Current Conductor - Jim Tallman (2016 - Present)
Jim Tallman has been the Director of Bands at Washington Community High School for over 25 years. He is also the Department Chair for Fine Arts and a Speech Communication teacher. He has Bachelor's Degrees in Music Education and Music Performance from Bradley University, a Masters in Music degree from the American Band College at Southern Oregon University and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Olivet Nazarene University. He is a member of Phi Beta Mu and has received a Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year award. Jim has served on the IHSA Music Advisory Committee, was a state NBA representative an has guest conducted at ISYM, honor bands from several high school conferences as well as ILMEA District Jazz Ensembles. He performed with the Prairie Wind Ensemble. His wife, Jennifer, is a Title 1 teacher for John L. Hensey Grade School in Washington.
Former Conductor - Donald S. Lewellen (1977 - 2003)
Donald S. Lewellen (Conductor Emeritis) was a member of the music faculty at Illinois Central College for twenty-five years and held the rank of Professor of Music. He received his musical training at Eastern Illinois University where he received bachelors and masters degrees, and Clayton University where he completed his doctoral studies in conducting and composition. In 1992, his composition, "Wind Images," was selected as the winning composition in the Phi Beta Mu Original Composition Contest. In 1990, Dr. Lewellen received the "Gallion Award," the highest honor bestowed for excellence in teaching by the Board of Trustees of Illinois Central College. He also received the 1990 Outstanding Community College Faculty Member Award presented by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association. He was inducted into the Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 1989 by the Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity. The Fraternity presented him with the "Outstanding Bandmaster Award" in 1996. Lewellen is the founder and conductor of the Prairie Wind Ensemble. (Text taken from Concert Program, January 30, 1997)
Former Conductor - George Foeller
George Foeller is the Professor of Music Emeritus at Illinois State University, where he has been director of Bands and Assistant Chairman of the Music Department. Prior to his appointment at Illinois State University, he had taught bands and instrumental music in the public schools of Connecticut and Texas. He spent several summers on the faculty of the Saskatchewan School of the Arts. Mr. Foeller is a member of the various international band societies, for which he has written numerous articles. He is co-author of the treatise, "Bands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire," and has contributed to the Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music and several Austrian publications. Bands under his direction recorded 14 volumes of the "Heritage of the March" archival series. As a continuation of this historic set of long-playing records, he annually produces a cassette of significant European band music drawn from major European libraries. (Text taken from Concert Program, January 30, 1997)
Former Conductor - Robert Sheldon (2003-2010)
Robert Sheldon (Feb 3, 1954 - ) has taught instrumental music in the Florida and Illinois public schools, and has served on the faculty at the Florida State University where he taught conducting and instrumental music education classes, and directed the university bands. As Concert Band Editor for the Alfred Publishing Company, he maintains an active composition and conducting schedule, and regularly accepts commissions for new works. Sheldon received the Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Miami and the Master of Fine Arts in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Florida.
An internationally recognized clinician, Sheldon has conducted numerous Regional and All-State Honor Bands throughout the United States and abroad, and is Conductor of the Prairie Wind Ensemble in residence at Illinois Central College . He holds membership in several organizations that promote music and music education. The American School Band Directors Association has honored him with the Volkwein Award for composition and the Stanbury Award for teaching. He has also been a twenty-time recipient of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publisher's Standard Award for his compositional contributions to concert band repertoire. Several of his compositions have been recorded and released on compact discs including, Images: The Music of Robert Sheldon, and Infinite Horizons: The Music of Robert Sheldon, as well as numerous other recordings. Mr. Sheldon has been the topic of articles published in Teaching Music and School Band and Orchestra Magazine, and is one of eleven American wind band composers featured in Volume I of Composers on Composing Music for Band. He has been honored by the International Assembly of Phi Beta Mu as being the International Outstanding Bandmaster of the year.
Former Conductor - Joseph Manfredo (2011 - 2015)
Joseph Manfredo is an Associate Professor of Music for the School of Music at the 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, 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 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 MittBlatt, one of the publications for IGEB, the International Society for the Promotion and Investigation of Wind Music.
Presently, he is a Vice-President for the Illinois Music Educators Association in which he is head of the Music Teacher Education Division. Manfredo was recently appointed chair of the IMEA committee for teacher evaluation. In addition, he serves as the Illinois representative for the North Central Division of the Society for Music Teacher Education.