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April Page2019 28 January 31, 2018

Iroquois County’s High Schools’ Fine Arts In Memoriam

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The arts in Iroquois County schools A special supplement to Iroquois County’s Times-Republic

April 2019

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Iroquois County’s High Schools’ Fine Arts

April 2019

Watseka Community High School

The Watseka concert choir (above) and band (below) perform at their winter concert.

WCHS keeps arts alive By CARLA WATERS, Managing Editor The arts are alive and well at Watseka Community High School. The district offers band, choir, art and has opportunities for students to be involved in school plays. The band program is directed by Erik Parmenter, who has been with the district for a number of years. This year there were 55 participants in marching band, including the color guard and several eighth grade members that are part of the front ensemble. The marching band competes during the fall months at several different competitions throughout the area and usually does very well. This year the concert band has 40 members and the jazz band has 20 members. Both of these groups take part in some competitions. The jazz band also performs at a few events around the Watseka area.  Parmenter said the students work very hard to perfect their music. “I want all of the WCHS band

students to understand the basic fundamentals of music and playing an instrument,” he said via email. “Whether it is on the football field, the concert stage or the gymnasium, all band members need to understand breathing, posture, positioning the instrument, quality tone production. We also emphasize dynamics, tempo and the fundamentals of mu-

  “Our concert band is really the cornerstone of the band program.  Most people immediately think of marching band because that ensemble is so visible in the community and gets a lot of attention outside the school.  However, in terms of music instruction, there is much more that takes place with our concert band than with the marching band.  It is in

sic that go into quality performances. I expect the students to learn the notes on their own so that we can spend time in rehearsals working on the minute details and adding those elements that really make the performance pop.  Sometimes this happens and sometimes it doesn’t.  When it doesn’t, we end up spending a lot of rehearsal time teaching notes, which does not make anyone happy.

concert band that the students really learn the intricacies of their instruments and how to produce beautiful music.    “Jazz band is an extra-curricular group that meets two days each week from 7:15 - 8 a.m.  This group is for those students who want more experience playing their instrument or want to learn a new instrument.  It also is a chance for students to play other styles of music like jazz, rock, blues and Latin.  Being in jazz band takes more independence and confidence as there is usually no one else in the group playing your notes with you.      “In addition to these groups, students also have the chance to play in the show choir combo as well as participating in solo/ensemble contest and the District 3 IMEA Festival.  My goal is to give our WCHS



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band students every opportunity possible to play their instruments and enjoying making great music.” The choir program also has several groups that perform during the school year. “The WCHS Choir is made up of 70 students,” Parmenter said. “The concert choir focuses on proper singing technique, including breathing, tone production and the fundamentals of music.  Because there are many different ability levels in this large group, I have tried to select music that both challenges the more advanced singers and allows those with less experience to be successful.  The students have been working extremely hard and sound great as we prepare for our upcoming concert. “New this year at WCHS is the Chamber Choir - which is called Una Voce (One Voice).  This is an auditioned group made up exclusively of juniors and seniors.  This group of 8 singers is doing a fantastic job.  They have performed some very challenging music and are excited to perform this spring.     “The most visible group in the WCHS Choir program is the Sensations Show Choir.  The show choir is a hard-working group of students chosen by audition.  They rehearse two nights a week and perform in

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April 2019

Iroquois County’s High Schools’ Fine Arts

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Milford High School

(Left) The MHS fall production was “How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying”. (Below) MHS students have designed a business logo, created set designs and worked on projects for other classes.

Milford High School’s arts continue to grow By WENDY DAVIS, Reporter Growth continues within the Milford High School arts. The Milford High School has developed a “theatre department”. Brian Zecher, who directed this year’s theater productions said, “This year the Milford High School Theatre Department presented ‘Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding’ in the fall and the musical, ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ in the spring. The MHS Art Club has taken trips to EIU “The fall show was quite participated in the VVC art show. interesting since the show required the actors to constantly interact with the audience. This made the rehearsal process very different since much of the script included improvising lines as the actors assumed their characters.   “The musical was a more traditional musical with a written script and some fun songs and choreography. The students did a great job with both productions!” MHS grad Kelsey Cox has taken art teacher position for the district. “We have great enrollment in the art program this year at the high school. We offer art 1, drawing, painting, and ceramics. Starting next year we will be offering a printmaking/graphic design class.

