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HIGH SCHOOL BAND NEWS
SPHS Bands finish the year with community involvement
The SPHS Bands final two performances of the year were in the spirit of giving back to the Sun Prairie Community. On Memorial Day, Monday, May 29th, all Senior Band members performed at the annual Memorial Day Service held at the Veterans Memorial on South Walker Way. It was a great way to say, "Thank you for your Service" to our veterans and their families. The band played the Star Spangled Banner, America's Pride and ended with a rendition of God Bless America. Joey Rockman also performed a very heartfelt version of Taps after the folding of the flag
Our last performance was at the 2017 graduation ceremony held on Friday, June 9th in the SPHS Field House. The band contributed 3 prelude selections as well as "Pomp & Circumstance" the national anthem and a recessional. All underclass band students performed as the last student organization on campus to provide a function for the 2016-17 school year.
All in all, a very successful year. Thank you for your continuous support of your child's' involvement in music. Best of luck to the Sound of Sun Prairie on their 45th anniversary season and everyone else, don't forget to practice over the summer. Wind Ensemble I will see you in the Band room on Wednesday, August 30th 9-noon and 1:30 -4pm - work on those parts!!
Have a Great Summer Everyone!!!
SPHS Jazz I returns from New York & Essentially Ellington
Congratulations to the SPHS Jazz Ensemble I who once again had an amazing experience in New York. The saying that it is an "experience that only hard work can buy" certainly applies here. The Sun Prairie group was chosen as one of only 15 ensembles nationwide to participate in the national finals held at Rose Hall in New York, New York.
The band represented Sun Prairie well in the competition and special honors went to Bennett LeClaire as an outstanding performer on Tenor Saxophone and Dillion Crawford as a Honorable Mention performer on Tenor Saxophone.
Thank you to parents and community for your overwhelming support of these students!
To learn more go to the Jazz I NYC 2017 homepage!
Congratulations to Emma Johansson & Robert Rockman for outstanding musical achievements!!!
SPHS Junior, Emma Johansson was a winner in the Wisconsin School Music Association Student Composition Contest. Emma wrote a vocal piece, entitled "The Future". She took on this assignment as part the "Resonance" composition project at SPHS. Sun Prairie Graduate, Jon Nelson ('11) led a group of students through the music composition process, of which Emma was a part and then presented a concert in March, entirely comprised of new music. Many of the pieces were composed by SPHS students as well as those by Jon himself. Emma is thrilled to have been a part of the inaugural "Resonance" composition project.
Robert Rockman received the Exemplary Soloist Award for his recent performance at the State Solo/Ensemble festival held at UW-Whitewater on April 29, 2017. Robert played, "Evergreen" by Benjamin Finley on the Marimba. Mr. Finley composed "Evergreen" in tribute to his friend Ryan Camden who perished in an accident. Robert felt a personal connection to this piece as his uncle and godfather, Al Rockman had passed weeks before the State performance. Music and emotion coming together to heal and reach deeper meaning in our existence.
How to Order Solo & Ensemble Medals
Parents may order medals earned by their sons and daughters by visiting:
These medals are a great way to commemorate the accomplishments of your childs' musical accomplishment at both Local and State Solo/Ensemble.
*Please note that we do not purchase these medals through the HS Band Department.
Congrats to all who did so well at solo/ensemble festival this year!
SPHS Jazz I earns Colonial Club "Community Partner Award"
SPHS Students learn Jazz from a Global Perspective
Jazz Vocalist and Trumpet artist Bria Skonberg and Jazz pianist Mathis Picard shared their international knowledge with Sun Prairie High School Band students the afternoon of April 27th. Skonberg, originally from a small town in British Columbia, Canada and Picard, from Grenoble, France brought home the fact that music and jazz are an international language created right here in the United States.
