VanderGram: June 3, 2019


Welcome to summer! While undergrads enjoy some well-deserved time off, there's no rest for the rest of VanderCook. Concerts, continuing education and graduate courses are coming up fast, promising a fun, busy and very musical summer for all.


Undergraduate Commencement was held on May 10 in VanderCook's 3125 building before a packed audience. The Doctorate of Music Honoris Causa was presented to Charles "Chip" Staley, who spoke passionately about the music teaching profession and all it has to offer students and educators alike. “Teachers get great satisfaction from setting up a student’s revelation," Staley related to the audience. "Being the architect of this process for our students enriches our lives.” Photos coming soon!

George R. Borich (BMEd '53), beloved music educator at Lake Forest high School and in Brownsville, TX, passed away peacefully on May 18. Borich served as a board member of VanderCook’s Alumni Association for many years, as well as president of the Lake Forest Education Association and president of Northwestern University's Music Alumni Association. His devotion and contributions to the world of music education will be missed by many. A memorial is planned for Friday, August 9, 2019, at the Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest, IL, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to VanderCook's Great Teacher's Scholarship, in honor of Dr. George Borich, using this form.

VanderCook in the News

At its May 31 meeting, the District 113A Board of Education named a new assistant principal for Old Quarry Middle School: Steven Nendza (BMEd '99, MMEd '03). The new position will take Nendza away from his current duties as principal intern and band director at Jack Hille Middle School in Oak Forest, where no doubt he will be sorely missed. Congratulations, Steve! Read more about his appointment here.

Last month, Randy Stenson (MMEd '05) led the men's high school Varsity Ensemble of St. Mary's International School (based in Tokyo) at the 30th Corso Internazionale Dicanto Corale Competition in Verona, Italy, where they won Gold in the Sacred/Secular and Folklore categories. They also had the highest score, winning the festival's prestigious Oswald Stocker Award, which is only given to the group scoring between 98-100 points from all seven judges -- only the third choir in the festival's 30-year history to achieve the award and the first time for an ensemble from Japan. Congratulations to you and your students, Randy! You can see some wonderful videos of St. Mary's choirs at the festival on their Facebook page here.

Sean J.M. Newman (MMEd '17) was recently accepted as a doctoral student to pursue his Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of Iowa. He was also granted a graduate teaching assistantship, which includes a stipend, full tuition waiver and benefits package. Sean has been teaching choir and general music for six years at Round Lake Area Schools - Community Unit School District #116 in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Congratulations, Sean!

William F. Finkl Academy now has a state-of-the-art piano lab installed in its new music wing, thanks to a generous grant from the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. Finkl's music teacher Terry Khuu (BMEd '11) applied for the grant in February of 2018. Way to go, Terry! Read more about the Finkl award and Lang Lang International Music Foundation's Keys of Inspiration Grant here.

Fred Murphy (MMEd '02) was named the 2020 HASSA Hawaii State Principal of the Year. Murphy has been principal of Mililani High School on Oahu, his alma mater, since 2012. Congratulations, Fred!

After 32 years of teaching band at Madison High School in Rexburg, ID, Dan North (MMEd '94) has finally retired. Congratulations, Dan! An article with quotes by and about North can be found here.

VanderCook's harp instructor Lisa Marie Kahn has had her first article published for Harp Column! Way to go, Lisa! Read it here.


Summer MECA courses begin next Monday, June 10, and for those who haven't been able to register until now, registration has been extended through next Friday, June 14! Course list and registration info available here. VanderCook's Master of Music Education degree summer program begins the following Monday, June 17.

Golfers, tee up! The 14th Annual TrusTEE Golf Open happens next Thursday at The Links at Carillon in Plainfield, IL, beginning at 12:00 noon. Every dollar raised at the TrusTEE Golf Open goes directly to VanderCook's Meet the Challenge Capital Campaign and will be matched by Dr. Keith Mardak of Hal Leonard. Polish those clubs and get your tickets here.