“The school participates in the VVC, Vermilion Valley Conference, art show. This year we had one student place second for her pencil animal drawing. “The high school does have an art club as well. The art club focuses on community service within art. We took a field trip in the fall to EIU and were able participate in a screen printing workshop based off of the gallery work they viewed. They have completed projects for the theatre department, the band and choir classes, the elementary school, the principal, creating a logo for a business, and are now working on painting the kiddie pool at the Milford park.” District music teacher Sandy Hamende offers the participation numbers for band and choir. There are 13 in high school band, 26 in high school choir, 16 in middle school band, and 17 in middle school chorus. Each year the students go to contests. This year there were 12 first place and eight second place ratings at Solo/Ensemble Contest. At IHSA Organizational the choir earned a first place rating; the band didn’t participate. The high school choir also participates in the Milford Christmas Parade. She said, “The winter concert is our first performance for our parents and community. Spring concert shows the growth students have made during the year. We also present the music awards at the spring concert. This year I combined the grade school and high school band for one song. It makes a bigger band and gives several and students a chance to play the bigger instruments like the bass clarinet and baritone saxophone. I also combined the choir and chorus for one song. “Hopefully, this will inspire the younger students to continue being a part of the music program.”


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Iroquois County’s High Schools’ Fine Arts

April 2019

Donovan High School

Donovan junior, senior high schoolers participate in choir, band, plays By WENDY DAVIS, Reporter Donovan’s district music teacher is Matthew Hibbets. The school has both a band and choir, and sometimes the can combine with the junior high programs. The junior and senior highs perform at both the winter and spring concerts. The spring concert will be at 6 p.m. May 7. Hibbets’ students also participate

in contests like solo and ensemble, organizational and the RVC Music Conference. Angela Moos has directed Donovan’s plays. She’s the sixth grade social studies and high school science teacher, but she’s in charge of the play and drama club. This year’s spring play will have both high schoolers and junior high students. The play will be May 10-11.


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Iroquois County’s High Schools’ Fine Arts

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Cissna Park High School

This year Cissna Park High School put on Beauty & the Beast, with more than half of the school’s students participating in some way with the production.

Cissna Park High School keeps arts students participating By WENDY DAVIS, Reporter school band played Jolly Old St. Nicholas and A Shaker Hymn. The junior high school choir Cissna Park’s fine arts encompasses its high sang Pie Jesu, Peace Like a River, and Alshloschool and junior high sha D’varim. The students. high school band The district’s music played Salvation is teacher, Angela NapolCreated and ‘Twas itano, listed the parthe Night Before ticipation in the music Christmas, which classes. was narrated by The high school band our principal, has 11 members, high Mark Portwood. school choir has 11 “The high school members, junior high choir sang selecschool band has 11 tions from their members, and junior madrigal perforhigh school choir has mance. Madrigals 19 members. was very success“Our numbers have ful. This year all stayed about the same of the actors, exover the past two years cept for one, were Cissna Park students play at the winter I’ve been here, but our also members of ability level has grown concert. the choir, which a lot. I would love to hadn’t been done see our abilities continue to grow as well as our in a least a long time. This was a new challenge numbers. and everyone rose to the occasion.” “The winter concert was great! The junior high The students participated in contests this year.

“On March 4, five high school band students participated in the SVC. On April 6, three band students participated in Solo and Ensemble Contest in Watseka and all three received I ratings! Participation in Solo and Ensemble Contest hasn’t happened in awhile, so it was exciting to see our students be successful at that!” The next performance is at 6 p.m. May 7 in the Cissna Park High School Gymnasium. Napolitano said, “This event is shared with the art department, which is a very exciting collaboration.” The event will feature the junior high school band, junior high school choir, junior high and high school art showcase, high school band, and high school choir. She said, “(Art teacher Erin) Debolt and I hope to see you there!” On April 12-13 Cissna Park High School students presented the musical Beauty & the Beast.  Director Gail Lober said, “There were over 50 students involved in some capacity, which is over half of the school. Most students were on stage, but some of them worked the sound, lights, helped to create the sets, or were part of the stage crew. The show was a great success, with between 250-300 in attendance each night.”

