College’s Concert Band invites high school program to perform in side-by-side concert

The April 11 concert featured the Lake Forest College and Pritzker College Prep concert bands and culminated with a performance of “Russian Sailors’ Dance.” Ninety college and high school instrumentalists sat intermingled, eyes shifting from their music stands to Lake Forest College band director Scott Edgar as he led them through the well-known, high energy piece by Reinhold Gliere.

The collaboration was an effort to build relations with successful high school music programs in the Chicago area, especially with the recent introduction of the music education major.

“I can think of no better way than hosting a high school ensemble here, giving them the opportunity to hear a college band, and having them perform,” Edgar said.

Pritzker director Benjamin Das echoed Edgar’s sentiments.

“We’re a college prep school, so part of our visit is a campus tour and a college visit so we’re very much looking forward to that and strengthening those relations,” he said prior to the event. “The College is a good option for our students.” 

In fact, it was a former Pritzker-turned-Lake Forest College student who introduced Edgar and Das. Denise Esquivel ’16 graduated from Pritzker last May and is a percussionist in the College’s Concert Band. She put the two directors in touch with each other, and it was during a visit to Pritzker that Edgar conjured the idea of a combined concert.

President Steve Schutt and Department of Music Chair Don Meyer both welcomed the Pritzker students and encouraged them to consider Lake Forest College, where they can continue to participate in music while earning their degree. A reception followed. 

Each group performed three or four pieces separately during the concert before joining forces for the finale. Both directors say it was a nice opportunity for their groups to formally practice their line-ups before upcoming competitions and concerts. The College’s band, for example, is performing with the orchestra on April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gorton Center. 

Edgar says he hopes to invite a high school program to campus each year.