Sycamore Music Boosters Announce Scholarship Deadlines

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 2, 2015. Senior Music Scholarship applications must be submitted by May 1, 2015 and Continuing College Music Scholarship applications must be submitted by July 15, 2015 to Scholarship Chairperson Lisa Smith.
All scholarship information and applications are now available at http://www.sycamoremusicboosters.com. You may also contact the Scholarship Chairperson, Lisa Smith, via e-mail at lisasmith1615@comcast.net .

SYCAMORE MUSIC STUDENTS ATTEND IN PRESTIGIOUS ALL-STATE ILMEA CONFERENCE

511 - SHS All State 2015 015Seventeen Sycamore High School students were selected to participate in the 2015 Illinois Music Education (ILMEA) Conference recently held at the Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Illinois. This is the 6th time Sycamore High School has been represented at the prestigious All-State Conference and Sycamore again has one of the largest contingents in the state of All-State musicians in attendance. Students were selected via a rigorous audition process from the district IMEA festival held earlier this year. Illinois has 9 districts throughout the state, and each district was able to send their top students to be represented at this All-State Conference. Scott Mertens, Sycamore School District Music Department Chair comments, “The all-state music experience is unlike any other musical experience.  Students from the entire state come together, are placed into performing ensembles, and put together a concert of challenging music in less than three days.  It is a unique and exciting opportunity for high school musicians that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

The Sycamore High School Symphonic Band has also been invited to perform and be a part of this year’s ILMEA Conference. Last year SHS Band Director, Ken Goodman, submitted an audition recording of the Symphonic Band, which earned them an exciting experience performing on the stage at this year’s conference. Ken Goodman comments, “It is a prestigious honor for us to be invited to perform at ILMEA this year, and a special opportunity and experience for all of the Symphonic Band students.”

All-State musicians were treated to a special rally as they departed for the weekend festival. Fellow students, faculty, and family gathered in the Choir Room for a brief send-off. Sycamore Music Department Chair Scott Mertens comments in a brief speech, “These students were not selected for All-State just because of their talent, but also because of their dedication and choice to spend extra time practicing the audition music. They chose to do something, and do it well.” He also acknowledged the private teachers of these students and their parents and families for their unending support.

Congratulations to the following students from Sycamore High School who have the distinguished honor of being selected for All-State:

All-State Honors Choir: Lauren Brazeau, Falon Findley

All-State Choir:  Collin Koneczny, Thalia Schuesteff, Kara Strohm

All-State Honors Orchestra: Jessica Luo, Kailey Mulligan

All-State Orchestra:  Brett Brancato, Seth Kates, Baylie Petit

All-State Orchestra Winds:  Rachel Hecht, Jordyn Shultz

All-State Honors Band:  Ella Rose Atkins, Emma Olson, Ben Van Wienen, Gracia Watson, Evan Jacobs

During the festival weekend, participants attended numerous rehearsals, attended workshops, panel discussions and master classes, and performed a concert at the Peoria Civic Center.  The opportunity for students and staff to attend this festival was made possible by the Sycamore Music Boosters. Profits from their annual fundraisers are dedicated to support the students and staff of Sycamore music students. Their annual A Note to Remember event is scheduled for Saturday, February 14 at Blumen Gardens from 7:00 – 11:00 pm and will feature the Mardra & Reggie Thomas Ensemble, Jazz In Progress, the Sycamore High School (SHS) Jazz Ensemble, SHS Jazz Choir, and other student ensembles. Tickets are $25.00 and are available to purchase at the Sycamore High School main office or by calling 815.751.8388.

For more information about the Sycamore District music programs, Sycamore Music Boosters, and A Note to Remember, please visit http://www.sycamoremusicboosters.com and follow Sycamore Music Boosters on Facebook and Twitter.Symphonic Band 2014-15-Cropped #2

Sycamore Music Boosters Announce Sycamore High School 2015 Music Hall of Fame Inductees

Paul Marchese ProKarl Montzka #2Eric Montzka Drums

The ongoing Sycamore High School Music Hall of Fame awards program will annually honor and recognize a variety of Sycamore High School alumni and music advocates who have demonstrated superior participation and/or support of the Sycamore music programs.  Sycamore Music Boosters is pleased to announce the 2015 Sycamore High School Music Hall of Fame inductees include Paul Marchese, Eric Montzka, and Karl Montzka.

