Thursday, March 27, 2014

2014 Instrumental Music Day

As a culminating activity to a chamber music unit, students in the South High School Bands participated in the 2014 Instrumental Music Day.  Students in Concert Band and Symphonic Band have spent up to 6 hours of class time preparing solo and small ensemble repertoire.  Today the students performed for each other and for three professional outside adjudicators, Catie Hickey, Carlos Zabala, and Stefanie Abderhalen.  In addition to receiving a rating for their performance, the students also received immediate formative feedback and a handwritten evaluation sheet.

Students in Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony listened to a recital by Catie Hickey and Carlos Zabala, and were presented with a master class on the skills and tools needed to be a 21st century work force asfree lance musician and artist.  Additionally, flutists in Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony were given a flute performance master class by Ms. Adherhalen.

Thanks to Mr. Hensel for organizing and implementing this event for our student musicians.

Monday, March 24, 2014

2014 D99 Honors Recital

Congratulations to the student soloists and the ensembles for being selected to participate in the 2014 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 - 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 (

DGS Vocalist performs National Anthem at IHSA State Basketball Finals

Kudos and congratulations to senior DGS vocalist Mariah Copeland for being selected to perform the National Anthem at the IHSA 3A/4A State Basketball finals on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at the Carver Arena in the Peoria Convention Center in Peoria, Illinois.  Copeland was chosen for this honor based on her strong showing at the ILMEA All-State call-back auditions in November of 2013.

An unsolicited comment from a patron at the event describes Copeland's performance:  "She sang it with dignity and clarity. My wife and I are from the Peoria area and we are high school "basketball junkies".  She sang it as it was meant to be. She has an outstanding voice. I wish her well in all her further endeavors."

Well done Mariah - thanks for your dedication to vocal performance excellence, and for representing your school and community in such a musical and dignified manner.

DGS Jazz at 2014 ISU Jazz Invitational

Congratulations to the student musicians in the South High School Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Workshop and Jazz Combo, and their directors Craig Roselieb and Greg Hensel for their recent performance at the 2014 Illinois State University Invitational Jazz Festival.  In addition to participating in clinics, master classes and performing for adjudicator feedback, the students listened to jazz great Dave Pietro perform with the ISU Jazz Ensemble.  Several DGS alums were performing with the ISU Jazz Ensemble on the concert.

21 ensembles from 11 schools performed during the course of the festival.  The Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Workshop and Jazz Combo all earned top honors in their respective divisions.  Senior John Shimanek, trumpet, and junior Sam Tedeschi were recognized by the judges as Outstanding Soloists for the festival.  Additionally, the Jazz Ensemble was named "Grand Champion" of the event, earning the opportunity to open for the ISU Jazz Ensemble on the evening grand finale concert.  "We are extremely proud of these student musicians and their dedication to jazz performance excellence."

Monday, March 17, 2014

South High School National Scholastic Art Awards student winners

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious award and recognition program for creative teens. This year the Scholastic Awards received 255,000 submissions for the 2014 program year. Over 68,000 works in art and writing were recognized at the regional level. Of those, 16,668 earned Gold Keys – and were considered for National Awards.  

South High School in Downers Grove is pleased to announce that four pieces by three student artists have been selected after competitive adjudication for National Awards.
  •  Karolina Ambrazaite merited a Gold Medal for her piece Family of Three
  • Erin Motyl merited a Silver Medal for her piece Point and Shoot.  
  • Maria Padilla merited a Silver medal for her piece I am Not Scared
Additionally, Maria Padilla earned an American Vision Medal for her piece Lost.  American Vision Medals are given to works that are considered "Best in Show" by the national panel of judges.

Student work will be in exhibition at Carnegie Hall in New York, New York starting with an gala opening on June 6, 2014.  

"Earning a national award from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the pinnacle of success for a high school artist." said Fine Arts department chairman Glenn Williams.  "We are extremely proud of these three student artists, and their mentor teacher Michelle Ross, for earning this recognition at a national level."

"I am extremely proud of Maria, Karolina, and Erin." said mentor teacher Michelle Ross.  Ross continues: "All three are seniors in the Digital Photo AP program. Each are an example of amazing talent and tremendous effort over the years. Maria and Erin are going to continue to study art and photography at the college level. In any case, all three have a special passion for photography and deserve every bit of this tremendous honor. I hope to accompany them to Carnegie Hall!"

