Retired Band Director Receives Award from PSC

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- What do Beyoncé, the United States Army, and Disney World have in common? They all have students of John Weber, retired music educator, working for them.

Weber was recently honored with the Prairie State College (PSC) Howard Luckey Excellence in Jazz Leadership Award at the 23rd Annual Jazz Fest held on February 18.

The award honors an individual or group who has consistently and significantly contributed to the advancement of jazz and jazz education in the Chicago south suburban region. The award is named for Howard Luckey, a long time social science faculty member at PSC who was dedicated to music education in the south suburbs.

Weber exemplifies the spirit that Luckey demonstrated. Weber spent the majority of his career, 1972-2005, as band director for Harvey Public Schools. During his tenure, the band won over 80 first place/first division awards. While the awards say a lot, it’s Weber’s attitude about his students that make him stand out.

“Every single time I have talked to John about his (former) band program and what a stupendous job he has done as a teacher, he immediately turns the conversation around to his students, how talented they are and how hard they work,” said Valerie Nicholson, professor, music, and coordinator of the Jazz Festival. “Even now that he’s retired, he still actively supports the program by attending every performance possible and encouraging his successor, Roosevelt Griffin. It’s not about him. It’s about the children. Period. His focus on children is a model for a great society.”

For example, one of his students won a Grammy in 2004 for his remix of Beyoncé’s hit “Crazy in Love,” while another one of his students was one of the founding members of the “Tubafours” who performed at Disney World for 10 years. Several of his students were also in the U.S. Army Band.

In addition to his career in the Harvey Public Schools, Weber has been a freelance tuba player. He performed in a variety of venues from the Lyric Opera of Chicago to the Chicago Bears. He also recorded commercials for products like Fruit Loops cereal. He also is an adjunct instructor of low brass at South Suburban College.* *Weber has a master’s from the VanderCook College of Music, a bachelor’s from Roosevelt University, and an associate degree from Wilber Wright Junior College.

“I was surprised to receive this honor for doing something I loved so much, which was working with young kids,” said Weber. “Music is such a part of my life, and I’ve enjoyed being the first music teacher of so many student.”