Carl Grapentine Awarded NCB Lifetime Achievement Award

It gives us great pleasure to announce that WFMT’s longtime Morning Program host Carl Grapentine has been named the winner of the Northshore Concert Band Lifetime Achievement Award.

Past recipients of this award include Harry Begian, Barbara Buehlman, Larry Combs, Ray Cramer, Frederick L. Hemke, Karel Husa and John P. Paynter.

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Carl Grapentine is the host of the Morning Program on WFMT/ 98.7 FM, Chicago’s Classical music station, weekdays from 6-10 a.m. He joined WFMT in 1986 after serving as the morning host of the classical music station in Detroit for thirteen years.

An alumnus of the University of Michigan School Of Music, Carl Grapentine has been the “stadium voice” of the University of Michigan Marching Band for forty-eight seasons—his voice being heard on national telecasts of sixteen Rose Bowls and numerous other bowl games. In 2006 he also assumed the responsibilities of game announcer at Michigan Stadium. An accomplished conductor and singer, he has many years of experience as a church music director. Currently, he sings in the choir of Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest. He also has sung the national anthem for professional and collegiate sporting events at Wrigley Field, old and new Comiskey Park (now Guaranteed Rate Field), Tiger Stadium, the Pontiac Silverdome, and the University of Michigan’s Crisler Arena.

Mr. Grapentine presents pre-concert lectures for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, and many other groups. He has also performed as narrator with the Chicago Pro Musica (members of the CSO) and hosts concerts for numerous community orchestras and bands. He has been the host for the nationally syndicated broadcast concerts of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra on the WFMT Radio Network, and he hosts the National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis each spring.

Carl Grapentine has been a member of the Northshore Concert Band Advisory Board since 2012. We recently sat down with him and talked about his musical influences, memories, and thoughts on the future of classical music.

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Please tell us a bit about your musical and life journey. I was born here in Chicago, but we moved to Michigan when I was 6. My mother was a music teacher and my father was a minister

At the University of Michigan, I was a music education major and played oboe and sang. My initial goal was to be a band director, though I mostly played in the orchestras at Michigan. Then I was considering being a choral director. Then I was planning to go to seminary to become a minister.

Instead, I “ran away to be in show business!”

I started my first radio job in 1972 on the overnight shift at WBFG in Detroit (98.7FM). The next year I started a 13 year run on the morning show on WQRS, the Classical station in Detroit. I moved to 98.7 WFMT Chicago in January of 1986.

As I approach retirement at the end of July, my stats are: 46 years in radio; 42 years of morning shows; 32 years in Chicago.

In addition to my WFMT role, I present pre-concert lectures at the CSO and Lyric Opera and have served as music director for a number of local churches. I have served as the stadium voice of the University of Michigan Marching Band for 48 years, including 16 Rose Bowl appearances.  Since 2006, I have also served as the stadium game announcer at Michigan Stadium. I also host the National Concert Band Festival every year in Indianapolis.

What have been some of your musical influences? My Mother was my first musical influence. She was my first piano teacher, elementary school music teacher, and my first choir director. I still remember the first time I filled in for her for a week as our church choir director. My high school choral director was also very important in imbuing a love and passion for making music.

 At The University of Michigan, it was William D. Revelli. Just listening to his band rehearse was a revelation. I played oboe in his last Symphony Band during the year leading up to his retirement. This included our 4-week tour of Europe and also his retirement concert at Carnegie Hall in May 1971.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory? Oh, so many. Here’s an early one and a recent one:

A 7th grade junior high band trip to hear the Michigan Symphony Band concert with Rafael Mendez as trumpet soloist. Sunday afternoon band concert with 5,000 in the audience–I had to sit on the stairs!

I heard Bach’s St. Mathew Passion at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany in 2005.

Which composer would you most like to meet? J.S. Bach. There are about 200 Bach Cantatas in existence. But there are estimates of another 300-400 cantatas that did not survive. I’d love to see those

What are your thoughts on the future of classical music? People have been concerned about the “graying” and loss of the classical music audience for many years. Not so long ago, Henry Fogel quoted an article about being at a symphony concert and being dismayed because of the prominence of gray hair, etc. And then Henry revealed that the article had been written in 1935. But that’s not to say there is nothing to worry about.

The younger generation today does not really listen to the radio that much. They are listening online, with iTunes and Spotify. But that can limit one being introduced to new pieces of music. I think the most common way for folks to get introduced to classical music has historically been in their school music programs. The reductions we now see in funding for school music are a threat to the development of future audiences.

What music do you listen to when not programming WFMT? In the car, either WFMT, sports talk, or maybe some oldies pop music. We all like the music from our high school/college days…..late 60’s early 70’s is my era – Beach Boys, Beatles, Supremes, Simon & Garfunkel, etc. I was a big Blood Sweat &Tears fan too. Some jazz/big band – I was a big Stan Kenton fan

What inspires you?  “Greatness.” The sense of something greater than ourselves. Greater than our everyday existence.  Greatness in music; greatness in worship; even greatness in sports.

