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!

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Musicians & Music

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

MANUEL RAMOS

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Manuel Ramos plays the Clarinet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2015. He is a Private Lesson Coordinator at Merit School of Music and lives in Chicago, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started when I was 10 years old because my friends and I wanted to join the school band!

What do you enjoy most about playing? Creating connections between music and people. I think of it in terms of interpretation: You’re using your own musical words to create a personal understanding which you then pass on to the next person.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  When I was 16 years old, my high school took a trip to Sydney, Australia to premiere a Frank Ticheli work at the Sydney Opera House. I knew from that moment I wanted to perform for the rest of my life.

What are your musical influences? I’m not sure it’s a what but more a who! When I was younger I heard a clarinetist by the name of Sabine Meyer and haven’t stopped listening to her since. She’s a German clarinetist who has a career as an international soloist, talk about inspiring!

Who was your most influential music teacher? My high school band teacher, Michael Hutchinson. He was crass, hard-working, and wouldn’t settle for a mediocre performance. His challenging me set the standard for my work ethic today.

Does anyone in your family play music? Not professionally. My mother played violin for ten years when she was younger and my father dabbles in drum playing from time to time.

What’s on your iPod? A large variety spanning from Mozart and Brahms to popular music such as Drake or The Weeknd. I also have a soft spot for bossa nova music from artists like Bebel Gilberto!

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Practicing is never measured in quantity, only quality.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? Some groups have a cap to their limits but the NCB is always growing.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Education, Engaging, Inspiring

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you. When filling out college applications my original plan was to go to Emory University and study medicine!  

 

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!

 

 

 

American Composer Steven Bryant

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On June 4, 2017, the Northshore Concert Band concludes its 61st season with On the Town. This lively musical program features In This Broad Earth by acclaimed American composer Steven Bryant.

Mr. Bryant offers up this description of his work:

In This Broad Earth is a short fanfare written for and dedicated to Kevin Sedatole and the Michigan State University Wind Symphony. Inspired by beauty I witness when hiking in the Austrian Alps with my wife, Verena, the music celebrates the earth, our only home (for now).

The fanfare embodies the numerous threads that have connected my life with Michigan State University over the past decade. Verena was one of Dr. Sedatole’s first conducting students at MSU, which coincided with the beginning of our relationship. I spent a great deal of time at Verena’s apartment in Spartan Village where I wrote the opening section of my Concerto for Wind Ensemble on a makeshift desk (a card table given to her by Director of Bands Emeritus John Whitwell). Over the years since, the MSU bands have performed many of my works, always at the very highest level, and though I was never a student there, I have great affection and loyalty to this extraordinary school on the banks of the Red Cedar.

COME, said the Muse,
Sing me a song no poet yet has chanted,
Sing me the Universal.

In this broad Earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed Perfection.

from Walt Whitman’s Song of the Universal from Leaves of Grass

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Steven Bryant’s music is chiseled in its structure and intent, fusing lyricism, dissonance, silence, technology, and humor into lean, skillfully-crafted works that enthrall listeners and performers alike.  The son of a professional trumpeter and music educator, he strongly values music education, and his creative output includes a number of works for young and developing musicians.

We contacted Mr. Bryant in Austria and asked him to share with us his thoughts on In This Broad Earth, his musical influences and words of advice that he has for young musicians.

About In This Broad Earth:

“I don’t have much to add about the piece that’s not already on my website. I wanted to create a euphoric fanfare and took my time in Austria (coincidentally, where I am at this moment writing this to you!) as inspiration.”
What are your Musical Influences?
“Stravinsky, Nine Inch Nails, Webern, Mr. Bungle, and my teachers, Francis McBeth, Cindy McTee, and John Corigliano”
Do you have any words of advice for young musicians?
“The hours of persistence in learning your craft will bring ongoing rewards throughout the rest of your life. Regardless of whether or not you plan to become a professional musician, continue to make music throughout your life, such as in a community band or orchestra. You will be a happier human being if you do.”