They began their presentation by performing Billy Strayhorn's "Take the 'A' Train" for the students of the Wind Ensemble. This was followed by a demonstration of three of the musical influences on the development of jazz in New Orleans. The Spanish Habanera, the French Polanaise and the West African polyrhythms were all demonstrated by our guests. They then added the clave and had students clap all of these together. New Orleans was truly an international melting pot of cultures that led eventually to the creation of Jazz
They then went into a discussion of the blues which led to a wonderful rendition of St. Louis Blues followed by Mathis playing a Boogie Woogie.
The duo then spent the next hour working with Jazz Ensemble I student on ways to make their music more personal and "in the moment". They gave great examples of ways to color the music. Ms. Skonberg also did some wonderful vocal coaching on "It Don't Mean a Thing".
So the woman from Canada joined the gentleman from France, to talk about the music of Spain, Haiti, France, Cuba, and Africa that was all combined in the US to create jazz. Overall another inspiring day and some fantastic music making!
SPHS Jazz 1 - Working towards New York
Jazz Combo performs at Lighthouse Senior Community Center
The SPHS Jazz Combo performed for residents of the Lighthouse senior community the 3rd week of April. It was a part of the senior community's Friday concert series. The students were well received by all and there were more than enough smiles to go around.
SPHS Students perform with US Navy Band on March 24th
At the Navy Band Performance on March 24th, ten of our talented musicians had the opportunity to join in with the Navy Band's performance of The Washington Post March.
The students who performed were Simrin Sandhu, Aditya Sharma, Emma Johanssen, Megan Rault, Ben Plesh, Paul Moniak, Andy Paulson, Cailan Sederquist, Sam Keal, and Lauren Rault.
In addition to our students performing, the concert itself had so many highlights. An awesome Horn soloist, A Barbara Streisand Medley, "The Band Concert" played along with the Disney Video of the same name as well as Chief Musician Courtney William's incredible singing of Gustav Mahler's Ich Bin Der Welt Abhanden Gekommen. It was an incredible evening of music for all in attendance!
SPHS Wind Ensemble works with David Maslanka & Scott Teeple in preparation for March Concert.
In preparation for last weeks concert, the Wind Ensemble had two wonderful musical experience. On March 9th, UW-Madison Wind Ensemble conductor, Scott Teeple shared his thoughts on the Hindemuth "March from Symphonic Metamorphosis". He delved deep into the various stylistic and rhythmic complexities of the piece and helped students approach their work in a new way.
The next day, we all traveled to UW-Stevens Point with an invitation from their Wind Ensemble director, Dr. Michael Butler to work with composer David Maslanka. Mr. Maslanka provided an inspired and passionate look into his composition, "Requiem". He added wonderful insights into his piece and really helped us all better understand the important role that music has in human existence. He made comments such as, "Musical sound is what moves my life - be present with us", "...after the grand passion of anguish you are left with a certain feeling. Be aware of that in your playing.", and "Read the music and the notes on the page but then let go of that and let the music speak from deep within. Let the feeling rise from deep within you so it can take over what you are doing." that had a profound effect on our students.
Mr. Maslankas' impact was heard a few days later at our concert and performance of "Requiem"
SPHS Symphonic Band Tour
Sun Prairie High School Symphonic Band was at UW Eau Claire for their March Tour. We had the opportunity to sit in on the UW Eau Claire Wind Ensemble's Rehearsal. After that we had a 90 minute clinic with Dr. Stewart on Cajun Folk Songs II. That evening as a group we attended the movie "Hidden Figures." Saturday we spent a few hours at the Mall of America before heading home. The students represented the Sun Prairie Band Program and community very well.
SPHS Band Students participate in "Resonance" - Celebrating New Voices in Music
24th Annual Sun Prairie / Essentially Ellington Regional Jazz Festival a success!!
Our 24th annual jazz festival may have been one of the busiest and most educational yet. The morning featured high school jazz ensemblees from around the state in clinic and concert. Meanwhile, Reggie Thomas instructed a group of Educators and Music Education students in the ways of teaching improvisation and rhythm section techniques to middle school students. A demonstration rhythm section from Cardinal Heights participated and led to a valuable session that was filmed by and experienced Wisconsin Public Television crew and will be available soon on their website.
