VanderCook Music News, week of December 10

Concert Choir performing at Nativity of Our Lord Church in Chicago
© Madelyn Kelly
Season’s Greetings! It’s Finals Week at VanderCook as we approach the busy end to an equally busy semester…


There’s a doctor in the house! VanderCook’s Percussion Professor James Yakas successfully completed doctoral work at the University of North Texas. Yakas performed and defended his thesis on Milton Babbitt’s Concerto Piccolino in November, and walks at the official ceremony this weekend. Congratulations, Dr. Jim!
And a tip of the cap to our Director of Admissions & Alumni Relations, Cindy Tovar, who completed the graduate program at Concordia University, majoring in higher education leadership. Congratulations, Cindy!
On November 17, the Lincoln Academy of Illinois held its 44th Annual Convocation and Investiture of Student Laureates, one of which went to senior Alivia Jakubowski! Congratulations, Alivia!
Sara Tischler (BMEd ’13) was named a Hero Teacher by Orange County Public Schools in California. Congratulations, Sara!
Scott Duff (MMEd ’95) received a $1,000 grant from the Des Plaines’ School District 62 Education Foundation in November. The grant will fund a band clinic through VanderCook. Congratulations, Scott, and thanks!
As if preparing for finals wasn’t enough, the last two weeks saw students performing a number of exceptional concerts: Collegiate Choir & Symphonic Band Concert on Nov. 29, the annual Choir & Orchestra Nativity Concert on Dec. 6, and Flute Studio and Clarinet Studio Recitals on Dec. 8. Photos can be viewed on our Facebook page.
Now in its second year, the One City outreach program held its winter concert on Dec. 8. One City students performed as the Earl Hines Band (5th & 6th graders) and the Nat “King” Cole Band (6th through 8th graders). Congratulations to One City executive Director Dr. Leah Schuman and Artistic Director Anthony Kidonakis (MMEd ’09). Photos from this inspiring concert will be available soon.
Also this past weekend, VanderCook held its IIT/Community Music Program Recital, and hosted a recital by the Chicago Community Classical Guitar Ensemble, led by Dr. Julie Goldberg.  

Happening This Week

December 12
The Western Springs Music Club will present a winter concert at 1:45 p.m. today at the First Congregational Church in Western Springs. Among this year’s performers are none other than the VanderCook Clarinet Trio, comprised of president Dr. Roseanne Rosenthal, clarinet professor Dr. Bonnie Campbell and woodwinds professor Ruth Rhodes.


December 21
The Symphonic Band returns to the Midwest Clinic for the 72nd time! This year's guest conductors include David Eccles, William Jastrow, Herman Knoll, Dr. Joseph Manfredo and Charles "Chip" Staley. 

Please note the early start time for this year's performance: 8:15 a.m. at 
McCormick Place West in Ballroom W375AB.
For a look into the history of VanderCook and the Midwest Clinic, read, like and share this recent article in SBO Magazine.
And while you’re at the Midwest Clinic, be sure to catch our presenters:
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 10:30 a.m., room W181: 
Strategies for the Successful Small School Band & Orchestra Director with clinicians Cindy Swan Eagan (MMEd ’87) and Mike Eagan (MMEd ’85).
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 12:00 p.m., room W180: 
Rethinking the Instrumental Vehicle for Teaching Pitch in Beginning Percussion Keyboard Pedagogy, with Dr. Jim Yakas, presenter. Presented by Yamaha Corporation of America.
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 1:30 p.m., room W185: 
A Question of Proportion & Ethics: Synthetic Sounds in “Live” Marching Bands with clinician Kenneth Snoeck (HD ’08).
Thursday, Dec. 20, 10:30 a.m., room W184:
Orchestra New Music Reading Session, moderated by Frank Lestina (HD ’18).
Friday, Dec. 21, 10:30 a.m., room W183:
An Interview with John Whitwell (HD ’13), led by Tim Lautzenheiser (HD ’95).
Friday, Dec. 21, 3:00 p.m., room W179:
Expanding Horizons: World Music in the Bandroom with Michael Sweeney, Dr. Jim Yakas, Zachary Himelhoch (MMEd ’16) and current undergrad Mitch Canning. Presented by the Hal Leonard Corporation (Wisconsin)
Save These Dates!
Feb. 17, 2019:  Alumni Appreciation Concert, 3:00 p.m.
March 12, 2019:  Premier Ensembles Concert, 7:30 p.m.
April 6, 2019:  A Night at the Pops! Benefit Concert, 7:00 p.m.  
April 16, 2019:  Chorale & Honors Chamber Ensemble, 7:30 p.m.
April 27, 2019:  Student Conductor Concerts, 3:00 & 5:00 p.m.
May 2, 2019:  The George A. Quinlan Sr. Concert Series & Yamaha present
Rex Richardson Master Class (1:00 p.m.) & Concert (7:00 p.m.)
May 10, 2019:  Undergraduate Commencement, 4:00 p.m.
June 13, 2019:  TrusTEE Golf Outing, 12:00 p.m.

VanderCook in the News

SBO Magazine ran a feature on VanderCook’s history with the Midwest Clinic and the luminaries who have conducted the band at the Clinic over the years. just released its list of the Best Music Colleges in Illinois, which sure enough features VanderCook. 
Brianne Gidcumb (MMEd ’12) recently published an article on Education Center’s website, “99 Essential Questions for Driving Inquiry Through the Arts.”

