Wednesday, January 23, 2019

All-State Musicians Send-Off! #99Learns #DGSPride

Our All-State musicians hit the road to Peoria today!  Congratulations on your selection - have an outstanding few days of rehearsals and some great concerts on Saturday!  

South High Visual Artists at the 2019 Chicagoland Regional Scholastics Art Exhibition

Jennifer Branch - Gold Key Award - Photography

Samantha Marks - Gold Key Award - "Facets"

Jonah Blazak - Gold Key Award - "Springs"

Ryan Bjorset - Gold Key Award - "Optical"
Kristina Huda - Gold Key Award - Photography
The Fine Arts Department at South High School in Downers Grove is pleased to announce the results of the judging from the 2019 Chicago area regional Scholastic Art Awards held at Downers Grove North High School. 1,209 student artists representing 149 arts educators submitted 2,826 works of art for adjudication.  37 South High School visual art students merited 83 awards, including 26 Gold Key Awards, 30 Silver Key Awards, 27 Honorable Mention Awards. These pieces, and all the award winning pieces from the entire regions, will be unveiled at the Opening Reception on Sunday, February 3, 2019 from 1-4:00 PM in the auditorium foyer at Downers Grove North High School.  The works will continue in exhibit for one week following the opening reception.

“We are exceedingly proud of both the process followed by our student artists, and, of the products they all create.” said Glenn Williams, Fine Arts Department Chairman at South High.  “Scholastic Art Awards represent a high point of artistic achievement for a high school Visual Artist.”  "We also congratulate our visual art faculty for mentoring these students through the artistic process." For more information about DGS Visual Art, contact Glenn Williams at

Gold Key Awards (26)
Ryan Bjorseth – Ceramics & Glass
Jonah Blazek – Ceramics & Glass
Jennifer Branch – Photography
Emmanuelle Copeland – Art Portfolio
Nicole Cosenza – Photography
Samantha Groseth – Photography
Kristina Huda – Photography
Michelle Kravec – Digital Art, Art Portfolio, Mixed Media
Kaylee Kushta – Photography
Emma Lafin – Photography
Annie Le – Drawing and Illustration
Gianna Lucacik – Digital Art
Megan Lupie – Photography (2)
Samantha Mark – Mixed Media, Painting, Art Portfolio
Hewane Melkie – Photography, Digital Art
Judith Paniagua-Chavez – Photography
Samantha Perkins – Photography
Grace Reiter – Photography
Pavlo Vovk – Drawing and Illustration
yu xinyang – Ceramics & Glass

Silver Key Awards (30)
Emma Ansah – Drawing and Illustration (2), Painting
Jennifer Branch – Photography (5)
Sarah Cimbalista – Ceramics & Glass
Emmanuelle Copeland – Painting
Nicole Cosenza – Photography
Max Hlavin – Ceramics & Glass
Michelle Kurcina – Ceramics & Glass
Megan Lupie – Digital Art, Ceramics & Glass
Samantha Mark – Painting (4)
Hewane Melkie – Photography (2), Digital Art
Paige Miller – Photography
Madelyn Moushon – Ceramics & Glass
Judith Paniagua-Chavez – Photography (2)
Samantha Perkins – Art Portfolio
Angela Pineda – Photography
Elizabeth Spear – Photography
Goda Vertelka - Painting

Honorable Mention Awards (27)
Emmanuelle Copeland – Drawing and Illustration, Painting, Mixed Media
Nicole Cosenza – Photography
Austin Davis – Drawing and Illustration
Nicole Fajardo – Ceramics & Glass
Skyler Groveau – Photography (3)
Kristina Huda - Photography
Gavan Jones – Ceramics & Glass
Michelle Kravec – Digital Art
Kaylee Kushta – Photography
Gianna Lucacik – Digital Art, Photography
Samantha Mark – Digital Art, Mixed Media, Painting
Frank Mayson – Ceramics & Glass
Hewane Melkie – Photography
Aloha Mendibles – Drawing and Illustration
Judith Paniagua-Chavez – Digital Art
Samantha Perkins – Photography
Angela Pineda – Digital Art
Morgan Silanskis – Photography
Sarah Weigel – Digital Art, Photography

Scholarship Alert - DG Rotary Club Charles Dickerman Scholarship

The Rotary Club of Downers Grove is now accepting applications for their annual Charles Dickerman Music Scholarship.  Each year the Rotary Club of Downers Grove presents a $2,000 scholarship check to a deserving high school senior who resides in Downers Grove or in the District 99 attendance area.  Charles Dickerman was a founding member of the Rotary Club of Downers Grove.  He was a nuclear physicist at Argonne National Laboratory who had undergraduate degrees in both physics and music.  Charles stayed involved in music throughout his life and was an avid bagpiper.

