Tony for Tweedle Dee

I have been involved in the arts since I began playing trumpet as an elementary student at Ottawa Central under the direction of Guy Chamberlin and private lessons under Barb Kinzer of Ottawa. I grew to love and appreciate music as I continued in the Ottawa Shepherd Middle School and High School bands. I was encouraged by both Donna Martin (Shepherd Middle School) and Sarah Reckmeyer (Ottawa Township High School) to audition and perform in the IMEA district bands, in which I placed at the All-State level. They also motivated me to perform in the Illinois Valley Youth Symphony, the Illinois Valley Symphony Young Performers Competition, and other festivals. Although I loved playing trumpet, I have found my voice playing the flute and piccolo, an endeavor that I pursued by self-instruction with an online flute fingering chart from Ginny Broffitt, the flute professor at Western Illinois University at the time.  

Since then, I have studied the flute privately, actively played with the Illinois Valley Flute Ensemble (IVFE) and the Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) Wind Ensemble for many years. Additionally, I have preformed with the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra (IVSO), played in pit orchestras for Stage 212 musicals, the Mendota Summer Theater program, and many other programs and ensembles. Some of my most memorable moments have been performing onstage with guest artists such as Grammy Award winning Nestor Torres, jazz flutist Ali Ryerson, and international Latin American flutist Marco Granados all of whom were brought in on the Flute Days in February sponsored by the IVFE with support from North Central Illinois (NCI) Artworks. As a student at Music Suite 408, I volunteered as an office administrator and became the first docent of the Paintbox Gallery for monthly exhibits. Through my affiliation at Music Suite 408 I have watched NCI Artworks grow from its inception to the respected organization that it is today.

I understand the financial challenges that arts organizations are facing in 2020 and appreciate everything that NCI Artworks has done in the past including educational outreach, artist collaboration, and art space development. These initiatives take on a whole new meaning as we move toward 2021. Arts organizations are struggling in a time when we need the arts more than ever. That is why I accepted the challenge to be a candidate for Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum for this year's virtual Annual Mad Hatter Ball on November 20th. 

Even with the ongoing pandemic, I have still found time to balance my job on the design squad at the Illinois Department of Transportation while keeping music a necessity as I continue to study privately, participate in rehearsals at IVCC (currently in masks for safety), and make weekly time to play online with my colleagues. 

One dollar donated equals one vote. Candidates may also accept cash or checks.

We invite you to attend the Propeller Beanie Coronation! The selection is based on which of the five candidates has the most votes by Thursday, November 19th at midnight. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum will be announced at 4th Annual The Mad Hatter Ball, Virtual Edition, on the evening of November 20th. 

(All of these candidates are "arts royalty" in our minds.)

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Tony Grunstad is vying for the chance to be Mad Hatter Royalty! Vote for Tony and support NCI ARTworks!

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      Donor Wall8

      Jill conrad | $21.01

      The Conrads are proud to donate to Tony and his continued love of music. Yes, a great musician who works hard at it, but also a truly wonderful person with a genuine heart!!


      Donna & Sarah | $103.83

      Tony is a wonderful example of an active adult music performer and advocate. We are proud to claim him as a former student and are excited to sponsor him for Tweedle Dee.

      Abigail Callaway

      Cara O'Donnell | $26.19

      Wendy Sanders

      Dayna McNutt | $103.83

      Theresa McTaggart

      Tony is the best example as to why the arts are so important. He studied music both as a student and then into his adult life. Because of his training, motivation and extreme love of the arts he continues to do what he loves and shares that joy with so many others. My husband and I are honored to vote for Tony!