SHS Alum Karl Montzka Trio Headlines 10th Annual “Note To Remember” Event

On Saturday, February 10, the Sycamore Music Boosters is excited to welcome the Karl Montzka Trio, Jazz In Progress, Sycamore High School (SHS) Jazz Ensemble, SHS Jazz Choir, and SHS String Ensemble as they host their 10th 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, two talented musicians will be introduced and honored as our 2018 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.

Karl MontzkaSycamore High School alumni and Chicagoland freelance pianist/keyboardist Karl Montzka has performed with his own group at the 1998 and 2008 Chicago Jazz Festival, 1998 Iowa City Jazz Festival, as well as many venues across the country. In November of 2009, Karl had the honor of playing a USO tour of Afghanistan with Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, and worked with them most recently in Hawaii for the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Montzka has also played for numerous Broadway in Chicago productions, including Lion King, Wicked, Billy Elliot, The Book of Mormon, and national tours of Motown and The Last Ship. He currently works as a substitute conductor and keyboardist for the hit show, Hamilton. Karl looks forward to returning once again to his Sycamore roots to perform with his trio at this event. His brother, Eric Montzka, will be joining the trio on drums along with bassist Larry Kohut.

Jazz In Progress 2017Jazz 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, The House Café, and annual shows at the Hopkins Park Dee Palmer Bandshell. This is their third time performing at A Note to Remember and are very excited to be returning for another fun performance!

The 2018 Sycamore High School Music Hall of Fame inductees will also be introduced at this event. Two Sycamore community members have been chosen and inductees will be announced soon. A separate induction ceremony including the unveiling of the updated 2018 trophy case is scheduled for February 10 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, InVironments Magazine, Shaw Media – the Daily Chronicle and The Midweek, Jamrah Middle Eastern Cuisine, Austin’s Violin Shop, The Music Connection, LePrint Express & New Values Magazine, Illini Security Systems, and the Hillside Restaurant. Sponsorship opportunities are still available; please see our web site Note to Remember tab to download the sponsor form (click here>>).

A limited number of tickets are available for this adult-only event at $30.00 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 Sycamore Road office in DeKalb, Kar Fre Flowers, Shawn’s Coffee Shop, via E-mail at or by calling 815.751.8388.


The Sycamore Music Boosters recently received a special donation from the Curzon Family of Sycamore. This gift was given at the annual Autumn Craft & Treasures Market Craft Fair this past October in support of the Sycamore Music Boosters to help aid the music programs and music students in honor of the late Mary A. Curzon.

Curzon Donation #1

Pitured here (left to right) are Mary Ellen Curzon Price, Cathie Lohse, Joe Curzon, and Dan Curzon.

The Curzon Family started the “Wrapped In Love” charitable fund to honor their mother, Mary, after she passed away last year.

All eleven of the Curzon children graduated from Sycamore High School over a span of fifteen years. The Curzon’s sell warm throws, scarfs and other items to raise money and awareness, and proceeds are donated to their long-time family church, St. Mary’s in Sycamore. The family also gives other donations to various non-profit groups that the family feels make a difference in their community. Dan, the youngest of the eleven Curzon children believes their Mother would have been proud of their efforts. He comments, “Our Mother always preached in giving back and paying it forward – and most importantly, never forgetting where you came from especially when it came to the community of Sycamore which she truly loved. SHS played a very important role in the success of our family and still serves as a special place for us all. And the Sycamore Music Boosters embodies the very best of what our community is all about as their impact on the youth of Sycamore is so profound”. Sycamore Music Boosters Autumn Craft & Treasures Market General Manager, Cathie Lohse, comments, “We are so honored to be chosen to receive this donation from the Curzon Family in honor of their Mother. This gift will definitely assist in supporting all of the outstanding programs, educational opportunities, and events the music program offers our students.”

The Sycamore Music Department and the Sycamore Music Boosters, a non-profit volunteer organization that supports all students in grades K-12, encourages others to consider making a donation and support these music programs.  Future opportunities for additional donors are always welcome! Contributions in any amount may be given by individuals, families, local businesses, and even corporations.  For more information, please contact Scott Mertens, Sycamore Community School District Music Department Chair, at, or Sycamore Music Boosters President Lisa Smith, at


Three students from Sycamore High School and nine from Sycamore Middle School have been selected to participate in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Central/North Central Division Honors Choir at their biennial conference in February. ACDA is a nonprofit music-education organization whose goals outline the association’s dedication to the advancement of choral music. The association members are strong advocates for music in the schools and provide honors and enrichment opportunities, like this festival choir, for students.

