Monday, May 24, 2021

Welcome New Fine Arts Faculty!

District 99 Fine Arts is pleased to welcome the following educators to the faculty of North and South High Schools!

Mr. Jerry Lowrey - Downers Grove South High School Fine Arts Department Chairperson

Mr. Jerry Lowrey joins the Administrative Team of South High School as Fine Arts Department Chairperson, and Music faculty member. Mr. Lowrey earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Roosevelt University and his Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership from Northeastern University.  He also has many hours of coursework in Jazz Studies and Music Education. 

Jerry Lowrey

Mr. Lowrey recently completed his 12th year as an educator, the past four years as Music Department Chairperson and Director of Bands at Hoffman Estates High School.  Prior to his tenure at Hoffman Estates, Mr. Lowrey spent six years at LaGrange School District 105 in several roles including Band Director, Fine Arts Chairperson, and Assistant Principal. His first two years of teaching were in Elmwood Park District 401. Prior to transitioning into the field of education Mr. Lowrey developed an advanced digital recording studio and co-founded an independent record label. His musical experiences are vast and he has been involved with multi-cultural awareness activities and culture-building initiatives.

Mr. Lowrey has been lauded for his vision, his ability to connect with students, and his leadership skills.  When describing Mr. Lowrey’s impact during his tenure at Hoffman Estates, his former Principal said, “He brought inclusiveness and excitement to a program that didn’t have any. He connected with kids and made the entire functioning of the program revolve around students.”

Ms. Laura Murphy - Downers Grove South High School Visual Art

Ms. Laura Murphy joins the faculty at Downers Grove South High School to teach Drawing and Painting in the Visual Arts Department. Ms. Murphy holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with a concentration in Drawing (2018). In Earning the BFA, she studied various art media, ultimately completing her BFA Thesis “The Human Condition Expressed Through Body Language,” a series of life figure drawings, which was displayed at Exhibition in April of 2018. 

Laura Murphy

Following her formal education, Ms. Murphy moved to North Carolina to work as a Youth and Development Director, doing community outreach, developing youth programs, and working directly with the schools in Randolph County, NC to aid students falling behind academically. Working with those students and that community inspired Ms. Murphy to pursue certification in Art Education.

Most recently, Ms. Murphy earned her PK-12 Visual Arts License, as well as her Master of Science in Art and Design Education degree from Northern Illinois University (2021). While she continues to love creating her own art, Ms. Murphy finds particular joy in teaching the creative process to others. 

Mr. Andrew Snider - Downers Grove North High School Theatre

Mr. Andrew Snider joins the faculty of Downers Grove North High School to teach Acting, Theatre Design & Craft, Creative Writing, and lead the co-curricular Theatre program at DGN. 

Andrew Snider

Mr. Snider hails from Georgia where he has been teaching in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. Mr. Snider holds a B.A. in Theater and Performance Studies from Kennesaw State University and a degree in English Education from the University of North Georgia. Since joining the theater community fifteen years ago, Mr. Snider has  worked with SAG actress Karen Beyer, Dramatist Guild member and playwright Margaret Baldwin, and Emmy winner Sarah Clay Lindvall. Along with his work in Georgia, Mr. Snider completed a six-month college internship with Walt Disney World Entertainment. There he was an atmospheric performer as well as in shows and parades spanning all four of Disney’s theme parks and resorts in Orlando, Florida.

Mr. Snider has led multiple casts to the Georgia Junior Theater Festival, One-Act Competition and submissions to the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards. All casts performed with excellent regards while receiving various accolades and honors.  Some of his favorite productions to direct have included Beauty and the Beast, Steel Magnolias, A Year with Frog and Toad, and The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Some of his favorite roles include Ali Hakim in Oklahoma!, Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Eli in The Spitfire Grill. When not teaching or performing, Mr. Snider enjoys movies, reading, and spending time with his miniature poodle named Charlie. 

