The 2017 DGN Band Banquet was the first to be held at the Esplanade Lakes Ballroom in Downers Grove, as 425 members of our band family celebrated another extremely successful year.
Special thanks are extended to the many parent volunteers who created a spectacular event, most notably Ms. Julie Brethauer & Ms. Julie Thompson (Banquet Co-Chairs), Ms. Diana Heppner & Ms. Christiana Kowal (Raffle/Auction Co-Chairs), and Ms. Andrea Banke (Decorations Chair).
The students and faculty of the DGN Bands gratefully acknowledge the participation by families in the 2017 Raffle/Silent Auction. $5,500 was raised in support of the DGN Bands at this year's Banquet!
Tonight we honor the incredible students of the North High Band. They are a diverse group of learners who, through a myriad of musical and social experiences, are growing up right in front of our very eyes. I'm old enough to know and understand that "time is relative." For some of our seniors, the four-year journey through DGN seemed to take an eternity. Parents and guardians are thinking: "Wasn't it just yesterday when I dropped my child off at Band Camp as they started their Freshman year?"
Among us tonight are musicians who have traveled – or will travel – all over the world to perform with the DGN Bands. Many of the juniors and seniors here tonight performed at Carnegie Hall in New York. 40 of our students performed with the D99 Honors Band in Europe last summer … and this year's Marching Band had a spectacular performance at the Disney Thanksgiving Day Parade.
In our midst tonight are some very accomplished instrumentalists … including All-District musicians, and Illinois All-State musicians. Dozens of the students in our program received Division I ratings at Solo & Ensemble Contest this year. Members of the band performed in an amazing forty-five public performances this year, including curricular band concerts, football games, parades, jazz festivals, honors recitals and the school musical. Add to this the many volunteer performances by our students and we have easily presented our musical gifts in over sixty Chicago metro-area performances this year alone.
And – to prove that we are a well-rounded type, members of the North High Band are involved in nearly every other activity, club and athletic team at North High. Be it an honor society, or any level of athletics … North High Band members are truly involved and engaged students.
We're a smart bunch as well. A very high percentage of our students rank in the top 20% of their class academically, and when one reads the Honor Rolls at North High they might inadvertently mistake the list as a roster of the DGN Band.
The past four years have been some of the most successful in the history of our band.
Consider these highlights from the past four years …
· The Jazz Ensemble has been invited four times to perform at Fitzgeralds, the legendary Chicago jazz club … as well as the famed "Jazz Showcase" in Chicago.
· The Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band consistently received Division 1 ratings at the prestigious Purdue University Jazz Festival, and this year the Jazz Combo won 1st Place in their competitive division at Purdue.
· The Jazz Ensemble was selected to perform at the Illinois Music Education Conference in 2014, and wowed a standing-room only crowd at the Peoria Civic Center.
· The Wind Ensemble returned to Peoria in 2016 to perform on the All State Composer Showcase Concert.
· We've participated in a German music exchange as hosts, and on a tour to Germany & France ourselves.
· Our department has welcomed dozens of nationally and internationally renowned guest-artists and guest conductors in the past four years.
· The last four years have seen at least 50 DGN Band alumni marching with college marching bands across the country.
· Over 5,000 members of our community have seen our Mosaic Concert in the past four years, and we've performed outreach concerts for over 7,000 elementary school students.
· We are a philanthropic group, annually raising funds to help others in need. Be it a 'Jazz Café' Charity initiative, or partnering with local organizations in need, our students demonstrate empathy at every turn.
· And of course, this list would not be complete without mentioning what will likely be remembered as the most significant concert in our program's rich history: that being our performance at New York's famed Carnegie Hall in 2015.
So let us begin to recognize, honor and celebrate these incredible students … and their amazing contributions to our community."