Monday, January 31, 2011

IMEA Day #3 - DGS and D99 & family

DGS and D99 continued to play a signficant role at the state level at the recently concluded IMEA State Music Convention. Highlights from Saturday alone include the Lakeview Junior HS Wind Ensemble giving a stunning performance to a standing ovation; Meredith Richard's first place vocal solo being performed during the Composition Awards Ceremony; Brayer Teague (DGN) leading the Composition Contest to a marvelous conclusion, moderating the final event with Mario Pelusi from Illinois Wesylan University; Callie Sorce being the first DGS student to participate in the Future Music Educators' Seminar; Suzanne Segredo performing the english horn solo in the final movment of Pines of Rome and being featured on the huge video screen; Dr. Piekarz (DGN) performing with a group of male teachers singing to accompany the All-State Choir; 29 student musicians from DGS and DGN performing in the All-State and All-State Honors ensembles to conclude the 3-day convention. We are proud of the success of our students at the state level, and, proud of the volunteer efforts of our staff to perpetuate musical excellence not only in District 99, but also at the state level.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lakeview Band @ 2011 IMEA All-State Convention

Hundreds of listeners were treated to an amazing performance by the future Mustang Musicians that are a part of the Lakeview Junior High School Wind Ensemble. Led by Tom Tedeschi and assisted by Brian Ohlsen, these students played with characteristic sound, intonation, and musician well beyond their chronological years. The nearly immediate standing ovation is tangible evidence that the crowd in attendance was "wowed" by the sounds from these young musicians.
It was great to see so many parents and siblings in the crowd this morning as well as professional music educators. A program of this nature only emerges from a confluence of contributing constituents. The parents and administration at Lakeview are a huge part of the success of the student musicians on stage this morning.
Great work you future Mustang Musicians - we eagerly await your arrival into the Mustang Bands family in the coming years.

Friday, January 28, 2011

DGS and D99 at IMEA All-State - Day #2

This morning started with an inspirational performance by the Madrigal Singers, led by Laura Coster and accompanied by Belford Hernandez. All-State student musicians Suzanne Segredo, oboe, and Hannah Young (DGN,) harp, accompanied the performance. An immediate and authentic standing ovation from the attendees desmonstrated the depth of the appreciation of the excellence of the student musicians.

Bill and Chris Miller, (DGN,) provided an informative and insightful clinic about sound reinforcement solutions for an elementary school music program. The clinic session was extremely well attended, and, provided participants with relevant solutions to improve the sound systems and reinforcement in their school music programs.

The evening concluded with the IMEA All-State Jazz Concert at 8 PM, with DGS student musicians Mike Ruth playing lead alto in the All-State Jazz Band. The director of the band, Jim Culbertson, was Mike Ruth's mom's high school band director at Decatur-McArthur High School.

Once a again, great work today by DGS and D99 students and staff perpetuating excellent music education at the state level in Illinois.

Madrigal Singers @ 2011 IMEA All-State Conference

Inspiration, from a medical perspective, is the process of inhaling air or wind into the lungs. The process is vital to existence, and arguably is a sustaining force in human life. The process of inspiration literally breathes life into the lungs and eventually into the entire human body.
As a music educator, I draw artistic, personal, and professional inspiration from numerous sources. One of those sources I continually draw upon is hearing amazing student groups perform at conventions. Hearing great repertoire performed well is inspirational for me, and, for nearly every music educator that I know. Being able to sit back and be inspired through great sounds performed with passion by enthused students recharges me and recalibrates me towards my purpose for teaching.
Today, at the 2011 IMEA State Convention, the DGS Madrigal Singers were the source of inspiration for hundreds of music educators from Illinois. This amazing ensemble performed challenging repertoire with sonic elegance. The excitement and energy in the room, from both the audience and the students, was palpable. The standing ovation at the conclusion of the performance was immediate and authentic.
So, on behalf of the music educators that attended your performance today, I thank each of the DGS Madrigal Singers and their conductor, Laura Coster, and their collaborative pianist, Belford Hernandez, for providing us with such an amazing breath of fresh air today. Your performance today inspires us towards excellence for our students, and, fills us with the life needed to continue teaching when we return from Peoria. Great work to each of you - we are so very proud of you all!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

