A Note to Remember is Feb. 9!

THE social event of the season is less than a week away!

Excitement is building for A Note to Remember, our gala fundraiser. A Note to Remember is 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9 at Blumen Gardens, 403 Edward Street in Sycamore. All proceeds benefit Sycamore music programs.

A limited number of tickets for for this adult-only event are still available. Tickets are $30 each and are available at Sycamore High School main office (427 Spartan Trail), Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists (DeKalb office, 3266 Sycamore Road), Kar Fre Flowers (1126 E. State Street), and Shawn’s Coffee House (204 Somonauk Street). Tickets are also available via email to Note2Remember@gmail.com or by contacting Clare Dempsey at 815-751-8388 (cash or check only, please).

Get ready for a fabulous evening of great music, Mardi Gras-themed culinary delights carefully calibrated for Midwestern mouths, beverages (adult and otherwise), raffles, and more.

And it’s all for a great cause.

Debbie Baugus, event chair and boosters treasurer, said planners have been working diligently to make the 11th installment of the fundraiser spicy and fun. “We’ll have great music, great food, and great fun to beat back the winter blues,” Baugus said.

First, the music:

Featured performers this year include Mr. Myers Band, the Event Horizon Jazz Quartet featuring Scott Mertens, Sycamore High School Jazz Ensemble, Sycamore High School Jazz Choir, and the Sycamore High School String Quartet.

“Musically, A Note to Remember is really a great evening,” said Scott Mertens, Sycamore music teacher, featured performer and event planner. “We have a great lineup of musicians and attendees will get a chance to appreciate how strong our music programs are in Sycamore.”

Besides Mertens, Event Horizon Jazz Quartet features bassist Donn DeSanto, Jim Kaczmarek (saxophones and flute), and Rick Vitek (drums).

DeSanto teaches acoustic and electric bass at Chicago State University. He has studied extensively with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has served as staff bassist for area churches. He owns and operates Bass Place Recording Studio and has performed with many greats including Jon Faddis, Thad Jones, Frank Mantooth, Melba Moore, Gary Novak, Patti Page, Akio Sasajima and Paul Wertico.

Kaczmarek, a Milwaukee native, began playing professionally at 16. He led eclectic jazz group Kinetic Shower in the 1980s and early 90s. He has performed with The Buckinghams and is a member of the High Society Orchestra. He has performed with a variety of artists including Diahann Carroll and The Milwaukee Symphony, Jerry Bergonzi, Bobby Shew, The Grass Roots, Dennis Tufano, Victor DeLorenzo, and Brian Ritchie of Violent Femmes. He has taught music in Chicago Public Schools for over 20 years.

Mertens (piano) is an active performer, arranger, and composer. He studied jazz piano with Willie Pickens at Northern Illinois University, where he was a graduate assistant for Director of Jazz Studies Ron Carter. He has performed in solo and small group settings and with various Chicago area groups that include Event Horizon, the Jim Kanas Quartet, and the Nightshift Orchestra. He has also played with numerous Chicago area big bands. He has performed with many distinguished jazz artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Melton Mustafa, and Louie Bellson.

Rick Vitek (drums), a Cleveland native, has been playing in Chicago since 1981, doing club shows in a plethora of styles, as well as recording jingles. He taught percussion at Columbia in the 1990s and appeared twice on Star Search in 1984. Highlights of his career include touring England with the Tom Fuller Band and Japan with actor Gary Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band.

Rick has also performed and recorded with many greats, including Richie Cole, Kurt Elling, Joe Lovano and Reggie Thomas.

We hope you’re hungry:

Lively food will accompany lively music. For months, Boosters board member Jeff Hecht has been testing and refining recipes that capture the fun and flavor of New Orleans. Jeff’s work will include a variety of dishes and desserts. A cash bar and coffee bar will both be available.

Finally, a silent auction and raffle will round out the evening.

Your support makes it possible:

Please thank and patronize our event sponsors!



We’re Getting Ready For the Annual Autumn Craft & Treasures Market!

