Upcoming Lectures

October 20, 2020 @ 7:00PM…In Honor of John Lennon’s 80th Birthday: The Solo Years (1970-1980)…Algonquin Library

October 22, 2020 @ 6:30PM/EST…The History of Motown…White Oak/Crest Hill Library

October 27, 2020 @ 7:00PM…The Year The Music Died: The 50th Anniversary of The Beatles Breakup…Indian Prairie Library

November 7, 2020 @ 2:00PM…The Year The Music Died: The 50th Anniversary of The Beatles Breakup…Dekalb Library

November 9, 2020 @ 2:00PM…The History of Simon & Garfunkel…Niles Senior Center

November 10, 2020 @ 6:30PM…The Year The Music Died: The 50th Anniversary of The Beatles Breakup…Waunakee Library

November 12, 2020 @ 7:00PM…The History of Simon & Garfunkel…Glencoe Library

November 16, 2020 @ 7:00PM…The Year The Music Died: The 50th Anniversary of The Beatles Breakup…Eisenhower Library

November 17, 2020 @7PM…In Honor of John Lennon’s 80th Birthday: The Solo Years (1970-1980)…Roselle Library

November 19, 2020 @ 6:30PM…The History of Fleetwood Mac…Evergreen Park Library


October 22 – November 5, 2020 @ 10:00AM…John, Paul, George & Ringo: The Solo Years (1970-1980)…College of DuPage

November 12 – December 3, 2020 @ 10:00AM…The History of Motown Records…College of DuPage

December 10 – 17, 2020 @ 10:00AM…The History of Simon & Garfunkel…College of DuPage

January 27 & February 3, 2021 @ 2:00PM…The History of Paul Simon’s Solo Years…College of DuPage

February 10, 17, 24, 2021 @ 2:00PM..The History of Motown Records…College of DuPage

February 11, 18, 25, 2021 @ 10:00AM…The History of Simon & Garfunkel…Oakton Community College

Library Lecture Offerings

The Beatles: Their History in One Hour – As a musical entity The Beatles have not existed for 50 years, yet their story, their personalities and most importantly their music continue to fascinate and resonate.  Thanks to a treasure chest of memorable songs and an uncanny ability to chart fresh musical direction with each new album, The Beatles remain one of the world’s most popular and iconic bands.  With performance and interview clips we’ll trace the arc of the Beatles career from their development in Liverpool, through Beatlemania, into their psychedelic phase and finally their dissolution.  “A splendid time is guaranteed for all.”

A Celebration of The Beatles’ Abbey Road – After the turmoil of The White Album and Let It Be, the Beatles put their differences aside to record their final – and best selling – album that still sounds fresh and vital today.  Each member shone brightly from Lennon’s funky “Come Together” to Harrison’s sublime “Something’ and “Here Comes the Sun” to McCartney’s galloping Side 2 Medley – a virtual rock ‘n’ roll symphony.  Using audio visual content, we’ll review the stories behind the album’s best-known songs and celebrate the Beatles final gift to music lovers all over the world.

When The Music Died…The 50th Anniversary of The Beatles Break-Up – In February 1964 The Beatles exploded in America, but by May of 1970 they were done.  In that brief period, they became – and remain – the world’s most iconic band thanks to a treasure chest of memorable songs and an uncanny ability to chart fresh musical directions.  Using performance and interview clips we’ll explore the reasons it all fell apart 50 years ago and what – if anything – could have been done to keep the band intact.

Simon & Garfunkel: Sound and Then Silence – If you took the musicality of The Beatles and matched it with the lyricism of Bob Dylan the result might be Simon & Garfunkel. Often considered the thinking person’s rock ‘n’ rollers they were also one of the most successful musical acts of the 1960’s.  Using audio and visual content we will trace the arc of Simon & Garfunkel’s career from their surprise teenybopper hit “Hey Schoolgirl”…to the folk-rock classic “Sound of Silence”…to the ever popular “Mrs. Robinson”…to the majesty of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Motown: Music That Moved the World – In Detroit in the 1960’s Motown Records produced hits as efficiently as the Ford Motor Company produced automobiles – 110 Top Ten hits to be exact!  It was the “Sound of Young America” sung by performers like The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.  Using audio and visual content we’ll trace the amazing musical journey from the power soul of “Dancing in The Streets” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” to the psychedelic soul of “Cloud Nine” and “What’s Going On” to the pop soul of The Jackson 5.  Timeless music that moved us then and moves us now.

Fleetwood Mac: The Chain…Broken – This modest blues band launched in the mid-1960s, achieved monumental success in the mid-1970s and still makes headlines today.  Using interview and performance video, we’ll trace the band’s career with a focus on their blockbuster album “Rumours” and the band’s classic line up of Stevie Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.  It’s a fascinating journey of failed romantic relationships that fuel music of intensity and warmth.  Fleetwood Mac is a soap opera set to music!  

