Sycamore Music Boosters still has vendor craft booths available for the upcoming Autumn Craft & Treasures Market during the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival on October 25 and 26. For more information or to reserve a booth, please contact Vendor Chair, Amy Cuthbert, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815.899.0401. The Sycamore Music Boosters is a volunteer organization comprised of families and friends of students enrolled in music education classes in Sycamore Schools. The Autumn Craft & Treasures Market is their largest fundraiser of the year. For more information about the Craft Fair and to download the application, please visit: http://www.sycamoremusicboosters.com or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
The Sycamore High School Music Department was recently awarded Runner-Up Second Place in the 2013-2014 IHSA Music Sweepstakes competition for Class A! This is the highest rank Sycamore High School has ever placed! This is the fourth time in five years that Sycamore High School has placed in the top five in Class A, and it is their eleventh top-ten finish in the past twelve years.
This honor is the result of the combined effort from the band, choir and orchestra programs and their participation in the Solo/Ensemble Contest along with the Organizational Contest. The IHSA Solo/Ensemble Festival was hosted by Kaneland High School, where band, choir, and orchestra students performed as soloists and in small groups. The IHSA Organizational Festival was held at Belvidere North High School in April. At this festival, larger ensembles such as orchestras, bands, jazz bands, choirs, and jazz choirs all performed for ratings. The scores from both of these festivals are tabulated by IHSA, and Sycamore High School had the second highest total in Class A!
Music Department Chair Scott Mertens comments, “Our music students should take pride in this award, as their individual and small group performances are a key reason that our school placed as highly as we did. These music students are demonstrating a culture of accountability that reflects very positively upon Sycamore High School, and our community can be very proud of these young men and women.”
The Runner-Up trophy was announced at recent spring concerts. Orchestra Director Ken Tonaki mentions, “This trophy symbolizes the collective strength of all three organizations that make up the SHS Music Department. It is impossible to place in the top 10 unless band, choir, and orchestra are all scoring high marks in both the Solo & Ensemble Contest as well as the Organizational Contest. It is an honor to work with the outstanding staff and students here at Sycamore High School.”
The high school bands are led by Ken Goodman, the orchestras are led by Ken Tonaki, the choral groups are led by Drayton Eggleson, and the entire Music Department is chaired by Scott Mertens. Ken Goodman comments, “”This honor stems from the strong effort that our students put into preparing for their performances. However, it is not just about learning the music for a particular event. Instead, it is the rehearsing during class and the practicing at home, day after day, that results in the students’ success. This recognition is a visible means of representing this hard work and dedication. Congratulations to our students on this notable achievement.”
The Sycamore High School Symphony Orchestra recently had the honor of premieringa piece composed by their own peer, Sycamore High School Senior Casey Bunge. “Au Printempts”, French for “In The Springtime”, received its own special premier by the SHS Symphony Orchestra at a recent spring concert.“Musical composition has always been a passion of mine,” comments composer Casey Bunge. “I’ve been writing intensely since Freshman year, and ‘Au Printemps’ is the best of many pieces I’ve written for personal enjoyment. At one point I figured I may as well present it to my Orchestra Conductor, Mr. Tonaki, for suggestions or comments. Much to my surprise, he offered to have the Orchestra play it!”
Casey’s interest in music began early in the general music classes at West Elementary School. Casey reflects, “In the 4th Grade, my music teacher encouraged me to work on writing simple songs for the recorder that the rest of the class would play, which really ignited my love for music and composition.” To date, Casey has invested over 4000 hours of composing music and has written many pieces for string and full orchestra, as well as dozens of contemporary and non-classical songs. Casey enjoys playing music, mainly the trombone in the High School Band, Jazz Band, and Symphonic Band and Orchestra. He is currently learning the piano, and dabbles on the flute, trumpet, and baritone. He plans on teaching himself the violin this summer to aid in orchestral composition.
Most of the notes for “Au Printemps” were written down in four days; the version that the Orchestra played was finished a few days after that. Before the Symphonic Orchestra gave its premier, Casey explained it’s background and meaning to the audience: “As the title suggests, the piece is meant to illustrate springtime, spring being a time of rebirth or renewal. The piece was written around the idea that regardless of one’s circumstances, there’s always hope; because at some point, at some indeterminate time in the future, there can always come an occurrence or happening that inspires a rebirth or renewal in the appreciation of love, life, or the world at large. Dedicated to that hope for ‘someday’ is ‘Au Printemps’.”
