THE HISTORY OF VANDERCOOK COLLEGE OF MUSIC
VanderCook College of Music traces its roots to 1909, when Hale A. VanderCook established the institution as a school where professional musicians could learn to function as public school band directors. The early curriculum focused upon techniques for developing skills in conducting, music composition and arrangement, organizing the high school band program, performing music with expression, and principles of musical performance. This early program was offered in an old brownstone on Chicago’s west side neighborhood to groups of 6 to 8 students. A “hands-on” performance-oriented learning environment -- essentially an expanded music teaching studio -- characterized the program.
The College’s reputation as a teacher-training institution grew through the early decades of the 20th century, in part because of correspondence courses in conducting and cornet performance that were marketed nationwide. Also, early monographs on teaching the high school band and musical expression were widely disseminated, as were an extensive series of solos and ensembles for young band students.
In 1928, the college was incorporated as a not-for-profit educational institution and a curriculum designed to prepare music teachers was recognized by the State of Illinois. Largely through the work of Hubert E. Nutt, co-founder of the College, VanderCook became one of the first three institutions in the United States to offer a degree in instrumental music teacher education.
Although the curriculum has expanded, to this day it remains exclusively focused upon music teacher education, the only such institution in the United States. The 2,100 living alumni of the College teach music to school children in most states of the country and abroad.
Learn more about the history of VanderCook
DR. CHARLES T. MENGHINI - President & Director of Bands
Charles T. Menghini is President, Professor of Music and Director of Bands at VanderCook College of Music. Prior to his appointment as President in August of 2004, Charlie served as Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Bands. He began his teaching at VanderCook College in 1994 and his teaching has included conducting, organization and administration, curriculum and supervision, brass methods and rehearsal techniques classes.
Charlie brought with his appointment to VanderCook 18 years of successful high school band experience in Missouri and Kansas. Bands under his direction received consistent Division I ratings in regional, state and national music festivals, performed at various state music educator conventions and performed in the Tournament of Roses Parade, Orange Bowl Parade, Bands of America International Festival and the XV Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Originally from Iron Mountain, Michigan, Menghini attended Northern Michigan University and the University of Missouri – Columbia where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education. He also holds a Master degree in Education from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and a Doctorate of Arts in Wind Conducting from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music where he studied with Gary Hill. In addition to Hill, Menghini recognizes Tim Lautzenheiser and Gary Green as being most-influential teachers in his growth and development. Read full bio.
CINDY TOVAR, Assistant to the President
Cindy Tovar is the administrative assistant to the president at VanderCook College of Music. She received her Bachelor of Music Education Degree from VanderCook in 2000 and has been serving on staff, devoted to the mission of the college ever since. She began working in the band office as part of a summer student crew and was later assigned to serve as the assistant to the undergraduate dean. In 2004 she became the Director of Outreach and Ensemble Coordinator until assuming her current role in 2009.
In addition to administrative duties, Cindy serves as the building monitor ensuring a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students. She works closely with student leaders and is the staff advisor for VanderCook's student chapter of NAfME (National Association for Music Education). She proudly serves as the Liaison for the college's Alumni Relations and manages the college website. Outside of VanderCook, Cindy serves on the Midwest Clinic conference staff and is an alumni board member at St. Benedict High School.
MICHELLE ANDERSON - Chief Financial Officer
Michelle Anderson is the Chief Financial Officer of VanderCook College of Music. After joining the VanderCook staff in the fall of 2011 and taking on the role of staff accountant in 2013, she has an understanding of all aspects of VanderCook's accounting and financial functions. Michelle received her bachelor's degree form the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a licensed CPA. She is current member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Illinois CPA Society.
STACEY LARSON DOLAN - Dean of Undergraduate Studies & Associate Director of Bands
Professor Stacey Larson Dolan is the Undergraduate Dean and Associate Director of Bands at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, IL. At VanderCook, Mrs. Dolan teaches a variety of music education courses, conducting courses and ensembles at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Prior to 2004 and her appointment at VanderCook , Mrs. Dolan had a successful middle school and high school teaching career in private and public education.
Originally from Itasca, IL, Mrs. Dolan has acted as a guest conductor and clinician for over 500 bands from fifteen states and several bands from Canada. She has conducted honor bands in China and throughout the U.S. and presented workshops and/or conducted at Music Educator’s Association Conferences and Festivals in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan and Texas. She was the 2002 recipient of the Illinois Grade School Music Association’s Barbara Buehlman Young Conductor Award and the 2004 Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from School District 10 and VanderCook College of Music. Mrs. Dolan has been published in the Instrumentalist, and her professional affiliations include Phi Beta Mu, NAfME, NBA, and CBDNA
DR. ROBERT L. SINCLAIR - Interim Dean of Graduate Studies, Director of Choral Activities
Dr. Robert L. Sinclair is the Interim Graduate Dean and Director of Choral Activities at VanderCook College of Music. His educational background includes three years at Luther College where he sang in the Nordic Choir under the direction of Weston Noble. After transferring to Sam Houston State University, he completed his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music degrees with B. R. Henson. In December of 2000, Sinclair completed a Ph. D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Music Education) at the University of Missouri Columbia where he worked with Drs. David Rayl and Wendy Sims.
