Musicians & Music

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

JENNIFER NELSON

jennifer-nelson

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!

TYLER HOLSTROM

tyler holstrom

Tyler Holstrom plays the Clarinet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2014. He is a Private Instructor and lives in Mokena, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started playing clarinet when I was eleven years old. My sister had started playing clarinet the year before, and this was my next scheme to one-up her in every way possible!

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  My favorite musical memory is my final wind ensemble concert as a student at the Chicago College of Performing Arts. The program was incredibly challenging: Ryan George’s “Firefly,” Ingolf Dahl’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone with Northwestern alumnus Sean Hurlburt, Florent Schmitt’s “Dionysiaques,” and Karel Husa’s “Music for Prague 1968” (which you heard at our season-opening concert, Zero to Sixty). It required countless hours of hard work from every member of the ensemble, but the reward was tremendous!

What are your musical influences? It goes without saying that Dr. Mallory Thompson is an incredible musical influence in my life, pushing me to perform at levels I didn’t even know I was capable of and enlightening me with countless new ideas every week. Aside from Dr. Thompson, my musical influences include Charlene Zimmerman (my former clarinet teacher) and Stephen Squires.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Professor Stephen Squires at the Chicago College of Performing Arts. After working with him in high school, I was blown away by his incredible musicianship, keen ear, and outrageous sense of humor. He’s the reason I chose CCPA, and continues to be a huge influence in my musical life.

Does anyone in your family play music? Nope! My sister quit playing once I beat her in chair placements in junior high.

What’s on your iPod? Exclusively classical and instrumental music: a lot of Dvorak, Barber, Britten, and Prokofiev. I also have a massive playlist of all my favorite band pieces, which gets played on constant repeat. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough room for all the music I love!

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Always keep pursuing music! There are always opportunities to play and be involved in music, even if you decide to do something else professionally.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? Playing with Northshore Concert Band was a dream of mine since the first time I heard the band as a child. In Northshore Band, you get to perform repertoire of the highest quality at a ridiculously high level – an experience that is hard to find outside of military bands. It’s also a great way for those of us who are not pursuing a performance career to keep playing great music with great people every week.

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  Fun facts about me: 1) I have an obsession with the aliens from Toy Story (“The CLAAAAAAW”). 2) One of my life goals is to own a French Bulldog. 3) My parents have come to every single one of my concerts since I started playing the clarinet in 2003. They may not have been awake for the whole concert, but they were there!

 

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!

Musicians & Music

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

RICHARD LEHMAN

Rich Lehman

Richard Lehman plays Percussion and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2005. He is a Band Director and lives in Chicago, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started playing in 4th grade at the age of 9; I picked percussion because I annoyed my sister by banging on the dinner table with the silverware.

What do you enjoy most about playing? What we do is intensely personal and over time we have a concert it is a gift that we the musicians get to give the audience. Giving that gift to others is what I love most about playing.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  Being a music teacher there are quite a few I get to choose from, but one of my highlights is getting to guest conduct the Pennsylvania District 8 Honor Band.

What are your musical influences? I love the music of the Big Band era and composers like Barber, Bernstein, Copland and Gershwin.

Who was your most influential music teacher? That’s difficult because I believe each teacher I’ve had the honor of studying with has helped shape me into the teacher I am today. Dr. Thompson helped push me into being a better musician and not settling for being adequate and it’s a blessing to rehearse with her each week. My colleague and friend, Terry Melbourn has taught me (and continues to teach me) how to be an outstanding middle school band director.

Does anyone in your family play music? My mom plays the organ and piano and my sister plays the piano. If you ask my father what he plays, he will respond by saying, “the radio.”

What’s on your iPod? A lot of podcasts ranging from Radical with David Platt to This American Life.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Anything in life that is worthwhile takes time and commitment.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? It’s the level of playing and life experiences that each member brings to the music that makes it better than other groups I’ve had the chance to perform with.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Inspirational, Dedicated and Giving

 

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!

Musicians & Music

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

BRAD SAY

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!

Musicians & Music

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

LAUREN WHISNANT

lauren whisnant1

 

Lauren Whisnant plays the French Horn and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2014. She is a Music Teacher and lives in Glendale Heights, Illinois. Lauren is also the business manager for Northshore Concert Band.

