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.

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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”.

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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.

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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 Steven Bryant

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On June 4, 2017, the Northshore Concert Band concludes its 61st season with On the Town. This lively musical program features In This Broad Earth by acclaimed American composer Steven Bryant.

Mr. Bryant offers up this description of his work:

In This Broad Earth is a short fanfare written for and dedicated to Kevin Sedatole and the Michigan State University Wind Symphony. Inspired by beauty I witness when hiking in the Austrian Alps with my wife, Verena, the music celebrates the earth, our only home (for now).

The fanfare embodies the numerous threads that have connected my life with Michigan State University over the past decade. Verena was one of Dr. Sedatole’s first conducting students at MSU, which coincided with the beginning of our relationship. I spent a great deal of time at Verena’s apartment in Spartan Village where I wrote the opening section of my Concerto for Wind Ensemble on a makeshift desk (a card table given to her by Director of Bands Emeritus John Whitwell). Over the years since, the MSU bands have performed many of my works, always at the very highest level, and though I was never a student there, I have great affection and loyalty to this extraordinary school on the banks of the Red Cedar.

COME, said the Muse,
Sing me a song no poet yet has chanted,
Sing me the Universal.

In this broad Earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed Perfection.

from Walt Whitman’s Song of the Universal from Leaves of Grass

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Steven Bryant’s music is chiseled in its structure and intent, fusing lyricism, dissonance, silence, technology, and humor into lean, skillfully-crafted works that enthrall listeners and performers alike.  The son of a professional trumpeter and music educator, he strongly values music education, and his creative output includes a number of works for young and developing musicians.

We contacted Mr. Bryant in Austria and asked him to share with us his thoughts on In This Broad Earth, his musical influences and words of advice that he has for young musicians.

About In This Broad Earth:

“I don’t have much to add about the piece that’s not already on my website. I wanted to create a euphoric fanfare and took my time in Austria (coincidentally, where I am at this moment writing this to you!) as inspiration.”
What are your Musical Influences?
“Stravinsky, Nine Inch Nails, Webern, Mr. Bungle, and my teachers, Francis McBeth, Cindy McTee, and John Corigliano”
Do you have any words of advice for young musicians?
“The hours of persistence in learning your craft will bring ongoing rewards throughout the rest of your life. Regardless of whether or not you plan to become a professional musician, continue to make music throughout your life, such as in a community band or orchestra. You will be a happier human being if you do.”

Steven Bryant studied composition with John Corigliano at The Juilliard School, Cindy McTee at the University of North Texas, and Francis McBeth at Ouachita University.  As he states on his website, he also trained for one summer in the mid-1980s as a break-dancer (i.e. was forced into lessons by his mother), was the 1987 radio-controlled car racing Arkansas state champion, has a Bacon Number of 1, and has played saxophone with Branford Marsalis on Sleigh Ride. He resides in Durham, NC with his wife, Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant who is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Music and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Music Department  at Duke University, Director of the Duke University Wind Symphony, and conductor of the Durham Medical Orchestra.

His seminal work Ecstatic Waters, for wind ensemble and electronics, has become one of the most performed works of its kind in the world, receiving over 250 performances in its first five seasons. Recently, the orchestral version was premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra to unanimous, rapturous acclaim.

John Corigliano states Bryant’s “compositional virtuosity is evident in every bar” of his 34’ Concerto for Wind Ensemble. Bryant’s first orchestral work, Loose Id for Orchestra, hailed by composer Samuel Adler as “orchestrated like a virtuoso,” was premiered by The Juilliard Symphony and is featured on a CD release by the Bowling Green Philharmonia on Albany Records. Alchemy in Silent Spaces, commissioned by James DePreist and The Juilliard School, was premiered by the Juilliard Orchestra in May 2006. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series featured his brass quintet, Loose Id, conducted by Cliff Colnot, on its 2012-13 concert series.

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Notable upcoming projects include an orchestral work for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (April, 2018), an evening-length dramatic work for the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, a choral work for the BBC Singers (July, 2017), a work for FivE for Euphonium Quartet and wind ensemble (2019), and a large work to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the University of Illinois Bands. Recent works include a Concerto for Alto Saxophone for Joseph Lulloff and the Michigan State University Wind Symphony (winner of the 2014 American Bandmasters Sousa Ostwald Award), and a Concerto for Trombone for Joseph Alessi and the Dallas Wind Symphony. Other commissions have come from the Gaudete Brass Quintet (Chicago), cellist Caroline Stinson (Lark Quartet), pianist Pamela Mia Paul, the Amherst Saxophone Quartet (funded by the American Composers Jerome Composers Commissioning Program), the University of Texas – Austin Wind Ensemble, the US Air Force Band of Mid-America, the Japanese Wind Ensemble Conductors Conference, and the Calgary Stampede Band, as well as many others.

