All-State Send Off Ceremony

The Sycamore Music Department is pleased to congratulate thirteen students that will be attending the prestigious ILMEA All-State Music Conference next week! These students were selected on the basis of their strong auditions and placement in the All-District festivals this fall.

The Sycamore Music Boosters would like to invite you to attend a brief send-off ceremony this Wednesday, January 25, in the High School Choir Room at 3:45 pm.  Students will be introduced, Mr. Mertens will speak briefly, and the Pep Band will play as they depart for the bus.  Everyone is welcome to attend!  Please contact Sycamore Music Boosters President, Lisa Smith, at with further questions.

Congratulations to the following students from Sycamore High School who have the distinguished honor of being selected for All-State:

All-State Honors Choir: Trevor McDonald

All-State Choir:  Kelsie Kruskol, Anna McComb, Alice Mesjak

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

All-State Orchestra Winds: Bret Reser, Matthew Rogers

All-State Band: Madeline Kessler, Ryan Loitz, Gracia Watson

SHS had the 17th largest contingent of All-State musicians of all the high schools in the state. We are very proud of all of the musicians who auditioned for these ensembles, and we are happy to have such a strong group to represent Sycamore. Way to go!

The All-State Grand Finale Concert will be at the Peoria Civic Center on Saturday, January 28 at 1:00 pm. (Admission required)

The All-State Honors Grand Finale Concert will be at the Peoria Civic Center on Saturday, January 28 at 3:00 pm. (Admission required)

Eric Montzka Trio to Headline 9th Annual A Note to Remember!

On Saturday, February 11, the Sycamore Music Boosters is excited to welcome headliner the Eric Montzka Trio, Craig Mathey, Sycamore High School (SHS) Jazz Ensemble, SHS Jazz Choir, and a SHS String Ensemble as they host their 9th 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, three talented musicians will be introduced and honored as our 2017 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.

Sycamore High School alumni and Chicagoland percussionist Eric Montzka has worked with a number of fantastic musicians, including John Scofield, Maynard Ferguson, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Karrin Alison, Chris Potter, Dave Douglas, Howard Levy and Von Freeman. He was a member of Patricia Barber’s quartet (1998-2010) and toured more than 25 countries over five continents and appeared on five recordings distributed by the Blue Note record label.


Eric Montzka

Eric holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Percussion Performance from Northern Illinois University. While enrolled at NIU he toured Switzerland for a week with the NIU Jazz Ensemble. He has also maintained an informal private lesson studio until 2013 and taught at Northbrook High School and Chicago’s Merit School of Music. Eric is a 2015 Sycamore Music Hall of Fame Inductee. At the Note to Remember event, Eric will lead his trio which features guitarist John Moulder and Larry Kohut on bass.

Craig Mathey has been a life-long Sycamore resident and a musician since age 10. He began his musical career by taking accordion lessons for one year, and from then on was a self-taught musician.  At the age of 12 he started playing with a gospel group which honed his skills in improvising and ear training. At age 14 he taught himself to play the piano and electronic keyboards, and at age 18 joined a pop/country/wedding band call the Dick Sargent Review, performing with them until his mid-20s. Next, Craig formed a duo, with John Huber that performed throughout the area for over 8 years.  In early 2003, Craig launched his lounge-lizard/soloist career, performing dinner and cocktail music.  Currently, Craig can be found performing all your favorite styles of music on the piano and singing – pop, country, jazz, blues, and standards on weekends with a variety of other local musicians and at various restaurants and venues in the area.


Craig Mathey

The 2017 Sycamore High School Music Hall of Fame inductees will also be introduced at this event. Two Sycamore community members have been chosen as Advocate Award recipients and one community member will be receiving the Ovation Award; inductees will be announced soon. A separate induction ceremony including the unveiling of the updated 2017 trophy case is scheduled for February 11 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, Prairie View Animal Hospital, Dr. Todd Anderson – Oral & Maxillo Facial Surgeons of Northern Illinois, Law Office of Riley N. Oncken, InVironments Magazine, Shaw Media – the Daily Chronicle and the Midweek, Jamrah Middle Eastern Cuisine. Sponsorship opportunities are still available; please see our web site to download the sponsor form at

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 Resource Parkway office in DeKalb, Kar Fre Flowers, Shawn’s Coffee Shop, via E-mail at or by calling 815.751.8388. For more information, please visit and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.