Dr. Sinclair has ten years of public school teaching experience and continues to work as an active choral clinician and adjudicator for junior high and high school students from across the nation and abroad including honor choirs in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, and Japan. Sinclair has presented sessions on conducting and educational pedagogy to the Music Educators Association in Texas, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio, the Illinois Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), as well as the Central, Southwestern and Southern Divisions of ACDA. In January of 2010, he served as guest conductor for the Illinois All State Choir in Peoria.
He is an active member of ACDA, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity, Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honors Fraternity, and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).
PATRICK BENSON - Director of Continuing and Online Education
Patrick Benson joined the administrative team at VanderCook College of Music in July 2015 as the director of continuing and online education. Patrick earned his B.M.Ed. from VanderCook in 2008, and is currently working on his Master of Arts in Applied Professional Studies at the School for New Learning at DePaul University.
Patrick returns to his alma mater having taught for seven years at Hubbard High School in Chicago, where he was the director of high school bands. While at Hubbard, Patrick led the marching band, jazz band and pep band. He was also the audio/visual coordinator, as well as the school activity director and a local school council representative.
In addition to teaching and working at VanderCook, Patrick is an active percussionist in the Chicagoland area, and currently serves as president of the VanderCook Alumni Association.
DR. ROSEANNE K. ROSENTHAL - Director of Professional Education
Roseanne Rosenthal is president emeritus and professor of music education at VanderCook College of Music. She received the Bachelor of Music degree from SUNY Fredonia, and Master of Science and Doctor of Education degrees from Syracuse University under the direction of Dr. Cornelia Yarbrough. She currently teaches coursework in methods of music teaching, research, technology and education psychology; supervises student teachers; and coordinates graduate masters projects. She was president of VanderCook College from 1989 - 2004. She is now president of the Illinois Music Educators Association and on the editorial board of the Journal of Research in Music Education and the newly established Reviews of Research in Human Learning and Music. She has published and presented research articles pertaining to music teacher education and music learning and has served as chair of the NAfME Music Education Research Council. She is a current participant in the Motor Learning Research Forum. She taught instrumental and general music in upstate New York. She is a former member of her local school board (HInsdale-Clarendon Hills CCSD181) and is a current member of the Ada S. McKinley Community Services Board of Directors.
SIRENA COVINGTON - Director of Financial Aid
Sirena Covington joined VanderCook College of Music is 2011 with more than ten years experience in Financial Aid. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Illinois Institute of Technology and Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University. She is a current member of Illinois Association of Student Aid Administrators(ILASFAA) and the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). She currently participates in the Chinese American Service League (CASL) annual Financial Aid workshop to inform the community of financial aid options.
DR. BONNIE CAMPBELL - Director of Applied Studies
Bonnie Campbell is currently the Director of Applied Studies and Clarinet Professor at VanderCook College of Music. She received a doctor of music degree in music literature and clarinet performance from Indiana University. She also holds degrees from Yale University and Roberts Wesleyan College (summa cum laude) and has attended the Banff School of the Arts. Her teachers include James Campbell, Keith Wilson, Margaret Quackenbush, and Alan Hacker.
Dr. Campbell has performed guest recitals at colleges and universities across the country. Her orchestral experience includes performances at the Evian Festival (France) as well as at the opening ceremonies of the Bastille Opera House in Paris. She has been a member of the South Bend Symphony and the Camerata Chamber Orchestra of Bloomington, an ensemble jointly comprised of faculty and students from the Indiana University School of Music. She has performed in New York City at Merkin Hall and at Lincoln Center, where she played the Mozart Clarinet Quintet as part of the Mozart Bicentennial Celebration.
In Chicago, Dr. Campbell performs frequently at the Cultural Center. She has also been heard on WFMT’s Live from Studio One and on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series. She is a founding member of the Daedalus Duo and Vermillion (with pianist Diana Schmück and cellist Judy Stone), with whom she performed at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest 2007 held in Vancouver, BC. At the invitation of the International Clarinet Association, she presented the world premier performance of Robert Kritz’s Diaspora Dances at ClarinetFest 2009 in Oporto, Portugal.
DR. I-HSUAN TSAI - Head of Piano and Theory Faculty
I-Hsuan Tsai is the head of the piano and theory department at VanderCook College of Music. Dr. Tsai joined the teaching faculty at VanderCook in 2004. Previously, she taught at the University of Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina Community College. Dr. Tsai received a doctor of musical arts in piano from the College-Conservatory of Music at University of Cincinnati, a master of music in piano and bassoon, and a bachelor of music in piano from Indiana University. An active soloist and chamber musician, she is the winner of the Buckeye Piano Competition and the Graves Piano competition. Dr. Tsai’s recent performances include concerts at the Kennedy Center, the United Nations, live performances on WFMT, the Aspen Music Festival, Roosevelt University, Northeastern University, as well as the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series. She also has performed and taught internationally in Mexico, Brazil, China, Portugal, and Taiwan.
JUSTIN KVEDARAS - Director of Outreach and Ensembles Coordinator
Justin Kvedaras is the Director of Outreach and Ensembles Coordinator at VanderCook College of Music. Before starting at VanderCook, Justin taught music for a number of years. In his current role, Justin directs several large festivals and clinics for Chicago area middle and high school music students. In addition, he assists in managing the needs of the various VanderCook musical ensembles and directs the day to day logistics of the college. Justin holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Iowa