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In Memoriam

Ruth Dodge


  • Ruth's Bio

  • Joie de Vivre

  • Jim's Comments

  • James Bonney's Bio

Ruth DodgeRuth Dodge was a founding member of the Twin Ports Wind Ensemble. She was a rare and extraordinary person and a gifted musician. Music truly was her life! She began her 78 year career as the youngest member of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and throughout her life performed in an array of dance bands and musical groups including: the Musician's Union Band, the Hungry Five, We Three Plus, the Twin Ports Wind Orchestra, the Windjammers, and Woodland Community Band (which she also conducted). She was an exceptional and inspiring music teacher, both in the parochial schools for 16 years and for the rest of her life as a private instructor for countless students. In appreciation for her life's work, she was honored with the Depot Foundation Lifetime Artist Award in 2006. Lovingly known as "Ruth from Duluth," there was always a song in her heart and a smile on her face. The gifts she shared with the world through music will continue exponentially.

"Joie de Vivre", by James Bonney, was commissioned by the Twin Ports Wind Orchestra, the TPWO membership and Ruth’s family and friends. It is written to honor the remarkable, musical life of our friend Ruth Dodge. Her legacy of music, music making and teaching will always live in our hearts.

Joie De Vivre

(Joy of Living)

Dedicated to Ruth Dodge
music by Jim Bonney
lyrics by Marissa Dodge

Every note becomes a seed
infinite possibilities.
When that harmonic garden starts to bloom
pure joie de vivre infuses all the gloom.

Life is a bittersweet song
the melody never lasts long.
So while we’re here let’s play it from our souls
until we feel the joy in every note.

The world is a grand symphony
when we play it with joie de vivre.

It was already a great honor to be asked to write a piece of music for the Twin Ports Wind Orchestra, but to celebrate one of the TPWO's most honored members - Mrs. Ruth Dodge - that made the honor all the more auspicious. I'm very pleased and proud to offer "Joie de Vivre" as a tribute to the memory of Ruth.

First and foremost, my goal was to write a piece that Ruth would like, that she could share with the fellow musicians of the TPWO. Ruth's daughter, Marissa, is a very accomplished jazz singer/songwriter/lyricist, and so it provided an opportunity to write her into the performance as well. And lastly, I wanted to say something about who Ruth was, and what she meant to her friends, family, and fellow musicians.

In English, there is one word to express "Love" - be it your spouse, a child, a dog, a piece or music, your favorite sports team, or a ham sandwich - we use the same word - "Love". To give some measure of comparison, there are ancient languages where there are over 100 ways to express these different facets of "Love". For this piece, I chose the Greek interpretation of 4 kinds of Love: Eros (romantic love), Agape (friendship), Storge (affection), and Agape (unconditional love). While these don't cover all aspects of the English word "Love", and they certainly don't portray a full sense of Ruth Dodge, it seemed like a worthy challenge to create a piece of music that expressed her through them.

I am very pleased to return to Duluth, MN to play with the Twin Ports Wind Orchestra, and most especially, to perform with Dr. Mark Whitlock and Marissa Dodge. I thank the TPWO for this wonderful opportunity.

James BonneyJim Bonney is the Audio Director at Irrational Games currently working on BIOSHOCK INFINTE. Previously, he was a Composer and Project Audio Director for Midway Chicago, where he was Audio Lead for MORTAL KOMBAT: ARMAGEDDON, and created music and sound design for John Woo’s STRANGLEHOLD, as well as BLITZ: THE LEAGUE and BLITZ: THE LEAGUE 2, BALLERS PHENOM, and SLUGFEST 2.

Jim is also a founding member of the composer-consortium BCM International: four stylistically-diverse composers, dedicated to enriching the repertoire with exciting works for mediums often mired in static formulas. BCM’s music has generated a following of champions around the world, several thousand fans in an active online community, and two recordings: “BCM Saves the World” (2002, Mark Custom Records) and “BCM Men of Industry” (2004, BCM Records).

As a guitarist, Jim has recorded with the Empire Brass (on Telarc Records), and as a studio musician for numerous film scores, including The Meaning of the Blues, Alligator Alley, and the TV series Chicago Hope. He is also a regularly-featured soloist for his electric guitar concerto, Chaos Theory, as well as performing his other compositions for guitar and wind orchestra, Angels with Dirty Faces and Diabolus Ex Machina.

While living in Los Angeles, Jim was a ghostwriter for the television programs Buffy the Vampire Slayer andThe Weekenders. He has also scored numerous short films, documentaries, commercials, casual and casino games, and industrial videos.

Jim graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1994 with a double degree in Classical Guitar Performance and Audio Recording Technology. He completed the Advanced Studies program in “Scoring for Motion Picture and Television” at the University of Southern California in May of 1999, and participated in the 1999 ASCAP Film Composer’s Workshop.

Jim currently resides in the Boston area, with his wife Nicki and their two daughters.

Robert Johnson

Page under construction. Please check back soon.

Jim Stellmaker


  • A Little Bit About Jim

  • Camphouse Bio

  • Donate To This Project

Jim StellmakerJim grew up in Minneapolis & graduated from Minneapolis West HS in 1951. He received his BMME (Cum Laude) from the MacPhail College of Music (Minneapolis), his MMME equivalent degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and did graduate work at the University of MN-Duluth and the Eastman School of Music. While attending college Jim played in many jazz groups, besides directing his own band, and had the distinction of playing with the late jazz notables Don Ellis and Bud Brisbois. His trombone studies included work with the great Emory Remington of the Eastman School of Music, Eugene Bird of the Minneapolis College of Music and Steve Zellmer, principal trombonist of the Minnesota Orchestra.