Portillo’s Fundraiser

The Sycamore Music Boosters invites the community to Portillo’s in Sycamore for a no-cook dinner fundraiser.

Thursday, January 12, 2017 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

Stop in and enjoy delicious hot dogs, burgers, salads and shakes while supporting Sycamore Music Boosters! A percentage of sales during this time will go to the Sycamore Music Boosters. Please be sure to show a Portillo’s flyer for proceeds to be applied (just show it on your Smartphone when ordering!)

The Sycamore Music Boosters support all students in grades K-12 in various music programs offered within the district and comprises of a group of volunteers families and friends of students enrolled in music education classes in Sycamore Schools.



The Sycamore Community School District #427 Orchestras recently attended the prestigious International Midwest Clinic held at McCormick Place in Chicago. With over 17,000 attendees from all 50 states and over 30 countries, the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Music Conference offers one of the largest annual gatherings for musicians and music educators to attend clinics, exhibits, rehearsal labs, and various concerts.

The Sycamore High School Orchestra was invited to be the Demonstration Orchestra at the Bowing Concepts for Musical Phrasing seminar led by clinician Frank Lestina. Select High School Orchestra students participated in the clinic. The Sycamore Middle School Orchestra was invited to be the Demonstration Orchestra for the Middle School Rehearsal Lab Clinic, directed by composer Jeremy Woolstenhulme. Select middle school students auditioned to be a part of this group. “Our participation in this international clinic is a once in a lifetime event. This is the Olympics of the band and orchestra world. We are very excited and honored to be a part of this prestigious festival” comments Sycamore Middle School Orchestra teacher Amy Tonaki. Congratulations to all the musicians selected to participate in this experience!

High School Orchestra Director Ken Tonaki adds, “We are so thankful for this opportunity. This experience was made possible by Sycamore Music Boosters; they graciously provided funding for our students to attend this festival. We extend our unending gratitude to the Music Boosters for their on-going support for our students to have this experience!”

The Sycamore Music Boosters support all students in grades K-12 in various music programs offered within the district. For more information about the Music Boosters, please visit our website at: , contact Sycamore Music Boosters President Lisa Smith at, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  

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The Sycamore Music Boosters recently received a special donation from Sycamore student Noelle Sharp. Noelle is a 5th grade student at North Grove Elementary School in Sycamore and is a budding musician playing Violin in Orchestra and Clarinet in Band, and is a former Elementary Choir member. When she heard of the Sycamore School District budget cut to the After-School Elementary Orchestra and Band program, she was inspired to do something to help support this program. “I wanted to do something to help bring this very important program back and help my community. The Sycamore Music Boosters is a great organization that helps students become talented musicians.” At Noelle’s Birthday party, she requested that her friends and family make a donation for the Sycamore Music Boosters instead of bringing gifts. When she delivered the donation, she requested the money be used to help support the Elementary After-School Orchestra and Band Program.

606-smb-sharp-donation-002-aSycamore Music Boosters President Lisa Smith comments, “Young people like Noelle are an inspiration! To see our youth wanting to make a difference is exciting! We are so thankful for Noelle’s generous and thoughtful donation and will honor her request to apply it towards the Elementary After School Program.” The 2016-17 Elementary After-School Music Program is funded in part by a by a Wurlitzer Foundation Fund grant from the DeKalb County Community Foundation. It is also partially funded by the Sycamore Music Boosters.

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 Schools Music Department Chair, at, or Sycamore Music Boosters President Lisa Smith, at LisaSmith1615@
.  Additional information about the Sycamore Music Boosters may be found at