Steven Bryant studied composition with John Corigliano at The Juilliard School, Cindy McTee at the University of North Texas, and Francis McBeth at Ouachita University.  As he states on his website, he also trained for one summer in the mid-1980s as a break-dancer (i.e. was forced into lessons by his mother), was the 1987 radio-controlled car racing Arkansas state champion, has a Bacon Number of 1, and has played saxophone with Branford Marsalis on Sleigh Ride. He resides in Durham, NC with his wife, Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant who is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Music and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Music Department  at Duke University, Director of the Duke University Wind Symphony, and conductor of the Durham Medical Orchestra.

His seminal work Ecstatic Waters, for wind ensemble and electronics, has become one of the most performed works of its kind in the world, receiving over 250 performances in its first five seasons. Recently, the orchestral version was premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra to unanimous, rapturous acclaim.

John Corigliano states Bryant’s “compositional virtuosity is evident in every bar” of his 34’ Concerto for Wind Ensemble. Bryant’s first orchestral work, Loose Id for Orchestra, hailed by composer Samuel Adler as “orchestrated like a virtuoso,” was premiered by The Juilliard Symphony and is featured on a CD release by the Bowling Green Philharmonia on Albany Records. Alchemy in Silent Spaces, commissioned by James DePreist and The Juilliard School, was premiered by the Juilliard Orchestra in May 2006. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series featured his brass quintet, Loose Id, conducted by Cliff Colnot, on its 2012-13 concert series.

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Notable upcoming projects include an orchestral work for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (April, 2018), an evening-length dramatic work for the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, a choral work for the BBC Singers (July, 2017), a work for FivE for Euphonium Quartet and wind ensemble (2019), and a large work to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the University of Illinois Bands. Recent works include a Concerto for Alto Saxophone for Joseph Lulloff and the Michigan State University Wind Symphony (winner of the 2014 American Bandmasters Sousa Ostwald Award), and a Concerto for Trombone for Joseph Alessi and the Dallas Wind Symphony. Other commissions have come from the Gaudete Brass Quintet (Chicago), cellist Caroline Stinson (Lark Quartet), pianist Pamela Mia Paul, the Amherst Saxophone Quartet (funded by the American Composers Jerome Composers Commissioning Program), the University of Texas – Austin Wind Ensemble, the US Air Force Band of Mid-America, the Japanese Wind Ensemble Conductors Conference, and the Calgary Stampede Band, as well as many others.

A special thank you to Mr. Bryant for generously speaking with us and for giving permission to reproduce this material.  Please visit his website at http://www.stevenbryant.com to learn more about this American composer.

On the Town

Sunday, June 4, 2017, 3:00 pm

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

 

 

Peter Lograsso: Fiddler on the Loose!

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Our Spring concert, Giving Voice to the Silenced, honors Holocaust Remembrance Day and Earth Day through a musical program that offers a story of vitality, loss, contemplation, and possibility.

The centerpiece of the first half of this program is a specially constructed “Remembrance Suite” that includes Jack Stamp’s Scenes from Terezin, which is based upon the poems of Ava Scholsova and Fronta Bas, both of whom died in the Auschwitz concentration camp.  Our Suite also includes John William’s dramatic Theme from Schindler’s List, which features one of our own members, Peter Lograsso, on violin.

Peter, an orchestra director, has played the tuba with the Northshore Concert Band for 28 years.

We asked him share his thoughts on playing both the violin and the tuba.

The violin is actually my major instrument, not the tuba. I started playing the violin in first grade after hearing a performance by members of the Cleveland Orchestra at my elementary school. Shortly after that my parents enrolled me in a Suzuki violin program at our church. It wasn’t until the 5th grade that band lessons were offered at my school. I started learning the trumpet so I could be in the band with all my friends. During my years in school I played the french horn, trombone, and eventually the tuba. My band director needed someone to play the tuba and I figured, why not?

I’ve always enjoyed the dichotomy of playing the violin and the tuba. The two instruments play such different roles in an ensemble. As a music educator, I really feel that my experience with both instruments has helped me develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the importance of every section of the band or orchestra. The violin is the soprano, the “diva” of the orchestra. In an orchestra the violin carries the melody the majority of the time, much like the flutes and clarinets in a band. The tuba is the bass, the “rock.” It provides the fundamental sound that everyone else must listen to and build upon.