The afternoon featured masterclasses on all instruments followed by a performance and Q & A session with the MVP Quartet featuring Bobby Watson on alto, Ray Drummond, bass; Marvin "Smitty" Smith on Drums and Donald Brown on piano. The quartet sounded great and they had a relaxed and welcoming style in the Q & A where students asked some great questions.
The evening featured festival bands and their guest artist followed by a combo set that featured each one of our guest clinicians for the day. The night ended with a blues followed immediately by a standing ovation. There were also $1500 given out in Jazz Camp scholarships to both Birch Creek and Shell Lake camps.
A great and busy day! To see some photos from the day, please visit the Sun Prairie JazzFest Page.
Dr. Drew Whiting from UW-Oshkosh visit SPHS saxophones
SPHS bands were pleased to welcome saxophone professor Dr. Drew Whiting from UW-Oshkosh on Monday November 20th. Spending all day with students, Dr. Whiting took the time to teach all of the saxophonists a two minute warm-up which included long tones, articulation exercises, and introduced the students to full range scales. Relaying off of his warmup, Dr. Whiting mentioned that even though he has been studying the saxophone for twenty years, he still practices all of these techniques daily! Knowing that expanding our listening library is an important part of musicianship, Dr. Whiting also provided the students he saw with a lengthy list of professional saxophonists to research as well as new Vandoren reeds to test out, pencils, and luggage tags. Finally before he left, Dr. Whiting left the students with a little food for thought: We shouldn't let the instrument inhibit the music. The saxophone/instrument doesn't create musicality; we do.
It was a pleasure to have Dr. Whiting visit the SPHS bands as every student he worked with left with a smile on their face!
SPHS Jazz I plays for packed house at Colonial Club
Annual WSMA Solo & Ensemble Festival
Sun Prairie High School Wind Ensemble invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City!!
Great News! The Sun Prairie High School Wind Ensemble (our top concert band) was invited to play at Carnegie Hall in New York City along with 5 other HS Wind Ensembles from around the nation on February 12, 2018. It will be a day of workshops with some of the countries leading musicians and a 45 minute concert on the main stage of Carnegie Hall! The SPHS Wind Ensemble was also designated a "Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, High School of Distinction" which qualifies our band to receive a $5000 scholarship payable toward expenses associated with this opportunity.
For more information on this wonderful opportunity, click below:
SPHS Wind Ensemble Carnegie 2018 Info Sheet.
Dr. Linda Pereksta presents the Baroque Flute to SPHS!
SPHS band students were treated to a demonstration of a Baroque Period Flute by Dr. Linda Pereksta from UW-Oshkosh last Friday. Dr. Pereksta demonstrated the unique tonal qualities of the instrument. She also mentioned that this instrument had multiple fingerings for enharmonic pitches. For example, her baroque flute has an A# and Bb key to account for just intonation - one fingering a bit higher in pitch and one a bit lower in pitch. She also talked about the lives of the musicians in the early 1700's how they used to live on the estates of the wealthy - a system of patronage. They provided music of every kind for their patron, including playing in the kings bedroom to wake him up in the morning! It was very unique and informative day!
High School Band students spread Kindness!
20 SPHS Band students worked as group leaders for the Kindness Retreat at Northside on Friday. The HS students worked as group leaders and provide positive role model for the students at Northside. A great time was had by all as members of the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble helped guide the Northside students through a series of activities intended to make students more aware of their peers.
