Geoffrey Decker is a native of Shawnee Mission, Kansas, and began studying horn in middle school in 1976 with James Funkhouser of the Kansas City Philharmonic and Kansas City Symphony. After high school, he studied horn with David Bushouse and conducting with George Lawner and Zuohuang Chen at the University of Kansas. While at KU, he played in the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra and the Lawrence Chamber Players in Lawrence, Kansas. After completing the B.A. degree in Music at KU in 1986, with an emphasis in Music History, he came to DeKalb in 1988, completing the M.S. degree in Computer Science at Northern Illinois University in 1990. He then returned to Kansas City, Missouri, to work as a professional computer programmer with Kemper Service Company.
In 1997, while working as a programmer at DST Systems, Inc., in Kansas City, Missouri, Geoffrey founded and conducted both the DST Symphony Orchestra and the DST Wind Ensemble, both made up of DST employees and their families and friends. In 2000, he was invited to conduct the DST Wind Ensemble and members of the Kansas City Symphony in an outdoor concert inaugurating Kansas City’s Avenue of the Arts. The DST Symphony gave performances including such works as the Prelude to Act I of Wagner’s opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80.
After 11 years as a professional programmer, Geoffrey joined NIU’s Department of Computer Science as an instructor in the fall of 2001. He currently teaches classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to playing third horn with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra and third horn in the DeKalb Municipal Band, he has played in the NIU Philharmonic and was, for many years, a graduate student of Professor John Fairfield’s. While a student at the University of Kansas, he joined the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia’s Xi Chapter in 1985.
Geoffrey lives in nearby Cortland with his husband, Chuck. Favorite pastimes are collecting classical CDs and vinyl, collecting and studying history and biography and collecting books about both, genealogy, and cooking. He currently serves as the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra Board’s Vice President and writes the program notes for the orchestra’s regular performances.