Saturday, March 30, 2013

2013 Swing Central Festival

Enjoy this recap from the Swing Central Festival performance, the Reynolds Square Chamber Ensemble performance, and the Grand Finale evening concert.

Friday, March 29, 2013

2013 Swing Central Jazz Festival

Congratulations to the student musicians in the Jazz Ensemble from South High School in Downers Grove and their director, Craig Roselieb, for their tremendous showing at the 2013 Swing Central Festival in Savannah, Georgia.  12 high school jazz bands from all over the country competed in the festival, held in the stunning Lucas Theatre in downtown Savannah.  When the dust settled, the expert panel of five adjudicators selected DGS as the second place ensemble from the festival, earning high artistic praise and  $2,500 prize money.  The band also earned the opportunity to perform on the evening finale concert with bands from California and Florida.  Well done Mustang musicians - we are proud of your continued sonic success at a national level!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

South HS Bands at Chicago Symphony Center

Enjoy this compilation of the South High School Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble performing at Chicago Symphony Center on Sunday, March 17, 2013 as part of the Manhattan Concert Productions National Band and Orchestra Festival.

2013 Instrumental Music Day

More than 100 students participated in over 50 events during the 2013 Instrumental Music Day.  Student musicians in Concert Band and Symphonic Band performed for ratings and feedback from a panel expert adjudicators including Alex Beltran, Julia Filson and Catie Hickey.  Over 150 students from Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra experienced recitals and master classes that emphasized brass techniques, woodwind techniques and career pathways in music.  Special thanks to the Mustang Band Boosters for supporting this event today which ignited significant student growth.

Reduced carbon footprint, effective hydration......

South High School Fine Arts proudly welcomes the newest member of the music suite, the hands-free bottle filler.  Installed on Monday, March 18, in three short days the unit has already reduced the use of over 400 plastic water bottles.  Effectively hydrated musicians has made for a healthy and happy music suite this week - thanks to DGS for continuing to support our student musicians!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

National Concert Band and Orchestra Festival

The South High School Wind Symphony, conducted by Greg Hensel, and the South High School Wind Ensemble, conducted by Craig Roselieb, participated in the 2013 National Concert Band and Orchestra Festival sponsored by Manhattan Concert Productions on Sunday, March 17, 2013. As part of the festival, the student musicians participated in a clinic with Professor Alan McMurray, and, performed on the stage at Chicago's renowned Symphony Center as part of the competition and festival. After the bands and orchestra performed during the course of the day, the South High School Wind Ensemble was selected as the Honor Band, earning the opportunity to perform on the prestigious evening concert, once again on the stage at Chicago's Symphony Center. The ensemble performed Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations arranged for band by Earl Slocum."The experience of performing in such an artistically sacrosanct space left me breathless." said DGS Wind Ensemble conductor Craig Roselieb. Congratulations to the student musicians and their families for dedicating themselves to the process of sonic excellence that enabled a performance opportunity of this nature to occur.

National Scholastics Art and Writing Awards

Lace Tower by TJ Stice.

South High School in Downers Grove extends congratulations to visual artist TJ Stice who was recently notified he has received national recognition from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
TJ earned a Silver Medal for his Ceramics piece titled Lace Tower.  TJ's sponsoring South High School staff member is Molly O'Brien-Prusa.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards began in 1923, and are today esteemed as the nation’s largest and most prestigious recognition program for teenage artists and writers. This year, more than 200,000 works of art and writing were submitted by students in grades 7 – 12 to the Regional adjudication. Approximately 13,000 works received Gold Key awards at the Regional level, in addition to Silver Key and Honorable Mention winners.

The Gold Key works moved on to the National adjudication. The top 11% , approximately 1500 pieces out of 13,000, received national medals.
Student work will be displayed in a national exhibition in Carnegie Hall in New York, New York. The opening ceremonies and exhibition will occur the end of May 2013.

"We are thrilled with the continued national recognition for students in our visual art program." said Fine Arts Department Chairman Glenn Williams. "This level of success comes only from extreme artistic dedication from the students and staff involved in this process."

