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, February 28, 2013

Virtual "Sprinter" Choir Concert Now Online!

Congratulations to the students and staff of the DGN Choirs, for their musicality and resourcefulness, as they have recorded and posted music originally slated to be performed on the February 26th 'Sprinter' Choir Concert.  This virtual concert, recorded on Wednesday, February 27th, captures the hard work, dedication, and artistry of these fine choral ensembles.

Each choir's performance is posted in a unique video, and may be accessed via the DGN Fine Arts YouTube Channel:

We invite you to attend our virtual concert!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Rehearsal with Yo-Yo Ma

Members of the District 99 Orchestra attended an open rehearsal of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma.  The CSO is preparing for a weekend concert series Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Yo-Yo Ma .  In addition to learning invaluable observational insight into the rehearsal procedures of a major symphony orchestra, the student musicians were treated to a post-rehearsal conversation with Yo-Yo Ma.  During the conversation, Yo-Yo Ma shared insight into performance preparation and his philosophy of performance.  Thanks to Ms. Mullen for creating this experience for the student musicians in the D99 Orchestra.  

You can hear the D99 Orchestra on Tuesday, March 5, 2012 at 7:00 PM the Clarence Johnson Auditorium at North High School in Downers Grove.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tonight's Choir Concert is Cancelled Due To Inclement Weather

All District 99 Activities are cancelled for this evening, February 26, 2013, due to inclement weather.

This includes the "Sprinter" Choir Concert.

Additional information about potential rescheduling of the concert will be shared with families of choir students via e-mail.

The safety of all members of our District 99 learning community is a primary concern.  Thanks in advance for your flexibility and understanding.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Choral Collaboration an Artistic Success

Congratulations to the students of the North High A Cappella
Choir, the South High Madrigal Singers, the District 99 Orchestra, and all of
the musicians of the Downers Grove Choral Society, for a wonderful “Choral
Collaboration” this afternoon on District 99’s North campus.  Each ensemble performed with great artistic
sensitivity and attention to musical detail.

Our appreciation is extended to District 99 Fine Arts team
members Pattie Barnes (Collaborative Pianist), Laura Coster (DGS Madrigals conductor),
Bill Miller (DGN Auditorium Manager), Jennifer Mullen (D99 Orchestra
conductor), Beth O’Riordan (DGN A Cappella Choir conductor), and Frank Piekarz
(DGN A Cappella Choir conductor), all who played a role in preparing students
for this afternoon’s Choral Collaboration. 
We also thank the North High Music Boosters and the South High Friends
of Fine Arts for providing refreshments for the reception. 

Special congratulations is extended to North High Fine Arts
faculty member Beth O’Riordan for her solo work in the Benedictus of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Missa Brevis St. Joannis de Deo.

And finally, District 99 thanks DGCS Music Director, Mr.
Justin Sisul, for his vision to create this afternoon’s collaborative artistic

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Choral Collaboration, with students from District 99 Choirs

A Choral Collaboration, with students from District 99 Choirs

Sunday, February 24, 2013
3:00 pm
Downers Grove North High School
Clarence Johnson Auditorium
Downers Grove, IL

Free concert open to the public; free-will offering at time of performance.

Franz Josef Haydn, Missa Brevis Saint Joannis de Deo (Little Organ Mass)
with students from District 99 high school choirs and the D99 Orchestra
Beth O'Riordan, soprano

Johannes Brahms, A German Requiem, London version with four-hand piano
Celeste Martino, soprano
Aaron Wardell, baritone

Special Guest Artists
Madrigal Singers, Downers Grove South High School
A Cappella Choir, Downers Grove North High School

The Harlem (Airshaft) Shake

Featuring the great Duke Ellington's composition Harlem Airshaft, here's the DGN Jazz Ensemble's video response to the Harlem Shake.

The Science of Sound

Mr. Scott Pfeiffer from Threshold Acoustics (and Ben's dad!) visited the orchestra classes today and gave a fascinating presentation about acoustics. Having worked on the renovation of Orchestra Hall, where we will be attending a Chicago Symphony Orchestra rehearsal next week, he taught us about the acoustic considerations when redesigning the hall for the Chicago Symphony.  The students were incredibly engaged by Mr. Pfeiffer’s presentation. Thank you, Mr. Pfeiffer, for taking the time to share your knowledge with us!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Congratulations Winter Guard

Congratulations to the 2013 DGN Winter Guard for completing their season with a terrific performance at Stevenson High School this past weekend.  The team upped their season's best score by five points, capping off a competitive season which yielded tremendous growth.

Many thanks to Winter Guard Coach Kelly Coffman for her artistic vision and dedication to the team!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Winter Spirit Assembly

Congratulations to the DGN Jazz Ensemble and DGN Winter Guard for their outstanding performances at today's Winter Spirit Assembly!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day - from the Upside Downers

Thanks to the "Upside Downers Quartet" for their surprise pop-in serenade this morning!