June 21 offers a unique opportunity to see VanderCook outreach in action. Experience the rich musical legacy of the Bronzeville neighborhood and hear the musicians and music educators of tomorrow at Sounds of Bronzeville, a benefit event for the One City outreach program. One City provides free instruments and music lessons to 5th through 8th graders using Bronzeville's jazz roots as a foundation. The Sounds of Bronzeville event will be held at VanderCook's 3125 S. Federal St. building on June 21 at 7:30 p.m. The evening will feature performances from the Chicago Blues All-Stars, the One City jazz bands, and dueling pianos with One City Artistic Director Tony Kidonakis (MMEd '09), as well as great food from Montrose Deli, beverages from Lagunitas and Marz Brewing Company and more. Tickets and more details available here.

This Week in Music History

Acknowledging some of the people and events that shaped the music we know today...

JUNE 3, 1942 - Singer-songwriter and soul musician Curtis Mayfield was born in Chicago today. Mayfield was one of the first r&b singers to write original songs during the early 1960s, unusual for the time, and scored major hits with his group The Impressions such as "People Get Ready" and "For Your Precious Love." Going solo in 1970, he brought an urban realness and almost tearful tenderness to songs about love, ghetto life, and the daily struggle for civil rights and racial equality. Best remembered for his landmark 1972 album Super Fly, Mayfield wrote, recorded, produced and collaborated well into the '80s. He died in 1999.

JUNE 3, 1970 - Ray Davies of The Kinks traveled from New York to London today to record one word. The BBC had just banned the band's newest single, "Lola," for using "Coca-Cola" in a lyric, violating the BBC's commercial reference ban. Davies flew to London to re-record the lyric with "cherry cola" in order to circumvent the ban with the version we all know and love today.

JUNE 6, 1903 - Composer Aram Khachaturian, one of the leading Russian/Armenian composers of the first half of the 20th century, was born today. Khachaturian's prolific career yielded dozens of concert works and film scores. His Gayane Suite from 1942 contains the famous "Sabre Dance," which is continually performed to this day around the world. He wrote until the mid-70s and died in 1977.

JUNE 6, 1915 - Composer and music educator Vincent Persichetti was born today. The composer of "Hymns and Responses for the Church Year" and author of Twentieth Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice, Persechetti made lasting impressions that resonate today in music education. Among his students at Julliard were Philip Glass, Peter Schickele (a.k.a. P.D.Q. Bach), Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, Canadian composer Steven Gellman, Robert Witt, Claire Polin and Japanese composer Toshi Ichiyanagi. Persechetti died in 1987.

JUNE 6, 1962 - The Beatles met their producer George Martin for the first time today. The lads were assigned an in-house producer by their label, EMI-Parlophone. The meeting would be fortuitous and forged the most potent artist-and-producer relationships in music history, even though Ringo hadn't yet been in the mix; the song recorded today with original drummer Pete Best, "Bésame Mucho," wouldn't be released until 1995 on the Anthology 1 collection.

JUNE 7, 1963 - Time has been on their side, indeed! The Rolling Stones' first single was released today, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On" backed with their take on Muddy Waters' "Go-Go-Go."

JUNE 7, 1972 - One of the defining albums of British rock was released today, David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. The concept album about an androgynous alien who becomes a rock star reached such popularity that when Bowie announced Ziggy's "retirement" at the end of a concert, fans the world over panicked that the singer himself would no longer perform. With its signature glam-rock hits "Suffragette City" and "Hang On to Yourself," it remains one of the artist's quintessential milestones.

JUNE 7, 1958 - Prince Rogers Nelson is born today in Minneapolis, the city that would remain his home base throughout his career. Coincidentally, his very first single, "Soft and Wet" was released today in 1978. It was also on this day in 1993 that he famously changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, earning him the nickname "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" (he would return to releasing new material under his true name again in 2001).


Save These Dates!

July 9: Clarke House Concert, 7:00 p.m.
July 18: Masters Project Poster Session, 5:45 p.m.
July 18: Graduate Ensembles Concert, 7:30 p.m.
July 19: Jazz Band Concert & Wendella Boat Cruise, 8:00 p.m.
July 25: Graduate Applied Studios Recital, 7:00 p.m.
July 27: Graduate Commencement, 2:00 p.m.
August 2: Summer Strings Camp Concert, 4:00 p.m.

More details coming soon!

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