For more information about South High School visual art, contact Glenn Williams, department chairman, at
Lost by Maria Padilla
2014 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards
American Vision Medal winner

Family of Three by Karolina Ambrazaite
2014 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards
Gold Medal Winner

Point and Shoot by Erin Motyl
2014 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards
Silver Medal Winner

I'm Not Scared by Maria Padilla
2014 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards
Silver Medal Winner

Friday, March 14, 2014

D99 students experience the highest form of art........

Members of the District 99 Orchestra enjoyed the opportunity to experience opera at its finest today.  Thanks are extended to the Lyric Opera for scheduling the special matinee performance for schools.  The educational materials provided to students were rich with information, and the entire experience this afternoon was geared toward helping students understand the entire production process.  So much so that the curtain was left open between the second intermission and Act III so that students could watch the set-changes taking place in the theatre. 

Thank you, Ms. Mullen, for planning and organizing what was - for many students - their first trip to a professional opera.   

Thursday, March 13, 2014

D99 Orchestra at Lyric Opera

Members of the District 99 Orchestra have the opportunity today to experience professional opera at the highest artistic level while attending the Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Dvorak's "Rusalka."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Well done District 99 Orchestra!

The District 99 Orchestra presented a fabulous Winter Concert this evening, featuring diverse programming and exceptional soloists.  Highlights included Ashokan Farewell performed by the Concert Orchestra, a student arrangement of  "The Swan" from The Carnival of The Animals featuring cello and alto saxophone arranged by Samantha Young, and two stunning senior soloists, violist Kathryn Krajewski and cellist Andrew Molina.

Both Concert Orchestra and Symphonic Orchestra played musically and with mature sounds on every selection.  Special shout out to the winds and percussion for performing extremely well on both the Hoffmeister and the Dvorak.  The generous standing ovation by the patrons at the end of the performance was well deserved by the student musicians and their conductor, Jennifer Mullen.

If you missed the performance it is archived on the High School Cube.  You can view the performance by
clicking HERE.

South High School Junior earns Alliance of Fine Art Top Prize

Behind the Scenes  by Allison Quinn

South High School junior Allison Quinn has earned the top prize of $500 in the Alliance of Fine Art regional art competition.

Established in 1962, the Alliance of Fine Art, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization, is an alliance of several artists’ leagues in Illinois.  Their mission is to promote fine art awareness and appreciation in our community, support art education in our schools, share resources and provide educational as well as exhibition opportunities for artists. This includes the fine art of painting, watercolor, collage, photography, pastels, colored pencil, drawings, sculptures, acrylics, mixed media, ink and oils, and more.  The Alliance of Fine Art is comprised of 12 member leagues, of which Downers Grove is a member.  

Each member league submitted one work for the regional competition.  Behind the Scenes  by Allison Quinn was selected as the most outstanding piece in the region after the Alliance of Fine Arts hosted their adjudication.

"We are continually proud of our student artists and their diverse involvement in the total school at South."  said department chairman Glenn Williams.  "We also congratulation Marcia Hansen, Allison's mentor teacher in the production of this outstanding work."

Monday, March 10, 2014

D99 Orchestra prepares for concert

The District 99 Orchestra is busy preparing for their concert on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 7:00 PM in the auditorium at South High School.  Featured on this concert will be senior soloists Andrew Molina on cello and Kathryn Krajewski on viola.

If you are unable to join us in the auditorium at South HS, the concert will be streamed live on the internet on the High School Cube for remote viewing.  You can view the performance by clicking here:

2014 IHSA Solo and Ensemble Results

On Saturday, March 8, 2014, the IHSA sponsored Solo and Ensemble Contests at multiple regional sites throughout the state.  South High School was assigned to the site hosted by Hinsdale South High School, which presented just over 870 events.

59 students from South High School participated in 42 events, earning earning 39 Division  I ratings and 20 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."

Two South High School students received perfect scores from their room judge:  Senior Rachel Wydra on bassoon and Senior Andrew Molina on cello.  

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 in a specific room.  Four events from South High earned this distinction during the course of the contest:  Andrew Molina, cello, 
Brooke Nuccio, flute;  Sam Tedeschi, tuba and Rachel Wydra, bassoon.

"Participating in chamber music develops musicianship skills in a singularly unique manner." said Fine Arts Department Chairman Glenn Williams.  "We are proud of all of these student musicians for choosing this course of rigor, and, for having the grit to complete this process to perform for expert evaluative feedback and for a rating."  

