A New Director; A New Concert Band


A New Director; A New Concert Band

Katie Herath

Saying “goodbye” to a beloved director is difficult, as our music department has learned this past year. The end of last semester marked the end of Dr. Phil Wilhelm’s time at McKendree University. Instrumentalists began wondering what was to come of concert band and, though wary at first, they welcomed Dr. Jennifer Moder into the music program.

Born and raised in Peoria, IL, Dr. Moder started playing violin in kindergarten, switching to trombone in 5th grade. In 2001, she earned her Bachelor of Music Education with honors from the University of Illinois. Dr. Moder earned her Master of Music Education from Illinois State University in 2010. In 2013, Dr. Moder earned an Interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education and Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. With her education, she has had the privilege of teaching band to 4th – 8th grade students at Concordia Lutheran School in Peoria, teaching trombone and jazz appreciation at Illinois Central College in East Peoria as well as teaching music appreciation at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Dr. Moder’s research interests include lifelong music making, non-music major participation in college bands, instrument selection, gender bias, and recruitment & retention of trombone players. Currently, she is also the solo trombonist in the St. Louis Brass Band.

The concert band has performed a wide array of pieces this semester, including Clifton Williams’s Caccia and Chorale, Percy Aldridge Grainger’s Irish Tune from County Derry, as well as Gustav Holst’s First Suite in Eb, which were performed during the concert on November 8th. This concert was the first of the season and was quite successful. The connection with the music as well as the accuracy of the performance raised the bar for future concert band performances.

As a vocal performance minor, Dr. Jennifer Moder has reminded me of the joys of playing in a concert band. She challenges us with hopes that we will rise to the challenge and perform the best we can. We strive to play beautifully, confidently and accurately—both as individuals and as a group. We are very thankful to have Dr. Moder with us here at McKendree.

The McKendree University Concert Band invites you to join us for our next concert: December 6th at 7:30 PM. All concerts are held in the Hett auditorium and are free to the public.