Carl Allen, former Julliard Jazz Professor, Visit & Clinic
Carl Allen visited Sun Prairie High School Friday afternoon to help students prepare for their upcoming "Essentially Ellington" recording session. Mr. Allen is a New York based jazz drummer who also led the Juilliard Jazz Program for several years. He has played with a who's who of historic jazz musicians and brought many first hand stories to his teaching. He also encouraged students to listen to the music together and get to know each others musical tastes better. He emphasized the importance of practice quoting, "Private Practice determines Public Performance", the importance of being totally in the moment and that todays' new high performance level needs to be tomorrows low. We will never be perfect but we need to always be working to improve. He also quoted Art Blakey as saying that "jazz should wash away the dust of everyday life". Mr. Allen also did some playing and had a lot of great advice - another good musical day was had by all.
SP Alum George Maurer Visits, Inspires, & Performs
Sun Prairie High School graduate ('84), George Maurer was in residence at SPHS January 12-14, 2017. George has composed original music for the Saint Paul City Ballet, arranged '80's hits for the Minnesota Orchestra and has sold out the Dakota Jazz Club in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area with his band. He has also arranged music for the Chiffons, played for the Bill Clinton White House and helped Eric Clapton with a few chords and been musically director for the original Broadway vocal quartet from "Jersey Boys". In addition, George has biked across the United States, west coast to east coast, raising money for cancer research.
George spoke to music students about his early influences being involved in SPHS Band and Choir and how it inspired him to continue on in music. He also chronicled his path from the Sun Prairie High School music rooms to working with some of the music industries leading personalities.
His residency was capped off by inviting two SPHS Graduates, Sam Olson ('14), bass, and Matt Allen ('11), drums, to join him and his talented vocalist, Leslie Vincent in a concert in the PAC that feature jazz standards as well as the music of Carole King, Norah Jones, and Amy Winehouse. Mr. Sveum, also a graduate of SPHS ('80), saxophone, joined the quartet on a couple numbers as well.
All in all a very musical and inspiring time was had by all.
SPHS Course Scheduling - 4 Year Plan of how to include Music Classes
SPHS Four Year Scheduling - Band
The schedule above below meets graduation requirements & minimum UW college entrance requirements. Additional coursework in math, science, and social studies may be taken in the elective section of this example schedule. Please note that taking courses in a compacted or bundled format may conflict with scheduling a year-long course such as a band class. Students may also be interested in exploring the summer options offered at Sun Prairie High School as an option to create more room in the fall/spring class schedule.
The second page includes how to schedule if you are interested in 2 Music Classes or Music & AVID.
If at any time you have questions about your schedule and how to fit music in, see your band director and guidance counselor.
SPHS Wind Ensemble records for NBC15's "Sound of the Season"
SPHS Welcomes Woodwind Guest Artists!
We were fortunate to welcome David Bixler (Saxophone), Amy McCann (Clarinet), Marc Vallon (Bassoon) and Stephanie Jutt (flute) to work with our students this past Monday and Tuesday.
David Bixler, outstanding jazz saxophonist from New York, spent two hours working fundamentals of playing the saxophone as well as improvisational techniques with our students. He then spent an hour and a half working with Jazz I on creating a unique sound as an ensemble as well as techniques that deepen the ability to communicate with an audience. He focused on good use of air and being sure to make every note important, no matter what the role of the note may be. Know the architecture of the tune and play accordingly. He also asked students to practice with the metronome on the third triplet of the beat in a swing style.
Friday - November 18th welcomes many guest to SP Bands!
Reggie Thomas, the Northern Illinois Jazz Ensemble and special guest, Camille Thurman performed for the members of the Wind Ensemble and then spent time working with both Jazz I and Jazz II. We were also able to welcome back SPHS graduate Ryan Krueger who is a member of the NIU Jazz Ensemble. Ms. Thurman both played beautifully on the Tenor Saxophone as well as vocally on a tune entitled, "I Just found out about Love and I like it". After the their performance, SPHS students split into either sectionals with the NIU students or went into full rehearsal with Mr. Thomas. The session concluded with Mr. Thomas and Ms. Thurman performing a duet that was inspiring! There were many great moments in the 4 hours that our friends from NIU were here.
Congratulations Clara Sickels & Megan Rault!