I always ask my orchestra students, “What is the most important instrument in the orchestra?” Their answer is almost always the violin. I say to them “No, the violins just think they’re the most important!” It’s the bass that is the most vital instrument of all. Without a strong, stable foundation, you won’t have a strong ensemble.

We also asked Peter to share this thoughts on performing a solo with the Northshore Concert Band.

It’s a real thrill to play a solo with the Northshore Band. This is the second time that I’ve had the opportunity. In the Summer of 2001 the band toured the South of France and I played “Highlights from Fiddler on the Roof.”

I have such respect and admiration for all of my colleagues in the Northshore Band. I’ve been a member of the band for my entire adult life. John Paynter invited me to join the tuba section right after I graduated from Northwestern, and I’ve been here ever since.

Many of the closest friends in my life are members of the Northshore Band. We make music together every Wednesday night, but we share so much more.

Don’t miss Peter Lograsso’s solo violin performance during Giving Voice to the Silenced, 3:00 pm April 23, 2017 concert at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the beautiful Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois.

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Be sure to check out Peter in the NCB Tuba’s “Baseball Card” in the Giving Voice to the Silenced concert program book (pp 23-24)!

American Composer David Maslanka

On April 23, 2017, the Northshore Concert Band continues its 61st season with Giving Voice to the Silenced. This powerful musical program features two works by acclaimed American composer David Maslanka; California and A Child’s Garden of Dreams.

A Child’s Garden of Dreams  was commissioned by and dedicated to Northshore Concert Band founder John P. Paynter and his wife Marietta Paynter and the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble. The Northshore Concert Band will perform A Child’s Garden of Dreams at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University in Evanston where it was first performed 35 years ago.  Mr. Maslanka offers up this description of his work:

“A Child’s Garden of Dreams” came about through a commission from John Paynter of Northwestern University. The music was composed in 1981, and the premiere performance was at Northwestern in 1982. Paynter had asked me to write a piece that was the wind equivalent of Bartok’s “Concerto for Orchestra.” This was a daunting challenge but I said “Sure!” The five movements of “A Child’s Garden” are based on dreams of a young girl who, unknown to her, was at the end of her life. The dreams were presented and discussed by the psychologist, Carl Jung, in his book, “Man and His Symbols.” The dreams are about transition and transformation, a prefiguring of her passing. Jung found it both disturbing and fascinating that such dreams could come through a child. I have long been fascinated by ideas of transformation, in this life, and beyond, and my music is an attempt to capture the central energy of each of the dreams. Sometimes there is graphic illustration as in the third dream where animals grow to an enormous size and devour the girl, and sometimes there is a subtle parallel flow of music and philosophical thought, as in the second dream: “A drunken woman falls into the water and comes out renewed and sober.” What is evoked by both the dreams and the music is a much larger view of life and death than we normally have.”

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The program also features California, premiered February 13, 2016 by the California All-State Wind Symphony and was conducted by Northshore Concert Band’s Conductor and Artistic Director Dr. Mallory Thompson. Mr. Maslanka describes this piece:

“California” was written for the the 2016 California All-State Band, and the premiere performance was conducted in San Jose by Mallory Thompson. Music education in California had seen a revival after years of funding cuts, and there was a renewed statewide sense of possibility in public school music teachers. I was asked to write a piece that might reflect some of that new-found energy and purpose. My thinking went deeper to touch some fundamental element of the strength of the California land and its people. The music is quietly and beautifully expressive at the outset, and rises to moments of great intensity before settling once more to a quiet close.”

 

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Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts David Maslanka attended the Oberlin College Conservatory where he studied composition with Joseph Wood. He spent a year at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and did masters and doctoral study in composition at Michigan State University where his principal teacher was H. Owen Reed.

Maslanka’s music for winds has become especially well known. Among his more than 130 works are forty pieces for wind ensemble, including seven symphonies, fifteen concertos, a Mass, and many concert pieces. His chamber music includes four wind quintets, five saxophone quartets, and many works for solo instrument and piano. In addition, he has written a variety of orchestral and choral pieces.