District 99 @ IMEA State Convention - Day #1

Our students and staff represented DGS and District 99 amazingly well in the opening day of the 2011 IMEA State Convention. Junior Zach Planta conducted his award winning piece on the Composition Showcase Concert. Fellow All-State Musicians Carly Charles, Billy Moroney, Lexi Osborn, Suzanne Segredo and Aaron Shatzer (DGN) realized the Zach's piece in front of an audience of over 1,500 students and teachers. Staff member Craig Roselieb mentored Zach through the composition process and through the application process to the IMEA competition. Staff members Ron Hornish, Craig Roselieb, Bill Miller (DGN), Glenn Williams and Frank Piekarz (DGN) were part of a group of educators that played in a directors big band that performed the composition of a student from Grayslake High School. Brayer Teague (DGN) moderated the Composition Showcase Concert, featuring world class musician Paul Wertico and live performances of student compositions from around Illinois. Way to go DGS and DGN music students and staff for having such a pervasive and positive impact on music and music education in the state of Illinois.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2011 Scholastics Art and Writing Awards

2011 American Vision Award Winner
"Deep Beneath the Surface" - Anne Marie Benedetto, artist

2011 American Vision Award Winner
"Mystic" - Samantha Eubanks, artist

The Fine Arts Department at Downers Grove South High School is pleased to announce the results of the judging from the 2011 Scholastic Art Awards held at Downers Grove North High School. 25 area high schools submitted more than 1,500 works of art for adjudication, with South High School contributing more than 120 pieces and portfolios. 44 DGS students artists won 73 awards, including 2 out of 5 American Vision Award given for best in show, 24 Gold Key Awards, 22 Silver Key Awards, and 25 Honorable Mention Awards. These pieces will be unveiled at the Opening Reception on Sunday, February 6, 2011 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.” For more information about DGS Visual Art, contact Glenn Williams at, or, go to our department blog at

2011 Scholastic Art Award Winners – Downers Grove South High School

American Vision Awards
Anne Marie Benedetto – Ceramics - "Deep Beneath the Surface"
Samantha Eubanks – Ceramics – “Mystic”

Gold Key Award
Victor Aguirre – Drawing; Anne Marie Benedetto – Ceramics; Beth Biagi – Photography;
Bridget Bicek – Photography; Heather Bird – Drawing; Anna Both – Photography;
Mitchell Chapman – Photography; Margaret Cipriano – Photography (5);
Julianna Estall – Mixed Media (2); Samantha Eubanks – Ceramics/Glass;
Aura Evans – Drawing; Hayley Gomoll – Photography; Claire Hayse – Digital Art;
Adam Kotel – Digital Art; Adam Kotel – Photography (2); Jena Mancione – Photography;
Ashley Ramaglia - Ceramics/Glass; Rachel Riggin – Photography

Gold Key Award – Portfolio
Margaret Cipriano – Photography; Adam Kotel - Art

Silver Key Award
Lily Barton – Sculpture; Heather Bird – Drawing; Mitchell Chapman – Photography; Julianna Estall – Mixed Media; Samantha Eubanks – Ceramics/Glass; Michael Ficaro – Drawing;
Kelle Flynn – Photography; Nithin Gade – Mixed Media; Claire Hayse – Photography;
Michael Hrubec – Drawing; Allison Koch – Photography; Adam Kotel – Photography;
Margaree Lachowiez – Ceramics/Glass; Emily Maczko – Ceramics/Glass;
Jeffrey Meeker – Ceramics/Glass; Jordan Sarti – Mixed Media; Brett Seasly – Drawing;
Dijana Silijanoska – Drawing; Dijana Silijanoska – Mixed Media; Ed Viray – Ceramics/Glass; Radoslaw Wierbowski – Sculpture; Alisa Zhou – Ceramics/Glass

Honorable Mention
Vanessa Barajas – Ceramics/Glass; Bridget Bicek – Photography (2);
Margaret Cipriano – Photography; Heather Erhart – Ceramics/Glass; Juliana Estall – Painting; Juliana Estall – Drawing; Aura Evans – Mixed Media; Rebecca Ficht – Mixed Media;
Kelle Flynn – Photography; Hayley Gomoll – Digital Art; Allison Koch – Digital Art;
Adam Kotel – Photography; Emily Maczko – Mixed Media; Ryan Magliola – Sculpture;
Paige Miller – Drawing; Scott Mitchell – Sculpture; Sarah Moore – Ceramics/Glass;
Crystal Ponce – Drawing; Brianna Richardson – Painting; Rachel Riggin – Photography;
Kelsey Roske – Ceramics/Glass; Chris Sadowski – Ceramics/Glass;
Emma Topps – Drawing; Taylor Wold -Photography

