Hall of Fame

The Sycamore Music Boosters are very pleased to announce a music awards program titled the “Sycamore High School Music Hall of Fame.”  This ongoing awards program will recognize and award a variety of SHS alumni and music advocates who have demonstrated superior participation and/or support of the Sycamore music programs.

We are particularly excited about the four award categories, each of which will recognize different ways in which SHS alums and members of our community have contributed to the ongoing standards of excellence in our music programs.  They are as follows:

Ovation Award:  Given to a SHS graduate who demonstrated superior performance and participation in music throughout his/her high school experience.

Legacy Award:  Given to an SHS graduate who demonstrated superior performance and participation in music throughout his/her high school experience, AND, who has continued to demonstrate superior involvement in music through continued education, professional, and volunteer involvement in music.

Advocate Award:  Given to an individual who has outstanding qualities as an advocate for the music programs in the Sycamore School District.

Distinguished Alumni Award:  Given to an SHS graduate who demonstrated superior participation in music throughout his/her high school experience.  Beyond high school, the individual must have a record of truly distinguished and exceptional performance/service/achievement in their vocation and/or avocation outside of music.

Questions? Contact Music Hall of Fame Chairs John & Laura Hulseberg at hulseberg@comcast.net.

Below are the links to nomination and award categories. Applications are now being accepted with the submission deadline of October 1, 2017.

2017-2018 Music Hall of Fame Nomination Form and Criteria


Congratulations to the

2017 Music Hall of Fame Inductees:

Craig & Joyce Mathey, Advocate Award Recipients


Sara (Englum) Velarde, Ovation Award Recipient


In its fifth year, the Sycamore Music Boosters will host an official ceremony to induct the 2017 Music Hall of Fame honorees on Saturday, February 11, 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 2017 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.

Craig Mathey, Advocate Award recipient, graduated from Sycamore High School in 1972.  Craig’s musical career began in 5th grade when his parents encouraged him to try a musical instrument; he chose the accordion. During his first year of lessons, Craig discovered that he had a natural talent and ear for music. Craig’s break-out performance took place his senior year, on the SHS stage during the AFS Review Variety Show. From that moment on, Craig was hooked on performing.  He realized that he had a natural ability to also play the keyboards, and since then, he has enjoyed performing with many musical groups.  Additionally, throughout the years, he has collaborated with other talented musicians throughout the area. In 2002, after 32 years, Craig retired from being a union brick mason to work at the former National Bank & Trust Company of Sycamore.  In 2016, Craig retired from NB&T and now has the time and opportunity to perform music more regularly.  Craig can be found performing at local establishments, special events and fundraisers.

Joyce Mathey, Advocate Award recipient, first found her love and inspiration for music from her mother when she purchased her first piano.  It came from the Wurlitzer piano factory in DeKalb, IL, where Joyce’s mother worked during the WWII era while her father was in the U.S. Marine Corps. Joyce and Craig were married in 1979 and raised their family in Sycamore.  Joyce and Craig became active members of the Sycamore Music Boosters in 1991.  In 1996, Joyce became the President of the organization, ultimately serving as president for 5 years. One of Joyce’s proudest accomplishments during her tenure as Music Boosters President was being a part of a community that valued and fought to keep music education in the schools.   During the early 1980’s, the Sycamore School District was short on funds and planned to cut the music programs in the schools. The Music Boosters program was instrumental in organizing and encouraging the Sycamore School Board to retain music education in all the Sycamore schools. This effort continued on the musical dream and aided in cultivating Sycamore school’s thriving and award-winning music program that benefits many, many students and families in the community today. Harmonizing with her ambition to give back to the community, Joyce is the Executive Director of Pay-It-Forward House in Sycamore.  Her love and appreciation of music carries on with her role as her husband’s musical career manager.

Together, Craig and Joyce Mathey have both been musical advocates their whole lives. As Sycamore Music Booster parents, Craig and Joyce made sure that the students and teachers had all the tools they needed to help support the music program. Through these efforts, the Mathey’s planted the seeds to see the program grow in the years since then.

Sara (Englum) Velarde, Ovation Award recipient, graduated from Sycamore High School in 2000.  She began playing piano in 4th grade and percussion in 5th grade. Throughout high school, Sara maintained an active schedule as a percussionist and pianist, playing in the high school Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Marching Band, and Pep Band, with the distinction of being percussion section leader for both junior and senior years.  Sara also played percussion in the pit orchestra for the high school musicals, and drum set for the high school Jazz Band. She was selected for the ILMEA District Honor Band her sophomore, junior and senior years, as well as the All-State Band and ILMEA District Orchestra in her senior year.  She actively participated in the Suburban Prairie Conference Honors Band and the CSA Sinfonia at NIU. Sara earned the Don Smith Band Camp Scholarship award and attended the University of Illinois Summer Youth Band Camp, and was awarded the Young Artist Recognition Award by the Sycamore Arts Council. During college, Sara played percussion with the University of Illinois Concert and Symphonic Bands. In more recent years, she has sung with the Holy Name Cathedral Choir in Chicago, and also played timpani for the CSA Sinfonia reunion concert at NIU in 2013. Not only was Sara musically decorated, but also academically acknowledged as shown by the myriad of academic awards, recognitions and scholarships she received as she transitioned from high school and made her way to university.  Sara attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she majored in Human Development and Family Studies, then attended medical school at Rush University in Chicago, followed by a Pediatrics residency at Loyola University Medical Center.  Sara is now a practicing pediatrician at VNA Health Care in Aurora, IL which helps underserved populations in the community.

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