A scholarship application can be downloaded at 

Applicants must have their forms emailed or postmarked by Wednesday, March 13, 2019. If selected as a finalist, candidates must be available for an interview and audition on the evening of Monday, April 8, 2019.
The qualifications to apply for this scholarship are:
  • Be a graduating senior attending a public, private, parochial or home school, and reside in Downers Grove or the High School District 99 attendance area. 
  • Plan to pursue a post-secondary education program.
  • Have participated in high school curricular music activities and/or extracurricular music activities. 
  • Composers and/or arrangers qualify for this scholarship. 
  • Pursuit of an undergraduate music major or minor is not required.
  • Financial need is not a criterion for selection.

Dave Humphreys
Rotary Club of Downers Grove

Saturday, January 19, 2019

D99 Jazz Swings Despite Winter Storms

Mother Nature's Winter Storm, which caused the cancellation of the 2019 Purdue University Jazz Festival, was no match for the musicians of the DGN and DGS jazz bands, who gathered today to share the music they had prepared for this weekend's festival and receive feedback from a panel of respected jazz educators. 

District 99 extends thanks to Mr. Tim Coffman (DePaul University), Ms. Patty Sampson (West Aurora High School) and Ms. Stacey Williams-Jackson (Lincoln-Way Central High School) for their tremendous insight and inspirational teaching this afternoon. 

Congratulations to all five D99 jazz bands for spirited performances that showcased their excellent preparation for the 2019 Purdue Jazz Festival. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Auditions - February 15, 2019 #99Learns #DGSPride

The Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (in Michigan) is one of the nation’s leading arts immersion camps.  BLFAC is a non-profit summer school of the arts specializing in two-week arts programs for intermediate and high school students. 

Because there is a strong tradition of highly qualified District 99 students attending Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, the institution actively recruits in our schools.  Additionally, BLFAC sends a representative to our building each February to hear interested students play and sing.  From those ‘mini auditions’ BLFAC frequently awards merit-based scholarships to attend the camp.  This year’s BLFAC scholarship auditions will be held on Friday, February 15 during periods 1-6.  If you are interested in playing or singing a short audition for the BLFAC rep, please express your interest on the sign-up sheet in the Fine Arts Office (room 122).  

What should you be prepared to play or sing in your audition?  Plan to perform 2-3 min of music that you have been working on with a private music teacher, or in class.  This could be an etude, a solo, or a piece of literature that you have really enjoyed studying.  Pick something that shows off your abilities!

The Blue Lake representative will share some basic information with the student to take home to parents.  In the meantime, you are encouraged to check out Blue Lake’s website at  

Many DGS musicians have received significant scholarships to attend Blue Lake as a result of these mini-auditions.  Please consider this fabulous opportunity!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Jazz Cafe 2019 #99Learns #DGSPride

Congratulations to the over 160 student musicians from seven different jazz bands from five different schools that participated in the 2019 Jazz Cafe tonight at South High School in Downers Grove.  The varied repertoire during the course of the evening (26 different compositions) provided the audience with a stunning breadth and depth in jazz performance.

Special kudos to the students and directors from our sender schools for participating this evening:  Daniel Tedeschi and the Eisenhower Junior High School Jazz Band, Keith Carlson and the "Friends of Jazz" from Jefferson Junior High School, Brian Ohlsen and the Lakeview Junior High School Jazz band, and Christine Kaminski and the O'Neill Middle School Jazz Band.  With so many students performing at such a high level, the sonic future burns brightly for Downers Grove and the surrounding communities.  

If you were unable to join us in the cafetorium this evening, please check out the archived broadcast on the DGS Fine Arts YouTube Channel.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

2019 Junior High Choir Fest! #99Learns #DGSPride

The music suite, stage and risers were overflowing with singers tonight in the auditorium at South High School this evening.

Students the South High School Choirs as well as student vocalists from Eisenhower, Lakeview, Jefferson and O'Neill gathered after school and this evening for the 2019 Junior High Choir Fest.  Donning new DGS Choir t-shirts, students participated in sectionals, had a pizza dinner, and presented a short performance.  The night concluded with the massed choirs performing two numbers together.  Special thanks to the students and directors from our articulated sender schools for taking the time to provide this experience for these singers, specifically:  Jennifer Rickert Lakeview, Janet Hecht from O'Neill, Alex Buda from Jefferson, and Ryan Clarin from Eisenhower.

Based on what we heard and saw tonight, the sonic future continues to be bright for our Mustang Choirs here at South High School.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

D99 Bands Host Musashino Academia Musicae in Exchange Concert

The Downers Grove North and South High School Bands were honored to host the Musashino Academia Musicae Wind Ensemble (with guest trumpet soloist Mr. Christopher Martin) for an exchange concert this evening. The ensemble, led by Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Professor Emeritus Ray E. Cramer, has traveled from Tokyo, Japan to perform this week at the prestigious 'Midwest International Band & Orchestra Clinic' in Chicago, IL, and stopped today in District 99 to share their musical artistry.

Thank you to the many persons who worked behind-the-scenes to ensure that today's events ran without a hitch. A special note of thanks is extended to the parent/family volunteers who coordinated the dinner for our guests. 

Congratulations to the members of the DGN and DGS Wind Ensembles for terrific performances to open this evening's concert!