SYCAMORE MUSIC STUDENTS ATTEND PRESTIGIOUS ALL-STATE ILMEA CONFERENCE

577 - ILMEA All State Send Off 2016 001-croppedSeventeen Sycamore High School students were selected to participate in the 2016 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. This year, Sycamore High School had the 11th largest All-State music student representation of any high school in Illinois. 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. 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.”

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. 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 Band: Ella Rose Atkins, Emma Olson

All-State Band:  Alex Cuthbert, Bret Reser

All-State Honors Choir: Mary Flaherty, Trevor McDonald

All-State Choir:  Lauren Brazeau, John Lerohl, Anna McComb

All-State Honors Orchestra:   Rachel Hecht, Jessica Luo, Kailey Mulligan, Andrew Selig, Ben Van Wienen

All-State Orchestra:  Brett Brancato, Kjelden Breidenbach, Evan Jacobs

Ben Van Wienen, Rachel Hecht, and Ella Rose Atkins all placed 3rd overall in their    respective ensembles.  In addition, Emma Olson placed 4th, Andrew Selig placed 8th, Kailey Mulligan placed 23rd, and Jessica Luo received the 14th highest score overall on violin.  (Side note–Honors Choir doesn’t have chair placement information)

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 13 at Blumen Gardens from 7:00 – 11:00 pm and will feature the Pete Benson Trio, Mr. Myers Trio led by Todd Donnelly on the Steel Pan Drums, the Sycamore High School (SHS) Jazz Ensemble, SHS Jazz Choir, and other student ensembles. Tickets are $30.00 and are available to purchase at the Sycamore High School main office, Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists 3266 Resource Parkway office in DeKalb, Kar Fre Flowers, Shawn’s Coffee Shop, via       E-mail at Note2Remember@gmail.com 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.

Sycamore High School Music Department Receives Runner-Up 2nd Place in State!

IHSA-2ndPlace-2014

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.”

SYCAMORE SCHOOL DISTRICT ATTENDS PRESTIGIOUS ALL-STATE IMEA CONFERENCE

IMEA Allstate January 2014

Fifteen Sycamore High School students were selected to participate in the 2014 Illinois Music Education (ILMEA) Conference recently held at the Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Illinois.  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. SHS Band Director Ken Goodman 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.”

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 prestigious honor of being selected for All-State:

All-State Honors Choir:  Elizabeth Watson (Soprano II), Alex Riley (Tenor I), Nichole Startz (Alto I), Ian Findley (Bass II), Aubry Nelson (Soprano II)

All-State Choir:  Maddie White (Alto II)

All-State Honors Orchestra:  Sarah Grant (Double Bass)

All-State Orchestra:  Becca Vidales (Viola), Trent Englum (Viola), Seth Kates (Double Bass), Baylie Petit (Cello), Jessica Luo (Violin II), Kailey Mulligan (Viola)

All-State Orchestra Winds:  Jordyn Shultz (French Horn)

All-State Band:  Leah Tabone (Alto Saxophone)

During the festival weekend, participants attended numerous rehearsals, attended workshops, panel discussions and master classes, and performed a concert at the Peoria Civic Center.  Two Sycamore District music teachers were invited as guest presenters during the festival. General Music Instructor Kristine Mertens brought a select number of students to be a part of her “Improvisation In The Classroom” presentation, and SHS Band Director Ken Goodman led a panel discussion, “The Road (More or) Less Traveled or Been There, Done That”, geared for young and future band directors that discussed the many directions of a music instructor’s life can take in the field of instrumental music education.