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