In its third year, the Sycamore Music Boosters will host an official ceremony to induct the 2015 Music Hall of Fame honorees on Saturday, February 14, in the Sycamore High School Auditorium at 2:30 pm.  This brief afternoon program will include a formal introduction of each inductee and may include musical performances and short tribute speeches. The Sycamore High School All-State musicians will also be recognized during this ceremony. The updated 2015 trophy case located across the hall from the auditorium will be unveiled and the program concludes with a light reception. The public is welcome and invited to attend this free ceremony.

Paul Marchese, Legacy Award recipient, is a 1994 Sycamore High School graduate and vocalist. He was a member of the concert choir, jazz choir, madrigals, and performed in musicals throughout high school.  He participated in solo and ensemble contests, was selected for IMEA All-District Choirs and the IMEA All-State Choir, and was awarded a Sycamore Music Booster Senior Music Scholarship. Paul earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Carthage College.  He then earned a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Nebraska and was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honors society.  Since earning his degrees, he has taught at all levels of music education, from kindergarten to college level coursework.  He has been active as a Director of Liturgical Music for different churches throughout his career.  Among his many areas of music involvement, he has developed numerous music programs, created men’s and women’s chorales, and has been an adjudicator for numerous solo and ensemble contests and organizational contests in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Eric Montzka, Legacy Award recipient, graduated Sycamore High School in 1985, and participated in the orchestra playing violin; in the concert band and musicals as percussionist; and in the marching band playing snare drum. His senior year he played drum set in the All-District Jazz Band and was awarded the Arion Award for musical achievement. Throughout high school and college he also played percussion in the DeKalb Municipal Band and tympani in the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Eric received a Bachelor’s Degree in Percussion Performance from Northern Illinois University. Then in Chicago, he received the opportunity to work with a number of fantastic musicians including John Scofield, Maynard Ferguson, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Karrin Alison, Chris Potter, Dave Douglas, Howard Levy and Von Freeman.  From 1998-2010 he was a member of Patricia Barber’s quartet, and toured more than 25 countries over five continents and appeared on five recordings distributed by the Blue Note record label.  Eric also maintained an informal private lesson studio until 2013 and taught at Northbrook High School and Chicago’s Merit School of Music.

Karl Montzka, Legacy Award recipient, a 1988 Sycamore High School graduate, played violin in orchestra, French horn in band and orchestra, and piano in the jazz band all four years at Sycamore High School. He was part of the IMEA District and All-State Jazz Band his senior year. Karl played in the pit orchestras for the Sycamore High School, Stagecoach, and DeKalb High School musicals. He attended Northern Illinois University as a Piano Performance major, and was a member of the NIU Jazz Ensemble. He then began working professionally in Chicago as a freelance pianist/keyboardist and educator. He taught jazz piano at Northeastern Illinois University, DePaul Community Music School, Music Institute of Chicago, and New Trier High School. Karl also taught piano improvisation at the Colorado Suzuki Institute. Additionally, he performed “Rhapsody in Blue” with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, was the keyboardist for the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and performed with his group, the Karl Montzka Organ Band, at the Chicago Jazz Festival and Iowa City Jazz Festival. Karl also had the honor of playing a USO tour of Afghanistan with Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, and has played for numerous Broadway shows in Chicago including Lion King, Wicked, Billy Elliot, The Book of Mormon and Sting’s The Last Ship. Most recently, he was keyboardist/associate conductor for Dee Snider’s Rock and Roll Christmas Tale.

These inductees will also be honored and announced at the annual A Note to Remember event on February 14 at Blumen Gardens from 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm. Tickets are $25.00 and are available at the Sycamore High School main office, Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists 3266 Resource Parkway office in DeKalb, Kar Fre Flowers, Riccardi’s, and Shawn’s Deli, via E-mail at Note2Remember@gmail.com or by calling 815.751.8388. For more information, please visit http://www.sycamoremusicboosters.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

Mardra & Reggie Thomas Ensemble Headline 7th Annual “Note To Remember” Event

On Saturday, February 14, the Sycamore Music Boosters is excited to welcome headliner Mardra and Reggie Thomas Ensemble, Jazz In Progress, Sycamore High School (SHS) Jazz Ensemble, SHS Jazz Choir, and a SHS String Ensemble as they host its 7th annual night of jazz and classical music entitled “A Note to Remember”. This fundraiser will be held at Blumen Gardens in Sycamore from 7:00pm – 11:00pm. Additionally, three Sycamore High School alumni will be introduced and honored as our 2015 SHS Music Hall of Fame inductees. An elegant, sweet and savory hors d’oeuvres buffet and coffee bar will be included along with a raffle and silent auction of hundreds of gifts and prizes generously donated by local businesses.

