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.”