VanderCook Music News - Back to School Edition!

Angela Presutti Korbitz & Dr. Diana Schmück perform at orientation

Welcome back students and faculty, and an extra special welcome to incoming undergraduates!


Monday’s orientation went as smoothly as could be for students, faculty and staff. Howard A. Tullman, executive director of IIT’s new Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship, delivered an inspiring keynote address about innovation and inspiration. In addition, VanderCook faculty members Dr. Leah Schuman, Angela Presutti Korbitz, Dr. Diana Schmück, Eran Meir and Joshua Wirt performed short works by Leonard Bernstein in honor of his centenary. Photos and videos will be posted shortly.

You’ll see 19 new faces around campus. Our incoming freshmen are vocalists, trumpeters, percussionists, clarinetists, violists, trombonists and saxophonists heralding from as far as Dunlap, IL, Fort Worth, TX, and Chengdu, China!

In addition to incoming freshmen, VanderCook welcomes new faculty this fall:

Becky Binks, Methods of Teaching Reading

Dr. Diane Deckert, Educational Psychology

William Jastrow, Adjunct Associate Director of Bands

Charles “Chip” Staley, Adjunct Associate Director of Bands

The 2018-19 year also sees the launch of VanderCook’s first online undergraduate course. Najeem Gbadadmosi will offer Social Justice and the Community, and it has already generated excitement from the undergraduate class.

Last Friday, VanderCook’s table was the place to be seen at IIT’s Welcome Back Bash. Director of Admissions Cindy Tovar and Director of Financial Aid Sirena Covington fielded questions from a wealth of IIT students interested in taking music lessons alongside their major studies. We look forward to seeing more IIT students in our ensembles!

Another milestone from this summer is the acquisition of over 2,800 jazz CDs to VanderCook’s Harry Rupel Library. Librarian and Archivist Rob DeLand coordinated the donation from a voracious collector who wanted them to have a good home. Come on down to the Ruppel Library and brush up on just about anyone in jazz you can think of!

VanderCook in the News

Bob Sloan (MMEd ‘04) has been nominated as Ohio Teacher of the Year. Sloan has taught band at Van Wert High School for 17 years and is as honored by the nomination as he is proud of his effect on his students. Good luck, Bob! Read more about Smith and his nomination here.

Lynne Jackson (MMEd ’75) is featured in a new episode of Mark J. Connor’s Everything Band podcast, available here.


August 25
Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don’t fail them now! VanderCook’s saxophone professor and resident jazzman Anthony Kidonakis (MMEd ’09) will be breaking in to prison – the Joliet Correctional Facility, specifically, famed site featured in the classic film The Blues Brothers. Tony will be performing with The Blooze Brothers as part of a fundraiser taking place inside the walls of the prison grounds. This ticketed event is sure to sell out faster than Jake and Ellwood could drive there. More information here.

September 27
Don't miss this special event! 
Two-time Grammy-winner Mads Tolling will present a special master class and share wisdom from his years with the Turtle Island Quartet, performing with legends like Stanley Clarke and Jean-Luc Ponty, and leading his acclaimed ensemble The Mads Men.  Presented by Yamaha and Quinlan & Fabish. 
To have your school ensemble or individual students attend the master class, email Prof. David Eccles.

Click here for details and RSVP info.

This Week in Music History

Acknowledging the people and events that shaped music as we know it today…

August 20


1924:  Country singer Jim Reeves, the first country artist to cross over into popular music.

1942:  Isaac Hayes, soul/funk impresario whose theme for the film Shaft became one of the most popular anthems of the ‘70s. His popularity was renewed in the ‘90s when he voiced Chef for South Park. He’s one baaaaad mutha…

1946:  Ralf Hutter, founding member of the proto-techno group Kraftwerk.

1948:  Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin and co-Grammy-winner with Allison Kraus.

1949: Thin Lizzy’s singer-songwriter and bassist Phil Lynott.

1973:  Fred Durst, singer of Limp Bizkit.

1979:  UK singer Jamie Callum.

1985:  Michael Shuman, bassist for Quens of the Stone Age

1992:  Actress and singer Demi Lovato. She’s aparently currently recovering in a Chicago rehab, so if you see her on the street, be sure to wish her a happy birthday.


1969:  Today was be the last day that all four Beatles would be together in the studio at the same time. The Fab Four had wrapped up recording “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and sequenced the Abbey Road album before heading home. John, Paul, George & Ringo would hereafter recod Beatles material solo or in pairs during their final recording sessions.

August 21


1904:  Bandleader extraordinaire Count Basie.

1938:  Kenny Rogers, who needs no introduction as he just checked in to see what condition his condition was in...

1952:  Joe Strummer, co-founder of The Clash.

1967:  System of a Down singer Serj Tankian.

1979:  Kelis

In memoriam:

2005:  Synthesizer inventor Robert Moog, age 71.

2013:  Sid Bernstein, a legendary old-school show promoter who single-handedly brought The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Moody Blues to America (most famously booking TheBeatles’ equally legendary performances at Carnegie Hall and Shea Stadium). Bernstein was also the first to brin rock concerts to sports stadiums. He was 95.

August 22


1979:  Sid Vicious, former member of the pioneering runk band The Sex Pistols performed on stage for he very last time today at London’s Electric Ballroom. He would die of a heroin overdose four months late at the age of 21.


1920:  Elder blues statesman John Lee Hooker.

1963:  Singer Tori Amos

1967:  Layne Staley, singer of Alice in Chains.

In memoriam:

2004:  You don’t know his name but you sure know his famous catchphrase: Event announcer Al Dvorin, who first uttered “Elvis has left the building” to lingering concertgoers in the early 70s. Ironically, Dvorin was killed in a car crash on his way home from an Elvis convention in California. He was 81.

2011:  Songwriter Jerry Lieber, who with partner Mike Stoller penned some of the most iconic rock and pop songs of the 20th century, including “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” “There Goes My Baby,” “Stand By Me” and “Poison Ivy,” among dozens of others. He was 78.

August 23


1946:  Keith Moon, the explosive first drummer for The Who

1961:  Dean DeLeo, guitarist for Stone Temple Pilots

1978:  Julian Casablancas, guitarist and singer of The Strokes

August 25


1918:  Leonard Bernstein

1949:  Kiss frontman Gene Simmons

1951:  Singer-songwriter Rob Halford of Judas Priest

1954:  Elvis Costello

In memoriam:

2000:  Award-winning composer, producer, songwriter, musician, Chicago native and original lonely surfer Jack Nitzsche. Nitzsche’s incredibly varied career saw him produce albums for The Rolling Stones and Neil Young, arrange Phil Spector’s famous “Wall of Sound,” and compose soundtracks for films including The Exorcist and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He was 63.

2001:  Singer and actress Aaliyah was killed in a small plan crash today in the Bahamas at only 22.

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