Mardra Thomas is a well-known jazz vocalist and known in the Broadway world for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in concert and on the theatre stage. According to her bio, her music career was sparked in the St. Louis area when she performed for the opening of Dizzy Gillespie’s 70th Birthday Concert. Shortly thereafter she found herself trading scat solos with world-class trumpeter Clark Terry while performing with the East St. Louis Lincoln Big Band under the direction of renowned educator and former NIU jazz educator Ronald Carter. Her sultry voice can be heard in radio and TV spots and is released on CD recordings such as “Fade To Blue”(Max Jazz Records), “Standard Times (Victoria Records), as the Flying Jazz Kitten in Sharon Burch’s recently released “Freddie the Frog” music educational book/CD series (Mystic), featured vocalist on Michigan State University’s Professors of Jazz last release “Better Than Alright”, and has a new CD entitled “Matters Of The Heart” scheduled for release spring of 2015. She has shared the stage with diversified greats including: Bill Pierce, Clay Jenkins, Dennis Mackrel, Don Vappie, Ernie Adams, Harold Jones, Jeff Campbell, Kim Richmond, Lou Marini, Randy Brecker, Rodney Whitaker, Victor Goines, and on many occasions with her husband pianist/organist Reggie Thomas in their ensembles, as they will be featured together at A Note to Remember this year.

Pianist Reggie Thomas is currently the Associate Professor and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University. He has performed internationally in Canada, Italy, Poland, Senegal, and England, and his recordings include work with Clay Jenkins, Kim Richmond, Clark Terry, and Mike Vax, as well as recordings as a leader and with his jazz vocalist wife, Mardra. His bio states Reggie is co-author with Wynton Marsalis and others on the important jazz teachers’ resource Teaching Music through Performance in Jazz (GIA Publications). He is a consultant/clinician for Jazz at Lincoln Center, working with the Essentially Ellington Program and the Band Director Academy. He presented “Creating Music Through Improvisation” at the Carnegie Hall Music Educator’s Workshop (NY). He is an active college clinician/adjudicator, has directed All State Jazz Bands, Combos and Jazz Choirs in numerous states, and has served on summer jazz faculties across the country and abroad.

Jazz In Progress formed from the interest of several local musicians wanting to establish a musical group. Rehearsals began in March 2012, under the direction of Dave Lehman with approximately 20 musicians. Jazz In Progress made their public debut on June 30, 2012, as a part of the Celebration Chorale “Salute to the USO” concert.  One year later they were happy to be a part of “Freedom”, with the same group. Jazz In Progress has been privileged to play at several local events and venues including the NIU College of Education Jazz Bistro, the Gavin Wilson Family Variety Show, the grand opening of DeKalb Sycamore Chevy, Heritage Woods, Bethany Healthcare, St. Mary’s Lancer Legacy Ball, Downtown Sycamore’s Tuesdays on the Town, and two shows at the Hopkins Park Dee Palmer Bandshell.  This is their second time performing at A Note to Remember.

The 2015 Sycamore High School Music Hall of Fame inductees will also be introduced at this event. Three Sycamore High School Alumni have been chosen as Legacy Award recipients and will be announced soon. A separate induction ceremony including the unveiling of the updated 2015 trophy case is scheduled for February 14 in the Sycamore High School Auditorium at 2:30pm; the public is invited to attend and admission is free to this ceremony.

Sponsors for A Note to Remember currently include Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists, Prairie View Animal Hospital, Dr. Todd Anderson – Oral & Maxillo Facial Surgeons of Northern Illinois, NB & T, Ideal Industries, KishHealth Systems, American Midwest Bank, Floor to Ceiling, Austin’s Violin Shop, Law Office of Riley N. Oncken, Special Needs Products, Quinlan & Fabish Music Company, Carmine’s Subs, InVironments Magazine, LePrint Express, New Values Magazine, and Shaw Media – the Daily Chronicle and the Midweek. Sponsorship opportunities are still available; please see our web site to download the sponsor form at http://www.SycamoreMusicBoosters.com.

A limited number of tickets are available for this adult-only event at $25.00 per person which includes musical entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, coffee bar, silent auction and raffle.  A cash bar will also be available. Seating opens at 7:00 pm. Tickets are on sale now at the Sycamore High School main office, Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists 3266 Resource Parkway office in DeKalb, Kar Fre Flowers, Riccardi’s, Shawns Coffee Shop, via E-mail at Note2Remember@gmail.com or by calling 815.751.8388. For more information, please visit http://www.SycamoreMusicBoosters.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Sycamore Music Boosters is a group of families and friends of students enrolled in music education classes in Sycamore Schools.  This fundraiser will aid in the purchase of instruments, uniforms, and scholarships for Sycamore’s talented musicians.

