Musicians & Music

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

DANIEL DICESARE

Daniel DiCesare

Daniel DiCesare plays the Trombone and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2013. He is a Private Music Teacher and lives in Chicago, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing?  Both my father and grandfather were amateur jazz drummers, so I joined the fifth grade band because I wanted to be a drummer like them. Of course, I hadn’t told anyone that’s why I was joining, otherwise someone might have warned me that grade school concert bands don’t play jazz. But I stuck with it anyway, and got steered toward playing tuba. I picked up trombone in high school, so that I could join the jazz program there, thus it all worked out in the end.

What do you enjoy most about playing?  I’m creating something beautiful, and that always feels special to me.

Do you have a favorite musical memory? Performing with Quincy Jones and his hand-picked guest soloists at the Montreux Jazz Festival.

What are your musical influences?  Too many to list! Ranging from the rock group The Who to Renaissance music.

Who was your most influential music teacher?  Jim Warrick, my high school jazz director. He always seemed to be having so much fun! But working with him wasn’t just goofing around (although there was plenty of that,) it was him showing us that working hard at something, and constantly looking to improve at it, made it more fun, not less.

Does anyone in your family play music?  My wife plays bassoon, and my father plays drum set and vibes.

What’s on your iPod?  About a dozen obscure jazz albums, highlighted by The Complete Aladdin Sessions of Lester Young.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Listen to as much music as you can, of as wide a variety as you can. Listen, and imitate what you hear, because that’s where it all began.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups?  It’s an amateur group with a professional atmosphere. I like that fact that the standards are very high even though the stakes are low. I’ve played professionally for years, but still feel like I have to bring my best stuff every Wednesday night so I don’t let my friends down.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band   Friends Making Music

Please add anything else that you would like our audience to know about you.   I teach lessons to students of all ages at reasonable rates.

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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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)!