music

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

JASON LUCKER

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Jason Lucker plays the Trumpet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2015. He is a Musician with the Navy Band Great Lakes and lives in Waukegan, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started playing in 6th grade because all my friends were joining band, so obviously I went along with them. I chose trumpet because lf the very first note in my favorite movie at the time: Star Wars.

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love trying to evoke a real emotional response from the people who here me (hopefully a positive one, if everything goes well). Whenever I hear a great performance that truly means something to me, I am inspired to try to make my next performance of whatever I’m playing, whether it’s Sousa or Husa, just as meaningful to the audience.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  I will never forget playing for what seemed like 2000 children at a school in Manila, Philippines. We played a mix of pop tunes, jazz, classical pieces, and American marches, as well as a couple of Tagalog songs. But no matter what we played, the kids and their teachers gave a great response, smiling, clapping along, cheering, etc. It took a full two hours to get to our changing room after the concert because they all wanted pictures and signatures afterward. The whole experience was incredible.

What are your musical influences? I have many musical influences, but two stand out. First, I absolutely adore Chris Martin and everything that comes out of the end of his bell. I think his sound is the most beautiful trumpet playing I’ve ever heard. The first time I heard him play, I was in a rut when it came to my instrument, and I was entirely ready to give up and move on to other things. But Chris’s sound with the CSO brass section inspired me to get back in the practice room and never turn back. And having gotten to meet him after a NCB concert, he’s a great guy in person, too. Second is one of my best friends and my personal mentor, a middle/high school band director in a small school in Indiana. I’ve never met anyone who cared about or put so much of themselves into their daily job as her and if I can reach even a fraction of that amount of dedication to my instrument and my career, I will consider my efforts a success.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Dr. Robert Grechesky, former director of bands at Butler University. Not only did I learn a great deal about conducting from him, but I learned how to love band music under his baton. Before studying at Butler, I was very much an orchestra snob and thought little of wind bands and wind band music. But it’s literally impossible to dislike band working with a man like Dr. Grechesky and I’m very grateful for getting to work with him.

Does anyone in your family play music? Not in my immediate family. I have a cousin with a doctorate in church music who plays organ very well, but I don’t see him much.

What’s on your iPod? Literally everything from Ludacris to to Sibelius. Because I’m required to play a wide range of musical styles for work, I listen to just about everything so I can have a good grasp of what I should sound like. Plus, it’s easier to like what I’m playing if I can learn to find something to like when listening to it.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? You do not have to practice on days that you do not eat. That is not an excuse to choose not to eat.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? Everyone in the group is there because they want to be. And because the musical expectations are set high by Dr. Thompson, everyone works hard to be prepared for our rehearsals and concerts.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Fun. Dedicated. Engaged.

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!

Musicians & Music

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

ANN MOTOGAWA

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Ann Motogawa plays the Bassoon and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2000. She is a volunteer and lives in Evanston, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? 5th Grade. My dad was a band director and my mom was a music teacher, so it was just assumed that I’d play.

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love doing something else, apart from daily life, and sharing that experience with others who enjoy doing the same thing.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  One of my favorite musical memories was on the NCB France trip. That first night we played a concert in the hometown of one of the organizers. We hadn’t played together in a while because of the pre-trips and everyone’s travel plans, we were jet lagged, and we had no idea what we were going to sound like in that town square. We pulled off one of the best performances of the trip, and when we played Carmen Dragon’s America the Beautiful it literally gave everyone goosebumps.

What are your musical influences? My dad. He loved music so much and really dedicated his life and talents to VanderCook College of Music, Northshore Band, the Mid-West Clinic, and the American Bandmasters Association.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Wilbur Simpson. He was such a great teacher, had an uncanny ability to pick literature that you could really feel close to, and we had many fun nights with him smoking his pipe (it was the 80’s!) and boiling reeds on his stove.

Does anyone in your family play music? My dad played Eb clarinet in NCB from the mid-1960’s through the 88-89 season. My mom played bassoon in NCB from 1975 through the 88-89 season (and was also Steve Moline’s stand partner!). My 13 year old daughter plays French Horn and my 11 year old daughter plays clarinet.

What’s on your iPod? A crazy mix of stuff from the Grateful Dead to 80’s, Elton John to Taylor Swift. We actually have all our music set up on our home Mac, and have enough music to continuous play, 24×7, for over 6 months. I’m also a big surfer on a multitude of Sirius channels.

