41 Years of Musical Inspiration!

The 41st Annual Northshore Concert Band Festival of Music, held at the Northwestern University Campus in Evanston, Illinois, is March 17-18, 2017.


This annual event offers more than 2,000 K-12 music students a unique musical experience by combining developmental performance opportunities with demonstration performances by outstanding local musicians. Over the past 40 years the Festival of Music has touched the lives of more than 100,000 music students.

Highlights of the Festival of Music include Concert Band Clinics, Solo and Ensemble Contest and a Northshore Concert Band concert at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Concert Band Clinics

Full concert bands will have the opportunity to work with highly regarded university directors, all of whom have a great deal of clinic experience, for a 50-minute clinic in a noncompetitive, non rated format. The clinics, which are not open to the public, are informal, with no requirements about the number or types of pieces that must be performed. It’s a unique no-pressure environment for your ensemble to work with and receive valuable feedback from top educators.


The Festival of Music offers students a comprehensive musical experience. Public and private school band directors may bring their concert bands for a 50-minute clinic. This year’s outstanding clinicians include: from Northwestern University, Mr. Daniel Farris & from St. Charles North, retired band director, Mr. James Stombres. The noncompetitive, non-rated format of these clinics emphasizes education rather than a grade or score.  Like last year, all band clinics will take place in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.  This is a great opportunity for all bands, regardless of age, to perform in an outstanding venue.

Solo and Ensemble Contest

Student musicians will perform solos and ensembles for area band directors and musicians from the Northshore Concert Band, receiving both verbal and written feedback following the performance. Adjudication is available for all wind, string, and percussion instruments as well as voice and piano. Recipients of a I or II rating will receive an award medal.

Unlike other area solo and ensemble contests, the Northshore Concert Band Festival of Music is open to all public and private school teachers as well as private instructors, with no membership dues or fees. In addition, while students wait for their rating, they can attend a free Northshore Concert Band performance!


Band Concert

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear a free hour-long concert by the 100-piece Northshore Concert Band, internationally recognized as one of the world’s best adult concert bands.

When  students leave the Festival of Music, they’ll have more than a rating. They will have the opportunity to leave as better well-rounded, aware musicians!

Register Today!

The 2017 Festival of Music Instructor Registration deadline is

October 5, 2016!

Slots for band clinics are limited and fill up quickly. Applications are accepted in the order they are received so don’t delay. For the solo and ensemble contest, simply estimate the number of students who may participate. Send no fees now. Payment information and solo and ensemble entry forms will be provided in our November mailing, or will be available in November for download from http://www.northshoreband.org.

We invite public and private school band directors and school and private music instructors  to please complete the online form available here to reserve a space for your students.

What people are saying about the Northshore Concert Band Festival of Music:

“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, Addison, IL

“The trip to Northwestern University to perform as part of the Northshore Band Festival is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. The bonding done by students while visiting the city and performing together in Pick- Staiger is invaluable to the program. The band immediately plays with more focus and accuracy after attending a clinic. It is truly one of the most beneficial activities you can do with your band.”                                                                                                               — Michael Ross, Band Director, Appleton West High School Bands, Appleton, WI

“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 well into the future!”                                                                                                     — Renee DeJager, Band Director, Timothy Christian Schools, Elmhurst, IL

 “The biggest advantage for me to come to the Northshore Band Festival is that it accommodates my group which consists of a multitude of ages—5th graders through seniors in high school. We get a variety of experience, and I don’t have to go to different sites to get the same job done. I get everything done in one day.”                                                                                                                                      — Karen Kurtz, Band Director, Westlake Christian Academy, Grayslake, IL

If you have any questions please contact the Northshore Concert Band Festival of Music manager Kendra Gohr at 1-847-432-2263 ext. 701 or festival@northshoreband.org.

Support the Northshore Concert Band!

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Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, the Northshore Concert Band just completed its historic 60th season.

NCB is unique in the exceptional quality of its performances and in its outreach to young musicians. Among other accomplishments this season, we were joined by nationally recognized artists, over 20,000 audience members enjoyed NCB performances, thousands of young music students participated in our multi-day festival of music at Northwestern University, selected Chicago area students performed alongside NCB musicians at our Lifetime of Music concert in February, and dozens of alumni joined us for our June concert.

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We work hard to make our concert income and Festival registration fees stretch as far as possible, but those sources don’t cover the cost of our musical productions and educational programming.  And, for the past two seasons, the Illinois Arts Council has been unable to offer grants which are so important to us, leaving NCB with a deficit of approximately $10,000.  We depend on the generous donations of our supporters.

We respect the demands on arts supporters in these difficult times.  We hope, though, that you value our musical and educational work, and we ask that you support us with a generous donation.

Support Your Favorite NCB Member’s Passion for Music!

 $5,000 Supports the Conductor’s Podium for the season.

 $1,500 Supports the Conductor’s Podium for one concert.

 $400 Supports an NCB musician for the season.

 $150 Supports an NCB musician and a student musician at Lifetime of Music concert.

 $100 Supports an NCB musician for one concert.


Unrestricted gifts provide the Band with the most flexibility and offset expenses not covered through ticket sales or Festival registrations. Quick, easy, and secure contributions can be made at www.northshoreband.org or via mail with a check to the Band at Northshore Concert Band, 1555 Sherman Ave. #315, Evanston, IL 60201-4421.

Thank You for Supporting the Northshore Concert Band!

The NCB is a not-for-profit (501c3) organization.

Your gift is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.






The Association of Concert Bands Journal Featured Band!

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

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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.



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 festival@northshoreband.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

Musicians & Music

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


kendra gohr

Kendra Gohr plays the Euphonium and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2005. She is a private teacher and lives in Libertyville, Illinois. Kendra is also the Northshore Concert Band’s Festival of Music Manager.

When and why did you start playing? I began playing euphonium when I was 9-years old. Both of my grandfathers (and two of my aunts) also played euphonium so I figured I was destined to play as well. My first horn was my grandfather’s 60 year old euphonium…played under the baton of J.P. Sousa! It was a 3-valve horn (that smelled bad and made my thumb turn green due to the raw brass) with a case that was falling apart, but it served me well for five years!

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love making beautiful music with good friends.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  I have many, but probably one of my favorites is playing on the Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville when I was a freshman in high school with the Naperville North High School Wind Ensemble.

What are your musical influences? So many! My private teachers, especially Chad Allen, Ron Keller, Bob Hess, Jim Stombres, Mark Moore, Ken Steinsultz, Pete Griffin & Velvet Brown.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Has to be Jim Stombres. He was my high school band director. He inspired me to not only be a great musician, but also a great person. He really did help mold me into the musician that I am today by teaching me to play the music not just on the page, but from the heart.

Does anyone in your family play music? My mom played the flute and directed children’s choirs at church. My dad is an athlete…he doesn’t play an instrument, but he can whistle in two parts! My husband plays the trumpet and is a high school band director. My son plays the cello and my daughter plays the string bass.

What’s on your iPod? Actually, I don’t have an Ipod, believe it or not… I still listen to c.d.’s 🙂

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Just keep playing!! Whether you major in music or not, just enjoy the music and keep playing!

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different from performing with other groups?  We all have a common goal of playing good music well. We work hard and achieve great things in performance.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Inspiring, Exciting, Family

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  I played lead trombone in my high school jazz ensemble and traveled all over Europe with the band, but because I am a classically trained musician, I DO NOT improvise!! 🙂


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

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews of Northshore Concert Band members in this Musicians & Music series!