VanderGram: April 22, 2019

© Jonathan Kirn

Finals, junior & senior recitals, the Student Conductor Concert and undergraduate commencement loom on the horizon!


VanderCook is proud to announce our new Director of Bands, Mr. Alex Kaminsky. Previously serving as Director of Bands at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, Kaminsky has long been recognized as an outstanding educator. He has received the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence 10 times and the Superior rating at the State Concert Band Assessment for 22 consecutive years. His teaching abilities have been similarly recognized by achievement awards such as the 2019 FMEA Secondary Music Educator of the Year Award and the National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teacher. Welcome aboard, Alex!


All events held at VanderCook College of Music unless specified otherwise.

April 23: Chamber Ensembles Concert, 4:30 p.m.

April 26: Rosemarie DeVenuto’s Senior Recital, 7:30 p.m.

April 27: Student Conductor Concert, 2:00 p.m.

April 28: Rebecca Calderon’s Junior Recital, 4:00 p.m.

April 28: Melissa Anderson, Amanda Armstrong & Dylan Palmer’s Junior Recitals, 6:00 p.m.

April 30: VanderCook Night at the Bog! After a long wait and much planning, the NAfME IIT Outreach Committee is proud to announce the first-ever VanderCook Night at the Bog. Big thanks to Matt Hendricks, Becca Majeski, Alfred Fajardo and Rose DeVenuto for their hard work making this possible. Start time is 8:00 p.m. (tentative) at the Bog, located on IIT’s campus.
May 2: Veteran trumpeter Rex Richardson will give a free master class at 1:00 p.m. and perform in a special concert at 7:00 p.m. with VanderCook’s Jazz and Percussion Ensembles. Both events are free and will take place at VanderCook’s 3125 S. Federal St. building. Presented by Yamaha and Quinlan & Fabish as part of the George A. Quinlan Sr. Concert Series. Teachers interested in bringing students or ensembles to the master class should contact Dr. Jim Yakas at

May 4: Students from Mary-Christine Stingley’s Flute Studio will perform a free recital in Quinlan Hall at 6:00 p.m.

May 5: The Chicago Community Classical Guitar Ensemble, led by Dr. Julie Goldberg, will perform a Side-by-Side Concert with the Lincolnway East Community High School Guitar Ensemble (Michael Teare, director). The concert starts at 3:00 p.m. in Quinlan Hall at 3125 S. Federal St.

May 10: Join us in presenting the Class of 2019 at Undergraduate Commencement beginning at 4:00 p.m. at 3125 S. Federal St.

May 11: One City Spring Concert, 11:00 a.m. Dr. Leah Schuman presents the students of VanderCook’s One City outreach program in a free jazz concert showcasing the talents of talented middle schoolers from the Bronzeville neighborhood. Admission is free! Located at 3125 S. Federal St.


VanderCook in the News

Current MMEd candidate Max Feld will be taking the Rancho High School Clarinet Choir to the Midwest Clinic this December. We look forward to hearing you!
Y.L. Douglas (MMEd ‘15) will be touring as Barry Manilow’s drummer for the singer’s upcoming residency at the International Theater, Westgate Resort and Casino, as well as various dates this summer. Congratulations, Y.L.!

It’s a busy month for Dr. Julie Goldberg. Her latest guitar ensemble composition, Canary Fancy, after the Music of Gaspar Sanz, has been published by Guitar Class Resources. The Avanti Guitar Trio, featuring Julie, Wesley Hixson and Jason Deroche, has released a new CD, Ladder to Light, which includes premier recordings of music by American composers Ronald Pearl and Wesley Hixson, as well as new arrangements of works by Bizet, Bustamente, De Falla and others. And on March 27, the Willowbrook High School Guitar Orchestra performed Julie’s composition El conjunot excede la suma de sus partes as part of their Spring Strings Concert. The piece was commissioned by Willowbrook Guitar Orchestra. Take a bow, Julie!

Sarah Giordano (MMEd ‘05) will be the musical director for BrightSide Theatre’s production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels this summer in Naperville. Congratulations, Sarah! Read more about the production here.

Barbara Blackstone’s (MMEd ‘05) 2nd and 3rd grade choirs from Turner Drew Language Academy in Chicago received standing ovations when they performed at the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier on April 9. Congratulations, Barbara, and to all your students!


This Week in Music History

Acknowledging the people and events that shaped music as we know it today…
1876: Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky completes his most well-known ballet, Swan Lake.

1916: Violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin is born. Considered one of the greatest classical violinists of the 20th century, Menuhin enjoyed frequent collaborations musicians outside of the classical world, including Ravi Shankar (check out the Grammy-winning album West Meets East) and jazz guitarist Stephane Grappelli. Menuhin died in 1999.