Do you have any advice for young musicians?  Music will not only provide you with a creative outlet and something fun to do, but also many great friendships over the years.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? Everyone really wants to be there and is really dedicated to the organization.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Accomplished, improving, inspirational

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  I grew up around NCB because both my parents were playing. For years, Susan Hawes (Debbie’s daughter) and I handed out the programs to the audience at the Pick-Staiger concerts. I earned a ton of medals at the Festival. I went with the band to Europe in 1975. I made Christmas ornaments for the annual fundraiser Bazaar and was there as they played three concerts every July 4. As a kid I also won John Paynter’s “Guess the Number of Keys” contest a few times with the prize of directing a march! NCB has always been in my life and I’m glad that I have been able to give back to it through the years by developing programs like Lifetime of Music and the Kickstarter campaign.

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!

NCB Award Winners

Each year The Board of Directors and Artistic Director of the Northshore Concert Band recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the success of the NCB.

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At our June 4, 2017 concert, three Northshore Concert Band members were honored for their service, leadership and musical contributions.

The Director’s Award, given by Artistic Director and Conductor Dr. Mallory Thompson, is “for musical leadership, professionalism and contribution to the Northshore Concert Band”.

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This award was given to Sara Farster and Melaine Pohlman. Dr. Thompson described these two talented musicians as “making each other better by playing together”. Sara is a band director from Grayslake and has been a Northshore Concert Band member for 7 years.  Melaine is a music therapist from Geneva and has been with the Northshore Concert Band for 13 years.

Past recipients of this award include Kendra Gohr, Candi Horton, Carey Polacek, Chris Rasmussen, and Amy Strong.

NCB Board chair Peter Gotsch awarded Traci Bowering The Ernst W. Kettnich Award “in recognition and appreciation of a lifetime of leadership and distinguished service on behalf of the Northshore Concert Band”.  Traci is a band director and lives in Skokie. She is the coordinator of the annual Northshore Concert Band Lifetime of Music event and has been with NCB for 26 years.

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Past recipients of this award are Judy Athmejvar, Jim Barkow, Ann Betz, Paul Bolman, Barbara Buehlman, Kathy Cargill, O. DeLap Premo, Debbie Durham, Richard Faller, Betty Garrett, Nancy Golden, Peter Gotsch, John Harshey, Chuck Hawes, Debbie Hawes, Nancy Hinners, Janet Jesse, Ernie Kettnich, Gilbert Krulee, Mary Ann Loda, Dennis Montgomery, John P. Paynter, Carol Scattergood, Janet Schroeder, David Shaw, Barry Skolnik, and Barb Zeleny.


Past recipients of three additional awards are as follows:

The Barbara Buehlman Distinguished Service Award is given “for the contribution of creative individual leadership and service to the Northshore Concert Band towards its goal of musical excellence” – Nancy Golden, Dennis Montgomery, Laura Stibich, and David Zyer.

The 50th Anniversary Award is given “to recognize 50 years of membership in the Northshore Concert Band” –  Janet Schroeder and Debbie Hawes

The Lifetime Achievement Award is given “in recognition of a career dedicated to the development and perpetuation of wind music” – Harry Begian, Barbara Buehlman, Larry Combs and Ray Cramer.

Congratulations to all of our award winners and thank you for your service, leadership and contributions to the musical excellence of the Northshore Concert Band!

 

 

 

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.

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!

RICHARD LEHMAN

Rich Lehman

Richard Lehman plays Percussion and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2005. He is a Band Director and lives in Chicago, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started playing in 4th grade at the age of 9; I picked percussion because I annoyed my sister by banging on the dinner table with the silverware.

What do you enjoy most about playing? What we do is intensely personal and over time we have a concert it is a gift that we the musicians get to give the audience. Giving that gift to others is what I love most about playing.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  Being a music teacher there are quite a few I get to choose from, but one of my highlights is getting to guest conduct the Pennsylvania District 8 Honor Band.

What are your musical influences? I love the music of the Big Band era and composers like Barber, Bernstein, Copland and Gershwin.

Who was your most influential music teacher? That’s difficult because I believe each teacher I’ve had the honor of studying with has helped shape me into the teacher I am today. Dr. Thompson helped push me into being a better musician and not settling for being adequate and it’s a blessing to rehearse with her each week. My colleague and friend, Terry Melbourn has taught me (and continues to teach me) how to be an outstanding middle school band director.

Does anyone in your family play music? My mom plays the organ and piano and my sister plays the piano. If you ask my father what he plays, he will respond by saying, “the radio.”

What’s on your iPod? A lot of podcasts ranging from Radical with David Platt to This American Life.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Anything in life that is worthwhile takes time and commitment.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? It’s the level of playing and life experiences that each member brings to the music that makes it better than other groups I’ve had the chance to perform with.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Inspirational, Dedicated and Giving

 

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!

The Association of Concert Bands Journal Featured Band!

We are thrilled to be featured in the Member Band Spotlight column in the latest issue of the Association of Concert Bands Journal!

