Monday, March 20, 2017

2017 District 99 Vocal Honors Recital #99Learns #dgspride

Congratulations to the students of the North and South High School Choral Music Programs on their beautiful performances at the 2017 District 99 Vocal Honors Recital.

Special thanks and recognition is also extended to the Private Voice Instructors who mentor these outstanding musicians: Keith Bertrandt, Todd Diehl, Colleen Lingenfelter, Holley McKee, Jann Mochelle, Ingrid Mueller, and Stephanie Springer.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

DGS Artists Earn National Scholastics Recognition

National Scholastics Art and Writing Awards Silver Medal Winner
Stephanie Stewart, artist
"The Uncreative Mind"

National Scholastics Art and Writing Awards Silver Medal Winner
Emmanuelle Copeland, artist

South High School in Downers Grove is pleased to announce that after competitive adjudication for National Scholastic Awards Emmanuelle Copeland and Stephanie Stewart have earned National Silver Medals in the Scholastic Scholastic Art and Writing Awards  

Since 1923, the Scholastic Art and Writing Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious award and recognition program for creative teens. This year, more than 330,000 works of art and writing were submitted. Only the top 1% were recognized at the national level. 

"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 Stephanie and Emmanuelle for earning this recognition at a national level."

Congratulations are also extended to mentor teachers Mrs. Robyn Bican and Ms. Katherine O'Truk.  

For more information about South High School visual art  contact Fine Arts Department Chair Glenn Williams at

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Congratulations @D99Orchestra! #99Learns #dgspride

Congratulations to the members of the District 99 Orchestras on a terrific concert! The Concert Orchestra and the Symphonic Orchestra both played with great attention to musical detail and sophisticated artistry.

Bravo to Senior Concerto Soloists Abby Pfeiffer and Lauren O'Neil for their stand-out performances this evening!

Special thanks to the members of the DGN Bands for their contributions to the symphonic repertoire performed.

District 99 Orchestra Concert Tonight!

The District 99 Concert Orchestra and Symphonic Orchestra will present a concert this evening in the Clarence Johnson Auditorium of North High School, beginning at 7:00 PM. This concert is free and doors open (General Seating) at 6:30 PM.  

Tonight's concert will be streamed live on High School Cube. Click HERE to be redirected to the broadcast. This same link will remain active for 30 days for re-broadcast viewing.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

2017 IHSA Solo and Ensemble Festival Results

Student musicians from South High School in Downers Grove participated in the 2017 Solo and Ensemble Contest sponsored by IHSA and hosted this year at Hillcrest High School.

Students prepare solos and ensembles and play for an expert adjudicator, receiving both a score and a rating, and, formative feedback for improvement.  Additionally, students performing solos must play scales from memory, demonstrating technical mastery on their instruments outside of their prepared solo work.

In total, over 80 students participated in over 57 different events.   43 students performed as soloists, and  28 students formed 10 different ensembles during the course of the day.  Students from both the bands and the orchestras from South High School participated in this event.

"Regardless of rating or score, we are proud of every student for choosing to pursue musical growth through this process."  said Fine Arts Department Chairman Glenn Williams.  "The individual growth that occurs through studying and performing chamber music is substantial."

Six events during the course of the day earned a perfect score, 40/40, from the judge in their performance room:  Allie Brandt, clarinet;  Harry Kamitani, violin;  Danny King and Allie Brandt, clarinet duet;  Lauren Mule, violin and Isaac Rutledge, flute.  Additionally, junior Nicolette Cheaure, viola, and Carson Aldrich, trombone,  earned a "Best in Room" citation.  This is a citation given by the judge for having the most superior performance in the room for that day.

Here are the students that earned a Division I rating, described on the judges sheet as "a superior performance - outstanding in nearly every detail."