Megan Rault will be a saxophonist in the upcoming UW-Milwaukee Music Festival Honor Band. The band is comprised of students from primarily the Milwaukee and Chicago area. The festival band will participate in workshops and rehearsals for two days culminating in a final performance at UW-Milwaukee. Students will also work with noted composer, Aaron Perrine.
Clara Sickels was chosen as an oboist for the 2017 High School Honors Band at Carnegie Hall! After a difficult review process, their Selection Board has chosen students representing 49 US states, Guam, two provinces of Canada, Australia, Chile, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, and South Korea. Students will rehearse at the famed Carnegie Hall in New York on February 2-6 with a thrilling culminating concert at the historic Carnegie Hall.
Music Convention Week - Busy, Busy!
The week of October 24-28 began with an improvisational workshop presented to jazz students interested in improvisation presented by the Caili O’Doherty Trio from New York City. The group included Caili on Piano, Caroline Davis on Saxophone and Cory Cox on Drums. They worked with students on developing a solo on “Blue Bossa” and rhythm section playing. That was followed up by a workshop with the Concert Band Red students. The concert band used the first four measure of “Russian Christmas Music” as source material to create a funk tune and then each member of the concert band played a rhythmic improvisation that they rest of the band played back to them - it was jammin’!!!!
On Wednesday of that week, professor Jerry Tolson from the University of Louisville stopped by to work with rhythm section members on an F Blues and Blue Bossa. This was in preparation for his presentation and the rhythm section performance at the State Music Convention at Monona Terrace. Dr. Tolson returned early Thursday morning to work with the full band. He has written a book on jazz articulation and syllables and worked with the band to clean up some of our syllables which cleaned up the band.
On Thursday, Dr. Matt Schlomer from the Interlochen Arts Academy outside of Traverse City, Michigan worked with the Wind Ensemble on breathing and tone production. He had a very “deep” approach to music and concepts relating to conceiving of your entire body being a part of your sound and reaching down to fill your body with more air - not cutting off yourself at your diaphragm. He also asked student to perceive of their performance as being better than they are - not to limit themselves to their own concept of faults but visualize something better. He had them visualize the point of activation and to always think of themselves as the performer who creates something that previously did not exist. It was a great hour presented at the college graduate school level - wonderful!
The week ended with Megan Rault performing in the Wisconsin Honors Band at the Overture Center in Madison and the Jazz I Rhythm Section (Jon Alcantara, Jordan Apfelbeck, Michael Otto, Robert Rockman, and Jennifer Lamprech) assisting Dr. Tolson in his clinic on how to teach a jazz rhythm section. A very good week!
Ron Carter returns to Sun Prairie High School
Retired professor Ron Carter (now from Raleigh, North Carolina) returned to SPHS on Monday, November 7 to work both Jazz I and II this past Monday. Professor Carter brought his usual high energy instruction to better the SPHS jazz students as they prepared their music for the upcoming Big Band Dance on December 10 at Angell Park. He encourage student to listen and improvise. He congratulated the students on learning their notes but noticed that we still need to have each student focus on listening and transcribing jazz solos as well as having every student learn to improvise an authentic blues solo. He also encouraged all of our older student to become part of the “Teaching Force” in Sun Prairie Jazz. He asked them to get together with each other and help and play and pass on the tradition of the culture that has become Sun Prairie Jazz….with more improvisation!
Senior Band Photo orders due November 4
Big Band Dance Date Change - December 10, 2016
HS Band - October Updates in Photos!
2016 Wall of Success - Scott Auby
Former SPHS Band and Choral student, Scott Auby was honored on October 3 at a ceremony in the SPHS PAC. Scott graduated from SPHS in 1981. He earned a music degree at Lawrence University in Appleton and after graduating applied to Harvard Law school where he earned his law degree. He worked for the corporate law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP, in Washington DC.