After learning required music and sending a recorded audition to ACDA, these 12 students were selected from hundreds of submissions that came from students in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In February, these Sycamore choir members will spend three days in Chicago and rehearse with renowned choral conductors in preparation for a concert at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. These highly selective choirs are not only led by notable directors, but are often used to premiere works by leading composers in choral music.

Selection for this opportunity is quite an honor, and we are proud of their admirable accomplishment!

ACDA Honors Choir 2018- Middle School


Congratulations to Sycamore High School students pictured above: Rachael Johnson, Alexander Smith, Vani Subramony!

ACDA Honors Choir 2018- Middle School


Congratulations to Sycamore Middle School students pictured above: Kaitlyn Bowman, Cassandra Chamoun, Gabriella Juday, Samuel McDonald, Ryan Russo, Halle Schmit, Kameron Schroeder, Madelyn Sedevie, and Olivia Torian!


The Sycamore Music Boosters are pleased to help support these students by providing partial funding for this experience. The Sycamore Music Boosters support all students in grades K-12 in various music programs offered within the district. We are proud of these students!


Thirty-eight high school and fifty-one middle school students from the Sycamore School District were recently selected to participate in the 2017 Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) All-District Orchestras, Bands, Jazz Bands, and Choirs.

Students who made All-District groups performed audition material for judges in competitive auditions in October.  The students who were selected spend one day in rehearsal, and the groups perform later the same day. The All-District Orchestra festival was held on Saturday, November 11 at Augustana College in Rock Island, and the All-District Jazz festival was also held on November 11 at Rochelle Township High School.  The All-District Band and Choir festivals will be held on Saturday, November 18 at DeKalb High School. Concert performances will be in the Gym with performance times for the Senior Band/Chorus at 7pm and Junior Mixed Chorus at 4pm.

Students from Sycamore High School who have been selected for the ILMEA All-District festivals include:


Soprano – Kaitlyn Jacobson, Rachael Johnson, Dana Nielsen, Ashley Parks; Alto – Cossette Breidenbach, Jen Diemer, Kaylie Emmer, Tenor – Alex Smith; Bass – Kjelden Breidenbach.

HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR (freshmen participating in junior festival):

Soprano – Melissa Lerohl, Vani Subramony; Baritone – Jeremy Peterson.


Violin – Ben Briscoe, Grace Gruner, Julia Luo, Madeline McCormick, Rebekah Nielsen, Joon Park, Erin Templin; Viola – Kelsey Mulligan, Charlotte Salis; Cello – Kjelden Breidenbach, Grace Frielink, Courtney Mulligan, Tsavo Walker; Bass – William Kane.


Oboe – Matthew Rogers; French Horn – Kimberly Hohlfeld; Trumpet – Ebad Rana.



Flute – Payton Coldren; Oboe – Tommy Kloosterman; Clarinet – Lorin Kmieciak; Alto Saxophone – Ryan Loitz; Baritone Sax – Jakob Kelly; Trombone – Karl Peterson; Euphonium – Madeline Kessler.


Baritone Sax – Jakob Kelly; Trombone – Karl Peterson.

Students from Sycamore Middle School who have been selected for the ILMEA district festivals include:


Oboe – Jake Rundle; Bassoon – Ryan Blanken; Clarinet – Alex Grados, Chloe Harbecke, Adam Zeller, Miranda Zhang; Baritone Sax – Trevor Blanken;  Trumpet – Noah Ament, Tryggve Vilaseca; French Horn – Aidan Dempsey, Sabrina Ezell; Trombone – Sam Crutcher, Colin Wunner; Tuba – Vinny Brito.


Trumpet – Conrad Drufke; Trombone – Hendrix Kruis, Colin Wunner.


Sopranos – Ava Bickner, Kaitlyn Bowman, Cassandra Chamoun, Kaleigh Ibarra, Charlotte Sharp, Jill Thomas; Altos – Olivia Byrd, Ryan Russo, Olivia Torian; Baritone – Sam McDonald, Kameron Schroeder.


Violin – Maxim Breidenbach, Sofi Briscoe, Emma Fredericks, Katrina Ingalls, Stephanie Kim, McKenna Nonnenmann, Eva Peterson, Sarah Siddiqui, Ritta Wi; Viola – Jules Breidenbach, Emily Bychowski, Rebeca DasNeves, Elizabeth Kleckner, Alaina Olson, Tryggve Vilaseca; Cello – Ethan Bode, Avery DeRuyter, Ella Follman, Austin Gerdes, Natalia Hulseberg, Luke Templin; Bass – Daniel Bos, Isaac Ward.


Thank You For Another Successful Craft Fair Event!

