Musicians & Music

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



Patrick Wall plays the Clarinet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2016. He is a band director and lives in Chicago.

When and why did you start playing?  I have loved music since childhood and started playing when I joined band in 6th grade. I started with horn but quickly moved to the clarinet because I was drawn to its dark, woody timbre.

What do you enjoy most about playing?  Playing music at the highest possible level is a transcendent experience for me, and I can never get enough of it. Striving to attain perfection is the driving force behind everything that I do as a musician.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  I’ll name one that doesn’t involve me as a player: Once upon a time in Paris, a friend and I desperately wanted to see the Bolchoi Ballet perform Adolphe Adam’s “Le Corsaire” at the Palais Garnier. We went a few days before to buy tickets, but they were sold out. We left looking depressed and a guy who, bizarrely, looked just like Robert DeNiro approached us and opened his trench coat pocket (yes, he was wearing a tan trench coat, and yes there were a bunch of tickets inside!). We purchased two tickets for loge seats, house right with a perfect view of the pit and the stage. The performance, not to mention the palace, were stunning and unforgettable.

What are your musical influences?  Mozart, Debussy, Modernism, Dada, Punk Rock

Who was your most influential music teacher?  Michael Sussman

Does anyone in your family play music? Yes.

What’s on your iPod?  Everything worthwhile that I can get my hands on, from early music to the contemporary.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Have an efficient system for practicing and stick to it. Do it every day and establish goals for each session. This will help you get better, faster. Consistency in practicing means consistency on the stage.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups?  I love playing with NCB and advocate for the ensemble strongly. It is a very high caliber ensemble, from its musicianship to its leadership. I look forward to rehearsals every week and prepare heavily to contribute with the best of my abilities.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band.  Professional, second-to-none, highly-organized

Please add anything else that you would like our audience to know about you.  I am a gourmand and I love to cook, especially French food. I also love to travel and have visited over sixteen countries. I am fluent in French, as well as Rhode Island French joual, and I am learning Farsi.


Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at

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

NCB Award Winners

Each year The Board of Directors and Artistic Director of the Northshore Concert Band recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the success of the NCB.


At our June 4, 2017 concert, three Northshore Concert Band members were honored for their service, leadership and musical contributions.

The Director’s Award, given by Artistic Director and Conductor Dr. Mallory Thompson, is “for musical leadership, professionalism and contribution to the Northshore Concert Band”.


This award was given to Sara Farster and Melaine Pohlman. Dr. Thompson described these two talented musicians as “making each other better by playing together”. Sara is a band director from Grayslake and has been a Northshore Concert Band member for 7 years.  Melaine is a music therapist from Geneva and has been with the Northshore Concert Band for 13 years.

Past recipients of this award include Kendra Gohr, Candi Horton, Carey Polacek, Chris Rasmussen, and Amy Strong.

NCB Board chair Peter Gotsch awarded Traci Bowering The Ernst W. Kettnich Award “in recognition and appreciation of a lifetime of leadership and distinguished service on behalf of the Northshore Concert Band”.  Traci is a band director and lives in Skokie. She is the coordinator of the annual Northshore Concert Band Lifetime of Music event and has been with NCB for 26 years.


Past recipients of this award are Judy Athmejvar, Jim Barkow, Ann Betz, Paul Bolman, Barbara Buehlman, Kathy Cargill, O. DeLap Premo, Debbie Durham, Richard Faller, Betty Garrett, Nancy Golden, Peter Gotsch, John Harshey, Chuck Hawes, Debbie Hawes, Nancy Hinners, Janet Jesse, Ernie Kettnich, Gilbert Krulee, Mary Ann Loda, Dennis Montgomery, John P. Paynter, Carol Scattergood, Janet Schroeder, David Shaw, Barry Skolnik, and Barb Zeleny.

Past recipients of three additional awards are as follows:

The Barbara Buehlman Distinguished Service Award is given “for the contribution of creative individual leadership and service to the Northshore Concert Band towards its goal of musical excellence” – Nancy Golden, Dennis Montgomery, Laura Stibich, and David Zyer.

The 50th Anniversary Award is given “to recognize 50 years of membership in the Northshore Concert Band” –  Janet Schroeder and Debbie Hawes

The Lifetime Achievement Award is given “in recognition of a career dedicated to the development and perpetuation of wind music” – Harry Begian, Barbara Buehlman, Larry Combs and Ray Cramer.

Congratulations to all of our award winners and thank you for your service, leadership and contributions to the musical excellence of the Northshore Concert Band!




American Composer David Maslanka

On April 23, 2017, the Northshore Concert Band continues its 61st season with Giving Voice to the Silenced. This powerful musical program features two works by acclaimed American composer David Maslanka; California and A Child’s Garden of Dreams.