The program brought back many friends and alumni to SPHS and was inspiring to the current generation of music students
Scott wrote about his music teachers at SPHS, “They taught us to pursue excellence in everything that they did,” he said. “The way they taught us to pursue passion and to be a member of a community -- those are life lessons that I’ve carried with me every day since I’ve left.”
Current band students, Mallory Keating and Ben Plesh presented Scott's brother, Gregg with a SPHS blanket and plaque commemorating Scott.
Scott passed away from brain cancer last summer.
Edgar Knecht Trio Clinic and Performance with SPHS Bands and Jazz
SPHS Jazz Combo at "Justice for a Cure"
The SPHS Jazz Combo performed at the "Justice for a Cure" fundraising event on Friday, October 7, 2016 at the Westside community Center in Sun Prairie. The group provided jazz standards to create a festive atmosphere and help raise money for cancer research. Student involved included, Jennifer Lamprech, Michael Otto, Jon Alcantara, Andy Paulson, Kyra Devlin and Paul Moniak.
HS Band - September Updates in Photos!
On Friday, September 9th, Jazz Rhythm section students from Cardinal Heights and the High School participated in a clinic given by Reggie Thomas and Rick Haydon.
Both gentlemen are longtime friends of the SPASD Jazz Program and also performed in the first concert sponsored by the Sun Prairie Arts Alliance. The Concert entitled, "Jazz @ Home with Reggie and Mardra Thomas" featured both pop and jazz tunes with SPHS Band Director Steve Sveum sitting in on a couple tunes.
Also - big thanks to the students who raised $500 for SPHS Jazz by working at the Madison Ironman. You rock!
SPHS Seniors Perform at Memorial Day Service
A Sincere thank you to our seniors and their families who took time off from their extended Memorial Day to perform for our local veterans and their families. As always, the performance was greatly appreciated by our Veterans who have given so much to us.
Thank you as well to members of the Sound of Sun Prairie and their families as well as the students of both Patrick Marsh and Prairie View marching bands for contributing to this worthy community event.
Congrats to students on some outstanding performances!
Congratulations to the following students for being recognized as "Exemplary Soloists" at this years' state Solo/Ensemble Festival held on the campus of UW-Whitewater on April 30, 2016.
Kayla Nelson - Baritone Saxophone
Garrett Risch - Trumpet
Alex Rockman - Flute
Joseph Rockman - Trumpet
Robert Rockman - Mallet Percussion
Sebastian Roman - Alto Saxophone
Congratulations as well to the following Jazz Ensemble I students who were recognized for their outstanding performances at the 21st Annual "Essentially Ellington" competition held in Rose Hall in New York City on May 6-7, 2016.
Sydney Challoner - Trumpet
Sebastian Roman - Alto Saxophone
Sebastian Roman - Soprano Saxophone
Kayla Nelson - Baritone Saxophone
Robert Rockman - Banjo
Congratulations to all students who worked very hard and performed so well at the above events!
Congrats Jazz I on a great 2016 Essentially Ellington!!
Go to our Jazz I NYC 2016 Homepage to watch their performance and learn more about their experience.
Composer & Educator Jack Stamp Visits SPHS - May 3, 2016
His work with the Symphonic Band centered on the Holst First Suite in Eb. He said that he knew this piece even better than that of his own compositions. Finally, he worked with the Concert Band on his own composition entitled, "Cenotaph". He had written Cenotaph 24 years ago but found that he had written a wrong note in the timpani part and made the correction for the first time in his career. He also emphasized matching style and length of notes throughout. He also cited how he created tension by use of hemiola and dissonance in "Cenotaph".
Congrats State Solo & Ensemble Students! April 30, 2016
SPHS Jazz I helps raise money for the "Sunshine Place"
April 2016 - Thanks to all of our guests that stopped by!
In the Past week (April 15-22), SPHS Band students have enjoyed clinics by Dan Grobois, UW-Madison French Horn Professor; Russ Nolan - New York Jazz Saxophonist; Reggie Thomas - Professor of Jazz at NIU and Pianist with the Count Basie Band; and the Wingra Woodwind Quintet from UW-Madison. It has been a great week of musical enrichment for all in the SPHS Band Department!
