Michael Buckwalter

Hometown: Canton, OH

Favorite thing about Chicago: the beautiful hills and valleys! OK, how about all of the following: the cultural heritage; the architecture; the food/beer; the cosmopolitan energy

Why I play the Horn: the sound, and the wide range of expression using that sound 

What I do when I'm not playing the Horn: spend as much time as possible with Elizabeth; cook; read; enjoy our cats; cycle


Liz Deitemyer

Hometown: Lemont, IL

Favorite thing about Chicago: You can get the best of everything - music, food, art - but it still feels friendly.


Why I play the Horn: There's nothing more satisfying than making music on this beautiful instrument!

What I do when I'm not playing the Horn: Just slowly building my empire.

Jeremiah Frederick

Hometown: I don’t have a hometown per se, but I was born and raised in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota!

Favorite thing about Chicago: The Lake! I live a few blocks away and go to the lakefront as often as I can.

Why I play the Horn: I chose it originally because no one else signed up and I wanted to be different. I stuck with it because of the vast array of tone colors and the opportunity to play all types of music with great musicians every day.

What I do when I'm not playing the Horn: I like exercising and sci fi. I also like to cook and have started making and selling jams in the summer and fall!


Mary Gingrich

Hometown:  Chicago

Favorite thing about Chicago: Chicago is my home town. Music, art, dance, theater and architecture are all amazing here.

Why I play the Horn: I heard a quintet from the CSO that came to my grade school when I was 8 years old and the woman hornist in the group played the solo from the 2nd movement of Tchaikovsky’s 5 th Symphony. I asked if I could play the horn the next day. 

What do I do when I'm not playing the Horn: I have traded the horn for a baton and conduct three groups in Chicago. In the past 3 years I have written original compositions and arrangements, premiered at international brass band competitions,  and at performances by Benefit Brass. 

I balance my life as a musician  with my life as a visual artist, creating both paintings and prints (etchings). My artwork is represented by three galleries in Wisconsin and one in Iowa. 

Links: (artwork), Prairie Brass Band (on Facebook),

Benefit Brass (on Twitter)

​Anna Jacobson

Hometown: Elk Mound, WI

Favorite thing about Chicago: the FOOD!  There is a new creative and delicious restaurant popping up in our neighborhood every day, and it's amazing!

Why I play the Horn: I played violin first, and I actually wanted to play the trumpet.  My band director knew I had a good ear because of the violin, and suggested horn instead - I knew nothing about it, but agreed to give it a try!

What I do when I'm not playing the Horn:  Gardening, cooking, running, and momming


Kelly Langenberg

Hometown: New Philadelphia, Ohio

Favorite Thing About Chicago: It’s vibrant and diverse community with great people, great food, great entertainment and a great classical music scene!

Why I play the Horn: Originally it was because my high school band director told me I had to, but now it’s because it’s contorted metal shape is wrapped around my heart.

What I do when I’m not playing horn: Pretty much anything outside- jogging, gardening, and playing with my kids! In the winter I like to bake and do paper-crafts.


Anna Mayne

Hometown:  El Paso, TX

Favorite thing about Chicago:  Everything!  I love the time-honored traditions throughout the city and the feeling that there is always something new to discover.

Why I play the Horn:  I love communicating with others through music.  

What I do when I'm not playing the Horn: cook, Zumba, travel, spend time with family and friends.


Beth Mazur-Johnson

Hometown:  Suffield, CT

Favorite thing about Chicago: Lake Michigan, cultural diversity, where I met my soulmate and raised my family and Italian Beef Sandwiches.

Why I play the horn:  Many thanks to my parents playing Der Rosenkavalier recordings full blast.

What do I do when I'm not playing the Horn:  running around with my hounds, teaching, weeding, scraping paint on my 160 year-old home.

Links:, chi,,

Mary Jo Neher

Hometown:  Anchorage, Alaska​

Favorite thing about Chicago: The opportunities.  Opportunities for culture, food, outdoors, easy travel...

Why I play the Horn: I wanted to play trumpet but my band director (a horn player) thought I set up on the mouthpiece more like a horn player than trumpet player.  Being from a single parent home, and the fact that the school would provide a horn, that was it! Now after thirty years of playing it's a part of me and I can't see a time where I won't pick up this glorious instrument and play it's velvety tones.