For more information about visual arts at South High School, please contact Glenn Williams at

Monday, March 18, 2013

Manhattan Concert Productions National Band and Orchestra Festival

The Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony from South High School in Downers Grove participated in the National Band and Orchestra Festival sponsored by Manhattan Concert Productions.  In preparation for the festival experience, each ensemble received a one hour clinic/master class with Allan McMurray.  Professor McMurray's discernment and ability to communicate complex artistic ideas clearly had a huge sonic imprint on the development of both ensembles.  The sharing of ideas that took place in the two one-hour clinics was tremendous and transformative for the student musicians in both groups.

Sight and Sound collaborate at DGS

Music and Art Exchange Project

Members of the 2012-2013 Symphonic Band began work on a piece of music composed in 2011 by Samuel Hazo entitled “Blue and Green Music.”  This work was based on a 1921 painting by Georia O’Keeffe of the same title.  In producing the painting, O'Keeffe explained her idea that “music could be translated into something for the eye.”  As rehearsals for the performance of this music ensued, the Symphonic Band students learned about the concept of performing with different types of tone and timbre on their instruments.  Indeed, it became possible to take a breath in and exhale using a “blue” tone, and a “green” tone, with cooler air quality than warm air that might be used for “orange” or “red” tone.  Not only did the colors of different combinations of instruments have a significant effect on the sounds of the music, but a synthesizer was used to generate a lush string section sound that contributed to the “blue” and “green” effect of the music in a much different way.  The piece also had a great deal of dynamic expression inherent in the writing, and the students enjoyed expanding their ability to play dynamically shaped phrases of greater and greater contrast and depth.  When the work was performed on March 6, 2013, an enlarged photo of the painting was projected on a screen above the band.  The audience was then allowed the freedom to visualize the painting and hear the music on their own creative and imaginative terms.

Painting and Drawing Studio

Five students in Mrs. Hansen’s 2013 spring semester Painting and Drawing Studio were asked to pick a piece of music that they enjoyed personally, or music that inspired their creativity.  Once the music was picked, each student then created a drawing or sketch of their idea for a painting that would capture their thoughts and feelings about the music they chose in a visual way.  Much like Georgia O’Keeffe in 1921, the students then transformed their ideas onto canvas and developed paintings that were titled as the music they chose.  A description of these thoughts and processes are contained in written paragraph under each of the paintings on display.  On the same March 6, 2013 concert, each of these works was projected onto the screen, and a sample of the music that inspired them was played through the auditorium sound system.  The audience was then free to hear the music and view the creation of each of these students based on their knowledge of reading about the process, and then seeing and hearing the final product.  After the performance of these five works, two of the students then took the opportunity to describe to the audience what the project was like for them.  They shared their thoughts and feelings of inspiration, creation and production of their works of art.   Thanks to participating artists Aura Evans, Josh Johnson, Natalie Pelekh, Crystal Ponce and David Morlock.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Kids Cancer research & DGS Fine Arts

South High School Fine Arts staff member Molly O'Brien-Prusa had her head shaved today at the St. Baldrick's assembly to raise fund for Kids Cancer research.  With a strong end of the week rally, Ms. O'Brien-Prusa rallied and exceeded her goal of $1,000.  Molly's daughter, Maggie, took part in the shaving of Molly's head at the assembly today.

Great work today Ms. O'Brien-Prusa - you made us all proud!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Professor Rodney Whitaker preps the South HS Jazz Ensemble

In preparation for the upcoming Swing Central Jazz Competition and Festival,
Professor Rodney Whitaker from Michigan State University and the former bassist with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, worked with the student musicians in the South High Jazz Ensemble, directed by Craig Roselieb.  The South HS Jazz Ensemble will compete against 12 other high school jazz bands from around the country in Savannah, Georgia from March 25-31, 2013.  During the festival, all twelve bands will perform the same repertoire, creating a unique platform for comparative adjudication.  Professor Whitaker listened to the work of the Jazz Ensemble and provided insight and instruction to prepare the ensemble for success at the coming festival.  The ideas exchanged were captivating and the improvement of the ensemble during the clinic time was remarkable.  The South High School Jazz Ensemble is ready to "put up their Dukes" with the finest jazz bands in the nation!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Millikin University Wind Ensemble visits South High School

Members of the Concert Band, Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble were treated today to an in-class recital by the renowned Millikin University Wind Ensemble.  This ensemble is on their spring concert tour of the greater Chicago-area.  Students were treated to repertoire by Grainger, Arnold and Wilcox-Jenkins.  Special thanks to Mr. Roselieb for facilitating and coordinating this listening opportunity for the student musicians in the Mustang Bands.