SPHS Wind Ensemble and Concert Band successful at UW-Milwaukee
The High School Wind Ensemble and Concert Band recently returned from a successful day of clinics and rehearsals at UW- Milwaukee's Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts and the Bader Concert Hall. Trumpet professor, Kevin Hartman worked with each band's brass section, Flute professor Jennifer Clippert worked with each groups' Woodwind section and Tom Wetzel worked with each percussion section. Alternately, each band received a workshop with Dr. John Climer, Director of Bands and the UW-Milwaukee Wind Ensemble.
Each group made good progress in their musicality throughout the day. The band finished the min-tour with a stop at the Mayfair Mall food court. The bands represented Sun Prairie in a very positive way throughout the day. Congrats to our band students on a successful day of music education.
Kenny Rampton, J@LC Trumpet Clinician comes to Sun Prairie!
New York jazz trumpet artist and member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Kenny Rampton worked with the SPHS Jazz Ensemble I for 4 and a half hours on April 7th to prepare the band for the upcoming Essentially Ellington competition and festival. He talked about breathing ("The Science of Breath" by Yogi Ramacharaka), tuning, life, balance, relaxing, listening and the universe. He also mentioned that it is very important to practice difficult passages slowly at first, with all the nuances, and then gradually speed up.
He "got full" when saying how he is inspired by music students from across the country at the "Essentially Ellington" festival. He always loves the way that students cheer for each other and respect the amount of work and effort it takes to be a finalist and to perform on the Rose Hall stage in New York. He made a comment that our politicians could learn a few things from the hard working high school students who are selected to participate in the national competition. He told the band they have some work to do before they play in New York, but if they do, well, he won't make any predictions...
Learn more about Jazz I's adventure as they head to New York City HERE
Madison Symphony Conductor, John DeMain, visits Sun Prairie.
On March 10, the conductor and music director of the Madison Symphony, maestro John DeMain stopped by to give some musical insight to over 150 music students at Sun Prairie High School. Maestro DeMain covered the history of his musical career from growing up in a steel town in Pennsylvania, to getting early conducting experience from the Catholic High School Band Director, performing as a child prodigy pianist then attending Juilliard, accompanying vocalist and eventually conducting just about everything while in school in New York. He emphasized making connections and networking as well as the hard work it takes to be a musician. He told students that none of the members of the Madison Symphony were full time Symphony musicians and that all had another full time job. As a result, he said the musicians love playing music together which leads to special performances by the Orchestra. He also compared the state sponsored arts in Europe vs the largely unsupported arts in the United States. He then took questions from students and left to an extended ovation given to him by his audience.
Sun Prairie Jazz Fest 2016 - Another Great Day of Music Education!!!
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra to the SPHS Performing Arts Center Stage
Sun Prairie HS Band students as well as hundreds of area elementary students enjoyed a performance by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Andrew Sewell. The Orchestra performed selections by Bernstein, Turina, Sarasate, Piazolla and Moncayo in a program that emphasized the latin side of classical music. As an extra bonus, the WCO invited interested high school students to attend the rehearsal the night before - a rare look at how professionals rehearse! The Chamber Orchestra was here as part of their outreach program. The Orchestra included SPHS band alum, Cindy Terhune in the percussion section.
Sun Prairie Jazz I makes Essentially Ellington Finals for 10th Time!
Congratulations to SPHS Jazz I members who have been selected to participate in the "Essentially Ellington" national jazz festival and competition to be held on May 5-7, 2016 at the "House of Swing" - Rose Hall in the Time Warner Building on Columbus Circle in New York City. Band are selected through a blind audition process from 5 regions throughout the United States and Canada.