The History of the Beach Boys – If summer had a sound it would be the Beach Boys…surf, sun and California dreaming.  This presentation will focus on The Beach Boys “sunniest” years from 1962-1967.  With the use of performance and interview clips, we’ll trace the arc of the Beach Boys’ early career from “Surfin’ U.S.A”., “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “California Girls” to the more mature Pet Sounds, “Good Vibrations” and the abandoned Smile project.  Surf’s Up!

Billy Joel: The Piano Man – Though Billy Joel has not released a new rock album in over 27 years, he remains one of the world’s most popular live performers.  Using performance and interview video clips we’ll trace the arc of Billy’s career from his humble beginnings in Hicksville, NJ…to his slow rise to fame…to his long string of hits including “Just The Way You Are”, ”It’s Still Rock N Roll To Me”, ”Uptown Girl” and “River Of Dreams”…to his love life including his marriage to supermodel Christie Brinkley…and finally to his current status as one of the world’s most successful touring acts.  “If you’re in the mood for a melody…the Piano Man will make you feel alright.”

A Celebration of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles most well-known album is also the largest selling album of the 1960’s. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it #1 in their list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time, while Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones recently called it “rubbish.” With the use of audio and visual content we will discuss the album’s initial concept, the music, the landmark album cover and the overwhelming world-wide reaction to its release.

A Celebration of The Beatles (White Album) – November 2018 marked the 50th Anniversary of this landmark album.  As the Beatles only double album it contains a wealth of riches for listeners.  However, it also marked the beginning of the end of the world’s greatest band as tensions and musical differences arose during recording.  The program will include a discussion of the Beatles “back to basics” recording approach and an analysis of key tracks including “Dear Prudence,” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and “Helter Skelter.”

John, Paul, George & Ringo: The Solo Years 1970-1980 – After the Beatles disbanded one question echoed all over the world: when will the Beatles get back together?  They never did of course, but the 10-year period following their break up was very eventful and produced such timeless songs as “Imagine”, “My Sweet Lord” and “Band on The Run.” With the use of audio and visual content we’ll explore the highs and lows of their music, lawsuits and their relationships with each other.

In Honor of John Lennon’s 80th Birthday: The Solo Years (1970-1980) – The 10-year period from the Beatles break up in 1970 to John Lennon’s tragic murder in 1980 was a fascinating period of highs and lows for the ex-Beatle.  Using performance and interview clips we’ll explore his solo career from his first post-Beatles success “Instant Karma” to his only solo #1 “Whatever Gets You Through The Night” to the final single released in his lifetime “(Just Like) Starting Over.”  It was an eventful ten years that included his struggle to become an American citizen, his wild “lost weekend” and the quiet househusband years that culminated with the release of his final album Double Fantasy.  Special attention will be given to “Imagine” perhaps John’s greatest musical gift to the world.

Lennon v. McCartney Solo Careers – John and Paul were the two ex-Beatles most likely to succeed.  And, succeed they did!  John’s “Instant Karma” and “Imagine” and Paul’s “Band On The Run” and “Live And Let Die” were huge hits, but there were flops as well.  Using audio/visual content we’ll review the highs and lows of their post-Beatles careers including their sometimes prickly, sometimes warm relationship with each other.

Paul Simon: The Solo Years – Simon & Garfunkel were the most successful musical duo of the Sixties, but called it quits in 1970.  From the breakup until his retirement in 2018 Paul Simon continued to produce music that was both popular and thought provoking.  Using audio visual content, we’ll trace Paul’s post-Simon & Garfunkel career from his early solo hits “Mother and Child Reunion”, Kodachrome” and “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” to his Grammy winning “Still Crazy After All These Years” to the world-wide smash “Graceland” and beyond.  We’ll celebrate Paul’s unique ability to write solo music of consequence for over 50 years! 



5c576edc2c052.image_-1After a rewarding career in advertising sales, Gary Wenstrup retired and developed courses on the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel and Motown Records for the Continuing Education Departments of College of DuPage and Oakton and Harper Colleges. Gary has also lectured at over 80 Chicago area libraries. Gary’s Beatles presentation was deemed “The Best of The Best” by the Library Administrators Conference of Northern Illinois (LACONI). Besides being featured on radio broadcasts and in newspaper articles, Gary is also a reoccurring guest on the award-winning podcast “Something About The Beatles.”   His presentations include audio and visual content for an informative and entertaining experience. 



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Student and Patron Feedback

“Excellent…Enjoyable…Entertaining…Fun…Very Informative…Great Preparation…Great Presenter…Funny and Learned A Lot…Wonderful…Terrific…So Well Done…Great Pacing…Fabulous!…Outstanding…Fantastic…Educational and Entertaining…Super…Glad I Came…Wow!…Awesome!…Best Beatles Presentation Ever!…Outstanding Speaker…Very Knowledgeable…Thorough…You Rock!…Covers Lots of Ground in an Organized Way…Loved it!”