Upcoming Lectures

November 30 @ 6:30PM…The History of the band CHICAGO…Cook Memorial Library

December 6 @ 7PM…The History of James Taylor & Carly Simon…Lincolnwood Library

December 7 @ 7PM…Paul McCartney (Solo Years 1970-1980)

December 8 @ 6:30PM…The History of James Taylor & Carly Simon…Dekalb Library

December 13 @ 1PM…The Beatles’ White Album… North Shore Senior Center

December 14 @ 6:30PM…Paul McCartney (The Solo Years 1970-1980)…Cook Memorial Library

December 15 @ 7PM…Paul McCartney (The Solo Years 1970-1980)


December 1, 8, 15 @ 2PM…Simon & Garfunkel: Together and Apart…College of DuPage

December 2, 9, 16 @ 7:30PM (EST)…Simon & Garfunkel: Together and Apart…Monmouth University

January 27, February 3, 10, 17, 24, March 3 @ 9:30AM…The History of The Beatles…College of DuPage

March 10, 17, 24 @ 9:30AM…The History of Simon & Garfunkel…College of DuPage

March 31, April 7, 14 @ 9:30AM…The History of Motown Records…College of DuPage

April 21, 28, May 5 @ 9:30AM…Simon & Garfunkel: Together and Apart…Oakton College

Lecture Offerings:

The Beatles: Their History in One Hour – As a musical entity The Beatles have not existed for over 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 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.

The History of Simon & Garfunkel – If you took the rich harmonies of the Everly Brothers 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. 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.”

The History of the band CHICAGO…If you like your rock ‘n’ roll mixed with an exciting blast of horns there is no better listen than the music group Chicago.  Formed in 1967 the band produced a steady stream of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s.  Billboard Magazine ranked Chicago 9th on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in terms of chart success.  Using performance and interview clips, we’ll trace the arc of their career from their early rock ‘n’ roll successes like “25 or 6 to 4” and “Saturday In The Park” to their softer hits like “If You Leave Me Now” and “Hard To Say I’m Sorry.”

James Taylor + Carly Simon – In the early 1970’s the singer-songwriter ruled the radio.  Carole King, John Denver, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens…but the era’s ultimate power couple were husband and wife James Taylor and Carly Simon.  Using performance and interview clips we’ll trace the arc of their careers from “Fire and Rain” and “You’re So Vain” to “Shower The People” and “Anticipation.”  The marriage didn’t last, but the hits sure have!

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 in 2003, 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) – As the Beatles only double album The Beatles (White Album) 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 Lennon: 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.

Paul McCartney: The Solo Years (1970-1980)– No less than the Guinness Book of World Records has proclaimed that Paul McCartney is the Most Successful Composer and Recording Artist of All-Time!  The road he traveled to get there wasn’t easy.  Paul was devastated when The Beatles broke up and struggled to move forward.  There were missteps, but Paul hit his stride and was riding high by the end of the decade.  Using interview and performance video clips we’ll trace the arc of Paul’s first post-Beatles decade from “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “Live and Let Die” to “Band on the Run” and “Listen To What The Man Says.” “Silly Love Songs” to some, but pop/rock masterpieces to most.

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 Community College. 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 widely respected podcast “Something About The Beatles.”



Media Coverage





Student and Patron Feedback


Very Informative…Great Preparation…Great Presenter…

Funny and Learned A Lot…Wonderful…Really Knows the Subject…

Terrific…So Well Done…Great Pacing…Fabulous!…Outstanding…

Extremely Well Organized…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!”