All the students but one in this year’s madrigals were also participants of the choir.


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Iroquois County’s High Schools’ Fine Arts

April 2019

Iroquois West High School

The IWHS Marching Band gathers for a group photo.

IWHS has strong fine arts programs By WENDY DAVIS, Reporter from the inaugural SVC Art Showcase at Olivet Nazarene University: first in multimedia - CarThe fine arts are strong at Iroquois West. los Pizano, first in scratch art - Adriana SchroThere are five different art classes, a fall play eder, first in 2D color - Miles Schunke, second and spring musical, and various band and choral in scratch art - Fatima Alvarado, second in 2D groups offered at the school. graphite - Adriana Schroeder, third in digital art Katrina Szewka is the art teacher. Alex Fischer, third in 2D color -Fatima Alvarado. The art classes are Introduction to Art, Art HisOut of six scholarships given for their outstandtory, Media and Techniques, 3D Art, and Art 4. ing artwork, Miles Schunke and Fatima Alvarado “Class sizes do fill up to almost full capaceach won. Out of random draws, Andy Trumann ity. Students have a wide variety of projects to and Andrea Corona won scholarships, as well. learn about different techniques from art periods On May 2nd, there will be a closing reception throughout time as well as various media used. showcasing the top 20 choices which many of the Students are able to explore different styles and options throughout the different classes offered. By the time students get to Art 4, they are able to create projects more independently to allow them to learn how to conceptualize as artists. Students also participate in various art shows that can differ from year to year. Last year they competed in the KCC Art Show whereas this year they competed in the SVC Art Showcase and the Gilman Women’s Club Art Show at the Danforth Library. This year the senior students will also be competing in the Senior Six which entails IWHS students’ artwork is displayed in the building. seniors anonymously putting in six artworks and having the entire staff vote on the best artist. students who won will be shown there as well as The Senior Art Award will be presented to the two honorable mentions being Jennifer Medina winning student at senior night.” for 2D color and Merrek Sweeney for watercolor, The IW art program took home seven awards Szewka said.

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For the fall play, the students performed “Heir to a Misfortune”, which was a dramatic comedy. “It was a solid performance and the students did well.” said Renee Pendry, who co-directed the show with Szewka. The spring musical was “Seussical, the Musical”. Pendry and Montana Thomason took part in directing the production. There were about 40 students participating in the spring show. She said, “Turn out was excellent.” Participation in IW band groups is strong, said band director Pendry. “I have 50 in our high school concert band and I have about 30 that participate in jazz band. All students enrolled in our band program do marching band in the fall and either participate in marching band, color guard, or majorettes. Contest went really well this year. We won the IHSA Class C Sweepstakes for Music. We will be going to Nashville April 2527. The band and choir will be performing at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Students will have the opportunity to tour the many different museums that Nashville has to offer, do a master class at Vanderbilt, and see a show at the Grand Ol’ Opry. We have a full schedule for Nashville! The winter program was a success. I programmed selections from Trans Siberian Orchestra for the high school band this year. The students were really into the music and it was a special treat for our audience.” As for band, Iroquois West High School has concert choir, jazz choir, and chamber choir. Chamber choir is an auditioned group. Jazz choir is open to any student who is in choir and wants to sing jazz.

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Iroquois County’s High Schools’ Fine Arts

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Central High School

Arts tradition continues at CHS By WENDY DAVIS, Reporter wdavis@intranix. com Central High School’s tradition of arts continues. Maggie Prendergast is the choir teacher. “We have about 100 students involved in our choral department, with jazz in the spring, madrigals last fall, our fall high school musical, and three curricular choirs. The school hosted contest and each of the CHS choirs The CHS Madrigals received a Division I (above) and band rating, she said. “All concerts were (right) put on its annual Christmas well attended. We have our jazz show, performance. Nite on the Town, on May 18th and 19th. Tickets are available (Below) CHS put on now by calling CHS “The Little office.” Mermaid” for its fall Art teacher Nikki musical. Shifflet teaches five art classes. Art classes at Central High School include Introduction to Art-37, 2-Dimensional Art-23, 3-Dimensional Art26, Photography-17 and Introduction to Visual Arts and Related Careers-23. This year, the art students at Central High School participated in four different art shows. Art4Heart, sponsored by Riverside Medical Center, was at the Majestic Theatre in Kankakee. The students participating were Holly Hass, Emily Gresens, Olzea Smolinski, Bailey Beherns, and Avanna Lowery, who was the best of show winner.