Monday, January 24, 2011

DGS Jazz @ the 2011 Purdue Jazz Festival

Members of the Downers Grove South High School Jazz program took their show on the road this past weekend, participating in the 21rst Annual Purdue University Jazz Festival. This regional festival, which features oustanding high school jazz bands from more than 70 schools from Illinois, Michigan and Indiana, began with a Friday evening performance that featured the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra from New York city. On Saturday, more than 1,000 student musicians performed for panels of internationally acclaimed jazz musicians for feedback and as part of a competition.

The DGS Jazz Ensemble performed in the Loeb Playhouse and earned a Division I rating. Additionaly, the Jazz Ensemble was named the Honor Band for Loeb Playhouse for the day. The DGS Jazz Ensemble has been named an Honor Band at Purdue in '07, '10 and '11. Twelve DGS student musicians earned Oustanding Musicianship/Soloist Awards from the judges. Congratulations to Carmy Calabria, drums; Mike Ruth, alto saxophone; Trevor Yde, drums; Julia Wood, bass; Billy Moroney, tenor saxophone; Andrada Pteanc, bass; Alex Bahaveolos, trombone/vocals; Ian Williams, piano; Zach Plata, clarinet; Josiah Williams, trombone; Elliot Bild, trumpet; and Christian Siki, alto saxophone.

The DGS Jazz Lab Band performed in Stewart 302, earning a Division I rating. Additionally, the DGS JLB earned an Oustanding Performance citations, placing second in their room for the day. DGS JLB has earned either Outstanding Performance ('07, '08, '09, '11) or Honor Band ('10) over the past four years. Eleven students earned Oustanding Musicianship/Soloist Awards from the judges. Congratulations to Joe Hughes, trombone; Milo Pokrzywnicki, piano; John Shimanek, trumpet; Chris Reusz, alto saxophone; Matt Glad, piano; Brian Moroney, drums; Mason Maguire, tenor saxophone; Sean Hux, tenor saxophone; Morgan Baade, baritone saxophone; Kelly Papanicholas, alto saxophone; Ben Stearns, guitar.

DGS also had two student-led combos that performed during the course of the day. One of the two combos earned a Division I rating for thier performance. Between the two combos, nine students earned Oustanding Musicianship/Soloist Awards. Congratulations to Mason Maguire, tenor saxophone; Julia Wood, bass (2); Alex Bahaveolos, trombone; Carmy Calabria, drums (2); Ian Williams, piano (2); Mike Ruth, alto saxophone; Elliot Bild, trumpet; Christian Siki, alto saxophone; Sean Hux, tenor saxophone.

Additionaly, sophomore Christian Siki was named one of two OUTSTANDING SOLOISTS in the South Tower Combo performance room. Christian also earned this distinction for his work with the DGS Lab Band at the 2010 Festival.

"This festival is truly a jazz immersion weekend, and we are completely proud of how our students performed both on and off the stage at the festival." said DGS Fine Arts Chairman Glenn Williams. "Having a showing of this calibre at a festival of this size and scope speaks to the high performance level of the student jazz musicians here at DGS."

Come and hear the award winning DGS and DGN jazz groups on Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 7:00 PM in North High's Clarence Johnson Auditorium as they share the stage with the renowned Northern Illinois University Jazz Ensemble and guest artist Ernie Watts. Takes are $8 for adults and $6 for students and are available at the door.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jazz Cafe 2011

Congratulations to the student jazz musicians from DGS and from Eisenhower, Jefferson, Lakeview and O'Neill for a fabulous evening of jazz tonight. Special thanks also to our guest artist, Dr. Bob Lark from DePaul University, who was featured with nearly every ensemble tonight. Special thanks also to Amy Fisher from EXIT UNDERGROUND in Naperville for bringing her inventory of TOMS Shoes this evening. Jazz performance is indeed alive and well in Downers Grove and the surrounding communities!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

01-20-11 - Jazz Cafe featuring Dr. Bob Lark, DePaul University

The 2011 Jazz Cafe will feature performing groups from DGS, Eisenhower, Jefferson, Lakeview and O'Neill. Guest soloist with all of these groups is Dr. Bob Lark, director of the Jazz Studies Program at DePaul University. Jazz Cafe is Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 6:00 PM in the DGS Cafetorium. Admission is free.

