SYCAMORE SCHOOL DISTRICT ANNOUNCES 88 ILMEA ALL-DISTRICT MUSICIANS

Forty high school and forty-eight middle school students from the Sycamore Community School District #427 were recently selected to participate in the 2016 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 Jazz Festival was held on November 12 at Rochelle Township High School.  The All-District Band, Orchestra, and Choir Festivals were held on Saturday, November 19 at DeKalb High School.

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

HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR:

Soprano – Kaitlin Jacobson, Emily Keiner, Alice Mesjak; Alto – Kelsie Kruskol, Anna McComb; Tenor – John Lerohl, Trevor McDonald.

HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR (Freshmen participating in Junior Festival):

Soprano – Clara Biletzky, Tessa Harbecke; Alto – Caitlin Horton, Corinn Schusteff; Baritone – Jacob Jovanovich.

HIGH SCHOOL ORCHESTRA:

Violin – Ellie Bowers, Ben Briscoe, Kaylie Emmer, Julia Luo, Madeline McCormick; Viola – Kelsey Mulligan, Ryan Piloni; Cello – Kjelden Breidenbach, Grace Frielink; Bass – Eli Briscoe, Brett Brancato, Evan Jacobs.

HIGH SCHOOL ORCHESTRA WINDS:

Oboe – Mary McConnaughay, Matthew Rogers; French Horn – Bret Reser.

HIGH SCHOOL BAND:

Oboe – Tommy Kloosterman; Alto Saxophone – Ryan Loitz, Gracia Watson; Baritone Sax – Jakob Kelly; Trumpet – Gabe Frielink, Elliott Marsh; French Horn – Kim Hohlfeld; Trombone – Will Biletzky, Brett Harris; Baritone – Madeline Kessler.

HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ BAND:

Alto Sax – Gracia Watson; Baritone Sax – Jakob Kelly; Trombone – Will Biletzky.

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

MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND:

Flute – Sarah Brazier; Oboe – Kellie Hohlfeld, Jake Rundle; Clarinet – Chloe Harbecke, Catie Haub, Lorin Kmieciak, Adam Zeller; Trumpet – Tryggve Vilaseca; French Horn – Aidan Dempsey; Trombone – Karl Peterson; Percussion – Nicholas Cyr, John Kloosterman.

MIDDLE SCHOOL JAZZ BAND:

Tenor Saxophone – Allison Troy; Trombone – Karl Peterson, Jaxon Lang; Guitar – Jeremy Peterson.

MIDDLE SCHOOL CHOIR:

Sopranos – Kaitlyn Bowman, Madelyn Greenwald, Melissa Lerohl, Charlotte Sharp, Vani Subramony, Jill Thomas, Lynsey Villarreal, Kylie Von Schnase; Altos – Hannah Frielink, Megan McConnaughay, Ryan Russo; Baritone – Jeremy Peterson.

MIDDLE SCHOOL ORCHESTRA:

Violin – Maxim Breidenbach, Sofi Briscoe, Emma Fredericks, Rebekah Nielsen, McKenna Nonnenmann, Ava Peterson, Emily Prebil, Sarah Siddiqui, Aidan Stanik, Erin Templin, Ritta Wi; Viola – Lily Baker, Jules Breidenbach, Rebeca DasNeves, Lili Walker; Cello – Ethan Bode, Avery DeRuyter, Austin Gerdes, Natalie Hulseberg, Luke Templin.

Sycamore High School Music Department Receives 5th Place and SHS Orchestra Places 3rd in State!

The Sycamore High School Music Department was recently awarded 5th Place in the 2015-2016 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State ranking!  The Sycamore High School Orchestra also placed 3rd overall in State for Class A ranking. This is the sixth straight year that the Sycamore High School Music Department has placed in the top five in Class A, and it is their eleventh straight top-ten finish (and their 13th in the past 14 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 Harvard 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 Sycamore High School Symphonic Band, Chamber Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Treble Choir, Chamber Choir, and Jazz Choir all received Division One Outstanding ratings, and the Concert Band and Concert Orchestra received Division Two Excellent ratings. The scores from both of these festivals are tabulated by IHSA, and this result was strong enough to earn 5th Place in State!

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 talented young men and women.”

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. This honor stems from the strong effort that our students put into preparing for their performances including rehearsing before and after school, practicing at home day after day, and perfecting their pieces in preparation of their many performances throughout the year. This recognition is a visible means of representing this hard work and dedication.  Congratulations to our students on this notable achievement!

The SHS Music Department has additional support from the Sycamore Music Boosters, a non-profit volunteer organization that supports all students in grades K-12. The Sycamore Music Boosters meet the third Thursday of each month in the Sycamore High School Library at 6:00 pm. Parents and friends of Sycamore District music students are invited to attend meetings to find out about exciting fundraising events, and music program activities.  For more information, please contact Scott Mertens, Sycamore Music Department Chair, at SMertens@syc427.org, or Lisa Smith, Sycamore Music Boosters President, at LisaSmith1615@comcast.net.  Additional information about the Sycamore Music Boosters may be found at www.sycamoremusicboosters.com.

