Fine Arts @ DGN Mission

North High School endeavors to provide an enriching, vibrant, multidisciplinary environment for the study, creation, and presentation of the Fine Arts.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Welcome Ms. Denecke and Ms. West! #WeAreDGN #99Learns

The DGN Fine Arts Department is pleased to welcome Rachelle Denecke and Rachel West to our team!


Rachelle Denecke – Fine Arts Department Secretary

College attended/Major?
University of Illinois at Chicago – English

Favorite Styles of Music and/or favorite music artists/composers?
If I’m listening, I like a little bit of everything. If I’m playing saxophone, then my favorite style would be jazz, and for piano it would be ragtime.

Favorite Visual Artist?
My dad! He wrote and illustrated a children’s book, which was published in 2014. (I did not inherit any of his drawing skills, unfortunately!)

What was your first exposure to the Arts as a child? How did your involvement shape who you are today?
My family received a free electric keyboard when I was about 10 years old. I taught myself to play piano on it and loved it. When I got to high school, one of my friends was in jazz band and she told me that they needed a keyboardist, so I happily joined. I quickly realized that I loved playing with the group and wanted to join the other school bands, so I taught myself to play alto sax. I then joined concert band, marching band, and pep band, and eventually became the band secretary (such foreshadowing!) I also played piano for one of the school plays, learned that I really enjoyed theater, and went on to perform onstage in several musicals through our school and park district. These experiences showed me how much I loved being involved in the arts and that has continued into my adult life. I now play alto sax in my community band, and this summer I starred in our park district’s community theater production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” And best of all, my love of the arts led me to work here at DGN! I now get to be surrounded by wonderful musicians, artists, and lovers of art every day!

Favorite foods?
If I could survive on pizza alone, I would.

Favorite book or series of books?
The Last Lecture, Flowers for Algernon, the Harry Potter series

Favorite movie of all time?
I like fun movies with happy endings. One favorite is “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

If you could travel to one place in the world you have never been, where would you go?
Spain. After studying Spanish all my life, I have still never been to a Spanish-speaking country and would love to go!

If you could get in a time machine and travel back in time to witness any historical event, to which event would you journey?
It would be pretty amazing to go back and see living dinosaurs; I think that’s what I would choose.

What are you most looking forward to this year at DGN?
I can’t wait to see each of our music groups perform! Since I was in band myself, I am particularly looking forward to seeing the marching band perform at football games, but I also can’t wait to hear each of the orchestra and choir ensembles perform as well.


Rachel West – Collaborative Pianist 

College attended/Major?
BM in Piano Performance - Illinois Wesleyan University

Favorite Styles of Music and/or favorite music artists/composers?
Rachmaninoff and Ben Folds

Favorite Visual Artist?
Visual Artist - Edgar Degas

What was your first exposure to the Arts as a child? How did your involvement shape who you are today?
When I was growing up, my parents were always playing a variety of music - symphonies, musicals, classic rock, and Frank Sinatra. I clearly remember running around with my sister and playing little percussion instruments along to Aaron Copland music. We both started piano lessons shortly after.

Favorite foods?
Mashed potatoes and Mexican food (separately, not together!)

Favorite book or series of books?
Any mystery or thriller.

Favorite movie of all time?
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

If you could travel to one place in the world you have never been, where would you go?
If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to Croatia or Iceland.

If you could get in a time machine and travel back in time to witness any historical event, to which event would you journey?
If I could go back in time, I would travel to the roaring 20's.

What are you most looking forward to this year at DGN?
This year I'm really looking forward to working with people that are passionate about the arts and about truly collaborating together as a team.