Amanda Nelson, general manager of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, has been named the Illinois Council of Orchestras sole recipient of a 2013 Honorable Mention Award, as a designation of a person who has made outstanding contributions to an orchestra in Illinois. The award was presented at the KSO’s spring concert May 4 by Brian Shilander, a member of the ICO Board.
Gregory Clemons, director of the ICO Awards Program, said, “The ICO Awards Selection Committee occasionally awards honorable mention recognition to organizations or individuals that were not selected as winners in a specific category, but whose achievements in that category were so impressive that some kind of recognition was warranted. The criteria for such an award are the same as those for the winner in that category. Making such an award is at the collective discretion of the ICO Awards Selection Committee. It provides the committee with the opportunity to recognize significant achievement in a specific category even though another organization or individual was designated as a winner.”
Nelson has played cello with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra since 2005 and has served as the orchestra’s general manager since 2006. Nelson graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in music education. She is a full-time orchestra teacher at Dundee Middle School, where she directs the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade orchestras and the DMS Honors Orchestra.
She also teaches private lessons to cello and bass students, serves regularly on her church’s worship team and plays electric cello in the Tom Sharpe World Music Ensemble. For the past six summers, Nelson has directed a summer music program called The Garage Orchestra, a string orchestra made up of about 60 middle and high school orchestra students who play rock music and rehearse in Nelson’s garage.