OTTAWA — Barbara Lukancic was honored for her 50-year association with and dedication to the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra at the IVSO’s annual wine tasting event in May.
Lukancic has continuously demonstrated remarkable spirit and perseverance to further the IVSO going into her 50th season. In providing an everlasting tribute to her for her invaluable service, the IVSO will raise funds to endow the Principal Oboe Chair in her name. Donations and pledges collected as part of this campaign in her name will go to the IVSO Endowment Fund.
Music has always been a part of Lukancic’s life. Hearing her maternal grandfather, who had a one-man band and traveled the area to perform, hearing her father and grandfather talk about Maud Powell in 1949 on one of the first reel to reel tape recorders made at Eicore in Oglesby, listening to her sister’s beautiful voice as she starred in the LaSalle-Peru High School operettas and then went on to study voice, asking to play saxophone in seventh grade, then adding oboe as a freshman at L-P High School and eventually English horn. Her career choice led her to graduate from St. Francis School of Nursing and work as an assistant clinical instructor with the school. There she met and married Dr. Louis P. Lukancic. They spent the next two years in Marquette, Mich., in the U.S. Air Force where their two sons were born. After moving to Spring Valley, where her husband joined a medical practice, Barbara saw an opportunity to return to her instrumental playing because there was an orchestra in the area.
In 1963 she played her first concert with the IVSO. During the following years she had four more children, all daughters, but managed to keep her musical avocation of playing with and working for the orchestra. She has served on the IVSO board for two different six-year terms, during which she was secretary and president, been an active member of the original Symphony Women’s Association and the current IV Symphony Guild, organized a symphony ball, performed at fundraisers and other community affairs. As part of a woodwind quartet, which included Ray Makeever and John Kinnison, she performed Mozart’s Symphony Concertante with the IVSO. After playing for over a period of 30 years, as the family schedule would allow, she had to quit because of her hands. Since 1995 she has been personnel manager and gradually assumed many other duties to become the general manager, a position she currently holds. As general manager she is responsible for many of the functions of the orchestra.
In 1999, Lukancic was presented with the Illinois Council of Orchestra’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Because of the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra, she has had the opportunity to keep her musical interest alive, meet many wonderful talented people, and encourage the community to enjoy this great cultural treasure. The time devoted to support the orchestra has only been accomplished because of an encouraging and supportive husband and an understanding family, which now includes nine grandchildren.
Her children are Dr. Louis R. Lukancic, Dr. Steven Lukancic, Dr. Mary Lukancic Salvino, Paula Lukancic, Catherine Lukancic Heanue and Carolyn Lukancic Hopkins. Her grandchildren are Emma, Sarah, Peter, Oscar, Eli, Catie, Hannah, Sammy and Grace.