When and why did you start playing? I started band in 7th grade, but I was originally a clarinet and later oboe player. I finally started learning horn after playing mellophone in marching band (we needed more, I couldn’t play oboe in marching band, so I volunteered!). While I still play oboe from time to time, I definitely identify as a horn player. It fits my personality perfectly!

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from practicing something difficult & finally mastering it. I also love the camaraderie of playing in an ensemble with other people.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  It’s definitely hard to pick a single memory, but I’d have to say my first Rush concert was definitely memorable. It was incredible – those guys rock!

What are your musical influences? I’m a big classic rock fan, and two of my favorite musicians are Geddy Lee & Neil Peart from Rush. I try to see the Chicago Symphony as much as possible – they keep my ears “fresh”!

Who was your most influential music teacher? Dr. Scott Tobias, currently the Director of Bands at the University of Central Florida. He was the Associate Director of Bands at Appalachian State University when I completed by undergrad degree & taught at a summer camp I attended in high school. After one week of being in his ensemble, I knew I wanted to be a music teacher – he made it look fun! Later on he became & continues to be one of my most influential mentors.

Does anyone in your family play music? Yes, my dad sings & plays electric bass in his church’s praise & worship band.

What’s on your iPod? Right now I have a very weird collection of music from different genres that are at certain tempos to use while running. Everything is between 160 & 176 b.p.m., because those are the paces I’m working on. Everything from rock to movie soundtracks to punk to classical – it’s eclectic, but it works!

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Keep at it, and keep your mind open. My first music career goal was to be a professional oboist that would play for movie soundtracks. Now I’m a high school band director in a place I never thought I would live, and I LOVE it! Life is funny that way!

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? The level of performance is astounding, and it makes me constantly work to become a better musician. I love coming to rehearsals & being inspired by something that’s either said by Dr. Thompson or when I hear someone play a phrase in a way that was different than how I interpreted it.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Passionate, inspiring, awesome!

 

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!

Musicians & Music

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

KENDRA GOHR

kendra gohr

Kendra Gohr plays the Euphonium and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2005. She is a private teacher and lives in Libertyville, Illinois. Kendra is also the Northshore Concert Band’s Festival of Music Manager.

When and why did you start playing? I began playing euphonium when I was 9-years old. Both of my grandfathers (and two of my aunts) also played euphonium so I figured I was destined to play as well. My first horn was my grandfather’s 60 year old euphonium…played under the baton of J.P. Sousa! It was a 3-valve horn (that smelled bad and made my thumb turn green due to the raw brass) with a case that was falling apart, but it served me well for five years!

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love making beautiful music with good friends.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  I have many, but probably one of my favorites is playing on the Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville when I was a freshman in high school with the Naperville North High School Wind Ensemble.

What are your musical influences? So many! My private teachers, especially Chad Allen, Ron Keller, Bob Hess, Jim Stombres, Mark Moore, Ken Steinsultz, Pete Griffin & Velvet Brown.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Has to be Jim Stombres. He was my high school band director. He inspired me to not only be a great musician, but also a great person. He really did help mold me into the musician that I am today by teaching me to play the music not just on the page, but from the heart.

Does anyone in your family play music? My mom played the flute and directed children’s choirs at church. My dad is an athlete…he doesn’t play an instrument, but he can whistle in two parts! My husband plays the trumpet and is a high school band director. My son plays the cello and my daughter plays the string bass.

What’s on your iPod? Actually, I don’t have an Ipod, believe it or not… I still listen to c.d.’s 🙂

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Just keep playing!! Whether you major in music or not, just enjoy the music and keep playing!

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different from performing with other groups?  We all have a common goal of playing good music well. We work hard and achieve great things in performance.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Inspiring, Exciting, Family

Please add anything else that you would like our readers to know about you.  I played lead trombone in my high school jazz ensemble and traveled all over Europe with the band, but because I am a classically trained musician, I DO NOT improvise!! 🙂

 

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!

Musicians & Music

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

KYLE RHOADES

kyle rhoades

Kyle Rhoades plays the Trumpet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2010. He is a Band Director and lives in Oak Park. Kyle is also Northshore Concert Band’s librarian.

When and why did you start playing? 4th Grade – joined band and picked trumpet because that’s what Dad played.

What do you enjoy most about playing? The social aspect – lots of people coming together to produce something so much more interesting.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  British Brass Band at the University of Illinois – haven’t played like that since.

