Ray Forlenza has been conductor of the Southwest Community Concert Band since 2001. He has been a band director in Kirby School District 140 in Tinley Park since 1986. Ray initiated the Winter Band Day for area junior high and middle school band students which has attracted over 1500 students since its inception in 1996. In 2007, he started the SWCCB Summer band Camp for area junior high band students. He was awarded the Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award in 2010. Ray also serves as a music adjudicator/clinician throughout the area and performs on saxophone and clarinet with various Chicagoland groups. Ray received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Music Education from VanderCook College of music, in Chicago and is a resident of Tinley Park, Illinois.
Additional Musical Staff
Received his Bachelors and Master degrees from DePaul University. He is a freelance professional musician who performs in classical, rock/pop/blues, and traditional Irish music as well as in local musical theater. He has taught woodwind instruments and school band over the last 45 years at grammar, intermediate, junior high and high school levels. Also, Roger has been a band instructor for Catholic and public school programs in Chicago, Joliet, Blue Island, and other south side suburbs as well as in clinics and band camps in the Greater Chicago area. He is a resident of Frankfort, IL and currently teaches private lessons on flute, clarinet, and saxophone. He has been active member of the Southwest community Concert Band since 1992, is a current member of the SWCCB Clarinet Ensemble, and has been an instructor for the Summer Band Camp since its inception in 2007.
Received a Bachelor and Master's degree in Performance from DePaul University and an Illinois Teaching Certificate in Music Education K-12 from Lewis University. She is currently working toward her doctorate in Moral And Ethical Leadership at Lewis University. Cindy is the elementary music teacher for Coal City District Unit #1 and a Music Instructor at both Lewis University and the University of Saint Francis and also maintains a private studio. Cindy has performed with the Illinois Brass band as well as other professional and community organization in the Chicago land area. Ms. Bennett has been an active member of the Southwest Community Concert Band since 2003, a Band Day instructor, and currently performs with our Brass Ensemble.
Completed her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Music Education from Chicago’s VanderCook College of Music. Cheryl has been the band director in School District #89 in Maywood and Melrose Park since 1987, where she teaches students in grades 4-8 and has also taught orchestra and vocal music. She is a resident of Palos Hills, Illinois and has performed professionally with various bands and orchestras throughout the Chicago area. Cheryl has been an active member of the Southwest Community Concert Band since 2000 and has been a Band Day and Summer Band Camp instructor. She is a member of the Brass Ensemble and also plays with the Kankakee Valley Symphony orchestra.
Received his Bachelors in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has performed trombone and piano with various groups throughout the Chicago area and has been a musician in the Baroque Music Festival in northern Michigan since 2006. Mark became an active member of the Southwest Community Band in 2009 and has been a brass instructor for the Winter Band Day. He currently teaches the Cadet Band and the Beginning Band at KirbySchool District 140 in Tinley Park, IL.
Received his Bachelor’s of Music Education degree from Roosevelt University, and is currently working towards his Master’s in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music. Aaron has taught band in the Burbank School District #111 since 2004 and resides in Oak Lawn, IL. He has been an active member of the Southwest Community Concert Band since 1996 and has served as chairperson, sectional instructor and Summer Band Camp Jazz band director, Aaron has been an adjudicator for numerous solo and ensemble contests in the Chicagoland area. He is an active member of the Starlighter Swing Band.
Christine Nykaza Has been a music Educator since 2002, and is currently teaching general music in Burbank School District 111. In the past, Chris has been involved in musical theater, conducting several local musical theater shows. She is an active member of the Starlighter Swing Band and has been with the Southwest Community Concert Band since 2002 and is a resident of Oak Lawn, Illinois.
Has taught instrumental music in Plainfield, Crest Hill and Lockport school systems since 1961. George has also instructed music and education courses at Joliet Junior College, the University of Saint Francis and VanderCook College of Music. He currently supervises student teachers at the University of Saint Francis and VanderCook College of Music as well as serving as president of Executive Committee for Contest/Festivals for the Northern Division of the Illinois Grade School Association (IGSA). He has served at guest Conductor, clinician and adjudicator in 17 states; including Nassau. George has performed with several ensembles including VanderCook College of Music’s Symphonic Band, Joliet Junior College’s Community Band, and is the founder of the Joliet Bicentennial ‘Pops’ Band. Among his many accolades he has received the 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award from VanderCook College of Music and in 2011 Honorary Life Membership in the Tri-M Music Honor Society. George is a resident of Joliet, Illinois and is an honored addition to the Southwest Community Concert Band since 2010.
