Thursday, February 20, 2020

Congratulations Emma Krause - Midwest Young Artists National Chamber Music Competition

Congratulations to senior Emma Krause, and the members of the Purple Hippopotami Flute Quartet, for winning the Open Winds Division of the Midwest Young Artists National Chamber Music Competition!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Legendary Drummer - Dennis Mackrel - Masterclass at DGN

The DGN Bands were honored to host world renown jazz drumming great, Mr. Dennis Mackrel, to campus today for a masterclass with members of the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band. Joining Mr. Mackrel was the Elmhurst College Jazz Combo, directed by Mr. Mark Colby.

Mackrel (born April 3, 1962, in Omaha, Nebraska) is an American jazz drummer, composer, and arranger. He is also known for his work as a bandleader and music educator. He is most notable for his associations with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Count Basie Orchestra.

The son of two jazz enthusiasts, Mackrel started playing drums at age two and began his professional career playing at a community theater at age ten. He attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, studying jazz under Frank Gagliardi, during which time he performed in venues such as the Imperial Palace and the Tropicana. In 1981, Mackrel moved to New York City and became a drummer with a Broadway theatre orchestra. Two years later on the personal recommendation of singer Joe Williams, Mackrel joined the Count Basie Orchestra where he would remain until December 1987. He was the last drummer of that orchestra to be personally hired by Count Basie himself.

After leaving the Basie Orchestra, Mackrel frequently performed as a substitute drummer in the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. Shortly before Lewis died in February 1990, he announced that he wanted Mackrel to take his place as the regular drummer for the band, which soon changed its name to the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.
Mackrel later became the drummer for many other big bands and small groups including the Hank Jones Trio, the American Jazz Orchestra, the Carla Bley Big Band, Buck Clayton's Swing Band, the George Shearing Quintet and the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band. In September 2010, he returned to the Count Basie Orchestra after the retirement of trombonist Bill Hughes and served as the orchestra's leader and chief conductor until 2013 and on November 7, 2015, he was named chief conductor of the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw which is based in Amsterdam, Holland.

As a composer and arranger, Mackrel has received a Grant for Composition from the National Endowment for the Arts (1983). He has written pieces for McCoy Tyner (on the Grammy-winning The Turning Point and Journey), the WDR Radio Big Band of Cologne, the Kl├╝vers Big Band of Denmark, the RIAS Big Band of Berlin.[2] the United States Military Academy at West Point's Jazz Knights Big Band, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra and the Temple University Jazz Ensemble.

As an experienced jazz educator who conducts master classes, seminars and workshops throughout Europe, Asia, Canada and the United States, Mackrel has performed with the jazz ensembles of numerous colleges and high schools including the Eastman School of Music, Slippery Rock University, the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, Northern Illinois University, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the University of Minnesota, Morris, New Trier High School, Sun Prairie High School, Western Illinois University, Southern Utah University, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Aarhus, Denmark, the University of Florida, Miami, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Elmhurst College, Michigan State University and many others. He is currently a professor at Queens College in Flushing, New York.

Monday, February 10, 2020

DGN Winter Guard - 2nd Place at Naperville Central Winter Guard Contest

The winter guard kept its momentum going this weekend as they secured a 2nd place win at the Naperville Central Winter Guard Contest on February 9. Earning a score of 55.01, the team continued to make great strides toward perfecting their show. Great job, winter guard! 

Be sure to check out their next competition at Downers Grove South High School on February 23rd where they will be performing shortly after 11:30 AM.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

D99 Jazz in Clinic and Concert with NIU Jazz Orchestra

The student musicians of the DGN and DGS Jazz Bands participated in an educational clinic and concert with the internationally acclaimed Northern Illinois University Jazz Orchestra. Led by Professor Reggie Thomas, and featuring guest artist Todd Williams (Saxophone), the NIU Jazz Orchestra performed an exciting set that kept the audience engaged and cheering for more.

Congratulations to the members of the DGN and DGN Jazz programs for their outstanding performances tonight at the Tivoli theater in Downers Grove. It was a pleasure and honor for our students to open for the great Northern Illinois University Jazz Orchestra!

DGS Jazz Workshop

DGN Jazz Lab Band

DGS Jazz Lab Band

DGN Jazz Ensemble

DGS Jazz Ensemble

NIU Jazz Orchestra

NIU Jazz Orchestra with Guest Artist, Todd Williams

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

DGN Winter Guard - 1st Place at Steperette Winter Guard Contest

Congratulations to the DGN Winter Guard on their 1st place finish at the Steperette Winter Guard Contest this past weekend - their very first winter guard contest of the 2020 season! The team's score of 49.47, made the team the clear front runner of their round. These ladies have been more determined than ever to put on a great show, and they did just that on Sunday! Congrats, Winter Guard!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

DGN Jazz Musicians Swing Home with Awards and Recognition

Congratulations to the student musicians of the North High School Jazz Program for an outstanding showing at the 2020 Purdue Jazz Festival. The DGN Jazz Ensemble and DGN Jazz Lab Band performed and competed with more than 100 high school ensembles from five states across the Midwest. 

In addition to receiving a score from the panel of adjudicators, each group received real time formative feedback from each judge in an audio recording. This feedback is essential to the continuing growth of both individual students and the musicianship of each ensemble.  

The DGN Jazz Ensemble and DGN Jazz Lab Band both received Division I ratings from the panel of judges. This is the highest possible rating on the scoring rubric. The DGN Jazz Lab Band received the prestigious "Outstanding Performance" Citation in their competition room, finishing in second-place, just one point behind the first-place ensemble.

In addition to the terrific ensemble performances, 5 Outstanding Solo Awards were given by the panel of judges to DGN students for displaying outstanding musicianship:

Derek Ferraro (Trumpet)
Owen Nystrom (Bari Sax)
Jonathan Orjala (Trumpet)
Amy Spreitzer (Bass)
Miles Teague (Piano)

Bassist Amy Spreitzer was named the most outstanding soloist of the Stewart 302 competition venue, and with the recognition received a scholarship to the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

"Parent Night" with the DGN Pep Band!

Many thanks to the parents, guardians and family members who joined our Pep Band Saturday evening. Our 80s setlist never sounded so good!

Friday, January 10, 2020

DGN Jazz Cafe 2020

Congratulations to the musicians of the DGN Jazz Ensemble, DGN Jazz Lab Band, Herrick Middle School Jazz Band, Jefferson Junior High School Friends of Jazz, and the Westview Hills Middle School Jazz Band for their spirited and exciting performances at the 2020 DGN Jazz Cafe!

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

DGN Bands Announce 2020-21 Tour

The Downers Grove North High School Marching Band will travel to Tampa, Florida to perform at the Outback Bowl on January 1, 2021. 

CLICK HERE for additional details and information about the Tour Kick-Off Meeting scheduled for April 9, 2020.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

DGN Represents at CYSO Chamberpalooza

Congratulations to the following DGN musicians who performed in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra "Chamberpalooza" concert this weekend:

Emilija Irvin, Bassoon (Take 13347)
William Janka, Tuba (The Tubadours)
Emma Krause, Flute (The Lakeshore Winds)
Miles Teague, Horn (Fabco Brass)