Prairie Wind Ensemble performing March 17 at ICC

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

On Thursday, March 17, 201, the Prairie Wind Ensemble and Carl Anderson & His New Orleans Jazz Band will present a joint-concert. This is a date change from the printed tickets.  Mr. Todd Weier, trumpet, will be our featured soloist for this concert.  The concert will be held at the Performing Arts Center at Illinois Central College beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Prairie Wind Ensemble is a 70-member adult symphonic band with membership drawn from central Illinois and the greater Peoria area. The ensemble is in residence at Illinois Central College, East Peoria. This performance will be conducted by Joe Roman and Carl Anderson as the ensemble is currently in the process of selecting a new conductor.

The Prairie Wind Ensemble will perform Spring Festival. The composer Chen Yi wrote this selection as a celebration of the Chinese New Year and all the traditions that accompany this special Chinese festival. While the melody is drawn from a southern Chinese folk ensemble piece called Lion Playing Ball, the form of the piece is based on the idea of the Golden Section. The CD-ROM that accompanies this piece explains this mathematical idea and how Chen Yi incorporated it into the composition of this piece. It was commissioned by American Composers Forum’s “bandquest” project in 1999.

Fanfare Nueve was performed by the Eastern New Mexico Trumpet Ensemble for the 2004 International Trumpet Convention.  The concert band arrangement was commissioned for the Lake Hamilton High School Band performance at the 2005 American School Band Directors’ Association National Conference.  The work is based on the groove of the jazz classic, Blue Rondo a la Turk.  Elements of the blue scale are hinted at in the bass line, but the work is primarily a contemporary Spanish fanfare.

The Continental Overture by Johan De Meij will be conducted by Carl Anderson.  This selection was commissioned by the California Band Directors Association [CBDA] and was premiered on February 23, 1997 at the 40th annual CBDA Conference in Bakersfield [CA] by the California All State Symphonic Band, conducted by the composer.  It is a short, dynamic work full of energy and spirit, with a melodic middle section and a spectacular ending. The composer does not try to hide his continental roots: several influences by some of the great European composers can be recognized.

Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 was composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1872. One of Tchaikovsky’s very joyous compositions, it was successful upon its premiere; it also won the favor of the group of nationalistic Russian composers known as “The Five”, led by Mily Balakirev. Because Tchaikovsky used three Ukrainian folk songs to great effect in this work, it was nicknamed the “Little Russian” by Nikolay Kashkin, a friend of the composer as well as a well-known musical critic of Moscow.

Italian Polka was initially written by Sergei Rachmaninoff as a four hand piano piece. Scored by Elena Roussanova Lucas, this work is exuberant and festive. Contrary to his reputation for dark, massive chords, this transcription of the Rachmaninoff work is as light and bouncy as the title suggests. You will find simplicity and virtuosity, as well as fantasy and humor in this composition.

Carl Anderson & His New Orleans Jazz Band:  Carl Anderson and His New Orleans Jazz Band is a 7-piece traditional jazz band that takes his listeners back to the good old days of honky-tonk piano, tailgating trombones, and old-fashioned musical fun. Jazz is one of the only true American artistic inventions, and its roots date back to this form of traditional jazz before the advent of big bands and bebop.  It emphasizes the use of polyphonic improvisation.  This “organized chaos” as it sometimes seems, features the collective improvisation of all its members, rather than feature extended solos by the individuals.  Started in 1996 by Carl Anderson, this group has played all over the Central Illinois region and beyond.  Carl and his group have just released their third album, “Second Line”.  The album will be available at the concert.  It is their true passion to make this old, historic form of jazz relevant to a new generation of listeners and performers before it becomes a lost art.

Joe Roman is recently retired from public school teaching.  He is currently an affiliate instructor of music at Bradley University where he teaches woodwind techniques and methods of secondary education.  He has also served as interim director of the Bradley Jazz Ensemble.  Now in his eighth year as a member of the Prairie Winds, Mr. Roman has been chosen to conduct the ensemble on two previous occasions.

Joe completed his 22-year tenure as director of bands at Canton High School in Canton, Illinois in 2008, a year in which he was selected as “2008 Educator of the Year” by the Canton Chamber of Commerce.  Canton sustained a highly regarded concert, jazz, and marching band program throughout Mr. Roman’s tenure.

Mr. Roman holds music education degrees from Vandercook College of Music and Colorado State University.  He has taught previously at Herscher High School, Olivet Nazarene University, and Colorado State University.

Joe has performed as principal oboist with the North Side Symphony of Chicago, the Kankakee Symphony, the Fort Collins (Colorado) Symphony, and the Cheyenne (Wyoming) Symphony Orchestra.  During his time at Colorado State University, Mr. Roman performed with the CSU Faculty Wind Quintet and Trio.

Also, as a jazz education enthusiast, Mr. Roman recently presented a clinic at the Illinois All-State Conference along with Dr. Todd Kelly and the Bradley University Jazz Ensemble.  Joe also conducted the Illinois District IV Jazz Band II as well as the Pennsylvania District V Jazz Band I this past year. Outside the world of music, Joe serves as a driver for the Canton area Meals on Wheels Program.

Carl Anderson teaches the Music Business Program at Bradley University and holds a Bachelors degree Magna Cum Laude in Business Finance from Bradley.  In addition, he is the General Manager for Kidder Music Service and has been active in the music business for over 23 years.  Carl is a commercial trombone player in the Central Illinois area, specializing in

traditional jazz from the 20’s and 30’s as well as straight ahead jazz.  He has performed with many jazz groups including the Lawrence Welk All-Stars, the Harry James Orchestra, and the Temptations.   He is the founder of the Central Illinois Jazz Orchestra and the leader of the Carl Anderson New Orleans Jazz Band.  Currently, he is the director of the St. Jude Catholic Parish Wind Ensemble.  Carl has been a member of the Prairie Wind Ensemble since 1987 and has served as trombonist, soloist, and guest conductor for the group.  He is also the principal  trombonist for the Peoria Municipal Band. Carl has an active trombone studio in the Peoria area and studied trombone under Dr. Steve Parsons at Illinois State University.

Todd Weier has been a member of the Prairie Wind Ensemble for 5 seasons, and joined the group after moving to the Peoria area to work for Caterpillar in 2005.  He graduated from Valparaiso University in 2005 with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering, and works on transmission software at Caterpillar.  Todd, a native of Lynwood, IL, has been playing trumpet since the 4th grade.  He continued playing in high school and college concert, marching and jazz bands.  He has also played with the Central Illinois Jazz Orchestra and the Peoria Municipal Band.  He has studied trumpet with Kirk Garrison, Charles Steck, and Todd Kelly. Todd currently resides in Peoria with his wife Melissa.

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 had served as conductor of the Prairie Wind Ensemble for the past seven years until his recent departure due to job responsibilities as conductor, composer, clinician and Concert Band Editor for the Alfred Publishing Company.

The ensemble membership represents many professional backgrounds. Approximately 70 percent of members are current or retired professional music educators. The remaining 30 percent 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 $7 per concert, $5 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. 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:

Chairman of the PWE Board: Dan Dietrich, or 309-691-8711

Elizabeth Lehnhausen Driscoll, PWE Publicity  or by phone 309-635-6389.