Thank You Music NotesThe 45th annual Sycamore Music Boosters Autumn Craft and Treasures Market held during the recent Pumpkin Festival weekend at the Sycamore High School Field House was a tremendous success!   It is with deep gratitude that we thank all of our Music Booster families – each parent, student, family member, friend, teacher and staff member that volunteered at the Craft Fair fundraiser! Whether you baked pies, worked a shift, sent a donation, attended the craft fair, or helped in any other way, you helped support our mission: “Enriching the quality of music education, performance and awareness in the Sycamore schools and community.” Our appreciation is also extended to our partner and sponsor Heartland Bank, the Craft Fair vendors, the Southeast, North, West, and North Grove Choir members, Sycamore School District Administration, Athletics, and Custodial Staff, the Suter Company, Casey’s General Store, Farm & Fleet, Family Sports Center, Shawn’s Deli, Elleson’s Bakery, Country Store and Catering, Eggleston’s, Sigma Alpha Iota Music Sorority, Kappa Kappy Psi Band Fraternity,  Sycamore Park District and Golf Course, Ann & Jim Tucker, Jovanovich family, Jill Tikkun, Leslie Hecht, and Zabrina Burford.  We extend our sincere gratitude to everyone that assisted in making this another successful fundraiser during the Pumpkin Festival weekend!

With much appreciation,

Autumn Craft and Treasures Market Committee: Cathie Lohse, Kristine Ohman, Debbie Baugus, Jeff Hecht, Deb Loitz, Lisa Smith, Clare Dempsey, and John McBride

Sycamore Middle School Music Students Selected for State-Wide Honor Choir

Nine Sycamore Middle School 6th grade choir students have been selected to participate in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Illinois State Honor Choir at their Fall Convention in October. ACDA is a nonprofit music-education organization whose goals outline the association’s dedication to the advancement of choral music. The association members are strong advocates for music in the schools and provide honors and enrichment opportunities, like this festival choir, for students.

On October 28, the invited Sycamore students will attend the convention at the College of DuPage and join other students from across the state in rehearsals with noted choral conductor, Emily Ellsworth, before performing a concert that afternoon. Congratulations to HatieJane Alexander, Sofia DasNeves, Lilly Faulhaber, Aurora Hilligoss, Liliana Jennings, Gabriel Jovanovich, Layla Musich, Kyla Prather, and Laynee Sosin! Everyone is proud of their accomplishments and representation of Sycamore Middle School and Sycamore Community School District #427.

SMS Choir Students Participating at ACDA 2017

Music Boosters Award Annual Scholarships

Sycamore Music Boosters is pleased to announce the recipients the 2017 Summer Music Camp Scholarship and Senior Music Scholarships.

The Sycamore Music Boosters Summer Music Camp Scholarship is awarded to various Sycamore students currently enrolled in the music program that are attending a selected music camp over the summer.  The following recipients of the Summer Music Camp Scholarship from the Sycamore Middle School include: Band: Carissa Boss, Vincent Brito, Peyton Buys, Samuel Crutcher, Aidan Dempsey, Mitch Edwards, Kellie Hohlfield, Ava Knapp, Jaxon Lang, Allison Troy, Nathan Troy, and Adam Zeller. Choir: Joseph Bowman, Madelyn Lathrop, Maxine Lathrop, Gracie Pincombe, Halle Schmidt, and Vani Subramony. Orchestra: Daniel Bos, Emily Bychowski, Rebecca DasNeves, Samantha Franklin, Natalie Hulseberg, Emily Prebil, Erin Templin, Luke Templin, Camryn Whitaker, and Ritta Wi.

The following recipients of the Summer Music Camp Scholarships from the Sycamore High School include: Will Biletzky, Robert Carpenter, Bradley Harris, Brett Harris, Jacob Jovanovich, Morgyn Nelson, Matthew Rogers, and Chloe Hardy.

The Sycamore Music Boosters Senior Music Scholarship is awarded to graduating high school seniors who are majoring in music in college.  This year, 2 seniors, Trevor McDonald and Gracia Watson were recognized and awarded $750 each to assist with college tuition. Vocalist and Choir member Trevor McDonald will be attending Carthage College pursuing a double major in Biology and Vocal Performance. Gracia Watson is the recipient of the Lundbeck Family Scholarship, part of the Senior Music Scholarship. A saxophone player and pianist, she will be attending the University of Denver with a double major in International Relations and Music Performance and a Japanese minor.

The Bette J. Lundbeck Scholarship was awarded to Madeline Kessler, and the John O. Weaver scholarship was awarded to Katherine Banasiak.

The Continuing College Music Scholarship is designed to assist Sycamore High School graduates in continuing their music education in college. This year’s recipient is Sarah Grant, a Butler University senior pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education.

Congratulations to all of these students that were awarded these scholarships!