Carson Aldrich and Matt Burrows, brass duet
Carson Aldrich, trombone solo - Best in Room Citation
Andre Beikircher, violin solo
Michael Beube, violin solo
Allie Brandt, clarinet solo - Perfect Score
Jake Burrow, Gillian Rustik, Adam Rosignal, Paul Kozak, brass quartet
Nicolette Cheaure, viola solo - Best in Room Citation
Samantha Contreras, trumpet solo
George Dufresne, flute solo
Michaela Dukes, violin solo
Isabelle Genin, violin solo
Samantha Guagliardo, euphonium solo
Brian Ha, violin solo
Tommy Hansen, trombone solo
Megan Holley, violin solo
O'Shay Jackson, bassoon solo
Rachel Joseph, violin solo
Rachel Joseph and Brian Ha, string duet
Harry Kamitani, violin solo - Perfect Score
Danny King, clarinet solo
Danny King and Allie Brandt, clarinet duet- Perfect Score
Amelia Korbitz, Bryan Monk, Nicolette Cheaure, Therese Malinkowski -  string quartet
Matt Laczynski, trombone solo
Aoife McGivern, viola solo
Kristina Mucha, clarinet solo
Mary Mulcahey, flute solo
Lauren Mule, violin solo - Perfect Score
Andrew Pawelczyk, snare drum solo
Brian Piller, alto sax solo
Olivia Porcaro, flute solo
Maddy Pteanc, violin solo
Hailey Rodden, oboe solo
Brock Royle, violin solo
Isaac Rutledge, flute solo - Perfect Score
Emily Schwab, bassoon solo
Chandana Sooranahalli and Nithin Nathan, violin duet
Lauren Swain, bassoon solo
Katherine Wilkinson, violin solo
Susan Zhou, clarinet solo.

Here are the students that earned a Division II rating, described on the judges sheet as "An excellent performance - minor defects."

Matt Burrows, trombone solo
Lauren Diddia, oboe solo
Zoe Kohnke and Missy Tepe, clarinet duet
Amy Landson, piano solo
Sana Nasib, viola solo
Anna Schroeder, clarinet solo
Mason Taylor, cello solo
Paige Vondrasek, violin duet
Nathan Weichec, trombone solo
Katherine Wilkinson, Sana Nasib, Andre Beikircher and Delfin Santiago - string quartet

2017 Memory Project

South High School Visual Art students Emmanuelle Copeland, Gabriella Loconti, Samantha Mark, Minal Patel, Anjela To-Ong, Aubrey Vernon and Goda Vertelka recently submitted portraits for the 2017 Memory Project.    

The Memory Project is a charitable nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create portraits for youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, violence, and extreme poverty.  

The portraits serve to help the children feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their well being, and to act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future.  For the art students, we want this to be an opportunity to creatively practice kindness and global awareness.

Special thanks to mentor teachers Robyn Bican and Katherine O'Truk for facilitating this project for both the student artists at South High School and for the students from Syria and Jordan.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

DGS Teacher to present at National Art Education Association Convention

DGS visual art faculty member Michelle Lynn will present a hands-on workshop at the National Art Education Association Convention in New York City from March 2-4, 2017.  Ms. Lynn's presentation "Using Blogs to Unlock Student Artistic Potential" delves into the meta-cognitive processes that have emerged from classroom use of student blogs.  The blogs provide a safe space for student artists to go deeper into the artistic process.  This action research being developed and shared by Ms. Lynn will have a positive pervasive impact on the classroom culture of the teachers in attendance.  Ms. Lynn is also on the forefront using Google Classroom and Google Communities to advance student learning in the arts.  Congratulations to Ms. Lynn for sharing this important professional learning with a broader professional audience.

61 DGS Choir Students to perform at Carnegie Hall

Sixty-one DGS Choir students have been selected to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Saturday, March 25. They will perform along with several other nationally recognized high school choirs.

The students were selected to sing through Choirs of America. Once a year, the COA president invites proven high school choirs to perform at their National Festival in New York City. The invitation was based on DGS Madrigal Singer performances last year at both the Illinois Music Educator’s Convention in Peoria and the American Choral Director’s Central Division Convention in Chicago, which were by recorded audition.

”The chance to sing in New York City is a wonderful accolade and opportunity for our students, who were especially selected for this performance,” says DGS Choir Director Laura Coster, who has taught at the school for over 30 years and is retiring this year. Coster and collaborative pianist Ricardo Pedroza have been rehearsing with the students, including working on a newly commissioned piece by composer Randall Stroope for the massed choir performance.

Please click here to see photos and a video of the choir practicing.

Before  the performance at Carnegie Hall, students will participate in a clinic at Queens’s College with nationally known clinicians.

“It has been an exciting challenge to prepare the singers from all grades to learn very challenging literature for the event, and the students are working hard and are excited to perform outside of their community,” says Coster. “While the trip will include several other sightseeing opportunities for the group, the Carnegie Hall performance will most likely be the most memorable for these young adults.”

Rotary Scholarships for Seniors in Music now being accepted!

Rotary Music Scholarship applications now being accepted!
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 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 postmarked by Wednesday, April 5, 2017. If selected as a finalist, candidates must be available for an interview and audition on the evening of Monday, May 1, 2017.
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.