A Child’s Garden of Dreams  was commissioned by and dedicated to Northshore Concert Band founder John P. Paynter and his wife Marietta Paynter and the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble. The Northshore Concert Band will perform A Child’s Garden of Dreams at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University in Evanston where it was first performed 35 years ago.  Mr. Maslanka offers up this description of his work:

“A Child’s Garden of Dreams” came about through a commission from John Paynter of Northwestern University. The music was composed in 1981, and the premiere performance was at Northwestern in 1982. Paynter had asked me to write a piece that was the wind equivalent of Bartok’s “Concerto for Orchestra.” This was a daunting challenge but I said “Sure!” The five movements of “A Child’s Garden” are based on dreams of a young girl who, unknown to her, was at the end of her life. The dreams were presented and discussed by the psychologist, Carl Jung, in his book, “Man and His Symbols.” The dreams are about transition and transformation, a prefiguring of her passing. Jung found it both disturbing and fascinating that such dreams could come through a child. I have long been fascinated by ideas of transformation, in this life, and beyond, and my music is an attempt to capture the central energy of each of the dreams. Sometimes there is graphic illustration as in the third dream where animals grow to an enormous size and devour the girl, and sometimes there is a subtle parallel flow of music and philosophical thought, as in the second dream: “A drunken woman falls into the water and comes out renewed and sober.” What is evoked by both the dreams and the music is a much larger view of life and death than we normally have.”

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The program also features California, premiered February 13, 2016 by the California All-State Wind Symphony and was conducted by Northshore Concert Band’s Conductor and Artistic Director Dr. Mallory Thompson. Mr. Maslanka describes this piece:

“California” was written for the the 2016 California All-State Band, and the premiere performance was conducted in San Jose by Mallory Thompson. Music education in California had seen a revival after years of funding cuts, and there was a renewed statewide sense of possibility in public school music teachers. I was asked to write a piece that might reflect some of that new-found energy and purpose. My thinking went deeper to touch some fundamental element of the strength of the California land and its people. The music is quietly and beautifully expressive at the outset, and rises to moments of great intensity before settling once more to a quiet close.”


Mallory & DMaslanka_premiere+California_2016+title

Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts David Maslanka attended the Oberlin College Conservatory where he studied composition with Joseph Wood. He spent a year at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and did masters and doctoral study in composition at Michigan State University where his principal teacher was H. Owen Reed.

Maslanka’s music for winds has become especially well known. Among his more than 130 works are forty pieces for wind ensemble, including seven symphonies, fifteen concertos, a Mass, and many concert pieces. His chamber music includes four wind quintets, five saxophone quartets, and many works for solo instrument and piano. In addition, he has written a variety of orchestral and choral pieces.

David Maslanka’s compositions are published by Maslanka Press, Carl Fischer, Kjos Music, Marimba Productions, and OU Percussion Press. They have been recorded on Albany, Reference Recordings, BIS (Sweden), Naxos, Cambria, CRI, Mark, Novisse, AUR, Cafua (Japan), Brain Music (Japan), Barking Dog, and Klavier labels. He has served on the faculties of the State University of New York at Geneseo, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York, and since 1990 has been a freelance composer. He now lives in Missoula, Montana. David Maslanka is a member of ASCAP.

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A special thank you to Mr. Maslanka for generously offering us his thoughts on his two beautiful works and for giving permission to reproduce this material.  Please visit his website at to learn more about this American composer.

Giving Voice to the Silenced

Sunday, April 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

Music Is For A Lifetime!



In a highlight of the season, some of the most talented young musicians in the Chicagoland area join the Northshore Concert Band for our “Lifetime of Music” program.

This Lifetime of Music concert celebrates both the youthful spirit of our student guests and that same spirit that exists in all of us. Percy Grainger toured the British countryside, collecting folk songs and preserving them on wax cylinders. His colorful masterwork, Lincolnshire Posy, is a delightful depiction of both the folk songs and personalities of the folk singers that he recorded. The students and band members combine to perform exuberant music that expresses a cheerful American spirit with heartfelt optimism!  Our popular Annual Silent Auction will be held in connection with this concert and is held in the lobby of the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.


Program highlights will include:

  • Stampede – Steven Bryant
  • Lincolnshire Posy – Percy Grainger/ed. Frederick Fennel
  • Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla –Mikhail Glinka/arr. Matt Johnston


Concert Information:

Youthful Spirit

Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

Ticket Information:

Individual concert tickets are $20 each, seniors (65+) $15, students/children $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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Music is a natural part of everyone. It creates an atmosphere of fun, interaction and excitement. That is why children are naturally drawn to it. If we nurture this ability, music will provide a lifetime of enjoyment and creativity.