Monday, March 11, 2013

2013 D99 Honors Vocal Recital

Congratulations to the student soloists and the Madrigal Singers for being selected to participate in the 2013 District 99 Honors Vocal Recital this evening at Gloria Dei Church in Downers Grove.

Initiated over 20 years ago, the District 99 Honors Vocal Recital showcases the finest vocal musicians in District 99 in an annual collaborative performance. "This event symbolizes what is best in District 99." said South High School Fine Arts Department Chairman Glenn Williams. "It is collaborative, it is predicated on excellence, and it is all about students."

Leading up to this recital, both South and North High Schools hold independent vocal festivals. These festivals, held during the school day, are adjudicated by professional musicians and teachers from outside of District 99. The expert panel of adjudicators provide each student performing event with immediate formative feedback, and, with a score based on the quality of their performance. Each school then holds a run-off competition, where the best events are selected by the panel of adjudicators to perform on the District 99 Honors Vocal Recital. In total, more than 150 chamber music events are adjudicated during the Vocal Festivals at North and South High Schools.

In addition to the District 99 team of teachers working with the student musicians, a superior staff of private voice teachers coach and accompany the student singers through the performance preparation process at both South and North High Schools. These teachers are integral to the student success manifested during this recital.

"Solo singing is the highest level of performance." said North High School Fine Arts Department Chairperson Brayer Teague. "We strive for all of our students to aspire to this level of performance excellence." Once this recital is experienced as a listener, it is clear that the ability to sing with excellence alone and in small groups demonstrates performance mastery better than any other assessment.

For more information about the District 99 Honors Vocal Recital, contact Brayer Teague at North High School ( or Glenn Williams at South High School (

Friday, March 08, 2013

South High School Winter Choir Concert

Last evening, the weather cooperated, permitting the students in the choral program at South High School to perform their Winter Choir Concert.  Nine different ensembles performed a body of literature with exceptional breadth and depth.  Special gratitude is extended to our learning community at South High School and to our concert patrons for their flexibility in scheduling with enabled the students to perform this concert last evening.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

DGS Madrigal Singers @Chicago a cappella Youth Choral Festival

Chicago, IL —Chicago a cappella will bring small vocal ensembles from Chicago-area high schools and children’s choirs together with Chicago a cappella’s professional singers and directors for the group’s second annual Youth Choral Festival on March 9. This non-competitive festival, with workshops held at First Unitarian Church in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, will provide talented young singers with a full day of workshops, singing and performing. Students will enjoy rehearsals with Chicago a cappella’s singers, sectionals led by Chicago a cappella’s directors and ensemble members, and breakout sessions featuring a range of topics from creative vocal percussion to expressive stage performance. The festival will culminate at 5:00 pm with a public concert at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel featuring all the groups, including Chicago a cappella, singing alone and as a large Festival Choir. This year's participating ensembles include young singers from Hubbard High School (Chicago), Downers Grove South High School (Downers Grove), Campanella Children’s Choir (Northbrook) and the Chicago a cappella High School Internship Program.

Chicago a cappella’s Youth Choral Festival will take place Saturday, March 9, 2013, at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 South Woodlawn Avenue, in Chicago, IL. The concert will take place at 5:00 pm. Tickets ($10 adults/$5 students) will be available at the door starting at 4:30 pm. For tickets and information, visit or call (773) 281-7820.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Spring is in the air with the D99 Orchestra

Congratulations to the members of the D99 Orchestra for presenting their 2013 Spring Concert this evening in the Clarence Johnson auditorium at North High School.  Postponed by one evening due to inclement weather, the diverse repertoire performed during the concert included Dust in the Wind, St. Paul's Suite, and Symphony No. 5 in c minor, Movement I by Beethoven.  Special kudos are extended to senior soloists Kathryn Krainc and Tristan Burnham for performing with the D99 orchestra with extreme grace and elegance.  Although the ground outside is still frozen, the sounds from inside the Johnson auditorium this evening warmed the hearts and minds of the patrons in attendance tonight.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Bands Concert Re-Scheduled

Due to inclement weather, District 99 has decided to cancel all events after school on Tuesday, March 4, 2013.  This includes the Winter Bands concert with Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony.

This concert is re-scheduled for Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 7:00 PM in the auditorium at South High School.  The safety of all members of our District 99 learning community is a primary concern. Thanks in advance for your flexibility and for your continuing support of our Mustang Musicians.

