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Charles R. Groeling (1929-2014)

Instrumentalist Editors | February 2014

    We were saddened to learn of the passing of Charles Groeling, long-time music reviewer for The Instrumentalist and lifelong musican and teacher. Groeling earned degrees from Drake University and Northwestern University. He served for three years in the United States Fifth Army band and then took his first teaching job in 1955 at L.P. Goodrich High School in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Two years later, he became director of bands at Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois, and would hold the position for 26 years. In 1982 he joined the faculty of Roosevelt University in Chicago.
    Groeling joined The Instrumentalist as a music reviewer in 1972. He wrote in 2007 that when “John Paynter asked me to review new music for The Instrumentalist, I had no idea that this would continue for more than three decades and more than 10,000 works….I have always regarded my work as a reviewer as directed toward music educators as opposed to professional conductors who have different goals. With that in mind, the subject matter or program content of the works is always of primary importance. I look to the composer’s inventiveness in telling a musical story or using novel timbres.”
    Groeling noted how much band music had evolved during his long career. “In the years I directed a high school band, such stellar composers as Roger Nixon, Vaclav Nelhybel, Norman Dello Joio, and later Jack Stamp and others emerged.”
    A true gentleman who dedicated his life to music, Charles R. Groeling made invaluable contributions to our pages. We will miss him.