attended Illinois State University, majoring in School Band Director
, followed by a Masters of Music Theory and Composition, studying under
Roque Cordero. His Master s Thesis was a composition for extended orchestra,
sections from a planned ballet based on JRR Tolkien s The Hobbit (1976).
He performed in the ISU Jazz Band under James Boitos, where he was recognized
for his arrangements and compositions in numerous collegiate Jazz festivals.
Tom has taught music in the Illinois public schools and at the university
level. His high school bands have been recognized for excellence at
several Midwest jazz festivals, including the Oak Lawn festival. His
big band arrangements have found their way into school libraries all
across Illinois, as well as universities in Illinois, University of
Iowa, and Indiana University.
His performance credits include string bass and trumpet in Illinois
symphony orchestras and concert bands, bass and piano with Al Pierson
(Guy Lombardo) and Johnnie Kaye big bands, cruises on Celebrity, Carnival
and Norwegian cruise lines, many years with the Alternatives big band
in Bloomington Illinois, many small jazz, rock, and blues bands.
influences range from traditional Basie Thad Jones, Nestico thru contemporary
rock and blues, and into more serious music Stravinsky, Ravel, Bartok,
Ives, Phillip Glass. He also appreciates the craftsmanship of contemporary
composers like John Williams, Mark Isham, and Dave Grusin.
With a couple exceptions,
Tom has concentrated thru the years on producing music that has immediate
audience appeal, and is playable without extensive rehearsal. He says
a sax man can walk into a jam session, pull out his horn and immediately
impress listeners with his ability. A composer has a little tougher
job, so his music needs to be quickly playable, to get the best chance