Musical Staff

Musical Director

Ray ForlenzaRay Forlenza

Ray Forlenza has been conductor of the Southwest Community Concert Band since 2001. Mr. Forlenza 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. Ray 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.

Additional Musical Staff

Roger BartonRoger Barton

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.

Cindy BennettDr. Cindy Bennett

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. December of 2012 she received her doctorate in Moral And Ethical Leadership from 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. Dr. 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.

Cheryl CiammettiCheryl Ciammetti

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, including the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra. 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 also a member of the Brass Ensemble.

Cheryl Ciammetti

Mark Hodges

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 Kirby School District 140 in Tinley Park, IL.

Steve Imig

Steve Imig

Received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Illinois State University followed by a Master’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois. Between degrees Steven served for three years in the US Army as a trumpeter/bugler with the 6th Army headquarters band at the Presidio of San Francisco.  His teaching experiences include middle school and high school bands and jazz bands as well as summer director of the Parkland College Concert Band, Champaign, Il.  Steven recently retired as band director at Grant Park District #6 with successful concert and jazz band programs grades 5-12.  Steve continues to perform on the trumpet with the Starlighters Jazz ensemble, Moraine Valley Community College Concert and Jazz bands. Steve is also an active member of the Southwest Community Concert Band and Brass Ensemble, since 2007.

George PierardGeorge Pierard

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 while 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, 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 and is an honored addition to the Southwest Community Concert Band since 2010.

Mike SzczasnyMike Szczasny

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.

William WintersWilliam Winters

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.

heather WintersHeather Winters

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.

Larry WoodruffDr. 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

Jim ValtmanJim Valtman

Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Electrical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology

Occupation: Sales Account Manager of  VIAVI Solutions

Hometown: Minooka

Started playing: 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

Jim HecklerJim Heckler

Occupation:  AT&T Installation and Maintenance
Hometown:  Lockport
Started playing: 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

Steve Imig

Steve Imig

Education: Bachelor’s in Music Education Illinois State University
                    Master’s in Music Education University of Illinois
Hometown: Palos Hills
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 and an active member of Southwest Community Concert Band and Brass Ensemble, since 2007.

Treasurer

Paul benckPaul Benck

Education: Bachelor's of Science in Economics, Illinois Institute of Technology, Management and APICS certificates in Purchasing, DePaul University
Hometown: Worth
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

Therese SundbergTherese Sundberg

Education: Bachelor’s in Music education VanderCook College of Music

Hometown: Alsip

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.  Terry is also a founding member of the Southwest Community Concert Band and a member of the Brass Ensemble.