Prairie Wind Ensemble Season Opening Concert:

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Prairie Wind Ensemble Season Opening Concert:

The Prairie Wind Ensemble, in residence at Illinois Central College will open their 36th Season on Sunday, October 13, 2013. The concert begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at Illinois Central College. The ensemble is under the direction of Dr. Joseph Manfredo, Associate Professor of Music for the School of Music at the Illinois State University. The concert will also feature trumpet soloist, Derek Zabransky.

Music for the afternoon will include: Alfred Reed’s well-known, “The Hounds of Spring”, “The Maker’s Mark” by Ryan Nowlin, John Barnes Chance’s “Variations on a Korean Folk Song”, “Elegy For a Young American” by Ronald Lo Presti, Sousa’s “The Glory of the Yankee Navy”, Eric Whitacre’s “Sleep” and the always favorite, “Highlights from the Sound of Music” arranged by Michael P. Buckley. Mr. Zabransky, our soloist will be performing two movements of the Haydn Concerto for Trumpet.

Joseph Manfredo is an Associate Professor of Music for the School of Music at Illinois State University. At ISU, Manfredo is the Coordinator of Music Education and teaches undergraduate courses in instrumental music education. In addition, he is coordinator of the student teaching program.

Originally from Calumet City, Illinois, Manfredo received a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Eastern Illinois University, where he studied clarinet with Dr. Earl Boyd and piano with Dr. Catherine Smith. His graduate studies included a Master of Arts Degree in Instrumental Conducting from EIU and a Doctorate of Music Education from the University of Illinois. During his doctoral residency, Manfredo was awarded the band conducting internship to study with the legendary Dr. Harry Begian. In addition, he also studied with Gary Smith and James Curnow. His doctoral dissertation was awarded the Fritz Thelan Prize by the International Society for the Promotion and Investigation of Wind Music (IGEB) in 1994. The Thelan Prize was for “the outstanding American doctoral dissertation on the wind band, 1990 – 1994”.

Professor Manfredo is in constant demand as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. He has conducted various All-State Bands and Honor Bands throughout the mid-west and southeast United States. In addition, he has presented lectures and clinics at the Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic, Music Educators National Conference national conference, College Band Directors National Association national conference, National Band Association national conference, Instrumental Music Teacher Educators Biennual Colloquium, and the Conn-Selmer Institute. He has made presentations at state music conferences in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas, and internationally in Shanghai China, Mainz Germany, Echternach, Luxembourg, Graz Austria, Coimbra, Portugal, and in various cities throughout Brazil.

Manfredo has published journal articles in the Groves Dictionary of Music, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Journal of Band Research, Music Educators Journal, Journal of Music Teacher Education, The Instrumentalist, Illinois Music Educators Journal, and the Alta Musica series. In addition, he was asked to write The Conductor’s Manual for the Essentials of Musicianship series published by Hal Leonard. Dr. Manfredo serves as the chief editor of the MitteilungsBlatt, one of the publications for IGEB, the International Society for the Promotion and Investigation of Wind Music. Also, he is on the editorial board for the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.

Derek Zabransky is beginning his seventh season as a member of the Prairie Wind Ensemble. He is especially excited to perform the Haydn Trumpet Concerto with such a wonderful group of musicians and colleagues. Derek grew up in Tiskilwa, IL and his music education began with piano and trumpet lessons at age 10 with Lois and Gene Montgomery. During his senior year at Princeton High School, he was selected to the IMEA All-State Orchestra and then went on to earn a music scholarship at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. He went on to study with Dr. James Lambrecht, Professor of Trumpet and Director of Bands at Augustana. Derek performed for four years as a member of the top wind ensemble, the Augustana Symphonic Band, serving for two years as principal trumpet. He also performed as a member of the Augustana Jazz Ensemble for four years (three of those as lead trumpet), as well as with other brass ensembles and chamber groups.

While pursuing musical endeavors at Augustana, Derek earned a degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education. He is beginning his seventh year as a high school math teacher, with the last six years being at Knoxville High School. In June 2013, he completed his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership (Administration) from Western Illinois University.

In addition to the Prairie Wind Ensemble, Derek is a member of the Prairieland All-Star Big Band and has also performed with the Ecumenical Singers, the Prairie Players Civic Theater Group, the Rootabaga Jammers, the Ron Scott Orchestra, the Knoxville Community Band, the Princeton Community Band, the Sterling Municipal Band, the Monmouth Municipal Band, and various other community groups. He also teaches private lessons and is active as a soloist for weddings and religious services. When there is spare time available, Derek enjoys golf, exercising, and attending Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts to listen to the legendary CSO brass section.

Derek wants to thanks his family and friends for their love and support in his professional and musical interests. He also wants to thank Dr. Manfredo for giving him the opportunity to solo with the Prairie Wind Ensemble. He especially wants to thank his wife, Jessica, for the last 5+ years of marriage and for patiently enduring through the hours of continual practicing! And, last but not least, he would like to dedicate this performance to his newly turned one-year old daughter, Lydia.

The PWE has a rich history owed to its founder, Conductor Emeritus Dr. Donald Lewellen, who created the ensemble in 1977. Dr. Lewellen led the ensemble until his retirement in 2003. Mr. Robert Sheldon served as conductor of the Prairie Wind Ensemble until his departure in 2010 due to job responsibilities as conductor, composer, clinician and Concert Band Editor for the Alfred Publishing Company. Dr. Manfredo took over the ensemble beginning in January 2012.

The ensemble membership represents many professional backgrounds. Approximately 70% of members are current or retired professional music educators. The remaining 30% represent a diverse set of occupations including recording technician, nurse, educator, anesthesiologist, information technologist, electronics technician, engineer, attorney, homemaker, electrician, retail manager, and project manager. Members are from Knoxville, Canton, Macomb, Bloomington, Normal, Peoria Heights, Washington, North Pekin, Marquette Heights, Avon, Morton, Cuba, Galesburg, Chillicothe, Dunlap, Glasford, Mapleton, Bartonville, Metamora, Germantown Hills, Marseilles, Farmington, Elmwood as well as Peoria, East Peoria and Morton.

Tickets are $8.00 per concert, $6.00 for students and seniors. Children under 12 are free. Tickets may be purchased through the Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center by phone (309- 694-5136) or in person. Group tickets can also be purchased by contacting the Box Office. There is limited availability at the door the day of the performance.

Further information, pictures, contacts and updates for the ensemble can be found on the website: www.prairiewindensemble.com. Chairman of the PWE Board: Dan Dietrich, Ddietrich55@gmail.com or 309-691-8711 Elizabeth Lehnhausen Driscoll, PWE Publicity edriscol@Dishmail.net or by phone 309-635-6389.