The 46th annual Autumn Craft & Treasures Market, sponsored by the Sycamore Music Boosters and partnering with Heartland Bank, is part of the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival weekend October 27 & 28, 2018. This event will be held at the Sycamore High School Fieldhouse, Saturday, October 27 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday, October 28 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. There are close to 200 vendors featuring a wide variety of quality crafts, handmade wood products, specialty items such as wool products, candles, spices, candies, antiques, ceramics and much more. Craft & Treasures Market admission fees are:  Adults $2.00; Senior Citizens $1.00; Students Kindergarten – 12th grade $1.00; children under 5 free.  Free Parking.  A handicapped lot will be available on the North side of the field house just off Johnson Avenue.  There will be golf cart shuttles running during operating hours. Please note: No animals allowed except those used for special needs assistance.  Various student music groups perform on Saturday.

Visitors numbering in the thousands come every year from all over Northern Illinois to browse and purchase items for sale.  Over 200 adult and student volunteers help exhibitors, supervise traffic, operate the concession stand and work at admissions, guard posts and various other jobs. Raffle tickets for a chance to win $10,000 will also be available to purchase at the Autumn Craft & Treasures Market. Raffle tickets are $20 for 1 ticket or $100 for 6 tickets. This cash raffle is a fundraiser for Make a Difference DKC and Sycamore Music Boosters; for more information on this please visit makeadifferencedkc.com.

Vendor applications are being accepted as space is available. Applications received after August 1 incur a $30.00 fee and will be put on stand by and admitted if space is still available. For vendor information and application, contact Kristine Ohman, Vendor Chair via E-mail at Kristineohman.pumkinfair@gmail.com.  Additional information can be found at our web site at www.sycamoremusicboosters.com.

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. Sycamore Music Boosters began with a group of parents interested in supporting school bands. In 1972, the band booster club enlarged its interest to encompass all music programs and the then named “Autumn Craft & Treasures Market” was born.  Incorporated in 1978 as a non-profit organization, the Sycamore Music Boosters 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.

Currently over 600 students are enrolled in elective music programs in grades 4-12, as well as all elementary music programs.  The primary source of funds for Sycamore Music Boosters is the annual Autumn Craft & Treasures Market.  Thank you in advance to our sponsor – Heartland Bank, all of our supporters, volunteers & patrons! For more information about the Sycamore Music Boosters, please visit: http://www.sycamoremusicboosters.com or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Vendor Applications Now Being Accepted For Autumn Craft & Treasures Market

The Sycamore Music Boosters are now accepting vendor applications for the annual Autumn Craft & Treasures Market during the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival on October 27 and 28, 2018.  Vendor booth sizes are 10’ x 12’ and cost is $150.00 for both days. Application deadline is August 1st, 2018. (Please note earlier deadline.)  There is an additional $30.00 fee for applications received after August 1.  Applications received after deadline go into standby.

Click here to download: Craft Fair Application 2018

For more information or to reserve a booth, please contact Vendor Chair, Kristine Ohman, at KristineOhman.pumkinfair@gmail.com.  Space is limited and will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. 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.

2nd Annual Mattress Sale – April 28!

Mattress Sale Poster 2018Are you looking to replace a bed in your home?  Now is the time. The Sycamore Music Boosters are excited to announce they will be hosting a one day Mattress Sale Fundraiser on Saturday April 28th, 2018 from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.  For one day only, Sycamore Middle School will be transformed in to a mattress showroom.

Custom Fundraising Solutions will have 24 mattress floor models on display for customers to try.   Adjustable power bases, premium pillows, bed frames, and mattress protectors will be available as well. The brands include Simmons Beautyrest, Southerland, and Malouf-Wellsville. All beds are available in all sizes, come with factory warranties, and offer up to 50% off showroom prices. Delivery and haul away are available.  Best of all, Sycamore Music Boosters benefit from every purchase and the beds are priced less than retail stores because of the fundraising company’s unique business model. All profits go directly to the Sycamore Music Boosters and will help to support all students in grades K-12. If you are considering a new bed for someone in your home, Sycamore Music Boosters want you at the sale.

Be sure to bring the coupons attached to this poster for additional savings!

This will be the second time Sycamore Music Boosters have hosted a fundraiser of this sort.  Most schools run the sale once per year to give their communities the chance to save money and support local school programs. Additional sale information can also be found at http://bit.ly/beds4SycamoreMB.