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The Association of Concert Band’s mission is to foster excellence in Concert Band music through performance, education and advocacy.  It publishes The ACB Journal three times per year and, while it is available to members only, the ACB has kindly given us permission to reprint the June Member Band Spotlight column which features the Northshore Concert Band.

ACB JOURNAL, JUNE 2016

MEMBER BAND SPOTLIGHT

The Northshore Concert Band (“NCB”) is a 100-member symphonic band that performs throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. Now in its 60th season, NCB has become internationally known and respected for its musical excellence, leadership in community music, and service to music education.  Northshore Concert Band’s musical leadership is provided by Artistic Director, Dr. Mallory Thompson, and Assistant Conductor Daniel Farris.  Dr. Thompson first conducted the Northshore Concert Band in April 1999 and was named principal guest conductor that same season.  In 2003, Dr. Thompson accepted an expanded role as NCB’s artistic director.  NCB was founded in 1956 and led for 40 years by the late John P. Paynter, who was director of bands at Northwestern University, an accomplished arranger, and president of many band organizations, including the Midwest Clinic and the American Bandmasters Association.

Highlights of NCB’s 60-year history include being the first group to receive the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Silver Scroll, performance and clinician appearances at the Midwest Clinic, performing with the Chicago Symphony Chorus at Orchestra Hall, and many appearances at band festivals and conferences throughout the United States and Europe.  Additional highlights include performances with internationally-renowned guest artists including: The Chicago Symphony Horn Quartet, Dale Clevenger, Larry Combs, Adolph “Bud” Herseth, Christopher Martin, Wynton Marsalis, Allen Vizzutti and William Warfield.  Performances with prominent guest conductors include Eugene Migliaro Corporon, Frederick Fennell, Karel Husa, Donald Hunsberger, H. Robert Reynolds, and John Whitwell.

NCB has commissioned nine new works for wind band and has released eight recordings on CD.  In 2003, Meredith Music Publishers released a book by Dr. William Carson entitled On the Path to Excellence: The Northshore Concert Band, Paynter, Buehlman and Beyond.  In 2011, Chicago classical radio station, 98.7 WFMT, broadcast two programs of live performances from NCB’s concert series at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

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Throughout its history, NCB has promoted the development of community bands.  This has been accomplished through performances, recordings, the sponsorship of three adult band conferences, and publication of The Community Band: A Manuel of Organization and Operation, which has been used to start or improve many community bands in the United States. (See www.northshoreband.org/resources for more information.)

Performance and Recordings

Northshore Concert Band performs 12-15 concerts a year in the Chicago metropolitan area, reaching over 20,000 people.  These include a concert series at Northwestern University’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, educational outreach programs at area schools, many summer concerts at the invitation of various communities and venues, and professional band festivals and conferences.

NCB has produced eight CD’s and receives playtime on Chicago’s classical music station WFMT, among others.  The band has also toured in Canada and Europe and extensively throughout the United States.

The Northshore Concert Band Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1866

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As the ACB Journal goes to press, the NCB is preparing for their concert Liberty and Justice For All.  This concert pays tribute to the 150th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and is dedicated to the men and women who led and continue to lead the fight for equality.  It features two moving musical tributes to the Civil Rights Movement. Adolphus Hailstork’s American Guernica was composed in memory of the four young girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963.  Mark Camphouse pays tribute to the venerable Rosa Parks and her peaceful and dignified act of defiance in A Movement for Rosa.  Program highlights include: Liberty Fanfare – John Williams/arr. Jay Bocook, American Guernica – Adolphus Hailstork, A Movement for Rosa – Mark Camphouse, Candide Suite – Leonard Bernstein/arr. Clare Grundman.

Northshore Concert Band Education and Community Outreach

Part of the mission of the Northshore Concert Band is “to assist in the music education of young people – the future generation of adult musicians.” They believe fervently in the concept of a “lifetime of music” and that it begins with young people displaying their musical talents.

Here are just a few examples of how NCB enriches the lives of music students and residents of Chicagoland with high-quality education and outreach initiatives.

Lifetime of Music Initiative

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Since 2003, dozens of outstanding Chicago-area school musicians have been invited to join NCB on stage for its Winter concert each season.  This program aims to provide a rewarding musical experience to young musicians as well as expose them to the performance opportunities that await them beyond college, whether or not they choose to pursue music as a career.

“The Lifetime of Music concert is a great example of an event that all students can feel welcome at, but is challenging enough that it will raise their skill level in music beyond what they’re normally capable of.”                                     -George Stedman, Lifetime of Music student, Wauconda, IL

This year’s Lifetime of Music concert was held on Sunday, January 31, 2016.

