The James Hart Band program enjoyed a fantastic summer, and fall trimester, entertaining large audiences around Homewood-Flossmoor, representing its community with pride and excellence, and having fun making music together. Over the summer, ISYM scholarship recipient James Sperti (tuba) enjoyed a great week of performing, exploring a college campus, and making new friends at the University of Illinois. Meanwhile back in Homewood, the James Hart Symphonic Band held its annual 2-week summer camp in July and August, concluding with a potluck and preview performance for family and friends.
In mid-September, the Symphonic Band opened up its performance slate at Homewood-Flossmoor High School’s annual Youth Night football game. On a beautiful night for football, the band performed alongside the HF Marching Vikings and Parker Band in the pregame and halftime shows, entertaining an audience of thousands with a Jackson 5-themed production, en route to a come from behind HF victory!
The end of September also saw the beginning of the season for the James Hart jazz program, which has again includes nearly 50 students from grades 6-8 band, choir, and orchestra in our two ensembles: the Gold Jazz Band and Maroon Jazz Band.
In late September, several James Hart band, choir, and orchestra students prepared excerpts to audition for the Illinois Music Education Association District I Honor Ensembles. Korey Mulling was selected to represent our school in this prestigious ensemble, earning the rank of first chair trumpet player on a concert in early November alongside 100 of the finest middle school musicians in a 4-county area. Congratulations go to Korey, and also to band students Dylan Barnas and Darrick Jackson, as well as Jazz Band member Carmella Abramczyk on their selections to the District I Honor Choir and Orchestra, respectively.
On Election Day, November 6, the James Hart Bands celebrated our democracy with a patriotic-themed concert saluting America and its veterans. Many family members and friends dotted the nearly-filled James Hart Gymnasium to enjoy music from the Varsity Band, Symphonic Band, and Gold Jazz Band. All three groups are off to a great start this year, and we look forward to great things from them!
Later that week, the Symphonic Band performed again at James Hart, this time as part of District 153’s annual Veterans Day festivities. After the veterans entered the gym to a standing ovation from the 8th grade class and a rendition of the national anthem by the Panther Choir and Symphonic Orchestra, the Symphonic Band paid tribute with an arrangement of the service songs of the each of the five branches of the military. The trumpet section also did double duty, performing traditional bugle calls as part of the flag-lowering and flag-folding ceremonies during the day. In addition to a polished performance that impressed students and staff alike, these outstanding youngsters carried themselves professionally all day (and all week) in saluting our community’s service members.
In preparation for these patriotic performances, Symphonic Band students had the privilege of receiving a clinic the week beforehand with Kyle Rinke, area middle school band director, and trumpet player with the 85th Division Army Reserve Band of Arlington Heights. After working with the entire band, SSgt. Rinke held a very helpful and memorable masterclass with the trumpet section.
For more information about the James Hart Bands and a calendar of events for the year, visit us online at jameshartbands.weebly.com and follow us on Twitter @JamesHartBands. Here are some of the many performances we look forward to during the 2nd trimester of the year:
The James Hart Bands enjoyed an active performance calendar in February and March, highlighted by outstanding performances at area adjudicated events. February opened with a chamber recital on February 6, which featured all 60 Symphonic Band members divided into small ensembles of 3-6 musicians. The concert allowed each student to shine in a more individual spotlight, and exposed students to works by great composers, such as Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, and Purcell, among others. Later that week the Varsity Band joined fellow sixth grade choir and orchestra students to present the annual James Hart winter music festival, featuring two songs from each group.
The following week, on February 15, the James Hart Gold Jazz Band took their show on the road to perform at and participate in the 30th Annual Prairie State College Jazz Invitational. After performing a challenging set that included jazz standards and newer works, the group received comments and a helpful clinic with award-winning artists Larry Gray (bass, faculty at the University of Illinois) and Edward Peterson (saxophone, faculty at the University of New Orleans). The group grew immensely from the feedback and put it to good use, putting on a solid performance for a home crowd just a few weeks later.
Joining the Gold Jazz Band on March 6 were the Maroon Jazz and Symphonic Bands in the James Hart Bands Music in our Schools Month concert. The diverse program featured a traditional New Orleans brass band arrangement, along with works composed or made famous by Benny Golson, Glenn Miller, Brian Balmages, and Henry Fillmore, and highlighted with an inspiring arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. After its performance, the Symphonic Band received feedback and short clinics from area band directors, including HF Director of Bands Sarah Whitlock.
On Saturday, March 10, the Symphonic Band traveled to Minooka Junior High School to perform at the IGSMA District VI Organization Contest. At Contest, bands are not ranked against one another, but receive a rating based on the overall quality of their playing from a panel of three judges. After an inspired performance, the band received the highest rating of Division I from all three judges, marking its third consecutive Division I Rating, and fourth in the last five years. The Symphonic Band now sets its sights on performances at two events in April: the SSJHSA Conference Band Festival, hosted at James Hart on April 12, and the State of Illinois Concert Band Clinic at Illinois State University on April 21.
The James Hart Bands have enjoyed a fall trimester, entertaining large audiences around Homewood and Flossmoor, representing its community with pride and excellence, and having fun making music together. In mid-September, several James Hart band, choir, and orchestra students prepared excerpts to audition for the Illinois Music Education Association District I Honor Ensembles. Kaitlyn Bolton-Shannon was selected to represent our school in this prestigious ensemble, playing clarinet on a concert in early November alongside 100 of the finest middle school musicians in a 4-county area of the south suburbs. Congratulations also go to band students Dylan Barnas, Alex Bertucci, Korey Mulling, and Ellie Wojcikowski on their selection for the District I Honor Chorus.
