Musicians & Music

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

JENNIFER NELSON

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Jennifer Nelson plays the Flute and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2001. She is a Private Music Teacher and lives in Chicago, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started my first instrument, piano, the summer after first grade. I started flute in fifth grade. The selection of both instruments was influenced by hearing my sister play them. My sister was in high school when I was born, so she played both very well by the time I was hearing her, and I wanted to do that too.

What do you enjoy most about playing? Music is the universal language. I have traveled and played with people in Europe, China and Argentina. Even when we couldn’t necessarily understand the foreign languages, we could still communicate musically, and the expression comes through no matter what the language. Music can bring diverse groups of people together and form connections that are difficult to achieve otherwise.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  On the trip to Argentina with my church, a group of third graders sang for us. They sang the hymn “How Great Thou Art” in Spanish, and they sang so expressively that even though we could not understand the words, we could tell what part of the hymn they were on just by how they were singing it. It was an amazing experience. And one of my favorite musical memories involving my own playing is from right after I joined the Northshore Band in late 2001, just before the band performed at the Midwest Clinic. I remember the first rehearsal that Mallory did with us was the Elgar Nimrod, and I was totally blown away by what she did expressively with that piece.

What are your musical influences? Music played a big role in my upbringing. My mom was very active in getting me to play and keeping on top of me in the area of practice. In the first few years of piano lessons she would hover over me while I practiced and make sure my rhythm was good by whispering the counting while I was playing, which was highly annoying at the time, but I’m so grateful now that she was such a stickler.  Growing up, my parents exposed me to a lot of light classical music; many Boston Pops recordings, Sousa marches, and my dad, a World War 2 Navy veteran, played his LPs of Victory At Sea A LOT.  Today I am inspired by the many great works we play in NCB: the Hanson Romantic Symphony, Kalinnikov Symphony No. 1, Ito Gloriosa, and the Bernstein Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, just to name a few.

Who was your most influential music teacher? My 7th grade homeroom teacher, Tim Dommer, was also the choir director for both kids and adult choirs, church organist, and also accompanied my flute solo for Contest. He also later became my piano teacher. He is really the one who made music come alive for me by getting me actively involved with playing flute in church. This was especially important for me because the band program at the school was weak and I was in danger of losing interest at the time, but he lit the musical fire in me. He was so passionate about music and taught me a lot about expressive playing.

My high school flute teacher, Kathy Brasky was also very influential in continuing that passion for flute, and in college Kay Ragsdale really got me prepared for intense rehearsal situations.

Does anyone in your family play music? My husband, Bruce plays euphonium in NCB. My sister played flute and piano, and my two nephews both played piano, and one also played trumpet and the other also played clarinet.

What’s on your iPod? In the classical section there’s a lot of orchestral, band, and instrumental solo works. I also have Broadway/Showtunes, some pop tunes, and there’s a lot of Christmas music on there.  When I run I often listen to some of the fast pieces we have played in NCB like the Maslanka Symphony No. 2, and the combination of the speed of the piece and the adrenaline rush I get from remembering the excitement of when we played it really gets me moving!

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Make music a lifetime event!

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? The biggest difference is the commitment to the Lifetime of Music concept. We not only encourage kids to keep music a part of their lives no matter what career path they choose by doing outreach concerts in schools, but we act on that by devoting an entire concert to welcoming kids to come play with us and interact with us. We also play outreach concerts at schools to further this concept.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Powerful, expressive, dynamic

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  Everyone always asks “what’s that black thing on the floor by your foot?” That black thing on the floor by my foot is my page turner.  All my music is on my tablet, and that thing on the floor is connected by bluetooth to the tablet and can turn the pages forward or backward, hands free!

 

 

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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Musicians & Music

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

KRISTEN HANNA

Kristen Hanna

Kristen Hanna plays the Flute and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2012. She is a Band Director and lives in Park Ridge, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started playing the flute in the fifth grade. I am the third generation flutist in my family following in the footsteps of my grandfather and my uncle. I grew up hearing the flute and always knew that I wanted to play it as well.

What do you enjoy most about playing? Music is my passion, and I love playing the flute! When I am making music my instrument is an extension of me. Being a musician is a very special thing because making music allows us to express ourselves in a very unique way.

Who was your most influential music teacher? I have had many music teachers since 1990, and three of them have influenced me tremendously. They are, Barbara Saks (my very private flute teacher), and Doug Schuler & Bob Rzeszutko (my junior high band directors). All three of them encouraged me, challenged me, and supported me. I am proud to now be able to call them colleagues.

Does anyone in your family play music? Both of my brothers still actively play the instruments that they started in the fifth grade too!

What’s on your iPod? I love singer songwriters, and my favorites are Carole King, James Taylor, Sara Bareilles, Ben Folds, and Simon and Garfunkel.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Keep music a part of your life for your lifetime! Whether it’s being a performing musician or an audience member, keep it with you.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? All of the musicians in the NCB are there because they love their instrument and their life wouldn’t feel complete without being able to play their instrument in an ensemble. That is special.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Challenging, Engaging, Necessary

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  I teach middle school band, and I enjoy spending time outdoors with my husband and daughter.

 

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!

Bringing the Music to Emily

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One of our missions is to assist in the music education of young people.  We do this through the presentation of concerts, clinics and festivals.  We are frequently invited to perform educational outreach concerts throughout the Chicagoland area.

On February 18th of this year, we performed with the Northbrook Junior High (NBJH) Wind and Percussion Ensembles. This special evening started with an open clinic by Dr. Mallory Thompson with the NBJH Wind Ensemble, followed by joint performances with NBJH Percussion Ensemble & Wind Ensemble, and concluded with a Northshore Concert Band performance for all to enjoy. NBJH Band director Greg Scapillato helped to make this event possible.  He also organized yesterday’s pop-up concert on the front lawn of a recuperating student musician.

Emily Erickson is an 8th grade student at Northbrook Junior High in Northbrook, Illinois.  A member of the band, she has played flute for five years.  The final band concert of the year was on May 12th.  Unfortunately Emily was unable to attend due to an extended hospital stay where she was recovering from a kidney transplant. But thanks to band director Greg Scapillato and the members of the NBJH band, the music was brought to Emily.

Yesterday, approximately 40 members of the Northbrook Junior High Wind Ensemble assembled on the flute player’s lawn and invited her to play with them in an impromptu pop-up concert.  When asked how it felt to play her instrument for the first time since her surgery, Emily said, “It went way better than I thought. I was afraid it might hurt to hold my breath, but it didn’t.”

“I don’t know if we can replace (the spring concert) but we can put something in its place and give her a special memory that she can carry with her as she goes on to high school,” Mr. Scapillato said. “We wanted to bring her back into the fold. There are no benchwarmers in this group. We’re all together, that’s how the music comes alive. I’m glad it all worked out.”

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This special act of kindness demonstrates the compassion and love that can be brought out through the power of music!

Follow this link to view the touching images of this special tribute included in the Northbrook School District 28 District Spotlight.

All of us in the Northshore Concert Band want to wish flutist Emily Erickson a safe and speedy recovery.

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Please call 877-432-2263 or email info@northshoreband.org to learn more about our educational outreach initiatives.