Kankakee Community College had its annual High School Art Exhibition, with the students participating being Katie Speckman, Anna Ritter, Olzea Smolinski-Merit Award winner in Photography, Avanna Lowery - Honorable Mention winner in Painting. Sangamon Valley Conference Art Show was at Olivet Nazarene University. The students participating in it included Bailey Behrens third place Acrylic Painting, SVC Logo Design Contest Winner; Mikayla Caspary; Ava Crabtree - second place Watercolor; Audrey Fields; Hailey Fontaine -first place Photography; Emily Gresens; Serenity Hart; Holly Hass; Madison Kleinert; Avanna Lowery - best of show; Anna Ritter; Luscentia Smolinski; Olzea Smolinski - second place Photography; and Katie Speckman. Central High School will have its annual art show, too. Plus, recently, Abel Sanchez was chosen as the logo design contest winner for the Christ Center Community Church in Clifton.  Prendergast said, “Our fall musical was “The Little Mermaid”, which was a huge success with a sold out crowd for the Sunday afternoon performance. We had to turn people aware at the door, which shows how great our community support is!”

(Right) Abel Sanchez was chosen as the logo design contest winner for the Christ Center Community Church in Clifton.

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Iroquois County’s High Schools’ Fine Arts

April 2019

WATSEKA, from page 2 competitions at several high schools and also host the Watseka Show Choir Invitational each year. Learning the music and choreography to their shows is huge challenge and the end results are always an audience favorite.” Parmenter also directors the school plays.  “This year marked our 4th annual WCHS Spring play, The Ransom Of Miss Elverna Dower,.” he said. “We began performing plays again in 2016 and it was a huge success, and will continue in the future.  Each year, the cast has grown with this year’s involving 25 students.  For now, we have focused on performing plays, but I would love to perform a musical at some point in the future.  The main issue with performing a musical is the extra requirements and limited space at the Watseka Theater, which has allowed us to perform in a really nice setting for these first four years.   “Restarting the WCHS Drama department has allowed us to involved students that don’t normally get a chance to participate in activities.  It also challenges students to step out of their comfort zones and try something new.  Many have gone on to participate in other dramatic endeavors such as the Country Theatre or other community productions.” Giving students opportunities is also part of the art program that Kay Devine teaches.

“The visual arts program at Glenn Raymond has approximately 60 students in it,” she said via email. “The WCHS program has about 65 students. When teaching in California, I was involved in the STEAM program which utilizes the visual arts with science, technology, engineering, art and math. As a result I feel the visual arts promotes creative problemsolving and is an excellent area for all students to develop higher level thinking skills; with each project, they must think, analyze and make adjustments to their projects as they progress.   “My classes are made up of a very diverse population and as a result there is a great variation of projects resulting from each lesson.  This year the students have experimented with a variety of medium such as acrylic paint, watercolors, graphite, pastels, wood-burning, and airbrush painting period. The students have also been involved in several exhibits the spring including an exhibit at the old courthouse museum, the Kankakee community college high school art exhibit, and

the first annual saying a Bon Valley art show at Olivet Nazarene College. The WCHS high school students won many awards at KCC as well as Olivet. I believe you have that list, but could send you that list again if needed. Finally, there will be an artist reception for the students whose work was selected to be displayed in the Weber Center at Olivet on May 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. on the third floor.” Devine said one other fun trip the art club students have benefitted from was a recent one to the Art Institute of Chicago. “There were 20 students that attended and this was thanks to a memorial fund from the academic foundation. This fun was given by the John and Reta Dowling family,” she said. 

(Top) The Watseka Sensations perform. (Left) The jazz band poses during rehearsals.

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