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Seventeen Sycamore High School students were selected to participate in the 2015 Illinois Music Education (ILMEA) Conference recently held at the Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Illinois. This is the 6th time Sycamore High School has been represented at the prestigious All-State Conference and Sycamore again has one of the largest contingents in the state of All-State musicians in attendance. Students were selected via a rigorous audition process from the district IMEA festival held earlier this year. Illinois has 9 districts throughout the state, and each district was able to send their top students to be represented at this All-State Conference. Scott Mertens, Sycamore School District Music Department Chair comments, “The all-state music experience is unlike any other musical experience.  Students from the entire state come together, are placed into performing ensembles, and put together a concert of challenging music in less than three days.  It is a unique and exciting opportunity for high school musicians that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

The Sycamore High School Symphonic Band has also been invited to perform and be a part of this year’s ILMEA Conference. Last year SHS Band Director, Ken Goodman, submitted an audition recording of the Symphonic Band, which earned them an exciting experience performing on the stage at this year’s conference. Ken Goodman comments, “It is a prestigious honor for us to be invited to perform at ILMEA this year, and a special opportunity and experience for all of the Symphonic Band students.”

All-State musicians were treated to a special rally as they departed for the weekend festival. Fellow students, faculty, and family gathered in the Choir Room for a brief send-off. Sycamore Music Department Chair Scott Mertens comments in a brief speech, “These students were not selected for All-State just because of their talent, but also because of their dedication and choice to spend extra time practicing the audition music. They chose to do something, and do it well.” He also acknowledged the private teachers of these students and their parents and families for their unending support.

Congratulations to the following students from Sycamore High School who have the distinguished honor of being selected for All-State:

All-State Honors Choir: Lauren Brazeau, Falon Findley

All-State Choir:  Collin Koneczny, Thalia Schuesteff, Kara Strohm

All-State Honors Orchestra: Jessica Luo, Kailey Mulligan

All-State Orchestra:  Brett Brancato, Seth Kates, Baylie Petit

All-State Orchestra Winds:  Rachel Hecht, Jordyn Shultz

All-State Honors Band:  Ella Rose Atkins, Emma Olson, Ben Van Wienen, Gracia Watson, Evan Jacobs

During the festival weekend, participants attended numerous rehearsals, attended workshops, panel discussions and master classes, and performed a concert at the Peoria Civic Center.  The opportunity for students and staff to attend this festival was made possible by the Sycamore Music Boosters. Profits from their annual fundraisers are dedicated to support the students and staff of Sycamore music students. Their annual A Note to Remember event is scheduled for Saturday, February 14 at Blumen Gardens from 7:00 – 11:00 pm and will feature the Mardra & Reggie Thomas Ensemble, Jazz In Progress, the Sycamore High School (SHS) Jazz Ensemble, SHS Jazz Choir, and other student ensembles. Tickets are $25.00 and are available to purchase at the Sycamore High School main office or by calling 815.751.8388.

For more information about the Sycamore District music programs, Sycamore Music Boosters, and A Note to Remember, please visit and follow Sycamore Music Boosters on Facebook and Twitter.

Symphonic Band 2014-15-Cropped #2
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