Received his Bachelors degree in Music Education from DePaul University. He has been active as a bandleader, session musician, freelance trumpeter, and vocalist for many years in Chicago. Mike is a resident of Tinley Park and band director for Tinley Park School District #140. He maintains a studio of elementary through high school students for private brass instruction, as well as a clinician and adjudicator for many of the area schools and contest. He is an active member of the SWCCB and has worked both as an instructor and conductor for the Winter Band Day and Summer Band Camp.
Received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Music performance from Illinois State University and his master’s Degree in Music Education from DePaul University. William is a percussionist and band director, currently teaching 7th and 8th grade band at Blackhawk Middle School in Bensenville, Illinois and is a resident of Darien Illinois. William has taught seven high school drumline over the years and currently instructs the drumline and percussion ensemble at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Illinois. He is an active member of the Southwest Community Concert band and is a instructor of the bands Summer Band Camp.
Received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee and her Master’s degree in Music Performance from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. Heather plays the oboe and English Horn in the Southwest Community Concert Band and performs throughout the Chicagoland area. She currently is teaching middle school general music at Grove Junior High School in Elk Grove Village as well as private oboe, flute and bassoon lessons. Heather is a resident of Darien, Illinois.
Dr. Larry Woodruff
Received is Bachelor's of Science in Education in Instrumental Music from Northern Illinois University, his Master in Music Theory and Composition, from Northern Illinois University and his Doctor of Philosophy in Music Theory, University of North Texas. Larry is a former member of US. Navy Band.
He has had a 20 year career in software and network engineering, consulting, product/project, and marketing and executive management, including 15 years with Reuters, the global news and information company. Currently Larry is a retired resident of Orland Park and teaching music privately. He is a member of the Starlighters Swing Band and an active member of the Southwest Community Concert Band and Clarinet Ensemble.
Board Members and Committe Chairmen
President / Website Chair
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Electrical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology
Occupation: Sales Account Manager of JDSU
Residence: Bolingbrook, Illinois
Started Playing Music: 1967
Music Affiliations: Bolingbrook Community Band President 3 years, non-active; Joliet American Legion Band President 6 years/ Board member 20 years, non-active member; Joliet Junior College Community Band, active member, since 1999; Joliet Bicentennial Pops Band, active member, since 2001; Bugles Across America, active member, since 2008; Southwest Community Concert Band and Brass Ensemble, since 2003.
Vice President / Membership Chair / Ad Book Coordinator
Occupation: AT&T Installation and Maintenance
Began Playing: 8th Grade 1971
Musical Affiliations: Joliet American Legion Band – 23 years; Past President/Past Vice President/Board member 15 years, Chairman “Sounds of Christmas” concert 18 years, Boling brook Community Band Past President, active member Joliet Junior College Community Band, active member of Southwest Community concert Band since 2003.
Secretary / Scholarship Committee Chair
Education: Bachelor’s in Music Education Illinois State University
Master’s in Music Education University of Illinois
Home Town: Palos Hills, Illinois
Occupation: Band Director for grant Park School District
Started Playing: 1957
Musical Affiliations: Active member of the Kankakee Valley Wind Band and the Moraine Valley Community College Jazz Band.
Education: Bachelor's of Science in Economics, Illinois Institute of Technology, Management and APICS certificates in Purchasing, DePaul University
Hometown: Worth, Illinois
Occupation: Production Planning / Budget / Logistics for Tru-vue Company
Hometown: Worth, Illinois
Started playing: 1964
Musical Affiliations: Brass Tracks Jazz Band - active member, has performed with NightBlue Theatre pit orchestra, Church Groups and is an active member of the Southwest Community Concert Band and Brass Ensemble.
Business Manager / Librarian / Grants Chair
Education: Bachelor’s in Music education VanderCook College of Music
Residence: Alsip, Illinois
Started playing: Studied and taught music privately since 1964
Occupation: Retired Business Owner
Musical Affiliations: Southwest Community Concert Band, active member since its inception in the fall of 1981; Southwest Community Concert Band Board member/Officer since band inception currently serving as the bands manager; South Suburban College Community Band, active member, since 2010; Freelance musician for various events, community theater and church organizations.