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posted: 3/27/2014 7:11 AM

William Gilmer Named New Community Concert Band Leader

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  • William Gilmer named new Community Concert Band Leader for the Des Plaines Park District.Lisa Haring

    William Gilmer named new Community Concert Band Leader for the Des Plaines Park District.Lisa Haring

Lisa Haring

The Des Plaines Park District Community Concert Band has been named local music educator William Gilmer as its new conductor, effective March 24. He was selected after a three-month search and audition process. Gilmer's first concert with the band is Friday, May 16, at 7:00pm in the Prairie Lakes Theater. Gilmer has chosen music that explores the impact that rivers have on society. "Countless artists, composers, and writers have pondered the significance of these wondrous bodies of water and their effect on culture, society, geopolitics, and the very future of our planet," said Gilmer. Included in the program are "American Riversongs," by Pierre La Plante, a moving tribute to an earlier time when rivers and other waterways were the lifelines of our growing nation; "Deep River," a spiritual set by James Swearingen; "Shenandoah," one of America's most recognizable folk tunes; highlights from Jerome Kern's 1927 musical Show Boat; and John Fogerty's rock anthem, "Proud Mary," to name a few.

Gilmer is a retired Band Director from Willowbrook High School, where he spent 28 years. He also served as the Associate Director of Bands at the York Community High School, in Elmhurst, and taught beginning band for East Maine School District 63. He received his Bachelor of Music Education as well as a Bachelor of Music degree, as a bassoonist, from the University of Tulsa and his Master of Music degree from Northwestern University. Gilmer has been awarded the Mary Hoffman Award of Excellence (Illinois Music Education Association), Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award (Quinlan & Fabish), and, on multiple occasions, the Citation of Excellence Award (National Band Association).

"I am excited to conduct the high caliber of musicians who comprise the Des Plaines Park District Community Concert Band. I look forward to a concert season filled with a wide variety of music that will be captivating for band members and audiences alike." In the future, Gilmer is interested in developing a concerto performance opportunity for high school students and hopes to develop a relationship with professional members of the Chicago music making community. "I like to play the Mozart Bassoon Concerto and music of the baroque period as well. Honestly, all periods of music offer something that we can respond to."

"We are very excited to welcome Bill to the band," said Shelli Sarg, Facilities Manager. "His talents and experience are just what we need to help the band continue to grow and be the kind of ensemble the community will be proud to support."

The community band rehearses on Thursday evenings at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, on Howard Street in Des Plaines, and has openings for players in all sections. More information is at or by calling Shelli Sarg at 847-391-5711.