Ms. Amanda Zall - District 99 Orchestra

Ms. Amanda Zall joins the faculty of North and South High School to teach Symphonic Orchestra and Concert Orchestra classes at both campuses, as well as co-teach Symphonic Band at North High. 
Amanda Zall

Ms. Zall is a 2021 graduate from the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University. She studied Music Education and Cello with Gregory Wood and was a former member and principal chair of the Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra. During her time at Syracuse, Ms. Zall enjoyed performing in different ensembles, including: pit orchestras, chamber groups, Baroque and Brazilian ensembles and steel bands. She also served as the assistant orchestra conductor for the Nottingham High School After School Orchestra (2018).

Outside of orchestra, Ms. Zall was a member of the Syracuse University Marching Band where she played trombone and served as Drum Major for three years (2017-2021). Ms. Zall also served as the conductor for the Student Brass Ensemble (2020) and studied conducting with Dr. James Tapia. When not pursuing music professionally, Ms. Zall enjoys hiking, baking and attending concerts.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Marching Mustangs 2021 Season Video


Congratulations to the students and staff affiliated with the 2020-2021 Marching Mustangs on the release of their 2021 Season Video.  Huge shout-out to the Bitter Jester Production Company led by Nic DeGrazia and Dan Kullman for sharing their artistic expertise to showcase the work of these students.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

DGS Bands 2021 Virtual Spring Concert

Enjoy the sounds and sights of the DGS Bands 2021 Virtual Spring Concert featuring senior soloists Bianca Gonzales and Matthew Leinart!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

DGS Fine Arts Salutes the Class of 2021!


The DGS Fine Arts Department extends a heartfelt congratulations and bids a fond farewell to the Sorth High School Class of 2021. Specifically, we acknowledge the artists in Music, Theatre and Visual Art who elevated our standards throughout their academic journey and will leave behind a legacy of high achievement and artistic excellence. Every one of you has ignited our passion for the arts through your exhibitions and performances. We wish you each great success in your future endeavors, and encourage you to return to your Alma Mater and visit frequently! 

If you are unable to celebrate locally with the graduating class, you may view the ceremony by clicking HERE. The commencement ceremony is scheduled to begin at 5:00 PM (CST) on Friday, May 21.

2021 DGS Choirs Spring Concert - "Imagine The Possibilities."


The students and staff affiliated with the choirs of Downers Grove South High School are pleased to present their 2021 Spring Concert, "Imagine The Possibilities."  The concert will premiere on Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 7:00 pm.  Archived viewing is on the South High Fine Arts You Tube Channel. 

Special shout out to the DGS Choirs staff for their amazing dedication this year creating these virtual concerts!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

D99 Orchestra: Spring Virtual Concert Thursday Night!

Please join us for the premiere of the District 99 Orchestra Spring Virtual Concert, featuring the District 99 Orchestra, District 58 Orchestras, Select Chamber Ensembles, Senior Soloists - Justin Berghorst, Paige Sadler & Jesse Wei and District 99 Orchestra Alumni! The concert premiers Thursday night (5/13/2021) at 7:00 PM (CST) on the DGS Fine Arts YouTube Channel.

Click HERE for a direct link to the broadcast or navigate to

Click HERE for a link to the flipbook version of the program

Click HERE for a .pdf version of the program

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

2021 Downers Grove South High School Virtual Spring Art Show


 Congratulations to the visual art students and faculty at Downers Grove South High School for producing the 2021 Virtual Spring Art Show.  Works from nearly 500 student artists in multiple media strands are represented in this stunning presentation.

Monday, May 03, 2021

American Heart Association/Downers Grove South Postcard Contest

On behalf of the DGS Fine Arts Department and the American Heart Association, we are excited to announce the winners of the Heart Art postcard contest. Congratulations to the following students:

1st Place: Amina Kaleem


2nd Place:  Kate Plass



3rd Place:  Victoria Caraiman


The winners will receive Amazon gift cards and prize bags from the American Heart Association and Blick Art Supplies, and all participants will receive a shirt from the American Heart Association. Please pick up all prizes and shirts in the Activities office!

We are so proud of all of the hard work everyone put into their creations for this contest- we were blown away by all of the submissions!

As a reminder:  the top three artworks will be turned into postcards which will be on sale at a date that is TBD. We will make an announcement about the postcard sale within the next two weeks.

Special shout out to Jennifer Martinez, Student Activities, for making this event happen. Also shout outs to Ms. Wascher and Mr. Johnson from the visual art faculty for sponsoring the contest.