What do I do when I'm not playing the Horn: Playing with my kids, crafting and creating things outside of music.  Writing and researching for my blog. Graphic and web design.


Parker Nelson

Hometown: Aurora, IL

Favorite thing about Chicago: My favorite thing about Chicago is it's diversity. Whether it be the music scene, the museums, the weather, the people and especially the food, there's never a lack of excitement in the Windy City.

Why I play the Horn: According to my past teachers, the correct answer is because I like the sound (which is most certainly true). Playing horn and making a career in music has allowed me to travel to places I would otherwise only dream of going and to cross paths with the most talented, interesting, and friendly people I've ever met. Not only that, but I can't resist an instrument that plays the themes for Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Yoda.

What I do when I'm not playing the Horn: When I'm not playing the horn, I'm usually working on arrangements either for Chicago Horn Consort, Fifth House Ensemble, or just for me. Outside of the music world, you can find me biking on the Lake Front trail, taking no prisoners playing Settlers of Catan, or sporting green and gold to cheer on the NFL team of which I'm a partial owner.


Matt Oliphant

Hometown: Royal Oak, MI

Favorite thing about Chicago: Favorite thing about Chicago is the great contemporary music and art scene, but without the chaos of New York (or apartment costs).

Why I play the Horn: Play horn cause my brother played trumpet and I wanted to be like him, only cooler.

What I do when I'm not playing the Horn: Other interests include reading, listening to podcasts, watching bad films. 


John Schreckengost

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Favorite thing about Chicago: I love being able to go to Lake Michigan on a daily basis because its shores are mostly public lands.

Why I Play the Horn: I love the innate richness and beauty of its sound. I also love its repertoire and the beautiful music I can create while playing the horn. 

What I Do When I'm Not Playing the Horn: I spend time with my husband and dog Kaiyah, who loves it when we go to the beaches of Lake Michigan in our neighborhood. Other activities I enjoy: reading, arranging music, riding my bike, teaching, traveling.


Dana Sherman

Hometown: Naperville, IL

Favorite thing about Chicago: Lake Michigan

Why I play the Horn: It’s a great way to challenge and express myself and work with others to create something awesome and beautiful.

What I do when I'm not playing the Horn: Running, cooking, and hanging out with family.


Lee Shirer

Hometown:  Grew up in Valparaiso, IN 

Favorite thing about Chicago: I love all the wonderful playing and listening opportunities for outstanding performances year round. 

Why I play the Horn: I play the horn because I bombed out on violin and piano. My mom picked the horn. I learned a scale the first day and my parents never had to tell me to practice. 

What do I do when I'm not playing the Horn: When I’m not playing with IPO or Chicago Sinfonietta, I’m making prosthetics at my own shop, inventing things, playing golf or cooking. 

Phil Stanley

Hometown: Originally from Half Day, IL, now living in Highland Park, IL (a whole 10 miles away).

Favorite thing about Chicago: Summer and Fall along Lake Michigan are beautiful!

Why I play the Horn: At an early age, when I first heard the sound of a horn section featured in the orchestra (probably Waltz of the Flowers), I was sold. To my mind it evokes a sense of timelessness. I wasn't the only person in my family to feel this way as both of my parents and one of my older sisters also played horn.

What I do when I'm not playing the Horn: When not playing the horn I like to run and bike, golf, host BBQ/firepit gatherings and putter around the house and yard doing projects that sometimes work out as planned.


Lisa Taylor

Hometown: Whippany, NJ, home of... nothing really, but walking distance to George Washington's Headquarters.

Favorite thing about Chicago: Clean, pretty, friendly (and it's not NJ)

Why I play the Horn: Because my middle school band director informed me that little girls do NOT play the trumpet and wouldn't I like to play this very pretty shiny horn.

What do I do when I'm not playing the Horn: Momhood, Teaching, Landlording, Music Classes for Adult Down Syndrome Center


Valerie Whitney

Hometown: lots! but most recently, Chicago

Favorite thing about Chicago: world-class culture right downtown

Why I play the Horn: The horn is my voice; it is a mode of expression that resonates somewhere deep within me, more so than any other instrument I’ve played or studied.

What I do when I'm not playing the Horn: bake, take long walks, read...