Orchestra Conductor Ken Tonaki comments,“’Au Primtemps’ represents Casey Bunge’s brilliance as an artist. It shows Casey’s ability to combine years of disciplined listening to great composers with his own creativity. He has written a piece that is unique and embodies his own personal spirit. It was an honor to collaborate and perform his piece. Both myself and the members of the Sycamore High School Chamber Orchestra really enjoyed the experience.”
Casey was simultaneously overwhelmed and awed as he watched and listened to his peers and friends perform his piece live and in public for the very first time. “The experience was unreal and one I won’t soon forget” expresses Bunge. Casey ads, “I’m very grateful to Mr. Tonaki and the fantastic Sycamore High School Orchestra for all that they’ve done, and I heartily thank Mr. Goodman for giving me an opportunity to enhance my skills through his course in music theory. The music program at SHS is truly incredible and I count myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in it!”
Casey has committed to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign majoring in mathematics and/or physics with a minor in music theory and composition. He is also one of ten students awarded a scholarship and place on the 2014 All-State Academic Team, and is this year’s recipient of the SHS Band John Philip Sousa Award.
A special Centennial Concert was recently held in celebration of the Sycamore School District’s Orchestra Program 100 year anniversary. The Orchestra program began in 1914, and has grown tremendously over these 100 years. High School Orchestra Director Ken Tonaki along with Middle School Orchestra Directors Amy Tonaki and Melissa Marberry have been planning this celebratory concert since the beginning of the school year.
The Centennial Concert held in the High School Main Gym (because the Auditorium stage was too small) featured individual performances by the 4th grade, 5thgrade, and middle school orchestras. The special evening concluded with a combined performance of the “1812 Overture” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. All orchestra students from 4th – 12th grade gathered together and welcomed SHS alumni to be a part of this special performance.
As the gym was packed with audience members, over 240 string musicians filled the gym floor “stage” as they played this spectacular piece conducted by Ken Tonaki. Various Alumni returned from near and far (some traveled as far as Texas) for this concert reunion.For some, it was a family affair with parents and children performing together; for others it was a rare opportunity for siblings to share a music stand while creating music together; and for all it was an once-in-a-lifetime performance experience.
As Maestro Tonaki raised his baton, the crowd was silent, and the gymnasium was filled full of beautiful music. 18 double basses, over 50 cellos and almost as many violas, and the largest section of violins in the history of the school performed the “1812 Overture.” The part of the “cannons” firing was played on bass drums by retiring Music Teacher Bob Abel and Middle School Orchestra Directors Melissa Marberry and Amy Tonaki, along with current percussion students and SHS Alumni.As the last note was played, the orchestra received a well-deserved standing ovation! It was definitely an experience to remember. This performance is available to view on line at www.spartantv.org; found listed in the Related Videos section, titled “Elementary & Middle School Orchestras Concert.”
The Sycamore School District Orchestra Program is celebrating their 100thyear anniversary this year. A special Centennial Concert is scheduled for Thursday, May 15 at the Sycamore High School Main Gymnasium beginning at 7:00pm. Admission is free.
This special concert features performances by the 4th grade, 5th grade, and middle school orchestras. The concert will conclude with a performance of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and will combine 4th grade through 12th grade orchestra members, along with many Sycamore Orchestra alumni that have returned to be a part of this special performance. Over 250 string musicians are expected to perform together on one stage.
SYCAMORE-Sycamore Music Boosters is pleased to announce scholarship applications are now being accepted for Summer Music Camp support, Senior Music Scholarships, and Continuing College Music Scholarships. These scholarships are awarded to help the growth of the individual music student as well to build the Sycamore Music Program.
Any Sycamore School student in grades 6-11 enrolled in the band, orchestra, or choir music program is eligible to apply for a scholarship for Summer Camps including residential camps and day camps. Any Sycamore High School graduating senior intending to major in music in college may apply for the Senior Music Scholarship with three being given, one in each of the following areas; choir, band, and orchestra. The Continuing College Music Scholarship is available to one or several Sycamore High School graduates that are currently an undergraduate college junior or senior majoring in music.
Deadlines for various scholarships are as follows:Summer Music Camp Scholarship applications must be submitted to the student’s music teacher by April 4, 2014.Senior Music Scholarship applications must be submitted by May 2, 2014 and Continuing College Music Scholarship applications must be submitted by July 15, 2014 to Scholarship Chairperson LisaSmith.