Two Music Scholarships of Note!

Juniors: the Downers Grove Music Club has a ‘Rising Stars’ Scholarship that can significantly help off-set the costs associated with Summer Music Camps.  Please see the information below.

Seniors:  the Downers Grove Rotary awards an annual scholarship of $2,000 to a deserving District 99 student with a strong music background.  The student does not need to be a music major/minor to apply for this scholarship, and financial need is not a criterion.  Please read the information below for more details on how to apply.

Downers Grove Music Club Rising Stars Music Awards
This is to announce the availability of the Downers Grove Music Club Rising Stars Music Awards (formerly referred to as scholarships).  The application is available via the website for the DG Music Club.  The website address is  The Music Award information and application is available in the Educational Opportunities section of the website or it can be accessed directly at this link: 

Please make this monetary award opportunity available to all Juniors enrolled in music at both South and North.  Six awards will be given and each recipient will receive $400 toward furthering their musical education through continued study during the summer.  As outlined in the actual application, the requirements of the application are as follows:
  • Purpose:  to recognize SIX District 99 High School Music students for excelling at a high level of achievement;
  • Eligibility:  current high school Juniors who are actively pursuing music are eligible to apply;
  • Requirement:  the award recipients are required to perform the following year at the Downers Grove Music Club’s Rising Stars program scheduled annually in April;
  • How to Apply:  complete the written application, along with an optional recording;
  • Selection Criteria:  the merit of the applicant’s musical accomplishments and, if provided, the quality of the applicant’s musical performance.
  • Award Notification:  the announcement of the Rising Stars Music Award recipients will be made at the spring awards ceremonies at both Downers Grove North and South.
The application must be submitted either via hardcopy, postmarked no later than April 1, 2013.  Or it must be submitted electronically with a date and time stamp of no later than 11:59 pm April 1, 2013.  
  • mailing address:  Downers Grove Music Club, Attn: Rising Stars Music Awards, P.O. Box 551, Downers Grove, IL  60515
  • email address:
This year we are testing the response to allowing applicants to submit an optional audio/video recording of a musical performance.  This is completely optional. All applications, both those with the optional recording and without the optional recording will be given equal consideration.  

Last year's winners are performing on Tuesday, April 2nd at 7:30 pm.  In addition, former Rising Star DGN alumnus and cellist Josh Zajac will be performing as well as future DGS jazz musicians currently in the Lakeview Jazz Band.  Also, the newly formed, student run A Cappella group at the College of DuPage will be included on the program.  The location is the Faith United Methodist Church at the corners of 59th and Fairview in Downers Grove.  Faculty, friends and family are welcome to attend this exciting event.

Rotary Music Scholarship applications now being accepted!
The Rotary Club of Downers Grove is now accepting applications for their annual Charles Dickerman Music Scholarship. Each year the Rotary Club of Downers Grove gives a $2000 scholarship check to a deserving high school senior who resides in the District 99 attendance area. Charles Dickerman was a founding member of the Rotary Club of Downers Grove. He was a nuclear physicist at Argonne National Laboratory who had undergraduate degrees in both physics and music. Charles stayed involved in music throughout his life and was an avid bagpiper.
Download a Scholarship Application form at .
All applicants must have their forms postmarked by March 8, 2013. If selected as a finalist, candidates must be available for an interview and audition in the evening of April 8, 2013.
The qualifications to apply for this scholarship are:
  • Be a graduating senior attending a public, private, parochial or home school, and reside in the High School District 99 attendance area.
  • Plan to pursue a post-secondary education program
  • Have participated in high school curricular music activities and/or extracurricular music activities.
  • Composers and/or arrangers qualify for this scholarship.
  • Pursuit of an undergraduate music major or minor is not required.
  • Financial need is not a criterion for selection

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Gold Keys

Congratulations to all of the DGN Scholastic Art Award GOLD KEY winners!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Alumnus at the Grammy Awards

The DGN Fine Arts Department congratulates alumnus Matthew West on his two Grammy nominations, and wishes him the best this weekend at the 55th Annual Grammy awards ceremony.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Choirs Welcome Justin Sisul

The members of the DGN A Cappella Choir were pleased to welcome Mr. Justin Sisul (District 58 Principal - Pierce Downer School, and Interim Conductor of the Downers Grove Choral Society) to class today.

Mr. Sisul was on campus to help students prepare for an upcoming collaborative concert on Sunday, February 24 that will feature the Dowers Grove Choral Society as well as choir students from both DGN and DGS.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Winter Guard Demonstrates Amazing Growth

Congratulations to the DGN Winter Guard for their strong performance at the Niles North High School competition on February 2, 2013.  The team's performance last Saturday was their strongest to date, and improved their score an impressive 9 points.  They landed just 1 point shy of a State-qualifying score. 

Returning to competitive performance after a year off, the 2013 DGN Winter Guard is making steady progress and demonstrating that hard work and dedication do indeed pay off. 

Way to go Trojans!