Musicians & Music

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


Ann Motogawa

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.

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