David Maslanka’s compositions are published by Maslanka Press, Carl Fischer, Kjos Music, Marimba Productions, and OU Percussion Press. They have been recorded on Albany, Reference Recordings, BIS (Sweden), Naxos, Cambria, CRI, Mark, Novisse, AUR, Cafua (Japan), Brain Music (Japan), Barking Dog, and Klavier labels. He has served on the faculties of the State University of New York at Geneseo, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York, and since 1990 has been a freelance composer. He now lives in Missoula, Montana. David Maslanka is a member of ASCAP.

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A special thank you to Mr. Maslanka for generously offering us his thoughts on his two beautiful works and for giving permission to reproduce this material.  Please visit his website at www.davidmaslanka.com to learn more about this American composer.

Giving Voice to the Silenced

Sunday, April 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

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

Hear the Music. See the Music. Feel the Music.

When you go to a concert hall you will hear the music, you will see the music and you will feel it come alive!

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It is important that children develop an appreciation of the arts!  It develops their language and listening skills, increases their attentions span, and teaches them creativity, discipline and self-esteem. Taking children to live concerts helps them gain an appreciation for music. They are given the opportunity to see musicians that love performing music! There is an “event” quality to a live concert at a concert hall that children realize and appreciate.

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The Lifetime of Music event, now in its 15th year, is designed to introduce young musicians to the idea that “music is for a lifetime”.  It is an extraordinary opportunity for students to gain the experience of being a part of a large symphonic sound as they join the members of the world-renowned Northshore Concert Band to perform on the stage of the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. It is also an extraordinary opportunity for children to sit in an audience and see other children performing on stage.

This was such an amazing experience. I truly appreciated every part and it was an honor playing with a very well-known band. It’s my dream to eventually conduct a band as great as this one. I hope to come back and perform again!”                 –Alex Damato, Lifetime of Music student, Westchester, IL

This musical performance is a highlight of every season. In this year’s concert, titled Youthful Spirit, students and band members combine to perform exuberant music that expresses a cheerful American spirit with heartfelt optimism!

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The students truly enjoyed everything about the event and were inspired by the dedication of adults to the continuation of their musical journeys.  My seniors involved in this concert expressed their interest in signing up for band in college and continuing to play in a community band in the future because of the experience they had.”   –2016 Lifetime of Music participating band director

The Northshore Concert Band has brought music to the Chicago metropolitan area for 61 years. 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.

 


 

Concert Information: Youthful Spirit Sunday, February 12, 2017, 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. Online Tickets are available here.

Bring A Group! 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!

 

Experience the Musical Excellence of Northshore Concert Band www.northshoreband.org 

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Music Is For A Lifetime!

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THE NORTHSHORE CONCERT BAND CONTINUES ITS 61ST SEASON WITH YOUTHFUL SPIRIT!

In a highlight of the season, some of the most talented young musicians in the Chicagoland area join the Northshore Concert Band for our “Lifetime of Music” program.

This Lifetime of Music concert celebrates both the youthful spirit of our student guests and that same spirit that exists in all of us. Percy Grainger toured the British countryside, collecting folk songs and preserving them on wax cylinders. His colorful masterwork, Lincolnshire Posy, is a delightful depiction of both the folk songs and personalities of the folk singers that he recorded. The students and band members combine to perform exuberant music that expresses a cheerful American spirit with heartfelt optimism!  Our popular Annual Silent Auction will be held in connection with this concert and is held in the lobby of the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

 

Program highlights will include:

  • Stampede – Steven Bryant
  • Lincolnshire Posy – Percy Grainger/ed. Frederick Fennel
  • Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla –Mikhail Glinka/arr. Matt Johnston

 

Concert Information:

Youthful Spirit

Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

Ticket Information:

Individual concert tickets are $20 each, seniors (65+) $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.

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Music is a natural part of everyone. It creates an atmosphere of fun, interaction and excitement. That is why children are naturally drawn to it. If we nurture this ability, music will provide a lifetime of enjoyment and creativity.

 

Students Meet NCB Tuba Players & Gene Pokorny!

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

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

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

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

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


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

Youthful Spirit

Sunday, February 12, 2017, 3:00 pm

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

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

 

Images: Courtesy of Douglas Boehm

Gene Pokorny Interview (Part Two)

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

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

Read part one of the interview here

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What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?

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

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

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

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What do you do to relax?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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