A special thank you to Mr. Bryant for generously speaking with us and for giving permission to reproduce this material.  Please visit his website at http://www.stevenbryant.com to learn more about this American composer.

On the Town

Sunday, June 4, 2017, 3:00 pm

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

 

 

Peter Lograsso: Fiddler on the Loose!

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Our Spring concert, Giving Voice to the Silenced, honors Holocaust Remembrance Day and Earth Day through a musical program that offers a story of vitality, loss, contemplation, and possibility.

The centerpiece of the first half of this program is a specially constructed “Remembrance Suite” that includes Jack Stamp’s Scenes from Terezin, which is based upon the poems of Ava Scholsova and Fronta Bas, both of whom died in the Auschwitz concentration camp.  Our Suite also includes John William’s dramatic Theme from Schindler’s List, which features one of our own members, Peter Lograsso, on violin.

Peter, an orchestra director, has played the tuba with the Northshore Concert Band for 28 years.

We asked him share his thoughts on playing both the violin and the tuba.

The violin is actually my major instrument, not the tuba. I started playing the violin in first grade after hearing a performance by members of the Cleveland Orchestra at my elementary school. Shortly after that my parents enrolled me in a Suzuki violin program at our church. It wasn’t until the 5th grade that band lessons were offered at my school. I started learning the trumpet so I could be in the band with all my friends. During my years in school I played the french horn, trombone, and eventually the tuba. My band director needed someone to play the tuba and I figured, why not?

I’ve always enjoyed the dichotomy of playing the violin and the tuba. The two instruments play such different roles in an ensemble. As a music educator, I really feel that my experience with both instruments has helped me develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the importance of every section of the band or orchestra. The violin is the soprano, the “diva” of the orchestra. In an orchestra the violin carries the melody the majority of the time, much like the flutes and clarinets in a band. The tuba is the bass, the “rock.” It provides the fundamental sound that everyone else must listen to and build upon.

I always ask my orchestra students, “What is the most important instrument in the orchestra?” Their answer is almost always the violin. I say to them “No, the violins just think they’re the most important!” It’s the bass that is the most vital instrument of all. Without a strong, stable foundation, you won’t have a strong ensemble.

We also asked Peter to share this thoughts on performing a solo with the Northshore Concert Band.

It’s a real thrill to play a solo with the Northshore Band. This is the second time that I’ve had the opportunity. In the Summer of 2001 the band toured the South of France and I played “Highlights from Fiddler on the Roof.”

I have such respect and admiration for all of my colleagues in the Northshore Band. I’ve been a member of the band for my entire adult life. John Paynter invited me to join the tuba section right after I graduated from Northwestern, and I’ve been here ever since.

Many of the closest friends in my life are members of the Northshore Band. We make music together every Wednesday night, but we share so much more.

Don’t miss Peter Lograsso’s solo violin performance during Giving Voice to the Silenced, 3:00 pm April 23, 2017 concert at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the beautiful Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois.

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Be sure to check out Peter in the NCB Tuba’s “Baseball Card” in the Giving Voice to the Silenced concert program book (pp 23-24)!

Hear the Music. See the Music. Feel the Music.

When you go to a concert hall you will hear the music, you will see the music and you will feel it come alive!

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It is important that children develop an appreciation of the arts!  It develops their language and listening skills, increases their attentions span, and teaches them creativity, discipline and self-esteem. Taking children to live concerts helps them gain an appreciation for music. They are given the opportunity to see musicians that love performing music! There is an “event” quality to a live concert at a concert hall that children realize and appreciate.

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The Lifetime of Music event, now in its 15th year, is designed to introduce young musicians to the idea that “music is for a lifetime”.  It is an extraordinary opportunity for students to gain the experience of being a part of a large symphonic sound as they join the members of the world-renowned Northshore Concert Band to perform on the stage of the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. It is also an extraordinary opportunity for children to sit in an audience and see other children performing on stage.

This was such an amazing experience. I truly appreciated every part and it was an honor playing with a very well-known band. It’s my dream to eventually conduct a band as great as this one. I hope to come back and perform again!”                 –Alex Damato, Lifetime of Music student, Westchester, IL

This musical performance is a highlight of every season. In this year’s concert, titled Youthful Spirit, students and band members combine to perform exuberant music that expresses a cheerful American spirit with heartfelt optimism!

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The students truly enjoyed everything about the event and were inspired by the dedication of adults to the continuation of their musical journeys.  My seniors involved in this concert expressed their interest in signing up for band in college and continuing to play in a community band in the future because of the experience they had.”   –2016 Lifetime of Music participating band director

The Northshore Concert Band has brought music to the Chicago metropolitan area for 61 years. Their engaging music education programs demonstrate to younger musicians that there are opportunities for them to play and enjoy their instruments their entire lives, regardless of whether they choose a musical vocation.