The music still moves me. There are times when I’m on the air and have difficulty with a “back announcement” because the music chokes me up..

What do you do to relax?  I watch sports. I am a big Cubs fan and still a Detroit Tigers fan. Mainly, I live and die with Michigan football. I also read about music. And I’m a bit of a news junkie, too.

Do you have any advice for young musicians?  Learn all you can. Learn from the best–and then strive to do the same. But love the music even as you’re working hard.

Please share any thoughts you may have about wind music.  High school band programs seem to still be flourishing. I am amazed at the repertoire played by HS bands at the National Band Festival – pieces like Husa’s “Music For Prague 1968,” and new music by David Maslanka and Frank Ticheli among others. School band programs are important because they remain the most likely introduction to music for many students. Dr. Revelli and the people he hired in the 1930s and 1940s were not only concerned about the University bands, but also the high school band programs in the state of Michigan.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  I was aware of the Northshore Band even before moving to Chicago. Its reputation preceded it!  And those early years of the National Concert Band Festival gave me the opportunity to work with some of the legends of the band world: John Paynter, William Revelli (again), Frederick Fennell, etc. I think the Northshore Band is a great model to inspire kids. They can learn a wide range of the very best repertory…and they have that standard of excellence to hear.


The award presentation will be during the June 17, 2018 concert A LONG TIME AGO…at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Evanston, Illinois. Mr. Grapentine will retire from WFMT on July 27, 2018.

Audience members will have the opportunity to meet Carl Grapentine at a post-concert reception, congratulate him on his award, and wish him a happy retirement!


A LONG TIME AGO…

Sunday June 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall

Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

RECEPTION TO FOLLOW PROGRAM


Tickets are $20 each, $15 each for seniors and $10 each for children/students.

Tickets available online at http://www.northshoreband.org or call 847-432-2263.

Bring a group and save! Call us today to learn about discounted group tickets!

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Composer Michael Gandolfi

Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme by composer Michael Gandolfi is a highlight of our Summer 2018 program.

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Mr. Gandolfi describes this work:

‘Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme’ is a set of fantasy-variations, on an anonymous Renaissance lute piece titled ‘Spagnoletta’ that I played on my guitar for decades throughout my youthful years. I chose to write this piece upon being commissioned by the President’s Own United States Marine Band, directed by Michael Colburn, at the time of composition. I intended it to be a showpiece for that ensemble.

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A self-taught guitarist, Michael Gandolfi began playing rock and jazz at age eight and eventually began formal instruction in composition during his teens. He earned his bachelor and master of music degrees from the New England Conservatory and studied with Oliver Knussen at the Tanglewood Music Center. He currently serves on the composition faculty at both institutions. Gandolfi has collaborated with many important figures in contemporary American music, participating in the Composers Conference at Wellesley College with Mario Davidovsky and Ross Lee Finney and teaching composition at Tanglewood with Osvaldo Golijov. His catalog contains several works for orchestra, including Impressions from “The Garden of Cosmic Speculation,” which has been championed by conductor Robert Spano, with recent or upcoming performances by the New World Symphony and the symphony orchestras of Atlanta and Houston. Gandolfi has also written for chamber, theater, and jazz/funk ensembles.

We contacted Mr. Gandolfi and asked him to share with us his journey in music, musical influences and inspirations, and words of advice that he has for young musicians.

