IWBC Awards 

5th International Women’s Brass Conference: Normal, Illinois June 2006

IWBC Pioneer Awardees

Bette Eilers was principal trumpet in the Chicago Civic Orchestra at the age of 17. In 1954, while in the Civic Orchestra, she performed with the Chicago Symphony under the direction of Fritz Reiner.

She also performed with the CSO in 1964 under the direction of Antal Dorati. CSO recordings she plays on include the premier of Khatchaturian’s Third Symphony under the direction of Leopold Stokowski and Stravinsky’s Firebird (complete ballet suite), Pierre Boulez, conductor.

She appeared at the Ravinia Festival performing in Berlioz’s Les Troyens and Verdi’s Requiem under the direction of James Levine. Bette has played extra trumpet for Lyric Opera of Chicago on several occasions including productions of Othello, Hamlet, Lohengrin, and two productions of Aida.

In addition to the CSO recordings, Bette recorded with Brass Works of Chicago, and played on soundtracks for the movies The Wedding, and Lucas.

She played the trumpet solo for the U.S. premier and radio broadcast of The Dark Tower by Benjamin Britten. Bette has appeared as a soloist with the following ensembles: Fish Creek Peninsula Festival Orchestra, Oak Park Symphony, Park Forest Orchestra, Community Renewal Chorus, Triton College Band, University of Illinois at Chicago Band, Northwest Chicago Symphony Orchestra, River Forest Concert Band, and the German Day Band.

She participated in a series of brass concerts in the Chicago Public Schools under a federal grant program. She was a member of the ballet orchestra for performances with Nureyev, International Dance Festival, Loop Fest, and the Nutcracker Ballet Orchestra at Arie Crown Theater. Bette has performed with a myriad of ensembles including: Music Center of the North Shore Orchestra, Fish Creek Peninsula Festival Orchestra, Park Ridge Fine Arts Orchestra, Loyola Chamber Orchestra, Kankakee Orchestra (First Trumpet), the Arlington Race Course Fanfare Group, and played trumpet fanfares at Cubs Wrigley Field games.

In 1962 she received an A.B. from the University of Chicago, with a major in Sociology. She was a group worker in a neighborhood house with teenage gangs. She has served as a faculty member of Harper College, Sherwood Music School, Vandercook College of Music, Music Center of the North Shore, Illinois Summer Youth Music at the University of Illinois, and music specialist at Morton High School and Lyons Township High School.

She taught intermediate and advanced trumpet classes for the Merit Program, Inc. At Michigan State University School of Music, she lectured on ‘How to get work as a profession musician’ (co-sponsored by MSU and Yamaha International). In 1988 she substituted for Ron Modell at Northern Illinois University while he was on sabbatical leave. She is still very active as a player and teacher. Currently she is a member of the Fort Dearborn Brass, Prairie Brass Band (Solo Cornet), trumpeter-in-residence at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Wilmette, and the Chicago Reading Orchestra. She is forming a North-Western Illinois area orchestra named the Professional Orchestra Project.

She is on faculty at the University of Illinois, Chicago, Triton College, and Wright Jr. College, and she continues to teach private music lessons. Bette is a widow with two grown children, Diana Morris who lives in Springfield, Illinois and Lou Dasaro who just graduated with a Political Science degree from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.

Bette lives in River Forest Illinois with her Shiba Inu dog, Ming, who sings along when she plays the trumpet! Her hobbies include fishing, photography, and reading about investing.


    Froydis Ree Wekre was born in Oslo, Norway. Her mother was a pianist and her father an amateur violin player. She started very early to learn piano and violin, and then turned to horn at the age of 17.

    Outside of Oslo, her studies have taken place in Sweden, Russia and USA. After being a prize winner in a national competition for wind players she was offered the position of co-principal horn of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in 1965, a position she left in 1990.

    Currently, Ms. Wekre is appointed Professor of Horn and Chamber Music at the Norwegian State Academy of Music. In addition, she is active worldwide as a soloist, chamber musician and baroque horn player, as well as being sought for to give master classes and to be a member of international juries.

    Her book, ‘Thoughts on Playing the Horn well’ has been translated into several languages. Numerous composers have written works for her, some of which have been recorded on the labels of SIMAX and CRYSTAL.

    For two years, Froydis Ree Wekre was the president of the International Horn Society, where she is also an honorary member since 1994. Her most recent concerts have taken place in Germany, Finland and USA.


      About IWBC Awards


      At each conference, beginning with the first in 1993, the IWBC has recognized women who have been pioneers in the top levels of brass performance, breaking down barriers and living their lives effecting change for those who have followed. Each awardee’s career and spirit exemplify the goals and traditions of the IWBC.


      The Beacon Award was first introduced at the 2014 conference, and given to women who have been beacons of light for those around them, both in the fields of performance and education.  These women influence so many generations of musicians through their careers sharing the art of performance, and standing for the values of equity, perseverance, and excellence.


      At the 2014 conference a special group of women who made an important impact on the lives of many were honored. These women answered the call of our nation, and beginning in World War II served our country as musicians.  When it became clear that the war was going to involve the service of all available men, the United States government enlisted women to take over many jobs on the home front.  Playing music was one of those jobs.  Bands were formed in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps.  Shortly after the war, the Air Force also formed a band of women.  While most of these women served only for the duration of the war years, some bands remained active.  The women’s band programs concluded in the 1970s. The Circle of Excellence Award is given to all women from all services who served as musicians during and after World War II.  The IWBC salutes their service. The biographies of three women who served, and attended the 2014 conference are included here.


      The Lifetime Achievement Award was first introduced at the 2014 IWBC conference, and is given to honor those who have achieved a high level of success in the field of music, through a career dedicated to the highest level of performance, education and outreach. The life work of these women has touched so many generations of audiences, students, and fellow musicians through their careers sharing the art of music. Our Lifetime Achievement Awardees are outstanding examples of dedication, professionalism and integrity.


      The IWBC President’s Award honors those who have been steadfast supporters of our activities and mission on this our twenty-fifth anniversary. We salute these award winners for showcasing true professionalism, and living their lives with a dedication to equality and service. 


      The Susan Slaughter Award for Leadership is being presented for the first time at our 2017 conference, to a true legend in the field of music. Marin Alsop has been a champion of equality, and her career sets the highest example of professionalism and outreach. This award is given by IWBC Founder Susan Slaughter in grateful appreciation for a career spent making a difference for women in music through a lifetime of service.


      The Penny Turner Young Artist Award launched in the spring of 2018. The award is a scholarship competition created by IWBC Board Member Ginger Turner in honor of her late mother, Penny Turner. The competition is open to all female brass players between the ages of 12-18; their music teachers or private instructors may nominate competitors.  


      If you’d like to nominate someone for recognition, please submit your nomination to Joanna Hersey at [email protected]