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 Music Boosters Announce Sycamore High School 2016 Music Hall of Fame Inductees

2016 Hall of FameThe 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 2016 Sycamore High School Music Hall of Fame inductees include Bob Abel, Dan Andree, Jim Hendricks, and Marilyn Montzka.

In its fourth year, the Sycamore Music Boosters will host an official ceremony to induct the 2016 Music Hall of Fame honorees on Saturday, February 13, 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 2016 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.

Bob Able, Advocate Award recipient, began teaching in the Sycamore School District in 1973 as a part-time vocal teacher, and was hired full-time the following year as the high school choral director. That same year (1974) he introduced “Madrigal” music into the curriculum and started the Madrigal dinners, complete with original Elizabethan costumes and full dinners. Bob continued to increase the choral curriculum by starting a Swing Choir, festival tours and recording albums with his choirs. During his tenure, he directed or co-directed 31 musical productions at the Middle School and also initiated a guitar/piano curriculum there. During his many years in the district, Bob was a staunch advocate for the Sycamore music, theatre and arts programs, and he was an ardent and active volunteer for the Sycamore Music Boosters, contributing his time and talent to all of these programs. He was also involved with the DeKalb Municipal Band, served as a choral director at several churches, and directed productions with the Children’s Community Theatre and Stagecoach Players.  Bob retired from the Sycamore School District in 2014, after being a music teacher to thousands of young people in Sycamore, and many who are now music teachers and performers.

Dan Andree, Legacy Award recipient, is a 2005 Sycamore High School graduate. He played violin in the Orchestra throughout high school and was selected for ILMEA All-District Orchestra and All-State Orchestra. He was also an active vocal musician during high school participating in Concert Choir, Madrigals, and Jazz Choir, was selected for ILMEA All-District Jazz Choir his senior year, and had roles in the musicals. Dan attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnomusicology.  There he made life-long friendships with peers who played bluegrass music which provided him the tools to start a profession in bluegrass music joining the internationally touring group, the Henhouse Prowlers. Touring extensively throughout the United States and Europe, they then began a string of tours with the U.S. State Department. Dan knows how lucky he is to have been able to grow up in the Sycamore school district and he will take the lessons he has learned from its talented faculty into the years of soul-filling music to come.

James Hendricks, Legacy Award recipient, graduated from Sycamore High School in 1991 as the Valedictorian of his class.  He was involved in music throughout his education in the Sycamore school district beginning piano at age 6. Throughout high school, Jim played the alto saxophone as a member of the concert band, marching and pep bands.  He was a pianist in the Jazz Ensemble and jazz combos, and played in the Orchestra.  He was selected for ILMEA District jazz ensembles, being named the number one jazz pianist in the district, as well as being selected as the “top seat” in the All-State Jazz Band and All-State Honors Jazz Combo. Jim earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Northern Illinois in piano performance with a jazz emphasis, then earned his Master of Music in piano performance and pedagogy from NIU. He has performed with a variety of jazz groups such as the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the All-American Orchestra, the Carnival Cruise lines Holiday Shop Big Band, and with the Piotr Bal Jazz Group.  He has had notable guest appearances with jazz greats Tito Puente, Clark Terry, Louie Bellson, Della Reese, Rita Moreno, Rosemary Clooney, Jack Jones, Maynard Ferguson, and others. In recent years, Jim has become involved in the Christian music ministry.  He has performed more than 1,300 Christian piano concerts in churches all across the U.S., including three appearances at the Crystal Cathedral.   He has made fourteen piano recordings, performed on ABC, CBS, TBN and PAX, authored the book “Contemporary Arrangements for Today’s Church Pianist,” and has been featured in the Clavier piano journal. Since 1998, he has been a Professor of Music at Chicago State University and teaches a variety of music courses including applied piano, jazz piano, class piano, music theory, and fundamentals of music.  

Marilyn Montzka, Advocate Award recipient, became involved in the Sycamore school district when she moved here in 1973 with her husband, Art. Marilyn grew up in a “musical” family and she has been involved in music all of her life.  As a youth, she played several instruments including the piano, flute, cornet, French horn, and viola, but ultimately stayed with the piano and viola as her primary instruments.  She attended and graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor degree in Music Education where she was introduced to the Suzuki method and she established the desire to teach the Suzuki method. Marilyn began her advocacy for music education with her involvement for the Sycamore High School to have a full-time orchestra teacher. She was also heavily involved in the Sycamore Music Boosters and started the private lessons program in the district. She spent many years helping with this program, accompanying students, judging auditions, and tending to the organizational aspects of the program. Marilyn’s advocacy for the arts has extended to being the Director of the Suzuki Piano Program for NIU’s Community School of the Arts for many years, and taught at several Suzuki Institutes in the United States.  She is a musician in the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra and continues to be a church musician as vocalist and director of a handbell choir.  

These inductees will also be honored and announced at the annual A Note to Remember event on February 13 at Blumen Gardens from 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm. Tickets are $30.00 and are available at the Sycamore High School main office, Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists 3266 Resource Parkway office in DeKalb, Kar Fre Flowers, 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.