The Northshore Concert Band 11th Annual Silent Auction


The Northshore Concert Band is thrilled to announce our 11th Annual Silent Auction!

Proceeds from our Silent Auction, held on Sunday February 12, 2017 in connection with our Winter concert Youthful Spirit, will benefit our Lifetime of Music education and outreach initiatives.

Our 10th annual Silent Auction, held on January 31, 2016, was a roaring success thanks to the generous support of the community, area businesses, arts organizations, band members, family members, friends, and others who support our mission! Please consider donating to this year’s popular annual event!  Gift certificates and tickets from your business and organization will not only enable you to support the Northshore Concert Band, it will allow you to gain new business!


Last year’s exciting auction items included a backstage tour of the Civic Opera House, a family pass to the Kohl Children’s Museum, and a day at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Sports fans were eager to bid on a variety of tickets to sporting events including the Chicago White Sox, Loyola University Chicago basketball and Northwestern University football.


Also up for bid were many amazing performance tickets including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Center and at Ravinia Festival, Chicago Sinfonietta, The Joffrey Ballet, Music of the Baroque, Giordano Dance Chicago at Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, comedy improv, a performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago or the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, a play at the Goodman Theatre or Broadway In Chicago or the opening night of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.


There were many music-themed items as well, including dance class certificates for Lou Conte Dance Studio and American Rhythm Center, private music lessons and instrument repairs, a membership with the Old Town School of Folk Music, a unique violin art piece and a gift certificate towards the purchase of a piano. Notably, the Paynter family generously donated two pieces of music history; a John P. Paynter autographed Northwestern Wildcats album and an inscribed conducting baton used by Barbara Buehlman!donor-logo-image3

As a thank you for your generous donation, the Northshore Concert Band would like to offer you two complimentary tickets to our Winter concert Youthful Spirit on February 12, 2017. We will also acknowledge your contribution in our Spring concert program book as well as on our social media channels.

Follow this link to the donation form

If you have any questions about what you should donate or need help with your donation, one of our Silent Auction committee members would be happy to help!                                        Email us at or phone 847-432-2263.

11th Annual Silent Auction
February 12, 2017
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall lobby, Northwestern University campus, Evanston
Bidding begins at 2:00 pm!

The Northshore Concert Band is a not-for-profit (501c3) organization. Donations may be eligible for a tax deduction.

Thank you for supporting the Northshore Concert Band!

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at

Follow this blog to receive the most up-to-date Northshore Concert Band news including  informative entertaining interviews of NCB musicians!

Students Meet NCB Tuba Players & Gene Pokorny!


The Northshore Concert Band tuba players met with a group of over 3 dozen students and their parents before Sunday’s season opening concert, for a lively meet and greet.  They shared stories about their experiences, answered questions and passed out souvenir keepsakes.


Northshore Concert Band artistic director and conductor, Dr. Mallory Thompson stopped in to say hi to everyone as well!


Those attending this fun and informal gathering were thrilled when Gene Pokorny, principal tuba with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra joined the group and shared stories about his musical background and offered encouraging words to the student musicians in attendance!  The event ended with a group photo that included the students, the NCB Tubas and Gene Pokorny.  Students were given a copy of this photo as a memento of this unforgettable experience!

We were honored to welcome Mr. Pokorny for his first solo performance with NCB!


The Northshore Concert Band tuba players include John Harshey, a band director from Mundelein who has been with NCB for 31 years,  Rodney Owens, a band director from Lake Forest, who has also been with NCB for 31 years, Peter Lograsso, an orchestra director from Westchester who has been with the band for 28 years, Kevin Baldwin, a mechanical engineer from Des Plaines and NCB member for 10 years and Eric Weisseg, and IT manager from Chicago who has been an NCB member for 9 years.

The next Northshore Concert Band concert is our highly anticipated annual “Lifetime of Music” program.  In a highlight of the season, we are joined on stage by some of the most talented young musicians in the Chicagoland area!

Youthful Spirit

Sunday, February 12, 2017, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

For More Information:
Visit or call (847) 432-2263.


Images: Courtesy of Douglas Boehm

Gene Pokorny Interview (Part Two)

The Northshore Concert Band is honored to welcome Guest Soloist Gene Pokorny, Principal Tuba Of The Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the first concert of out 61st season!  Widely considered the finest tuba player in the world today, our November 6, 2016 concert, entitled Reflections, marks his first solo performance with the Northshore Concert Band!