Thirteen Sycamore High School students were selected to participate in the 2018 Illinois Music Education (ILMEA) Conference recently held at the Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Illinois. Sycamore High School has been represented at the prestigious All-State Conference numerous times 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 ILMEA 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. 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.

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All-State musicians were treated to a special rally as they departed for the weekend festival. Fellow students, faculty, and family gathered in the High School Choir Room for a brief send-off. 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. All State is an unique and exciting opportunity for these high school musicians that they will always remember.” He also acknowledged the private teachers of these students and their parents and families for their unending support. Upon departure, the SHS Band played the School Song and they received a special escort including celebratory lights and sirens provided by the Sycamore Police Department. We are very proud of these student’s accomplishments and representation of Sycamore High School and Community School District #427.

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

All-State Honors Choir:  Kjelden Breidenbach, Kaitlin Jacobson, Dana Nielsen, Alexander Smith

All-State Choir:  Jen Diemer

All-State Band:  Ryan Loitz

All-State Orchestra Winds:  Matthew Rogers

All-State Orchestra: Ben Briscoe, Grace Frielink, Julia Luo, Kelsey Mulligan, Joon Park, Tsavo Walker


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.

10th Annual A Note To Remember Event Was A Tremendous Success!

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Karl Montzka Trio

The 10th Annual Sycamore Music Boosters “A Note to Remember” event recently held at Blumen Gardens was a huge success.   Guests attended an elegant evening of jazz and classical music including delicious hors d’oeuvres and dessert buffet, and numerous raffle baskets and silent auction items.  The featured musical guests were the Karl Montzka Trio. Karl Montzka, a Sycamore High School alumni and a 2015 SHS Music Hall of Fame member, treated attendees with his piano musicianship. His ensemble included his brother, Eric Montkza – also a Sycamore High School alumni and 2015 Music Hall of Fame member, on drum set and bassist Larry Kohut filled Blumen Gardens for a solid hour with the smooth sounds of jazz. The Sycamore High School String Ensemble offered elegant chamber music at the beginning of the event, the Sycamore High School Jazz Choir gave their first performance of the season, and the Sycamore High School Jazz Ensemble performed a variety of great tunes that evening.  Jazz In Progress closed out the night as guests enjoyed dancing and listening to their fun big band music.

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SHS Jazz Ensemble

The 2018 Sycamore High School Music Hall of Fame inductees were also introduced during the “A Note to Remember” event. The class of 2018 includes Christine (Wild) Monteiro and Jerry Taylor. The official induction ceremony was held earlier that afternoon in the Sycamore High School Auditorium. Be sure to stop by the new Music Hall of Fame display case across the entrance into the High School Auditorium.


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Jazz In Progress

Each year the event grows in popularity with another almost sold-out event this year.  “A Note to Remember” raises support for the Sycamore District Music Programs and is sponsored by the Sycamore Music Boosters.  The Boosters program strives to support every student enrolled in any music program in the district from Kindergarten through post-graduation. Their mission statement is to “Enrich the quality of music education, performance, and awareness in the Sycamore Schools and community.”

It is with deep gratitude that the Sycamore Music Boosters thank all sponsors and donors that helped support this event and made it so successful.  This event’s sponsors include Ideal Industries, Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists, Prairie View Animal Hospital, Kohl’s, Austin’s Violin Shop, Oral and Maxillo Facial Surgeons for Northern Illinois-Dr. Todd Anderson and Dr. David Junck, State Farm Insurance – Jeff Keicher, Music Connection, First Midwest Bank, Dr. Bryan and Julie Kruskol, Illini Security Systems, and Hillside Restaurant. We also extend our gratitude to the following in-kind donations from Shaw Media – Daily Chronicle and Midweek, MorningStar Media Group and InVironments Magazine, LePrint Express and New Values Magazine, Jamrah Middle Eastern Cuisine, Shawn’s Coffee Shop, Taxco of Sycamore, St. Mary’s Parish in Sycamore, Victoria Shipman of Essentials, and Trittenhaus Design.

Announcing the 2018 SHS Music Hall of Fame Inductees!

We are very excited to announce the 2018 Sycamore High School Music Hall of Fame inductees include Jerry Taylor and Christine Monteiro!