The charity for this year is the TOMS Shoes initiative, a concept where a pair of shoes is donated to an under resourced child for every pair of shoes purchased. Shoes will be available at the event, provided by EXIT UNDERGROUND from Naperville, the largest TOMS distributor in the midwest.

Great music. Great cause. Free. Be there. Aloha.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

IMEA Preview Concert 2011

The DGS auditorium resonated with amazingly professsional sounds this evening as the Lakeview Junior High School Wind Ensemble and the Downers Grove South High School Madrigal Singers shared the stage in preparation for their upcoming performances at the Illinois Music Educators' Assocation State convention. The level of poise and performance from both ensembles foreshadows nothing but stunning performances at the coming convention.
The DGS Madrigal Singers, directed by Laura Coster with accompanist Belford Hernandez, will perform in Peoria on Friday, January 28, 2011 at 10:15 AM at the Riverside Church. The Lakeview Junior HS Wind Ensemble, directed by Tom Tedeschi and Brian Ohlsen, will perform on Saturday, January 29 at 9:30 AM at the Peoria Civic Center.
"The level of musical exeuction this evening exceeds expectations for a state level performance from both ensembles." said DGS Fine Arts Chairman Glenn Williams. "We are so proud of all of these students for their preparation, and, proud of their directors for taking this professional risk to pursue a performance of this nature for the students."

DGS 2011 All-State Musicians

Please join me in congratulating the 2011 Downers Grove South High School All-State musicians. These students will rehearse and perform concerts led by nationally renowned guest conductors during the Illinois Music Educators' Assocation state convention from January 26-29, 2011.

All-State Band
Pat Bartlett – junior – tuba
Carly Charles – junior – horn
Billy Moroney – junior – clarinet
Lexi Osborn – senior – flute
Zach Plata – junior – clarinet
Michelle Spiewak – junior – horn
Tiffany Wu – senior - flute
All-State Choir
Lilly Space – senior – Alto I
All-State Honors Choir
Erin C. Walsh – junior – Soprano I
Samantha Worlton – senior – Alto II
All-State Orchestra
Aaron Collins – junior - Violin
Nikki Mihelich – senior - Cello
Lisa Salazar – junior – viola
Suzanne Segredo – senior - oboe
All-State Jazz Band
Mike Ruth – junior – Alto Saxophone
Future Music Educator Seminar
Callie Sorce Music
Composition Contest
1st place – Arranging – Rhapsody on Two Familiar Folk Songs Zach Plata – junior
1st place – Vocal Solo – In Our Hearts Meredith Richard - senior
Lilly Space – senior – Alto I

Thursday, January 06, 2011

2011 DGS Middle School Choir Festival

Tonight, student musicians from 5 schools joined forces to celebrate choral music in Downers Grove and the surrounding communities. Choirs from Eisenhower Junior High School, Puja Modi, director; Jefferson Junior High School, Alex Buda, director; Lakeview Junior High School, Jenny Berman, director; and O'Neill Middle School, Glen Sorgattz, director, joined forces with students from the DGS Choirs for this annual festival. Following an afternoon filled with sectionals, pizza, rehearsals and t-shirts, the DGS Overtones, Treble Ensemble, Chamber Singers and Madrigal Singers lead off a concert that concluded with the combined choirs performing two numbers. Special thanks to the DGS Choral Music Team of Joy Belt-Roselieb, Laura Coster, and Belford Hernandez for formulating the events for the afternoon and evening. "The foundation of the DGS choral program is in our strong sender school programs." said DGS Department Chairman Glenn Williams. "The spirit of vertical collaboration for the sake of choral music performance is impressive indeed." For more information about DGS Choirs, contact Glenn Williams at

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year from DGS Fine Arts

DGS Fine Arts wishes the warmest greetings of the season as we embark on this new year. Help us "toast" in the new year by taking a long, cool drink from the new water fountain in the DGS Music Suite. Special thanks to DGS administration and the CMG staff for supporting and providing this wonderful new addition to our space.