Meet the extraordinary men and women of Northshore Concert Band who have dedicated their lives to making music!
Jason Lucker plays the Trumpet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2015. He is a Musician with the Navy Band Great Lakes and lives in Waukegan, Illinois.
When and why did you start playing? I started playing in 6th grade because all my friends were joining band, so obviously I went along with them. I chose trumpet because lf the very first note in my favorite movie at the time: Star Wars.
What do you enjoy most about playing? I love trying to evoke a real emotional response from the people who here me (hopefully a positive one, if everything goes well). Whenever I hear a great performance that truly means something to me, I am inspired to try to make my next performance of whatever I’m playing, whether it’s Sousa or Husa, just as meaningful to the audience.
Do you have a favorite musical memory? I will never forget playing for what seemed like 2000 children at a school in Manila, Philippines. We played a mix of pop tunes, jazz, classical pieces, and American marches, as well as a couple of Tagalog songs. But no matter what we played, the kids and their teachers gave a great response, smiling, clapping along, cheering, etc. It took a full two hours to get to our changing room after the concert because they all wanted pictures and signatures afterward. The whole experience was incredible.
What are your musical influences? I have many musical influences, but two stand out. First, I absolutely adore Chris Martin and everything that comes out of the end of his bell. I think his sound is the most beautiful trumpet playing I’ve ever heard. The first time I heard him play, I was in a rut when it came to my instrument, and I was entirely ready to give up and move on to other things. But Chris’s sound with the CSO brass section inspired me to get back in the practice room and never turn back. And having gotten to meet him after a NCB concert, he’s a great guy in person, too. Second is one of my best friends and my personal mentor, a middle/high school band director in a small school in Indiana. I’ve never met anyone who cared about or put so much of themselves into their daily job as her and if I can reach even a fraction of that amount of dedication to my instrument and my career, I will consider my efforts a success.
Who was your most influential music teacher? Dr. Robert Grechesky, former director of bands at Butler University. Not only did I learn a great deal about conducting from him, but I learned how to love band music under his baton. Before studying at Butler, I was very much an orchestra snob and thought little of wind bands and wind band music. But it’s literally impossible to dislike band working with a man like Dr. Grechesky and I’m very grateful for getting to work with him.
Does anyone in your family play music? Not in my immediate family. I have a cousin with a doctorate in church music who plays organ very well, but I don’t see him much.
What’s on your iPod? Literally everything from Ludacris to to Sibelius. Because I’m required to play a wide range of musical styles for work, I listen to just about everything so I can have a good grasp of what I should sound like. Plus, it’s easier to like what I’m playing if I can learn to find something to like when listening to it.
Do you have any advice for young musicians? You do not have to practice on days that you do not eat. That is not an excuse to choose not to eat.
What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? Everyone in the group is there because they want to be. And because the musical expectations are set high by Dr. Thompson, everyone works hard to be prepared for our rehearsals and concerts.
List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Fun. Dedicated. Engaged.
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!