Please tell us a bit about your journey in music and in life.  I was fortunate to have been born into a musical household, with my two older sisters studying classical piano. There were two pianos in the house where I was born and lots of music making there. However, I was more interested in the Beatles than Beethoven, Bach or Brahms in those days. I taught myself to play the guitar and formed rock bands in grade school, blues bands in junior high school and jazz bands in high school. I loved to improvise (and still do). I sought formal lessons in junior high school and was fortunate to find a guitar teacher in my town of Reading Massachusetts, Edward Marino, who was also a composer. He introduced me to music theory and 20th-century music (Bartok, Stravinsky, Hindemith, Schonberg, et al). I always sought the most cutting-edge music then. In high school I met William Thomas McKinley, a fine composer, pianist, and professor of composition at the New England Conservatory of Music. I had lessons with him, became his assistant, and eventually enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music after briefly studying at the Berklee College of Music. My other mentors were Donald Martino, John Heiss. Malcolm Peyton (all of whom I met at NEC), Ross Lee Finney, Mario Davidovsky, and Oliver Knussen (all of whom I worked with as a fellow at various Summer programs – Yale, the Composers’ Conference, Tanglewood, etc.). After graduation from NEC my musical life revolved around New York City, where groups such as Speculum Musicae, Parnassus, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra commissioned and performed works of mine. I survived in those days on a few commissions and a healthy dose of part-time teaching at Phillips Academy – Andover. I took my first college teaching appointment at Harvard University in 1996 and later joined the faculty at the New England Conservatory. I also joined the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center in 1997, having been a visiting composer and performer at Tanglewood every year (except one) following my 1986 fellowship year. I was fortunate to have had so many fine musicians and ensembles commissioning, performing and recording my music, starting with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in 1988 and continuing to this day with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. I have had too many fine affiliations to list them all, but I will also credit the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Musica Viva, the Melrose Symphony Orchestra (I also have had very fruitful creative collaborations with community orchestras), The New England Philharmonic, the Grant Park Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Houston Symphony, the New World Symphony and the Cabrillo Festival, as among those with whom I have had a lasting relationship. Oddly, I did not write my first wind ensemble or concert band piece until my mid-career. That piece, ‘Vientos y Tangos,’ was commissioned in honor of Frank Battisti’s 70th birthday and received its premiere under the baton of Michael Colburn and the United States marine Band. They subsequently recorded it and toured with it, and on the success of that piece, the President’s Own USMB commissioned what became ‘Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme. As for my non musical life, I have a very keen interest in astronomy, physics, mathematics, and all things technology related. I am an avid baseball fan, love to read (mostly on Kindle these days, which has solved my bookshelf-space problem), and I continue to gain from teaching my students.

What have been some of your musical influences?  The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Allan Holdsworth, Van Halen, Sting, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, John Schofield, Pat Metheny, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Mike Stern, J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, Shostakovitch, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Ives, Harbison, Bolcom, Knussen, Ruth Crawford- Seeger, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Boulez, Schuller, Joan tower, Donald Martino, Babbitt, Carter, Reich, Glass, John Adams, John Corigliano, Sofia Gubaidulina, etc., etc. I have eclectic tastes, far too numerous to indicate in this short list.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory?  I had a masterclass with Leonard Bernstein while I was a fellow at Tanglewood in 1986. It was surreal. It was a pot-luck masterclass, nine fellows, a visiting composer (Robert Saxton) and Oliver Knussen as host. The ‘class’ started at 5:00 PM and was still going-strong at 2:00 AM when I left. The following day I learned that it concluded at 3:00 AM! Later that morning, 10:00 AM to be precise, Maestro Bernstein conducted ‘The Rite of Spring’ with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. Amazing! I learned a great deal that evening and at that rehearsal.

What’s on your iPod?  All of the Haydn symphonies (they’re ALL good by the way – no weak ones), all of the symphonies of Nikolai Myaskovsky, and all of the Shostakovich, Bruckner, and Prokofiev symphonies, as well as Alfred Brendel’s complete Beethoven piano sonatas. I place these giant oeuvres on my iPhone and listen to them in a loop whenever I am out-and-about. I rotate the list to other repertoire as time progresses.

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?  J.S. Bach. My all-time favorite.

What inspires you?  Notes! Physics. Structure. Beauty (defined as anything that creates goosebumps)

What do you do to relax?  ? I’m not sure that I ever do. I love exercise and long vigorous walks that I do on a daily basis. I used to find playing golf relaxing, but then I got too score-conscious and I no longer found it relaxing so I stopped playing. I do go to the range in the summertime at Tanglewood. I find that relaxing.

Do you have any advice for young musicians?Work hard but engage your mind in whatever takes you beyond the ordinary.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  I have known the Northshore Concert Band to be one of our nation’s finest community concert bands. They set the best example of the heights that can be achieved by applying hard work and dedication to the art of music-making. They also show other concert bands the riches and rewards of performing challenging and wide-ranging repertoire.

Please add anything else that you would like our audience to know about youThat I love life, music, and storytelling. I believe that storytelling is the principal expression of being human. It is what separates us from the rest of the work and art (especially music) is the pinnacle of this story-telling.

A special thank you to Mr. Gandolfi for speaking with us and giving permission to reproduce this material.  Please visit his website www.michaelgandolfi.com to learn more about this great composer.

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A Long Time Ago…

Sunday, June 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University

50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

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

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews.

 

 

The Northshore Concert Band 12th Annual Silent Auction

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow this link to the donation form  https://goo.gl/LDd7E

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

Email us at info@northshoreband.org or phone 847-432-2263.


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

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


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

 

 

Composer Viet Cuong

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

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Read the program notes for Sound and Smoke here.

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


We contacted Mr. Cuong and asked him to share with us his thoughts on his journey in music, his musical influences and inspirations and words of advice that he has for young musicians.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Truly Wonderful The Mind of a Child Is…

Sunday, February 18, 2018, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University

50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois


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

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews.

Musicians & Music

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

ANN MOTOGAWA

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.

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!

MANUEL RAMOS

Manuel Ramos

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!