Ms. Madonna Swenson was raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She received her BA in Music Education from Mundelein College in Chicago. This is Ms. Swenson’s 32nd year as a band director, and her thirteenth with Music Education Services. Though her primary instruments are French horn and trumpet, Ms. Swenson can play all band instruments at various levels of proficiency. She has always wanted to learn to play the dulcimer. Ms. Swenson now owns a dulcimer, but has not yet begun to learn to play it.
Ms. Swenson says her most embarrassing moment as a musician was also her proudest as a teacher. “I challenged my advanced band students, 20 high school juniors and seniors, to take a risk and learn to play the bagpipes,” she says. “We all joined a local group and began taking lessons. There was a week that I didn’t find much time to practice and everyone else practiced more than the required time. The director was quick to point out that my students were much more diligent than I was. In many respects, this most embarrassing moment was also my proudest moment, knowing that my students were applying the things that I stressed in the band room outside of the band room, as well.”
Though she likes a lot of the music on the airwaves, Ms. Swenson’s current favorites are Sarah McLachlan and Dido. She also enjoys any compositions by Aaron Copland and John Williams. Her favorite movies with musical themes are Fame and Center Stage.