 


 

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

Ticket Information: Individual concert tickets are $20 each, seniors $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. Online Tickets are available here.

Bring A Group! 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 adam@northshoreband.org  to customize your group ticket package today!

 

Experience the Musical Excellence of Northshore Concert Band www.northshoreband.org 

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Music Is For A Lifetime!

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THE NORTHSHORE CONCERT BAND CONTINUES ITS 61ST SEASON WITH YOUTHFUL SPIRIT!

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.

 

Make a Difference This Holiday Season!

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Charitable giving  continues its upward trend!  This increase is testament to the growing role that charitable organizations play in our society.Make a difference this holiday season by giving to the Northshore Concert Band!

Here are 9 positive effects of giving.

1. You Will Feel Good!

Donating money makes you feel better.  It makes you realize that even if you don’t have much, you have enough to share with others.  A Harvard Business School study suggests that giving to others is directly correlated with an increased sense of happiness.

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2.You Will Help Those In Need!

When you donate to charities that truly make a difference, you will feel the satisfaction that only giving can bring.  You will know that your donation has made a positive impact on that organization and the lives that it touches.

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3. You Will Be A Part Of Something Bigger!

Even if you are only able to donate a small amount of money, your gift will be joined with the gifts of others and become something much bigger! A small donation really can make a big difference!

4. You Will Get a Tax Deduction!

A gift to a qualified charitable organization may entitle you to a charitable contribution deduction against your income tax if you itemize deductions. Be sure to consult your tax advisor for the federal, state, and local tax consequences of a charitable contribution.

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5. You Can Support Something That is Close to Your Heart!

Everyone is passionate about something.  Making a donation to an organization that inspires you shows your support of their efforts and of their mission. Supporting a cause can give your life a greater purpose. This is one of the most valuable aspects of charitable giving. Everyone needs passion in their life.

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6. Your Support Will Set An Example

Donating to a charitable organization shows everyone that you want to make the world a better place.  It will set an example to your children, grandchildren, friends and family and instill in them a desire to share and serve.  Those around you will be inspired and influenced by your generosity.

7. You Can Honor A Loved One

Making a financial contribution is an excellent way to honor someone in your life or to celebrate the memory of someone who has passed.

8. Your Generosity is Valued

Donors truly make a difference!  You can not underestimate how important you are to the organizations that you support. The financial generosity of individuals like you makes our many musical and educational activities possible.

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9. You Can Donate Today!

While the act of giving is immediate, your relationship with the organizations that you support will be long-term!

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Please make a generous contribution to the Northshore Concert Band so the music will continue to inspire, engage, and excite our audiences.  Your support in any amount is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for joining us in ensuring the ongoing success of the Northshore Concert Band.

Students Meet NCB Tuba Players & Gene Pokorny!

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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.

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

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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!

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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 www.northshoreband.org or call (847) 432-2263.

 

Images: Courtesy of Douglas Boehm

Musicians & Music

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

JASON BEAUMONT

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Jason Beaumont plays the French Horn and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2014. He is a Filmmaker/Video Producer and lives in Chicago, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started playing horn in high school when the marching band didn’t have enough horns and too many saxophones, which is the instrument I started on.

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love being a part of an ensemble and kind of syncing up, so to speak, with others in a way that only music provides.

Do you have a favorite musical memoryIn college, I got to play in a pit orchestra for The Secret Garden and I was the only student playing with the faculty brass. I felt like a big shot.

What are your musical influences? Aside from the big composers of the last few centuries, I have always felt a huge connection with the great movie scores of John Williams and James Horner. And as a filmmaker now, that would explain why I’m always trying to shoehorn (pun very much intended) my horn playing into the indie films I’m shooting.

Who was your most influential music teacher? My high school band director, Ron Curtis. He was so supportive, gave great life advice, and someone I considered a great friend.

Does anyone in your family play music? My sister played flute in high school, but I think I’m the only one who regularly leaves the house in a tux.

What’s on your iPod? Let’s just say that it’s a weird enough array of music that a thief would probably return it just to see what kind of person I must be.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Keep at it and it will always bring you joy and a nice stress reliever. You don’t have to go pro to play in very talented groups, as this non-pro horn performance degreed person will tell you. Also, don’t get a performance degree.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? The NCB has both a great dedication to high musicianship and education outreach that I don’t see in many groups. It’s inspiring and makes me work hard.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Artistic. Prolific. Terrific.

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  Remember, it’s not spit that we French horn and other brass players are dumping out all through a concert, its condensate lung water. Big difference.

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!

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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