Around Town

A very selective fraction of musical events happening in Chicago this month …
December 20
Cat Power brings her/their unique brand of avant indie rock to Thalia Hall. Ticket info here.
December 21
Kool Keith and Bushwick Bill join forces at the Logan Arcade at 9:00 p.m. Info here.
December 20-23
The CSO presents the glorious Messiah by Georg Frideric Handel, conducted by Matthew Halls. Tickets & info here.
December 21-23
Links Hall presents the 29th Annual Winter Solstice Concerts by master percussionists Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang. The duo will perform sunrise concerts on three consecutive days to celebrate the turn of the season. More details and ticket info to be found here.
Drake and Zerang will also perform with Tatsu Aoki at Constellation on the 21st at 8:30 p.m. Details here.
December 26-27
Golden-voiced soulstress Shemekia Copeland will give two all-age concerts at City Winery. More details and tickets available here.
December 28
More soul for the holidays as Macy Gray takes the City Winery stage. Tickets here.
December 31
A special New Year’s Eve show featuring the lo-fi pop and post-punk art rock of Guided by Voices at the Bottom Lounge. Info & tickets here

This Week in Music History

Acknowledging the people and events that shaped music as we know it today…
December 10
1822: Composer César Franck is born in Lèige, Belgium, today. 
1908: French composer Olivier Messiaen is born today in Avignon, France.
1913: Morton Gould, the prolific American composer, arranger and conductor, is born today in Richmond Hill, New York.
1919: Composer Alexander Courage, best known for the original Star Trek TV theme, is born today in Philadelphia.
1927: The Grand Ole Opry was called such for the very first time today during a radio broadcast in Nashville.
1953: Happy birthday Diane Schuur!
1965: Happy birthday Joseph Mascis!
1967: We’ve been trying to avoid memorials in the news updates lately, but some, when particularly tragic, cannot be ignored. On this day, soul/r&b singer Otis Redding was killed in a small plane crash that left all but one of his band members dead. By the time of his death, Redding’s meteoric rise to fame peaked with the release of “Try a Little Tenderness” and his stand-out performance at the Monterey Pop Festival earlier in the year. What would become his most famous song, “Sittin’ on the Dock of a Bay,” was completed by guitarist Steve Cropper and released four weeks after Redding’s death.
1973: The hugely influential club CBGB’s, where artists such as The Ramones, Talking Heads, Patti Smith, Television and Blondie got their respective starts, opened its doors today.
1974: Happy birthday Meg White!
2007: Led Zeppelin performed for the first time in almost 20 years today in London. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and Jason Bonham, son of Zep’s original drummer John Bonham, performed 16 songs and two encores as part of a tribute concert to Atlantic Records’ founder Ahmet Ertegun.
2016: Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature at a ceremony he did not attend. Initially hesitant, Dylan eventually accepted the prize.
December 11
1803: French composer Hector Berlioz is born today.
1916: Perez Prado, the Cuban bandleader who scored international success with “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White,” is born today.
1938: Jazz pianist McCoy Tyner, once a core member of John Coltrane’s classic quartet, is born today.
1954: Happy birthday Jermaine Jackson!
December 12
1792: A young Ludwig van Beethoven receives his first lesson in music composition today, from none other than Franz Joseph Haydn.
1915: Ol’ Blue Eyes, Mr. Francis Albert Sinatra, is born today.
1929: Happy birthday to Japanese jazz pianist and composer Toshiko Akiyoshi!
1933: Happy birthday “Soul Makossa” man Manu Dibango!
1943: Soul and jazz singer Grover Washington is born today.
1959: Happy birthday to drummer extraordinaire Sheila E.!
1965: The Beatles perform what will be their last official concert in Great Britain today. They would not perform publicly again until their famed ad-libbed rooftop concert in January of 1969.
1970: The Doors performed what would be their last-ever concert with Jim Morrison, at the Warehouse in New Orleans.
2003: The Rolling StonesMick Jagger is knighted today by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.
December 13
1903: Guitarist Carlos Montoya is born today in Madrid, Spain.
1957: Happy birthday to The Time’s lead singer Morris Day! Party up!
1974: Happy birthday to Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand!
1989: Happy birthday to…you guessed it, Taylor Swift! ('cause it was 1989...get it?)
December 14
1911: Spike Jones, the Swing bandleader whose songs combined jazz arrangements with sometimes screwball humor, is born today.
December 15
1911: The enormously influential jazz pianist and composer Stan Kenton is born today.
1919: Max Yasgur, who kindly donated use of his dairy farm and property for 1969’s Woodstock festival, is born today. Damages to Yasgur’s farm were extensive. He was sued by his neighbors and became a pariah in the town of Bethel, NY, before seeling the farm in 1971 and retiring to Florida.
1921: Early rock ‘n’ roll DJ and proponent Alan Freed is born today. Freed is credited with coining the term “rock and roll,” but his fame begat a less flattering legacy when he became the center of the “pay-to-play” scandal that rocked the music and radio industries in the 1950s.  
1944: Another tragic loss to be noted this week. It was today that bandleader Glenn Miller was presumed dead when his plane disappeared over the English Channel on the way to entertaining American troops in France. Miller was the best-selling recording artist of his day, with many of his songs, such as “Moonlight Serenade,” “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” and “In the Mood,” embodied WWII and the Swing genre in general, and have remained perennial classics.
1949: Happy birthday to King Crimson and David Bowie guitarist Adrian Belew!
December 16
1882: Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály is born today.
1944: Happy birthday to jazz guitarist John Abercrombie
1950: Happy birthday to ZZ Top guitarist and founder Billy Gibbons!
1951: Happy birthday to guitarist Robben Ford!
1993: MTV broadcasts Nirvana’s famed “Unplugged” performance today for the first time.
Have news to share? Send info about your upcoming performances, appearances, publications, etc., to and we'll get the word out.



VanderCook College of Music

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

Stay Connected


Continuing Education  




Powered by Website design and development by, Inc