1922: Charles Mingus is born. There is no history of jazz that could not be written without detailing the contributions of this renowned double bassist. Mingus played with Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton and Charlie Parker before his own career as a leader. His landmark albums Pithecanthropus Erectus (1956), Mingus Ah Um (1959) and The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (1963) remain cornerstones in the development of collective improvisation and incorporating blues and gospel idioms. Mingus died in 1979.

1936: Glen Campbell is born. After an early career as an in-demand session musician in Los Angeles, Campbell shot to meag-stardom with "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Southern Nights," which remain classics to this day.

1937: Musician, songwriter and film composer Jack Nitzsche is born today. Nitzsche began his career working alongside Phil Spector throughout the '50s and later worked with The Rolling Stones, Ry Cooder, Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield and Graham Parker. Perhaps best known for co-writing the Academy Award-winning "Up Where We Belong" from An Officer and a Gentleman, Nitzsche was preparing to produce Mercury Rev’s All is Dream album at the time of his death in 2000.

1944: American conductor and musicologist Joshua Rifkin, who was pivotal in the ragtime revival of the 1970s, is born. His recordings of Scott Joplin’s rags remain the standard interpretations of the composer’s most famous works.

1950: British guitarist, singer and songwriter Peter Frampton is born. After a stint with the band Humble Pie, Frampton began a successful solo career with international smashes “Baby, I Love Your Way” and “Show Me the Way.” His double-live album Frampton Comes Alive was one of the biggest-selling albums of the ‘70s.

1978: John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd make their debut as The Blues Brothers on Saturday Night Live, later releasing a best-selling album and starring in a classic feature film before Belushi’s untimely death in 1982.

1978: Bob Marley makes his first concert appearance in his home country of Jamaica in two years, following an assassination attempt.

1999: While we were sleeping… Sinead O'Connor is ordained as a priest in the  Irish Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church, as well as the first female priest in the Latin Tridentine Church in Lourdes, France. It had been only seven years since O’Connor’s infamous appearance on Saturday Night Live wherein she tore a photo of Pope John Paul II in half while singing a cover of Bob Marley’s “War.”

1936: “The Caruso of Rock,” Roy Orbison, writer and honey-voiced performer of longtime staples “Pretty Woman” and “In Dreams” among dozens others, and the oldest Traveling Wilbury, is born.

2005: YouTube is officially launched today. Even with competing services like Google Video, Spotify and Pandora, it eventually becomes the go-to to hear music for free.

1942: Singer, actress and activist Barbra Streisand is born.

1965: Luciano Pavarotti makes his stage debut today in a production of La Bohème at La Scala in Milan, directed by legendary film, theater and opera director Franco Zeffirelli.

1917: Jazz vocal luminary Ella Fitzgerald is born. Often called America’s First Lady of Song, Fitzgerald shot to fame in WWII with her classic recording of “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.” She would go on to record classic interpretations of Cole Porter and George Gershwin, and popularize scat-singing over a performing career lasting nearly 60 years. She died in 1996, just three years after her final public performance.

1933: Jerry Leiber, who with partner Mike Stoller penned some of the most famous songs in rock ‘n’ roll history (“Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Stand By Me” (together with Ben E. King) and “Love Potion No. 9,” among dozens others), is born. Leiber died in 2011.

1970: In Nashville, TN, James Brown records what would become his most famous and enduring number, "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine." It became an instant hit worldwide and remains a landmark of soul and funk to this day.

1938: King of the guitar twang Duane Eddy, famous for his recordings of “The Peter Gunn Theme” and “Cannonball,” is born.

1978: The Last Waltz, director Martin Scorsese's classic documentary of The Band's final performance, opens in theaters today. Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, The Staple Singers and Dr. John are among the performers guesting with the venerable group.

1810: Today is the date Ludwig van Beethoven composes one of his most famous works, and one of the most enduring piano pieces in all of classical music, "Für Elise."

1891: Sergei Prokofiev, acclaimed Russian composer of Peter and the Wolf, the ballet Romeo and Juliet, and the Lieutenant Kije Suite, is born in Ukraine. Prokofiev died in 1953.

1963: A 19-year-old English lad named Andrew Loog Oldham, attends a small gig by a blues band called The Rollin' Stones. Meeting with the band afterwards, he eventually becomes their manager, convincing them to add a “g” to their name, and begins one of the most successful and fruitful collaborative partnerships in rock ‘n’ roll history.

1968: The landmark musical Hair (music by Galt McDermott, book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado) opens on Broadway today. The show would quickly come to symbolize the 1960s hippie movement with its boldly outspoken indictment of war and racism.

1976: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band become the second-ever rock band to play at Nashville’s famed Grand Ole Opry. Only The Byrds had performed a non-country show at the venue previously in 1968.
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