Festival of Music – 40th Year

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2016 marks the 40th Anniversary of Northshore Concert Band’s Festival of Music.  This annual three-day event offers more than 2,000 K-12 music students a unique musical experience by combining developmental performance opportunities with demonstrational performances by outstanding local musicians.  Over the past 39 years the Festival of Music has touched the lives of more than 100,000 music students.

This annual three-day event held at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, includes solo and ensemble contests, band clinics, a master class and recital and a performance by the Northshore Concert Band.

One of the highlights of this event is the Solo and Ensemble Contests.  Student musicians perform solos and small ensembles for critique and ratings by professional judges.  Judges are professional music educators, many from within the Northshore Concert Band, who provide supportive oral and written feedback following the performance.  This year’s solo and ensemble events included 688 solos (318 piano and approximately 100 strings) and 73 student musician ensembles.

Full concert bands have the opportunity to work with highly regarded university directors in the Festival’s Band Clinic’s.  22 bands participated in this year’s intensive 50-minute clinics.  The noncompetitive, non-rated format of these clinics emphasized education rather that a grade or score.

The final day of this year’s Festival of Music began with a Master Class on Musicianship.  Principal players from the Northshore Concert Band presented this class for students on all band instruments.  This class addressed principles of tone production, breath control, development of technique, performance anxiety, ensemble etiquette, and other topics.  It was followed by a recital in which members of the Northshore Concert Band performed solo and ensemble performances for band and orchestra instruments, piano and voice.  This event provided students with excellent models of musicianship and engaging repertoire.

The Festival of Music culminated with an hour-long concert presented by the Northshore Concert Band at the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the Northwestern University campus.  This free concert was open to all students, teachers, parents and family members.

“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, Festival of Music, Addison, IL

“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 will into the future!”-Renee DeJager, Band Director, Festival of Music,                                                                                                     Timothy Christin Schools, Elmhurst, IL

 

If you would like information regarding the 2017 Northshore Concert Band Festival of Music, or you would like to be put on the mailing list, please call our Festival of Music Manager, Kendra Gohr at (847) 432-2263, ext. 701 or email her at festival@northshoreband.org.

The contents of this article was reproduced with the permission of the Association of Concert Bands. For more information about the Association of Concert Bands please visit their website at www.acbands.org.

 

Image credit: Ralph Durham

Musicians & Music

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

KRISTEN HANNA

Kristen Hanna

Kristen Hanna plays the Flute and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2012. She is a Band Director and lives in Park Ridge, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started playing the flute in the fifth grade. I am the third generation flutist in my family following in the footsteps of my grandfather and my uncle. I grew up hearing the flute and always knew that I wanted to play it as well.

What do you enjoy most about playing? Music is my passion, and I love playing the flute! When I am making music my instrument is an extension of me. Being a musician is a very special thing because making music allows us to express ourselves in a very unique way.

Who was your most influential music teacher? I have had many music teachers since 1990, and three of them have influenced me tremendously. They are, Barbara Saks (my very private flute teacher), and Doug Schuler & Bob Rzeszutko (my junior high band directors). All three of them encouraged me, challenged me, and supported me. I am proud to now be able to call them colleagues.

Does anyone in your family play music? Both of my brothers still actively play the instruments that they started in the fifth grade too!

What’s on your iPod? I love singer songwriters, and my favorites are Carole King, James Taylor, Sara Bareilles, Ben Folds, and Simon and Garfunkel.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Keep music a part of your life for your lifetime! Whether it’s being a performing musician or an audience member, keep it with you.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? All of the musicians in the NCB are there because they love their instrument and their life wouldn’t feel complete without being able to play their instrument in an ensemble. That is special.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Challenging, Engaging, Necessary

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  I teach middle school band, and I enjoy spending time outdoors with my husband and daughter.

 

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

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!

KYLE RHOADES

kyle rhoades

Kyle Rhoades plays the Trumpet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2010. He is a Band Director and lives in Oak Park. Kyle is also Northshore Concert Band’s librarian.

When and why did you start playing? 4th Grade – joined band and picked trumpet because that’s what Dad played.

What do you enjoy most about playing? The social aspect – lots of people coming together to produce something so much more interesting.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  British Brass Band at the University of Illinois – haven’t played like that since.

What are your musical influences? Sergei Nakariakov, Fennell, Bernstein, etc., etc., etc.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Brayer Teague – Music Department Chair at Downers North HS

Does anyone in your family play music? My brother (Keith) plays French Horn

What’s on your iPod? NCB reference recordings and anything that helps me get off my butt and run a little quicker.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Stick with it! No quitting.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different from performing with other groups? There are dozens of community groups out there who all succeed in their own ways. NCB has such a high level of leadership, organization, and musicianship when compared to most – that’s what keeps people coming back.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Profound, Entertaining, Traditional


 

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

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