Community Corner: Kaneland musicians, actors prepare for busy winter

By on January 23, 2014

by Denise Blaszynski, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters president
The excitement of winter break and stress of finals have ended. As we move through the long, dreary days of winter, our Kaneland musicians and actors are gearing up for what is going to be a very thrilling and busy few months.

This year, the Kaneland Harter Middle School Jazz Band, under the direction of Rebecca Andersen, was chosen to perform at the annual Illinois Music Education (ILMEA) Conference in Peoria, Ill. (See related story on page 9A.) The jazz band, comprising of seventh- and eighth-grade student musicians and one sixth-grader, will travel to Peoria on Friday, Jan. 24, to perform. Only a select few middle school jazz band are given this honor.

The students will perform six songs at the Friday concert. What an incredible honor. Congratulations to Mrs. Andersen and her students.

Four student musicians from Kaneland High School will take part in the ILMEA All-State Conference festival Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Jan. 22-25, in Peoria: Matt Alfrey, Ryan Koeppen and James Tockstein for choir, and Carter Taylor for band. Participation in this event is one of the most prestigious honors in high school music in Illinois. The students auditioned last October for the state event during district-level performances. Alfrey received the highest score in his section, so he will represent KHS as a member of the Honors Choir. Students will work with guest conductors and perform with the best high school musicians in the state. The festival will close with a concert at the Peoria Civic Center arena on Saturday.

On Monday, Feb. 3, at 6:30 p.m. is the sixth-grade band concert at Harter Middle School. This is always an exciting concert as we listen to the first band performance of these promising musicians.

For the first time, Kaneland High School will host the Eighth-Grade and KHS Choir Festival on Saturday, Feb. 8. Madrigals and Bella Voce will be teaming with eighth-grade choir students for an afternoon of rehearsals, team building activities and dinner, ending with an evening concert at 7 p.m. It is the choir directors’ hope that experiences like this will encourage eighth- grade students to continue to be involved in choir at the high school. The Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters will provide dinner for the students.

In March, the Kaneland community is fortunate to once again have the opportunity to see some of Kaneland’s finest musicians and actors on Sunday, March 2, at the second annual Knight of Performances Barbeque Dinner, sponsored by the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters. Beginning at 2 p.m., this event will showcase our talented middle and high school students on stage, where their music and acting abilities will shine. This annual event is held to raise funds to support the band, choir and theatre students and programs at KHS and HMS. We are seeking support from local businesses through sponsorship of the evening or a donation of an item to put in our basket raffle. If you are interested in sponsoring this event, send an email to The event will be held at Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive in Sugar Grove.

Throughout the state on Saturday, March 8, will be the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Solo and Ensemble Contest. Kaneland will play host to this year’s high school contest, which is sure to be one of the biggest music events at Kaneland this year. The event will take place at Harter Middle School, and many adult and student volunteers will be needed to help with set-up and clean-up, runners, information table, room monitors, concessions, hospitality and the judges’ luncheon. If you would like to volunteer, send an email to

If you would like additional information about the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters or how you can help with any of these events, find us on Facebook or send an email to president@

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald .com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.