Monday, March 04, 2013

South HS vocalist to perform at IHSA State Volleyball Finals

Kudos and congratulations to South High School junior Caitlin Carr for being accepted, through competitive audition, to sing The National Anthem at the IHSA State Volleyball Finals.  An All-State musician, Caitlin earned this honor through a series of continuing auditions during the IMEA District and State Festivals.  

Scholarship Opportunities

The DGMC has recently announced two new $1,000 scholarships for college bound seniors.  Two District 99 music students will be awarded this scholarship money as a way of recognizing outstanding musical achievement and service during high school.  The details are listed below in correspondence from the DGMC Education Co-Chairs.  Links to the organization's website, where  you may find detailed information about how to apply, are also provided below.

This is to announce the availability of a new Downers Grove Music Club (DGMC) music award.  We just received word, that two $1,000 donations have been made to the DGMC with the intent that this money be used this school year, to award two musically accomplished high school college-bound seniors.  The application is available via the website for the DGMC,  The College Music Award information and application is available in the Educational Opportunities section of the website or it can be accessed directly at this link:  Email inquiries may be made to the following address: 

Please make this monetary award opportunity available to all Seniors enrolled in music at both South and North.  Two awards will be given and each recipient will receive $1,000.  As outlined in the actual application, the requirements of the application are as follows:

  • Purpose:  to recognize TWO District 99 High School Music students for excelling at a high level of achievement;
  • Eligibility:  current high school Seniors who are actively pursuing music and who will be attending college in the fall of 2013, are eligible to apply.  These students need NOT be pursuing a music degree program at their chosen college;
  • How to Apply:  complete the written application, along with a required DVD recording;
  • Selection Criteria:  the merit of the applicant’s musical accomplishments and the quality of the applicant’s musical performance.
  • Award Notification:  the announcement of the College Music Award recipients will be made at the spring awards ceremonies at both Downers Grove North and South.

The application must be submitted via hardcopy, postmarked no later than April 8, 2013.  
  • mailing address:  Downers Grove Music Club, Attn: DGMC College Music Awards, P.O. Box 551, Downers Grove, IL  60515
The DGMC would like to thank Good Samaritan Hospital and club member Rose Verona for their generous donations, making these awards possible.

Thanks so much for distributing this information,
Gloria Salazar and Chris Garofalo
Downers Grove Music Club Education Co-Chair

Saturday, March 02, 2013

2013 IHSA Solo and Ensemble Contest

On Saturday, March 2, 2013, the IHSA sponsored Solo and Ensemble Contests at multiple regional sites throughout the state.  South High School was assigned to the site hosted by Schaumburg High School, which presented just over 870 events.

27 students from South High School participated in 25 events, earning earning 19 Division  I ratings and 6 Division II ratings.  IHSA describes a Division I rating as "a superior performance - outstanding in nearly every detail" and a Division II rating as "an excellent performance - minor defects."

During the course of the festival, each adjudicator selects one event as the "Best of the Day"Award to recognize the most Superior Musical Performance heard during the day.  Two events from South High earned this distinction during the course of the content, a tuba solo by senior tubist Zak Paskvan, and a trombone duet by senior trombonists Danny Tedeschi and Josiah Williams.

Earning Division I rating from South High School:
Trevor Adams - trombone quartet
Helena Beikuchner - violin solo
Hayley Beube - violin solo
Nikhil Chari - violin solo
Seth Collins - violin solo
Marjorie Fera - trumpet duet
Emily Foernssler - clarinet duet
Kathryn Krajewski - viola solo
Andrew Molina - cello solo
Bridget Moroney - clarinet solo
Brooke Nuccio - flute solo
Carolyn Packard - flute solo
Zak Paskvan - tuba solo
Dan Reeter - clarinet duet
Kelsey Richardson - bass clarinet
John Shimanek - trumpet duet
Kyla Swain - horn solo
Danny Tedeschi - trombone solo, trombone quartet, trombone duet
Sam Tedeschi - tuba solo
Ian Williams - trombone quartet
Josiah Williams - trombone solo, trombone quartet, trombone duet

Earning  Division II rating South High School:
Sean Hux - cello solo
Vaios Karagiannis - violin solo
Chloe Lapen - viola solo
Tiffany Leung - piano solo
Brian Moroney - marimba solo
Allison Williams - cello solo