ReggieandMardraThomas #2Jazz In Progress-Group

SYCAMORE & DEKALB HIGH SCHOOL BANDS GIVE JOINT CONCERT

Symphonic Band 2014-15-CroppedThe Sycamore High School Symphonic Band and the DeKalb High School Jazz Ensemble are pleased to announce they will perform a joint concert at DeKalb High School on Thursday, January 22 at 7:00 pm in the high school auditorium. Both ensembles have been invited to perform at the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) 2015 All-State Conference the end of this month, so Sycamore High School Band Director, Ken Goodman, and DeKalb High School Band Director, Steve Lundin, organized this event as a preview concert for an audience. Ken Goodman comments, “This is an excellent opportunity for the students in our ensembles to come together and ready ourselves for the upcoming ILMEA performance. This concert serves the dual purpose of preparing the students through a live concert performance and featuring these two outstanding ensembles at a concert that will entertain and impress an audience.” The public is invited to this free concert, and all are welcome to attend.
Last spring, both directors submitted audition recordings of their ensembles, which earned them a place on the stage at this year’s ILMEA conference. Goodman comments, “It is a prestigious honor for us to be invited to perform at ILMEA this year. Both schools have been well-represented in many past years, and both Sycamore and DeKalb often have some of the largest contingents of All-State musicians in attendance.”  The Sycamore High School Symphonic Band will perform at the ILMEA conference on Saturday, January 31 at 9:00 am at the Peoria Civic Center. The DeKalb High School Jazz Ensemble will perform on Thursday, January 29, at the Peoria Civic Center at 8:15 pm. The public is welcome to attend any or all of the ILMEA music performances. Admission is required at the Peoria Civic Center.

NEW BAND TRAILER FOR SYCAMORE HIGH SCHOOL

The Sycamore High School Band recently received a new equipment trailer made possible by the Sycamore Music Boosters. When the Music Boosters learned of the need for a trailer to haul percussion and other equipment to games, competitions, and events, the Music Boosters were eager to assist with this larger purchase. Sycamore Music Boosters President Ken Olson explains, “The funds raised from the Sycamore Music Boosters “A Note to Remember” fundraiser over the past 6 years have been dedicated toward larger purchases to benefit the music department.  Our first major purchase from these funds was the new grand piano for the high school auditorium and now our second major purchase has been the marching band trailer.  We hope to continue to make “A Note to Remember” a successful fundraising event in order to fill the needs of the music department that are beyond the means of the school district and benefit the greatest number of students involved in music activities.”

Ken Goodman, Sycamore High School Band Director comments, “This new trailer will provide a safer and easier work environment for students and parent chaperones and tremendously improve unloading and loading efficiency.” Goodman also expresses, “Thank you to the Music Boosters for their generous donation of the new music trailer and incredible financial support of the music program.  I am proud of the partnership that we have, and I am truly thankful for the benefits that this partnership has provided to our students.”

Sycamore Band Trailer     Pictured here are many of the Sycamore Music Boosters volunteers and Sycamore School District Music Educators with the new trailer. Thank you to Rondo Truck and Trailer and LarCal Custom Decals in the assistance of purchasing and personalizing the trailer.

The 7th annual “A Note to Remember” classical and jazz gala is on February 14 at Blumen Gardens from 7:00 – 11:00 pm. Tickets for this adult-only event are $25.00 per person, and include musical entertainment, sweet and savory hors d’oeuvres, dessert buffet, coffee bar, raffle and silent auction. A cash bar is also available. A limited number of tickets are available and past years have sold-out. Tickets may be purchased at the Sycamore High School main office, Kar Fre Flowers, Riccardi’s, Shawn’s Coffee Shop, via email at Note2Remember@gmail.com or by calling Clare Dempsey at 815.751.8388. For more information about this event, please visit our Web site listed below.

Sycamore Music Boosters is a volunteer organization composed of families and friends of students enrolled in music education classes in Sycamore Schools with the focus and goals to promote excellence in music education. They continue to support school music programs including funding for equipment purchases, field trips, music camp & college scholarships, High School/Middle School musicals, and numerous other music activities.  For more information about the Sycamore Music Boosters or “A Note to Remember”, please visit: http://www.sycamoremusicboosters.com or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.