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.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Congratulations Marching Band

Congratulations to the members of the Trojan Marching Band on their performance at the 2007 Carl Sandburg Marching Festival. The band received unanimous Division I ratings from all three judges in the areas of Music, Marching Technique, and General Effect.

The marching band's next performances are scheduled for Homecoming week.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Bike and Hike for Mike - 2007

By Samantha Nelson,
Downers Grove Reporter

Even six years after his death, Mike Samel’s friends still come back to Woodridge every year to remember him.

The Downers Grove South High School student and marching band drummer died in a one-car accident during his junior year in 2001. Since then, an annual memorial hiking and biking event has been held to raise money to help other high school students enjoy musical opportunities through the Spirit of Music Fund.

If you go
What: The sixth annual “Bike and Hike for Mike” fundraiser for Michael David Samel Spirit of Music Fund
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8
Where: Cypress Cove Aquatic Park, 83rd Street and James Avenue, Woodridge
For more information: E-mail Mark Samel at

“Bike and Hike for Mike” has raised a total of $50,000, which has been used to pay $30,000 for new musical instruments, $2,000 for seminars and $13,000 for scholarships primarily at Downers Grove South. The fund bought the Mustangs a percussion pit, a jazz drum set for the jazz band and plans to buy a new piano for the Fine Arts Department since the choir and orchestra will be participating in the event this year.

“This is not just for marching band,” said Mike’s father, Mark Samel. “We support all the music programs. Whoever wants to participate we find a way to get those funds back.”

Between 150 and 170 people participate every year, Samel said, with many of Mike’s friends from high school serving as volunteers. The day begins with the fundraiser, and participants regroup at 6:30 p.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Naperville for a party with a jazz band, pizza and a raffle. The event also promotes organ donation since “24 people received some gift from Michael,” Samel said.

“It’s just a lot of fun but we always show a video every year that kind of puts a perspective on things from when Mike was little to when he was in marching band,” Samel said. “That kind of shows everyone that life is short and do good things.”

While she didn’t know Mike personally, Mustang Band Boosters public relations coordinator and Downers Grove resident Jill Pruett said she spoke with Mark about his son so she would grasp the meaning of the event.

When they learned Mike, 16, had died, Samel said the band canceled their event that day. An empty drum throne and sticks honored Mike’s memory during remaining performances that year. Two full-size buses brought 450 students to the grave site.

Samel said the fund has already helped some students from Downers Grove North and Naperville Central high schools. As interest grows, he hopes to expand to financial help to junior high school students.