Best of Day Awards
Andrew Molina, cello
Brooke Nuccio, flute
Sam Tedeschi, tuba
Rachel Wydra, bassoon

Earning Division I rating from South High School:
Helena Beikircher - violin solo, string ensemble
Stephanie Bertenshaw - flute solo
Haley Beube - violin solo, string ensemble
Nikil Chari - violin solo
Seth Collins - violin solo, string ensemble
Mary Eterno - clarinet trio
Amanda Field - clarinet solo
Nikitha Gade - flute solo
Samantha Gaspari - flute solo
Briana Imgruet - trumpet solo
Nick Kersting - bassoon duet
Kathryn Krajewski - viola solo, string ensemble
Andrew Molina, cello solo
Bridget Moroney - clarinet duet
Kristina Mucha - clarinet trio
Brooke Nuccio - flute solo
Nick Nuccio - horn trio
Dan Piccoli - alto saxophone solo
Julia Poska - clarinet duet
Kelsey Richardson - bass clarinet solo
Gillian Rustik - horn trio
Joseph Shen - flute solo
John Shimanek - trumpet solo
Chandana Sooranhali - violin solo, string ensemble
Kayleigh Stewart, flute
Andrew Sullivan-Boorman, horn solo
Kyla Swain - horn solo, horn trio
Laura Swain - bassoon duet
Sam Tedeschi - tuba solo
Allison Williams - cello solo
Rachel Wydra - bassoon solo
Susan Zhou - clarinet trio
Adam Zlotnicki - trumpet solo

Earning  Division II rating South High School:
Anam Ahmed, woodwind trio
Sarah Alfini - woodwind duet
Andrew Baker - trombone solo
Lee Biederman - saxophone quartet
Taylor Christin-Holley - woodwind trio
Tiffany Curtis - mixed duet
Christopher David - saxophone quartet
TJ Hogrefe - woodwind trio
Kevin Hux - trombone solo
Leanna Ivanova - woodwind duet
Claudia Jamarkowicz - mixed duet
Julie Johnson - woodwind trio
Jonathan Nelson - woodwind trio
Carolyn Packard - flute solo
Dan Piccoli - saxophone quartet
Peter Radakovic - euphonium solo
Yvonne Szustakiewicz - woodwind trio
Matt Weichec - saxophone quartet
Mike Ziccarelli - trombone solo

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Warm sounds of the Winter Band Concert

The music of Ticheli and Turner, Mozart and Markowski, Sousa and Saucedo filled the auditorium at South High School tonight as Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble presented their Winter Band Concert.  Featured tonight was the South High School premiere of Noche Triste by Jess Turner, a product of The Consortium for the Advancement of Wind Band Literature.  Kudos and congratulations to the student musicians in both ensembles for a fabulous performance tonight.

Winter Band Concert #2 - TONIGHT!!!

If you are unable to join the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble LIVE in the auditorium at South High School tonight, you can follow the concert remotely on the High School Cube by clicking here,

Featured tonight will be the South HS premiere of Noche Triste by composer Jess Turner.  The concert begins at 7:00 PM Central Standard time.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Live on the Cube!!!!

If you are unable to join us in person in the auditorium at South High School tonight, please tune in on the High School Cube to view the concert from a remote location.  Concert begins at 7 PM CST on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.  

You can view the concert by clicking here:

South High School artist earns top prize at Cleveland Institute of Art competition

"Psychosis" by Michael Baer

South High School junior Michael Baer recently earned top billing at a national competition sponsored by the Cleveland Institute of Art.  

Students from Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina, and Wisconsin were being awarded cash prizes and thousands of dollars in scholarship money as winners of the Cleveland Institute of Art's second 2D3D National Art+Design Competition. The winning artworks were selected by a panel of CIA faculty and submitted by 1,076 students representing over 450 American high schools in 42 states.

In addition to the Best in Category and Best in Show awards, jurors offered a "Juror's Special Merit Award" in each category. Categories included Craft, Design, Integrated Media, and Visual Arts.

Baer earned "Best in Show" and "Best in Category" after the competitive adjudication process was finished.  In addition to national recognition for his work, Baer also earned these prizes:

• $2,500 for "Best in Show"
• $500 for "Best in Category"
• $10,000 a year, or $40,000 for four years if attending the Cleveland Institute of Art.
• A high end gift from Faber-Castell, the corporate sponsor for the competition

South High School Fine Arts congratulates Michael Baer and his faculty sponsor Ms. Michelle Ross, for earning this recognition from the Cleveland Institute of Art.  For more information about visual art at South High School, contact Fine Arts Department Chairman Glenn Williams at

Winter Band Concert #1

The South High School Wind Symphony and Concert Band are preparing for their 2014 Winter Band Concert, the first of two band concerts this week at South High School.  Repertoire will include music by Iwai, Ticheli and Hazo.  Concert begins at 7 pm in the auditorium at South High School.