He completed his graduate studies at UWS, UMD & The Eastman School of Music. He began his 35 year public school teaching career in Boyceville, WI, moving to Aurora, MN in 1959 where he met his wife of 42 years, Helen Rosandich. In 1967, Jim started his 23 years as Duluth Central High Schools band director. His concert bands and jazz ensembles received countless regional, state & national distinctions. He influenced the lives of thousands of young people as their teacher, role model, mentor and overall inspiration. Jim led by example, playing trombone in many groups, holding numerous offices & receiving national awards including 1987 NAJE Jazz Educator of the year, induction into MMEA Hall of Fame in 1995, the prestigous ASBDA Goldman Award in 2007. After retiring in 1990 he continued teaching, adjudicating and playing. More than anything Jim loved his family & especially enjoyed sitting back watching them have a good time. He was an avid fisherman & golfer and loved spending time at the cabin.

Mr. Stellmaker taught privately, adjudicated at District, Region, State and College Band and Jazz Festivals plus played in various community bands, jazz ensembles and brass ensembles. On occasions he substituted with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra (DSSO) and the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra. He was principal trombonist and personnel manager with the DSSO for 18 years and a member of the Ice Capades Orchestra for 23 years including accompanying Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Dinah Shore, Doc Severinsen, Tom Jones, Sonny and Cher, Gisselle McKenzie, Dave Brubeck and others. Jim also either played in or conducted bands in such musicals as Music Man, My Fair Lady, George M. Cohen, On A Clear Day, South Pacific and Anything Goes.

In his 23 years at Central High School, the Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble received superior ratings from every judge at all District, Regional and State music contests in addition to festivals held in St. Louis, Orlando and Chicago. The Jazz Ensemble received “Outstanding Band” awards at jazz festivals held in St. Louis, Orlando, Chicago, Bemidji, Duluth, Minneapolis and Eau Claire. The Jazz Ensemble had the distinction of receiving the top honor in the class A Division of the Eau Claire Jazz Festival the last five years it entered.

The Central High School Bands have performed at the MN Music Educators Convention (MMEA) Convention, the national American School Band Directors’ Association (ASBDA) Convention, the World Curling Championship opening and closing ceremonies that were televised around the world via Canadian television in addition to numerous events of distinction. The band played premiere performances of compositions by Jim Curnow and Les Hooper and performed with guest artists Doc Severinsen, Clark Terry, Ed Shaughnessy, Bill Tole, Thom Mason, Steve Houghton and Bob Kase. The Jazz Ensemble was also selected as one of eight bands in the United States to be placed on the National Association of Jazz Educators (NAJE) Project IV recording.

Mr. Stellmaker received the NAJE Educator of the Year award for Minnesota in 1987, was inducted into the Minnesota Music Educators Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the distinguished National Edwin Franko Goldman Award presented by ASBDA in 2007. He was the treasurer for the MN Chapter of ASBDA and served as chair for the National Organizing Committee and the Building the Organization Committee for the national ASBDA. In 2002, Mr. Stellmaker was a co-chair for the national ASBDA convention held in Duluth, MN.

Mark Camphouse A product of the rich cultural life of Chicago, composer-conductor Mark Camphouse was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1954. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Music from Northwestern University, where he studied conducting with John P. Paynter, composition with Alan Stout, and trumpet with the late Vincent Cichowicz. A scholarship from the prestigious Civic Orchestra of Chicago (Training Orchestra of the Chicago Symphony) enabled Camphouse to study trumpet privately for two years with legendary Chicago Symphony Principal Trumpet Emeritus, Adolph Herseth.

Camphouse began composing at an early age, with the Colorado Philharmonic premiering his First Symphony when he was 17. His works for wind band (Alfred, Kjos, Southern, and TRN Music Companies) have received widespread critical acclaim and are performed widely in the U.S. and abroad. Many may be heard on the Albany, Citadel, and Summit labels.

Camphouse has served as a guest conductor, lecturer and clinician in 40 states, Canada and Europe. He was elected to membership in the American Bandmasters Association in 1999 and has served as coordinator of the National Band Association Young Composer Mentor Project since 2000. He conceived and edits the unique multi-volume book series for GIA, Composers on Composing for Band.

Camphouse is Professor of Music at George Mason University, where he conducts the wind symphony and teaches courses in conducting and composition.

We have asked composer Mark Camphouse to write a piece for the Twin Ports Wind Orchestra in honor of Jim Stellmaker, a long time member of the TPWO. Our plans are to premiere the work this spring at our June 2 concert.

We need your contribution to finish up this project. I can’t think of a better way to honor Jim, his accomplishments and his tireless efforts to the Twin Ports community.

We have established three levels of commitments:

Commission Supporter $25 - $99

Commission Partner $100 - $199
Your name listed on the conductor’s score

Commission Associate $200 and above
Your name listed on the conductor’s score plus an autographed copy of the score signed by Mark Camphouse.

Participating donors can either mail a check to

231 Humanities
University of Minnesota Duluth
Duluth, MN 55812
or by clicking the donate button below.

We are confident that this composition and its World Premiere will be a very memorable event. If you have any questions regarding this project please contact Mark Whitlock.