In October, the Symphonic Band opened up its performance slate at Homewood-Flossmoor High Schools’ annual Youth Night football game. Amid an evening of persistent showers, the band performed alongside the HF Marching Vikings and Parker Symphonic Band in the pregame and halftime shows, as well as in the stands. The 350-strong combined group entertained an audience of thousands with several Top-40 charts en route to a big HF victory!
Just over a month later Symphonic Band took the stage, this time along with Varsity Band at the James Hart Bands fall concert on November 7. Many family members and friends dotted the nearly-filled James Hart Gymnasium for an enjoyable evening of music that included settings of several folk songs from around the world, plus a special encore.
Later that week the Symphonic Band performed again at James Hart, this time as part of District 153’s annual Veterans Day festivities. Accompanying an outdoor flag-raising ceremony on a chilly, snow-filled morning were trumpet players Bill Colton and Dylan Barnas with a stirring rendition of Taps. After the veterans entered the gym to a standing ovation from the 8th grade class and an orchestral arrangement of the national anthem, the Symphonic Band paid tribute with an arrangement of the service songs of the each of the five branches of the military. In addition to a polished performance that impressed students and staff alike, these outstanding youngsters carried themselves professionally all day in saluting our community’s service members.
May 2017 sees District 153 Bands wrap up year with concert, contests, and Homewood area performances
The bands of James Hart and Churchill Schools gave inspired performances at the annual District 153 Bands spring concert, three days after the James Hart Symphonic Band made history with its first-ever performance at the state level.
Symphonic Band’s performance at the IGSMA State Organization Festival took place at Prairie View Middle School in Tinley Park on April 29. At IGSMA events, ensembles are not ranked against each other, but receive a rating based on their performance quality; James Hart qualified for State by receiving the highest overall rating of Division I at its district band contest in March. Playing a challenging program at State for a panel of three discerning judges, the group received favorable feedback and the highest overall rating of Division I Superior. Students, parents, and directors alike are thrilled with the band’s progress since August, in what has been an outstanding year.
Capping off the concert season for Symphonic Band, along with the James Hart Varsity and Jazz Bands, and the Churchill Cadet Band was a concert given on May 2nd. After performances of music of the American Revolution, the French Renaissance, Swing and Latin Jazz, and contemporary band compositions, the highlight of the night may have been the grand finale, featuring all 175 band students of the district performing selections from Disney’s The Lion King.
The James Hart Jazz Band wrapped up a successful year with a flurry of performances, including area gigs at the Homewood Farmers Market and Mama & Me Pizzeria, as well as participation at the Music in the Parks Festival, hosted by Six Flags Great America. Performing for a panel of two judges, the band received favorable feedback and earned 1st place in Class AA, as well as a rating of Excellent.
Parents and directors alike are very pleased with the outstanding progress students made this past year, and look forward to an outstanding season in 2017-18!
The James Hart Symphonic and Jazz Bands enjoyed an active performance calendar in March, highlighted by outstanding performances at regional adjudicated events. It began with a concert given by both groups on March 7, showcasing varied repertoire that students had been preparing for over a month, including traditional American folk music, and works by John Philip Sousa, Count Basie, and Fats Waller. The Jazz Band incorporated several improvements from its adjudicated performance at the Prairie State College Jazz Invitational in February, while the Symphonic Band received feedback and short clinics from three area directors, including HF Director of Bands Sarah Whitlock.
Three days later the Symphonic Band hit the road for an afternoon performance at the SSJHSA Conference Band Festival at Columbia Central School in Steger, where they performed for four other bands in the conference. Afterwards they received critique and a very productive clinic with renowned band director David Allie (retired, formerly of Memorial Junior High School in Lansing). Students and directors alike were pleased with a successful run of a challenging program, and a rich educational experience.
The very next afternoon, the Symphonic Band performed again, this time at the IGSMA District VI Organizational Contest at Central Middle School in Tinley Park. At Contest, bands are not ranked against one another, but receive a rating based on the overall quality of their playing from a panel of three judges. After an inspired performance, the band received the highest rating of Division I from all three judges, marking its second consecutive overall Division I, and third in the last four years. With this rating, the group has also qualified for the IGSMA State Festival, which it will attend in late April.
These students wrapped up the month with a chamber recital on March 20, which featured all 65 Symphonic Band members divided into small ensembles of 3-6 musicians. The concert, which was a new event this year for the Hart Band program, allowed each student to shine in a more individualized spotlight, and exposed students to works by great composers, such as Bach, Bartók, Beethoven, and Telemann, among others.
The James Hart Bands will present their annual Fall Concert on Thursday, November 3 at 7:00 pm in the James Hart Gymnasium. The performance will feature a variety of repertoire in performances by the sixth-grade Varsity Band and the seventh- and eighth-grade combined Symphonic Band. Students and band directors alike are enthusiastic about presenting their first public concert of the year, and community members are welcome and encouraged to attend. The James Hart Symphonic Band opened their performance schedule earlier this month alongside the HFHS Marching Vikings and Parker Junior High Symphonic Band for a memorable halftime featuring over 300 student musicians from the surrounding area; this will be the inaugural performance for the 2016-17 Varsity Band.
The James Hart School Bands are led by directors Matthew D. Johnson (currently in his first year at Hart) and Kim Tallungan, as well as long-term substitute band teacher Sean McQuinn.