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.

The Northshore Concert Band Welcomes Guest Soloist Gene Pokorny, Principal Tuba of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra


The Northshore Concert Band is honored to welcome Gene Pokorny, Principal Tuba of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for his first solo performance with NCB!

The program, entitled Reflections, is on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and is conducted by Artistic Director Mallory Thompson.

This concert opens our season of musical “Reflections” with a diverse program that embraces a world of freedom and fellowship. The concert’s driving opener, Magnolia Star, is a jazz and blues-inspired work by emerging American composer Steve Danyew that celebrates the Illinois Central Railroad and the symbolic way that its route brought art together in America.Reflections concludes with two contrasting works by Dmitri Shostakovich that commemorate the October Revolution of 1917. His familiar and celebratory Festive Overture was written and premiered in just three days in 1954. October, the composer’s only tone poem, was written in 1967 and depicts the struggle and triumph of humanity throughout history.  Program highlights featuring Mr. Pokorny  will include Turbulence by Bruce Broughton and Over the Rainbow by Harold Arlen, arranged by  Alan Morrison and transcribed by Joseph Kreines.

Gene Pokorny has been the tuba player in the Chicago Symphony since 1989.  Previously, he was tuba player in the Israel Philharmonic, the Utah Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In addition to playing film scores in Hollywood such as Jurassic Park and The Fugitive, he has played in chamber music, opera orchestras and orchestra festivals worldwide. He grew up in Downey, California, about a mile from where the Apollo command modules that first took man to the moon were built. He studied tuba in Southern California with Jeffrey Reynolds, Larry Johansen, Tommy Johnson and Roger Bobo.  In recent years, he has annually returned to Southern California teaching, playing and lecturing at the Pokorny Seminar given at the University of Redlands.  He assisted Rolling Stones’ trombonist, Michael Davis, in the production of his “Twenty Minute Warm-Up” along with having solo and educational CDs of his own. He has received an Outstanding Alumnus Award and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Southern California and University of Redlands, respectively. Pokorny is a member of the Union Pacific (Railroad) Historical Society and spends time as a “foamer” (watching and chasing trains). He is a card-carrying member of The Three Stooges Fan Club (a “victim of soicumstances!”) and is an avid enthusiast of his good friend David “Red” Lehr, the greatest Dixieland sousaphonist in the known universe. Gene, his wife Beth Lodal (the one in the family with a three-digit IQ) and their basset hounds, (nonmusicians who happen to have real lives), regularly forage from their refrigerator, which is located in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago.  (Biography courtesy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra )


Sunday, November 6, 2016
3:00 pm
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

Please join us for this special performance!  Individual concert tickets are $20, tickets for seniors (65+) are $15 and student/child tickets are $10. Tickets are available in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert. The box office opens at 2:00 pm on the day of the concert.

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For More Information visit www.northshoreband.org or call (847) 432-2263.




Announcing Our 61st Season!

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Don’t miss your chance to hear the musical excellence of Northshore Concert Band!  Here are just a few highlights of our 2016-2017 season of musical “Reflections”:

  • We are honored to welcome Gene Pokorny, Principal Tuba of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on November 6, 2016, for his first solo performance with NCB!
  • Our Winter concert celebrates the youthful spirit of our talented student guests in our annual Lifetime of Music program!
  • On April 23, 2017, we will present Giving Voice to the Silenced.  This powerful musical program tells a story of vitality, loss, contemplation, and possibility that honors Holocaust Remembrance Day and Earth Day!
  • You won’t want to miss our season finale concert which extols the bond between the United States & Latin America and celebrates the dance rhythms from New York to Mexico!

2016-2017 Season Subscription Concert Dates

Reflections – November 6, 2016  

Youthful Spirit – February 12, 2017 

Giving Voice to the Silenced – April 23, 2017

On the Town – June 4, 2017

Concerts are on Sundays at 3:00 pm at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the  Northwestern University campus in Evanston, IL.

Subscribers Get the Best Seats at the Best Prices!


Visit www.northshoreband.org  or call 847-432-2263!

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!


bradley saycrop

Brad Say plays the Trombone and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 1999. He is a Music Educator and lives in Mundelein, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? My influence was my much older cousin who played trumpet and listening to the Lawrence Welk Orchestra! I started on trumpet in 4th grade, switched to baritone/euphonium in 9th grade and picked up trombone at age 21. I now play trombone in NCB and euphonium in another group.

What do you enjoy most about playing? The beauty involved when everyone in the ensemble is engaged and playing at a high level! That doesn’t always happen, but when it does its magic!

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  There are MANY, but two that stick out are playing for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day as part of the McDonald’s All-American Band and the Desert Storm Ticker Tape Parade in New York City. With NCB, our concert in Niedershopheim, Germany. The band and the audience were amazing.

What are your musical influences? The President’s Own Marine Band, Several of the British and European top brass bands, Steven Mead, David Childs, Christian Lindberg, Chris Martin, Jay Friedman, Michael Mulchahy, Gene Pokorny, Brett Baker… and many others.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Rex Martin at Northwestern Univ, and Steven Mead (even though I only had one lesson with him)

Does anyone in your family play music? My brother plays drums.

What’s on your iPod? Rock/Pop (mostly 80’s), classical, jazz, wind band music, brass band music

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Listen and practice more. Its a big world. You may be the best in your school, region, or even state, but there are always people way better than you!

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? How big it is. It is much different approach then having mostly one player on a part in a smaller group. Also, the high musicality demand from Dr. Thompson.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Musically engaging, Fun, Loud

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  I recently retired from the Wisconsin Army National Guard Band with 21 years in WI and 5 years in active duty army bands.


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!