Gerry Shoults graduated from Northwestern University with BS and MS degrees in Computer Science. He also took classes in music composition at Northwestern and has been writing music as a passionate hobby throughout his 40-year career with Texas Instruments. Since his retirement from TI, Gerry is devoting more of his time to making his compositions and arrangements available on a wider scale. This website is the beginning of that ongoing project.
Gerry is the oldest son of Salvation Army officers, Commissioner Harold and Polly Shoults. When he was seven years old, his parents bought a used upright piano and Gerry began taking piano lessons. His father Harold was an accomplished musician at the time and was a euphonium soloist in the Chicago Staff Band (CSB) of The Salvation Army ("The Band with a Sacred Message"). Gerry developed a keen interest in music in those early years, listening to CSB records and reel-to-reel tapes. He also listened to the Chicago Austin Salvation Army corps band each week, as both of his parents played in that brass band.
At age 11 Gerry learned to play a baritone (tenor horn) at the Kansas City Missouri Blue Valley corps in a class taught by his father Harold. HIs father individually taught Gerry music theory and harmony lessons during this time.
When Gerry was 14, his family moved back to Chicago and attended the Mont Clare corps (church). At the urging of his uncle Howard Cox, Gerry became the choir pianist at Mont Clare throughout his high school and college years. This greatly improved his sight-reading skills at the piano. There were many people at Mont Clare who influenced Gerry to become a Christ follower at age 15. Also, he had many who encouraged him to write music: Cliff Monk, Howard Cox, Ed Lowcock, Art Shoults, Jack Thomas, Walt Winters, and many others. The Mont Clare corps eventually built in a new location and became known as the Norridge Citadel corps.
Gerry was invited to play 1st baritone in the Chicago Staff Band at the age of 15 as the youngest member of the band. Bandmaster Ernie Miller also encouraged Gerry to write music and provided him with free manuscript paper. He began with some brass quartets, SATB vocal settings, and some brass band arrangements. Some of those arrangements were great learning experiences, but to put it politely, not the best musical results. Bandmaster Miller was gracious to try these out at CSB rehearsals and he always gave Gerry good feedback, not to mention the "encouragement" from the rest of the band. Gerry's goal was to make each new composition his best effort yet. Writing music using paper and ink was very time consuming and error prone, compared to today's computer software tools.
Gerry also played in the Northern Illinois Youth Band. Bandmaster Bob Getz introduced a great repertoire of brass band music to this fun group of young musicians. Bob also demanded our best performance which made for some fun music making experiences. This was truly on-the-job training for Gerry who was developing his own musical style and tastes. Listening became the best teacher.
Gerry also spent one summer during college traveling in a musical group "The Reason", formed by William (Bill) Himes, along with Ted Tolcher, Harold Potter, and Butch O'Brien. Many close friendships were formed that summer. At the end of the summer tour, Bill married Wendy. Gerry and Ted played in a brass choir for the processional. Within a few years, Bill and Wendy moved to Chicago where he became the Music Director for the Salvation Army, and also assumed leadership of the Chicago Staff Band. To say that Gerry was hugely influenced by Bill during those years would be an understatement.
Although they met earlier as members of the Northern Illinois Youth Band, Gerry and Kathie started their relationship during freshman year of college. At first it was a long-distance relationship, consisting of writing letters along with a few phone calls (Gerry was in Evanston, IL while Kathie was in Kentucky). Kathie moved to Chicago at the beginning of sophomore year, and that's when they started spending more time together. Gerry wrote a short piano piece "Kathie's Tune" that year. They were married three years later, and have been blessed for 43+ years. A couple additional short piano pieces were written to commemorate their 20th and 32nd wedding anniversaries: "Opus 12" and "Opus 20" (32 years really seemed like only 20, but also 20 hexadecimal is actually 32, so it works).
They have been blessed with three children who are all married, and six grandchildren. Gerry wrote processionals/recessionals for each of the four weddings (all included here). He also wrote a song for each of his children on the occasion of their baby dedication ceremony: "We Adore Thee", "Greater Love", and "In His Image". Each child became accomplished euphonium players, and Gerry wrote a unique euphonium solo for each of them to perform during their middle school/high school years: "Ballade for Euphonium", "Variants on Rachie", and "Greenwood Air and Variations".
Gerry is committed to continual improvement/innovation in making music that glorifies God. This website gives Gerry the opportunity to share previously un-published works, as well as introduce new compositions going forward. And soon, we will also share a list of links to Gerry's previously published compositions that can be purchased
One of Gerry's songs "My Desire" expresses his desire to be a good steward of his time, talent, and treasure. He believes that we are all created with the desire to know our Creator, and to worship Him because He is the way, the truth, and the life. Abundant life.
The chorus goes like this:
"My desire Lord is to please you
My ambition Lord is sure
Make my life a fruitful mission
Give me passion, make me pure"
May God bless all of you who truly seek Him.
"Seeking what is excellent and praiseworthy…" (The Apostle Paul, Philippians 4:8)