Band Director Suffers Severe Spinal Cord Injury in Freak Accident During Rehearsal

A freak accident has left a well-known Chicago-area band conductor and music instructor hospitalized.

Ralph Wilder suffered several broken bones in his back after a projection screen housing fell from a ceiling at Northeastern Illinois University.

It wasn't immediately clear who Wilder was rehearsing with at time of the accident on Sunday. He is conductor of the Northwest Concert Band.

He also is principal clarinetist with the Evanston Symphony Orchestra, plays with the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band. Wilder also teaches at North Park University in Chicago.

In a statement, Wilder's son, Jeff, said his father suffered a severe spinal cord injury that may be permanent. He said surgery has been performed on Wilder's spine and to remove bone fragments.

Northeastern Illinois spokesman Mike Hines says the university is investigating the accident that occurred in the recital hall.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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