Jacob Bancks is quick to acknowledge the pun surrounding this weekend's performance by the Quad-City Symphony Orchestra. 

As a composer and professor at Augustana College, he spent months working on a piece about dreams — capturing that subtle falling-asleep feeling and the roar of a nightmare.

“Everyone remembers the really good parts or the really bad parts of a dream,” he said. “That’s what I wanted to create with music.”

And now, Bancks gets to watch his hometown symphony orchestra play each note with two other music-makers with ties to the Q-C.

“I mean it when I say this is a dream project, and I know that’s kind of funny to say,” Bancks said. “I couldn’t be happier to see this piece, and my dreams, come to life.”

On Saturday and Sunday, QCSO will perform Bancks’ piece, with help from featured artist Mark Timmerman and conductor Benjamin Klemme, who are both Davenport-natives.

The performance is billed as “Homegrown Variations,” and both Timmerman and Klemme are feeling local pride ahead of the shows. 

“It’s a privilege and responsibility to do this,” Klemme said. “It’s something I will remember forever." 

And Timmerman, a bassoonist with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, said he can’t wait to be back home.

"My family is all living in the Midwest, so to come back and play this concert feels like a kid in the candy store,” he said. “You don’t get a lot of chances like this.”

Timmerman said his early experiences playing music in the Quad-Cities pushed him to make it a career.

“When I talk about music and the rich experience I had, it wasn’t something everybody had,” he said. “The classes I took here really shaped me, and I didn't know that until I left and came back." 

He's also excited to be in the spotlight, something he says is unique for a bassoon player. 

“The bassoon doesn’t get a lot of solo attention,” he said. “It’s kind of the sad little sister of wind instruments.”

As it turns out, Bancks thought it would be the perfect instrument to pair with his composition. 

“The bassoon really works with the theme, so that fell into place," Bancks said. "We know it worked out really well on paper. Now, we just hope it sounds like a dream, too."


Amanda Hancock is a reporter covering food, arts and entertainment in the Quad-Cities (and beyond).