Northshore Concert Band member Paul Bauer recently interviewed Gene Pokorny. Below is part two of this fascinating peek into the life of this remarkable musician.

Read part one of the interview here


What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?

It is hard to get a position in an orchestra but there is always room at the top if you work hard enough and if you’ve got enough raw talent.  One caution, however.  If you want to become a professional player and have opted to be a music education major for some type of job security, fine.  But make sure you have the passion and interest for teaching.  If you really don’t care that much about being an educator and cannot be effervescent in front of a bunch of young people to turn them on to music, please do not get into music education.  The world does not need any more people in music education who are turning kids off to music.  Do something else with your life.  For everybody else, listen to as much music as you can and distill what you like or don’t like about the various music you hear. 

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?

Gerald Finzi (1901 – 1956, British composer) was a friend with Ralph Vaughan Williams. He wrote some of the most heart-felt songs based on poems by Robert Bridges, Thomas Hardy and others.  He was a remarkable musician who never received the proper accolades he rightfully deserved.  He was a simple man but not a simplistic one.  He seemed to have core values that kept him sane after having felt many hardships in his younger days.  I could have learned a lot from him.  A couple years ago I played his Five Bagatelles, originally for clarinet solo and piano, arranged for tuba solo and band by Joseph Kreines.  That was very memorable for me.  


What do you do to relax?

I am a “foamer.”  That is supposed to be a derogatory term given by railroad people to those of us who are railfans and hang out at railroad tracks and watch trains.  I consider that term a badge of honor.  While I am a member of the 20th Century Railroad Club and the Union Pacific Historical Society, I will spend time hanging out on the Union Pacific West line.  Nothing like grabbing cinnamon rolls from Prairie Bread Kitchen in Oak Park and watch some heavy freights roll through.  We watch the big trains on vacations as well.  Our four basset hounds are perfect foils in case I am practicing or hanging out at the tracks too much.  One place Beth, the pups and I enjoy is the Rochelle Railroad Park.  It is a drive but there is plenty of railroad action as well as diesel and creosote smells.  What could possibly go wrong? 


If you weren’t a professional musician what would you be?

I still have a passion for being a band director.  I think I would be good at it, but I don’t know that I could do it as well as others who have less “baggage.”  If I was not involved in music, I would probably do something involved with the railroad.  That may be a more romantic than a realistic notion.  I fantasize about being an engineer running a mile-long unit coal train with 18,000 tons behind me going up a 2.5% grade with my hands on the throttle of 24,000 horsepower.  Maybe it is the transportation equivalent of being a tuba player in an orchestra.  The contribution in terms of being a solo voice is minimal but if you provide smart, controlled, massive power, the tuba can elevate the level of the entire orchestra because of the reliable foundation it provides. 

Please join us on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University; 50 Arts Circle Drive in Evanston, Illinois for Reflections,  conducted by Artistic Director Mallory Thompson, and featuring guest soloist Gene Pokorny, Principal Tuba of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra!

Program highlights will include:
Elegy – John Barnes Chance
Gene Pokorny, tuba soloist
o Turbulence – Bruce Broughton
o Over the Rainbow – Harold Arlen/arr. Alan Morrison/trans. Joseph Kreines
Festive Overture – Dmitri Shostakovich/arr. Donald Hunsberger
October – Dmitri Shostakovich/arr. Preston Mitchell

Ticket Information:
Individual concert tickets are $20 each, seniors $15, students/children $10.                                To make these unforgettable performances accessible for music lovers of all ages we offer special group rates to groups of 10 or more.  Call us at 847-432-2263 or email  to customize your group ticket package today!

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.

For More Information:
Visit or call (847) 432-2263.

Musicians & Music

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


steve moline

Steve Moline plays the Bassoon and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 1981. He is a retired Music Teacher and lives in Naperville, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I’ve basically started playing since I was in Kindergarten. Not on bassoon! But I’ve loved Music my whole life.

What do you enjoy most about playing?  I love the relationship between instruments, sections, the whole ensemble.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  When I was young, I would always ask my Mother if you heard my bassoon during the concert. She would always say yes…but I know she really didn’t. But it always made me feel proud.

What are your musical influences? Mozart

Who was your most influential music teacher? My High School Band Director, Henry Pinter. I really loved him.

Does anyone in your family play music? My Mother played clarinet, my Father played piano. (only on the black keys)

What’s on your iPod? I don’t own an iPod. I listen to WDCB and WFMT. (during dinner)

Do you have any advice for young musicians? HAVE FUN!

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different from performing with other groups? It’s such a large group. The sound really makes it whole.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Dedicated, professional, BEST

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  When looking at the Bassoon section, look for the blond-headed guy!


Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at

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