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VanderCook College of Music

Ray Forlenza Distinguished Alumni

Ray Forlenza (BMEd ’85 & MMEd ’93) has been awarded the VanderCook Distinguished Alumni Award. Nominations for the award are provided by previous recipients and then selected by vote of the Alumni Board. This award recognizes alums who have distinguished themselves in the field of music education. The certificate reads…

Ray Forlenza has distinguished himself as a respected and outstanding professional in the field of music education. The alumni association recognizes his support of the college, the inspirational impact made in the lives of his students, and the honor brought to VanderCook College of Music by upholding its long-standing tradition of excellence.

 In addition to Ray’s illustrious teaching career, he continues to contribute to his community as the conductor of the Southwest Community Concert Band in Orland Park, IL. His D140 Band Parents commissioned a piece to honor his retirement. Infinite Wonders was composed by Willie Owens (BMEd ’85). Willie is also a past recipient of the VanderCook Distinguished Alumni Award. The two are pictured below.

Willie and Ray

Ray’s son, Nick Forlenza, is currently approaching his senior year at VanderCook. Nick has taken full advantage of what VanderCook has to offer. He has applied the skills he is learning as a teacher with our kids in the One City Jazz Program and serves as the music educators student organization president. Nick has recently marched with a special band in a historic first, honoring music educators in the Tournament of Roses Parade, and performed at Carnegie Hall with other VanderCook students under the direction of our own Dr. Robert Sinclair.



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The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

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