NUMEROUS SYCAMORE MUSIC STUDENTS GIVE “BEST OF DAY” PERFORMANCES AT SOLO & ENSEMBLE EVENT

SycS&E 2015-Best of Dayamore High School (SHS) music students recently performed at the annual IHSA Solo and Ensemble Contest held at Harvard High School.  Musicians in orchestra, band, and/or choir had the opportunity to perform a solo, usually with piano accompaniment, or in various ensembles in front of a judge. Performers receive a performance rating of Division I (the highest rating), II, III, IV, and V.

At the end of the day, each judge chooses one stand out performance and selects a “Best of Day” performance.  While there were many outstanding performances and perfect scores received by the students, 6 SHS musicians were awarded the prestigious “Best of Day” award! Congratulations and special recognition goes to the following Sycamore High School Solo & Ensemble “Best of Day” Award recipients (pictured here left to right): Front row- Rachel Hecht for Mixed Woodwind Ensemble, Emma Olson for Oboe Solo and Mixed Wind Ensemble, Jordyn Schultz for Mixed Wind Ensemble; Back row-Megan Graham for Mixed Wind Ensemble, Ben Van Wienen for Trumpet Solo, and Alex Cuthbert for Mixed Wind Ensemble.

SHS Band Director Ken Goodman comments, “Participating in the Solo and Ensemble event is a great way for music students to challenge themselves.  Their goal is to prepare, practice, perform a piece well, and to have fun!” Family, friends and fellow musicians are encouraged to attend performances as it is a fantastic way to listen to many top high school musicians in our area. Congratulations to all Solo & Ensemble participants and those that received “Best of Day” performance awards.

 

SYCAMORE SCHOOL DISTRICT ANNOUNCES 85 ILMEA ALL-DISTRICT MUSICIANS

Forty-five high school and forty middle school students from the Sycamore School District were recently selected to participate in the 2014 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.  This year, the

All-District Jazz festival was held at Rochelle Township High School on Saturday, November 15.  The All-District Orchestra, Band, and Choir festivals were held on Saturday, November 22 at DeKalb High School.

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

 

HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR:

Soprano –Lauren Brazeau, Mary Flaherty, Becca Roby, Claire Schroeder; Alto –Annabell Castillo, Falon Findley, Isabella Hepker, Sarah Houdek, Annie Malecki, Anna McComb, Thalia Schusteff, Kara Strohm; Tenor – Edgar Garcia, Andrew McComb, Trevor McDonald;  Bass –Jarrod Holtz, Alex Holtz, Collin Koneczny.

HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR (freshmen participating in junior festival):

Soprano – Dana Nielsen; Alto – Kaylie Emmer.

HIGH SCHOOL ORCHESTRA:

Violin – Jessica Luo; Viola – Kailey Mulligan; Cello –Baylee Petit; Bass – Seth Kates, Brett Brancato, Evan Jacobs.

HIGH SCHOOL ORCHESTRA WINDS:

Clarinet – Alex Cuthbert; Oboe – Mary McConnaughay, Emma Olson; Bassoon – Rachel Hecht; French Horn – Andrew Selig, Jordyn Shultz; Trumpet – Olivia Lohse, Ben Van Wienen; Trombone – Ella Rose Atkins.

HIGH SCHOOL BAND:

Flute – Alyssa Maillefer; Oboe – Matthew Rogers, Katrina Thu; Alto Saxophone – Gracia Watson; Tenor Sax – Zach Dodson; French Horn – Bret Reser; Percussion – Tyler Berger.

HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ BAND:

Alto Sax – Gracia Watson; Tenor Sax – Rachel Hecht; Drum Set – Jordan Smith.

Students from Sycamore Middle School who have been selected for IMEA include:

MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND:

Flute – Caroline Bowers, Lizzie Egerman, Mackenzie Taylor; Oboe – Tommy Kloosterman; Clarinet –Emily Grayburn, Danzig Lenker, Aubrey Villarreal; Alto Saxophone – Morgyn Nelson; Trumpet – Max Baird, Bradley Harris, Ebad Rana; Trombone – Will Biletzky, Brett Harris, Tamia Hughes, Karl Peterson; Euphonium – Blake Ross; Tuba – Derek Lawrence.

MIDDLE SCHOOL JAZZ BAND:

Alto Saxophone – Grace Knapp; Tenor Saxophone – Morgyn Nelson; Trombone – Karl Peterson.

MIDDLE SCHOOL CHOIR:

Alto – Lauren Sims.

MIDDLE SCHOOL ORCHESTRA:

Violin – Chloe Hardy, Hannah Kirby, Julia Luo, Madeline McCormick, Joon Park, Erin Templin, Athena Ye; Viola – Kelsey Mulligan, Charlotte Salis, Allison Vidales; Cello – Julia Bowers, Gwynneth Boynton, Coco Breidenbach,  Grace Frielink, Courtney Mulligan, Madeleine Vinz, Tsavo Walker; Bass – Griffin Polly, Nolan Polly.