Sara Simpson earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington and a Master of Music degree in performance from Northwestern University in Evanston. She has taught public school music in Illinois for 32 years and is currently retired from the Clinton Community School District No. 15. She has performed in symphony orchestras, community bands, musicals, and professional dance bands and has traveled to ten countries in Europe studying European band music. Ms. Simpson has been involved in over a dozen theatre productions. History and genealogy are high on her list of favorite topics. She owns a historical home, which was built about 1853, and is the custodian of her family tree. Sara is a member of the Letitia Green Stevenson Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution through her lineage of William Simpson.
Sara’s great-great grandfather, David S. Reel, was a member of the 115th Illinois Volunteer Infantry and fought with the Iron Brigade of Chickamauga. Her great-great grandmother and David’s wife, Margaret Gard Reel was the first cousin of Henry J. Gard, Civil War musician of the 115th Illinois Infantry who was said to have died at Andersonville Prison.
Sara is a charter member of The Thirty-Third Illinois Volunteer Regiment Band and has played both Albert system clarinet and alto horn in the group. Her fondest memories are those wonderfully funny emails from the founder of the Thirty-Third Band (Gary Borling), performing at the Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C. in 2005, and providing the music for the re-dedication of the Illinois Monument at Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi in 2006.