In its sixth year, the Sycamore Music Boosters will host an official ceremony to induct the 2018 Music Hall of Fame honorees on Saturday, February 10, 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 2018 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.

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Jerry Taylor, Ovation Award Recipient

Jerry Taylor, Ovation Award recipient, graduated from Sycamore High School in 1946.  Throughout high school, Jerry would sing with every musical group possible. As a freshman, he was honored to be asked to sing with the Senior Quartet.  He played saxophone in both orchestra and band, and played baritone sax with the marching band.  Jerry sang tenor with every all-male group he could get into.  He also sang in the high school mixed chorus.

Jerry’s musical upbringing started at an early age.  His mother, who was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse, taught him the basics of harmony and melody.  And his father was a member of the country band Hoosier Hotshots in the 1920’s and 30’s.  Jerry has sung for funerals and weddings and – when requested – still does to this present day.

In 1984, he travelled to Nashville and recorded a country music record entitled The Mellow Country Side of Jerry Taylor. In 2009, he was invited to sing ”The Lord’s Prayer” at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Tuscombia, Alabama. Later that year, Jerry produced a CD of Christmas Music along with 20 other musicians and singers. All the proceeds from this album went to the needy and disabled elderly people in the state of Alabama.

For many years, Jerry sang with the Meyer Quartet, and then with the Meyer Trio.  He also sang with the Kishwaukee Barbershop Chorus for nearly 15 years.  Jerry continues to sing with the Celebration Chorale, and he sings at Oak Crest Retirement Center every Saturday, with the John Skillman Band. In 2013, he was voted Volunteer of the Year at Oak Crest. Jerry now sings with Christian Senior Ministry at five locations throughout DeKalb County each week.  This is Jerry’s 71st year singing with the church choir at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sycamore.

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Christine (Wild) Monteiro, Legacy Award Recipient

Christine (Wild) Monteiro, Legacy Award recipient, graduated from Sycamore High School in 1987.  While in high school, she participated in the Marching Band, Concert Band, Pep Band, and Jazz Band, as well as Orchestra.  She was a member of the Pit Orchestra for the high school Musicals.  Additionally, she was involved in both Concert and Swing Choirs and sang with Madrigals. During high school, Christine participated in IMEA District Band for two years, IMEA District Chorus for one year, IMEA All-State Honors Choir for one year, and she won Division I awards all four years of high school for Vocal and Trumpet solos in the IMEA Solo & Ensemble Contest.  Finally, Christine won the John Phillip Sousa Award.

Christine attended college at both Western Illinois University and Northern Illinois University.  She earned her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Music Performance from NIU.  She was a part of the NIU Concert Choir, Madrigals, and Opera Workshop.  Christine played in the NIU Wind Ensemble and the WIU Concert Choir, Madrigals, and Octagon (Vocal Jazz Octet), and Wind Ensemble.

In 1998, Christine was awarded the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Artist Award Finalist where she received 4th place. In 2004, Christine was an overall finalist in the Lotte Lehman Foundation Cybersing International and the winner of the Audience Favorite Prize.

Today, Christine continues to perform with numerous vocal and music groups. She plays trumpet with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, is the lead trumpet and female vocalist for Jazz in Progress, and is the featured vocalist and trumpet player in the DeKalb Municipal Band. Christine has been a featured vocalist with Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, the Stateline Music Foundation Festival Chorus, the Kishwaukee Area Concert Band, and the DeKalb Festival Chorus.

Christine currently serves as the Music Director of both the Celebration Chorale and the Waterman Community Choir.  She has played trumpet in the pit orchestra for 24 Stage Coach Players musical productions, and she is their current Board Treasurer.  Christine also serves as the Musical Director for Children’s Community Theatre. Christine’s voice and trumpet can be heard on over 20 CD recordings, including her three solo albums, Grace, Love in Any Language, and Christmas Treasures.

These inductees will also be honored and announced at the annual A Note to Remember event on February 10 at Blumen Gardens from 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm. Tickets are $30.00 per person and are available at the Sycamore High School main office, Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists 3266 Sycamore Road office in DeKalb, Kar Fre Flowers, Shawn’s Deli, via E-mail at Note2Remember@gmail.com or by calling 815.751.8388.