VanderGram: July 22, 2019

Alex Kaminsky conducts the Graduate Symphonic Band

As the summer session winds down, this VanderGram presents updates and notices from June and July.

The next VanderGram will be published on August 19, when the fall semester begins and a new freshmen class starts the journey toward a music education degree in the VanderCook tradition.


Freshmen won't be the only new faces on campus this fall. vanderCook is proud to welcome Dr. John-Rine Zabanal as our new Director of String Music Education. Dr. Zabanal comes to VanderCook having taught undergraduate and graduate string students at Florida State University. We are thrilled to have him on our campus and look forward to working with him. You can read more about Dr. Zabanal on our Music Faculty page.

Dr. Zabanal's appointment, sadly, means that the VanderCook community bids farewell to string professor David Eccles, who will stepping down in August to continue his music education career in Atlanta, GA, at The Lovett School as their Director of Orchestras. Professor Eccles has been our Director of Strings for the past 11 years, and we cannot thank him enough for the energy and warmth he brought to that position.

No amount of heat could slow down our summer concert schedule. The Sounds of Bronzeville Concert (June 21) benefitted the One City outreach program and wowwed the audience. July 9's Clarke House Concert delighted all who came to picnic and relax in Chicago Women's Park. The Graduate Ensembles Concert on July 18 showcased the incredible talents of our graduate degree candidates, and the Graduate Jazz Band had everyone swinging during the Wendella boat cruise on July 19. Many thanks to all who attended each of these events! Check out photos from them all on our Galleries page and Facebook photo albums.

The VanderCook Community is saddened to announce that alumnus Leo Bedard (MMEd '69) passed away on May 3. Bedard was the first band director at Metcalf Junior High School in Burnsville, MN, and taught there for 33 years. He was named Teacher of the Year in 1991 by Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191. An article about Bedard and his accomplishments can be found here.


On July 20, the City of Madison held the official ribbon-cutting ceremony naming a new street for retired University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Richard Davis (BMEd '52; HD '92). Davis studied under famed VanderCook alum Dr. Walter Dyett (BMEd '38) and later followed in his mentor's footsteps with studies at VanderCook. Davis' career as a professional bassist includes performances and recordings with some of the biggest names in jazz and popular music: Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Elvin Jones, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Dexter Gordon, Ahmad Jamal and scores of others. Read more about Davis' illustrious career and the street-naming here.

Gary Moore (BMEd '76) was recently interviewed about his career by the Kankakee Daily Journal here.

Keith Aleo describes his experience at VanderCook College of Music after teaching at the college during our Continuing Education 2019 Summer MECA program. View the video here.

Gary W. Moore (BMEd '76) published an op-ed on his passion for music and career as a percussionist in the Ames Tribune, available here.

The Chicago Tribune profiled Steve Martin (MMEd '90) and his unique quest to play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on 40 different instruments in under 4 minutes to raise funds for Chicago’s North Shore Adventist Academy on May 19. Read the Trib's interview with Martin here.


September 15: Prism Concert, 3:00 p.m.

September 28: Music Moves Minds: A Benefit Concert for VanderCook featuring Yang & Olivia, 7:00 p.m.

September 28: Middle Level HonorFest (daylong outreach event)


Music History will return in the August 19 edition.

Have news to share? Send info about your upcoming performances, appearances, publications, etc., to and we'll get the word out.





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