Meet The Musicians

The musicians of the DSO are community members just like you... students, teachers, professionals, parents, and retirees with diverse backgrounds and experiences that come together every week to share the joy of making great music with each other and the community! Every month, we'll be featuring a few of our talented musicians in this section of our web site. Here are some of their stories. 

Musicians are listed in alphabetical order by instrument.  Check back frequently for more DSO musician biographies.

Bonnie Wheaton, cello
Birthday:  June 5

When did you start playing? Age 12

Other Instruments:  Some piano

When did you start playing with DSO? 1971 

Favorite composer(s) and piece(s): Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky - any and all pieces!

Education: BA cum laude, Carleton College;  MSW, U. of Michigan; JD magna cum laude, Northern Ill. U.

Occupation: Circuit Judge, 18th Judicial Circuit

Employer: State of Illinois

Family: Widow, 2 adult children, 3 grandchildren

Hobbies and Interests: Genealogy, Sewing, Knitting, Reading, Crossword puzzles, Gardening

Favorite musical memory: Playing with Jaime Laredo, Dave Brubeck and other artists with the University of Puget Sound –Tacoma Symphony

Pets: None at present – I once had a St. Bernard that I took through obedience trials to Companion Dog designation

   Color:     Blue
   Food:     Chocolate chip cookies
   TV show: The Daily Show
   Animal: Swan
   Quote:   “Don’t compare your insides to everybody else's outsides"
   Type of vacation: Travel to exotic places

Not very many people know I…. can recite the Periodic Table of Elements and the bones of the body!

Deb Zelman,   clarinet

Birthday:    March 2

When did you start playing?  9 years old

Other Instruments:  Jazz vocals, saxophone

When did you start playing with DSO?  2009

Favorite composer(s) and piece(s):  Gershwin, Mahler, Bernstein, Stravinsky, Copland

Education:    B.S. in Music Education and M.M. in Clarinet Performance, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Occupation:  Musician, Clarinet and Saxophone Instructor, Private Lesson Coordinator

Employer:  teaching locations are Elgin Community College, Wheaton-Warrenville South HS, and Naperville North HS, I perform in a variety of ensembles.

Family:  Married to John (sings with Naperville Chorus), a son (trumpet and guitar) and daughter (electric bass and guitar)

Hobbies and Interests:  Arranging jazz music, reading, spending time with family and friends, Zumba, walking

Favorite musical memory:  for DSO, playing “Klezmer Dances” with the DSO Woodwind Quintet and playing “Rite of Spring”

Pets:    Rosie and Nutmeg (guinea pigs)

   Color:     Red
   Food:     Pasta
   Movie:    Elf
   TV show: Outlander
   Song:   Under Pressure
   Animal: Furry ones
   Quote:   “ “I've always thought tests are a gift. And great tests are a great gift. To fail the test is a misfortune. But to refuse the test is to refuse the gift, and something worse, more irrevocable, than misfortune.” Lois McMaster Bujold, Shards of Honor                         
   Type of vacation: Universal Studios or European cities

Not very many people know I….  like Spanish tapas

Anything else you'd like to share?
A cold beer and Irish chips at Quigley's

Steve Pierson,  horn

Birthday:   February 5

When did you start playing?  Age 12

Other Instruments:  Piano

When did you start playing with DSO?  1993

Favorite composer(s) and piece(s): Bach; Mozart; Beethoven; Mendelssohn; Brahms; R. Strauss; J. Strauss Jr.; Bartok; Hindemith; Shostakovich; S. Barber; Gershwin; Pärt  and whoever’s music I am playing at the moment

Education:    B.S.; M.S.; M.A.; Ph.D

Occupation:  Teacher

Employer:  College of DuPage

Family:  married, two sons, one grandson

Hobbies and Interests:  Model Railway; Photography (film and digital); Motorcycles and scooters; Outdoors

Favorite musical memory:  Playing in our DSO performances of the Mahler 2nd; the Strauss Alpine Symphony; the Mahler 1st and the Rite of Spring. Being in the audience for the 1971 Mahler 5th concert with the CSO/Solti after their first European tour; also the CSO/Solti Das Rheingold and Götterdammerung (act 3) concert versions.  Assisting in various recording sessions with the CSO/Solti in the early to mid-1970s

Pets:  Dog (named Siegfried or “Sieggie”)

   Color:   Blue
   Food:   Swedish “Husmanskost”
   Movie:   Chariots of Fire; Babette’s Feast; The King’s Speech; Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy; The Hunt for Red October
   TV showJohnny Carson Show; Miniseries: Smiley’s People
   Song:   Ack Värmland du Sköna” (Swedish folk song)
   Quote:  “In the beginning . . .”    “This is not the end, or even the beginning of the end; it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning” “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”
   Type of vacation: Photography in the American West (National Parks)

Not very many people know I….   I knew John Cage; have a collection of German Märklin model trains; built a reflector telescope and an amateur radio station in high school; led college students on field trips to Auschwitz


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