What are your musical influences? Sergei Nakariakov, Fennell, Bernstein, etc., etc., etc.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Brayer Teague – Music Department Chair at Downers North HS

Does anyone in your family play music? My brother (Keith) plays French Horn

What’s on your iPod? NCB reference recordings and anything that helps me get off my butt and run a little quicker.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Stick with it! No quitting.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different from performing with other groups? There are dozens of community groups out there who all succeed in their own ways. NCB has such a high level of leadership, organization, and musicianship when compared to most – that’s what keeps people coming back.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Profound, Entertaining, Traditional


 

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!

Musicians & Music

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

STEVE MOLINE

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!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Music

Barry+Skolnik_PEHS+band

All of us have been touched by a teacher at some point in our lives.  Perhaps she changed our way of thinking or acting or maybe he encouraged us to take risks. Teachers are dedicated individuals that make education happen and can be the most influential role model for developing students. A great teacher can change a student’s life. Music education programs offer students an outlet for expression, encourage cognitive processes and provide students with a strong sense of self-worth. Music teachers and band directors are the dedicated individuals who make music education happen.

Barry Skolnik, a Highland Park resident, was the band director at Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois from 1979 to 1982.  Since 1979 he has been a trumpet player with Northshore Concert Band, a symphonic ensemble whose mission is to assist in the music education of young people by demonstrating 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. Recently Mr. Skolnik was contacted by a former student.  He had these thoughts on life, looking back and the impact that teachers have on the lives of their students.

“We go through life hoping to make a difference or have an impact. As you grow older, you realize that this is a lifelong process. I was a high school band director – seems like a lifetime ago. I absolutely remember some of the students, for various reasons. There was a girl who worked hard and excelled at music, and was having her third child during her junior year. There was a boy who played tuba – they called him “cookie monster”. He had a heart of gold until his young life was cut short when he was hit by a car on the expressway while he stopped to help a stranger fix a flat tire.

And then there were 450 other students whose memories blend together. They came in and out of the band room – some for the love of music, others because they needed an elective for credit – and everything in between.

Fast forward 35 years. I received a Facebook Message from a name I did not immediately recognize. Typically I ignore these but for some reason, I accepted this request. What followed stunned me and truly changed my life. The sender was one of those 450 students, asking if I was his teacher in the early 80’s. The conversation was relatively short but the impact on me was profound. “

Student: Any chance that you are the Barry Skolnik who taught music at Proviso East High School in the early 80s?

Barry Skolnik: Yes I am

Student: Do you happen to remember me at all? I was a student of yours from 1979-1983 and played trombone for the most part

Barry Skolnik: I actually do (I think). Do you still play?

Student: I actually haven’t played in about 15 years. I know you had plenty of students and that it has been more than 30 years ago but I have always wanted to say something to you and I hope you allow me the opportunity to do so…..

Barry Skolnik: Sure.

Student: I’d like to say THANK YOU for believing in me back then. I was the victim of abuse at home and at school and I did not have a lot of good feelings about myself. I was very overweight and tried almost too hard to be accepted. But being your student was an escape from all that. You allowed me to be in pretty much all the bands you could and that kept me from going to a very dark place. You have no way of knowing this, but you doing that saved my life. And now I am a father of 2 and have been happily married for 25 years. I continue to study psychology in college and my goal is to help others who were in my position. Mr Skolnik, you saved my life by being my mentor and in turn, my friend. And though you may not remember me, I will always remember you.

Barry Skolnik: That is very kind of you and although I haven’t taught in years, it is good to have a positive effect on people and it sounds like you have dedicated yourself to doing the same.

Student: I have. It’s been my goal for years to pay it forward. It felt so good to finally be able to tell you thank you after all these years! I know your years at Proviso were met with its challenges but never doubt that you had an impact. Do you still play trumpet?

Barry Skolnik: I do. I have been in the Northshore Concert Band for 36 years now.

Student: Wow, that’s wonderful! You were with the band back then!

I wish I had a pic of myself from those years ago to show you and hopefully jog your memory lol.

Barry Skolnik: Ha. Sometimes I don’t remember breakfast but thank you for taking the time to contact me.

Student: Lol you’re very welcome! Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you!

Barry Skolnik: My pleasure. I wish you much continued success. And keep making a difference

Student: Thank you, Sir!

We interface with tens of thousands of people in our lifetime – we never know who we have impacted or to what degree or in what way….you just never know!”

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Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at www.northshoreband.org

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