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George Quinlan, Sr. 1922 - 2013








The world of music has truly suffered a great loss with the passing of George Quinlan, Sr. In the music education field, he created music programs were there were none and gave countless students the opportunity to experience music. When they were grounded in the appreciation of the beauty of music, he went one step further and provided them instruments of the highest quality. This led him to co-found what is today one of the leading school music companies in the nation: Quinlan and Fabish Music Company.  Mr. Quinlan juggled the role of father, band director, businessman, and performer, and did it all with greatest amount of grace and the highest level of integrity.  Never forgetting the role of music education in his life Mr. Quinlan continually found ways to support band and orchestra directors and their students.  He provided workshops for both the director and student and supported outreach programs in the field.  

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, students, faculty, staff, administration, and alumni of the college, Dr. Charles T. Menghini, president issued these comments:  "George Quinlan, Sr. was a personal hero to so many of us.  He was a true friend to everyone he met.  Always with that 'Kris Kringle' smile, he lit up every room he entered.  His love of family and of the profession he did so much for is an inspiration to every one of us who aspire to be a musician, teacher, leader, businessman, or human being.  There is no doubt that his legacy is one that will live in the hearts and minds of everyone who was fortunate enough to have had the pleaure of his company."

The Quinlan family has been a part of the VanderCook family for many years.  In 1999, VanderCook awarded George Quinlan, Sr. a doctor of music honorus causa degree.   In December 2012, he conducted the VanderCook Symphonic Band at the Midwest Clinic, while his grandson George (Andrew) Quinlan III played field drum.  In 1996, son George, Jr. joined the VanderCook Board of Trustees and led the board as Chairman from 2005 – 2010. Throughout the years the Quinlan family has supported the efforts of VanderCook's outreach programs by sponsoring the All- Catholic Honor Band Festival.  Through the family business, they have provided an array of instruments and musical items to support the fundraising efforts of the college and have established a scholarship in memory of George Quinlan Sr.'s late wife; The Lorraine Quinlan Scholarship.  Most recently, the family created the George Quinlan, Sr. Legacy Fund as part of the Inspire. Build. Sustain. Capital Campaign. This initiative will transform a 24,400-sq-ft. building on campus into a state-of-the-art performance and education center, and secure the future of music education everywhere.  Donations will be directed towards what will become the George Quinlan, Sr. Recital Lobby and Recital Hall. You may donate online or by completing and returning this form to Jeffrey Sadowski, Director of Philanthropy, at: 312-788-1166 or













2010 Annual Report Article

Lifelong Friendship:
George Quinlan, Sr.






VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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