Prominent band conductor severely injured on NEIU campus


Nicole F. Anderson

The Recital Hall was blocked off with police tape after the incident.

Nicole F. Anderson, News and Co-Managing Editor

Chicago-based band conductor, musician and instructor was severely injured after a large projection screen housing fell from the ceiling and struck him on the head and back.

Ralph Wilder was in NEIU’s Recital Hall on Sunday, May 6 when the incident occurred.

The Chicago Fire Department responded to the call on Sunday, May 6 and brought Wilder to Presence St. Francis Hospital in Evanston. He was later transferred to the neurocritical care unit at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

In an email to the Independent, Director of Public Relations and Web Communications Mike Hines gave a statement on behalf of Northeastern Illinois University, “Our hearts go out to the family. We have begun an investigation into the accident in the Recital Hall. The space remains closed during an ongoing investigation.”

Wilder’s son, Jeff Wilder, created a CaringBridge website and has been writing updates on his father’s condition.

On May 15, Jeff Wilder wrote on the CaringBridge website, “Right now, dad is more heavily sedated than he has been in the last few days, but that is an effort to keep him comfortable and allow for more healing.  It’s unknown how long he’ll be in this particular sedated/intubated state, but while it was a setback to go this route, our hopes are that it will facilitate his recovery.”

Wilder is the conductor of the Northwest Concert Band, first clarinetist with the Evanston Symphony Orchestra, plays with the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, has his own orchestra, has been a band director at several high schools and colleges, and is a professor at North Park University.

Updates to come.