This marks the 10th time the band has been selected as a national finalist in the 21 year history of the festival. Sun Prairie Jazz Ensembles' have place as high as 3rd (3 times) in this "super-bowl" of jazz festivals.
We wish them the best of luck and let the fundraising (and practicing!) begin.
Jazz Students attend Jazz Battle Royale - Count Basie & Jazz at Lincoln Center
Members of all three high school jazz ensembles recently attend a joint concert by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Count Basie Orchestra at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. After the concert, J@LC trombone player, Chris Crenshaw spoke with students on improvisation, jazz, composition and life.
High School Band Students Pay it Forward at the Northside Elementary "Kindness Retreat"
SPHS Percussionist Robert Rockman - Winner of Bolz / Final Forte Young Artist Concerto Competition
The Final Forte 2016 finalists were selected from several young Wisconsin artists who competed in the Bolz Young Artist Competition’s two preliminary rounds. The event gave these four artists the chance to perform a movement from a concerto with the Madison Symphony Orchestra.
The Final Forte is a free concert broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) and rebroadcast on Wisconsin Public Television (WPT). This competition has captured an enormous following and numerous honors, including an Emmy nomination, First Place in the “Special Interest” category from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association in 2007, and fifth most-watched program in the February 2007 Nielsen ratings. The 2008 WPT and WPR broadcasts reached more than 60,000 viewers and listeners in the Madison market alone and the 2009 broadcasts reached an estimated 200,000 statewide.
Robert Rockman, marimba
Fantasy on Japanese Woodprints, Op. 211 (Alan Hovhaness)
Homeschool – Sun Prairie
Learn more about Robert
Robert Rockman, 16, is a homeschooled junior. His love of percussion instruments began before he could walk and since fifth grade, he has studied percussion at the Terhune Music Studio in Sun Prairie. He is also part of the percussion sections in the Wind Ensemble at Sun Prairie High School and the Winds of Wisconsin. In addition, Robert studies voice and classical guitar and teaches percussion and guitar lessons. He has participated in the state level WSMA solo and ensemble festivals every year since sixth grade and was named one of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s 2015 Stars of Tomorrow. Robert is very involved in theater with First Wing Family Theatre and Sun Prairie Civic Theatre and dances in jazz, tap, ballet, modern, and lyrical styles at Studio 3-D in Deerfield. Robert lives in Sun Prairie with his parents, his younger sister, and his triplet brother and sister. In his spare time, he enjoys racquetball, playing cards and games with his family and friends, and throwing a Frisbee for his dog, Breagh.
Students Selected to UW-Milwaukee Festival Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Congratualtions to Aczareyen Lyles (flute) and Clara Sickels (oboe) who were both chosen to be members of the UW-Milwuakee Music Festival Symphonic Wind Ensemble for the Milwaukee Music Festival held on January 29 and 30, 2016. this very selective group was made up of students from around Wisconsin and the Chicago area suburbs. Students worked under the guidance of UW-M Wind Ensemble conductor John Climer as well as composer John Mackey. The Concert featured many of Mackeys' works and the final performance was held in Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts in Bader Concert Hall.
Congratulations to all who performed at district Solo/Ensemble
Students may register via their band director in a few weeks. Several students also received outstanding performance certificates. Congrats to all who played!!
Congrats - 4 students selected for Wisconsin State Honors Project
Congratulations to the following students who auditioned into the 2015 Wisconsin State Honors Project Ensembles. More information about the experience can be found HERE.
Gabrielle Lentz, Flute - Band
Michael Otto, Bass - Alternate Band/Orchestra
Garrett Risch, Trumpet - Jazz
Molly Sheahan, Clarinet - Orchestra
2015 October High School State Honors Concerts Performances:
About Sun Prairie High School Bands:
Students in the Sun Prairie High School Band program participate in one of three concert bands:
Student may opt to participate in any portion of our extra-curricular program which include:
All students in the Sun Prairie Band program receive weekly small group instruction from a district band staff member. In addition, a number of students receive additional, instrument specific, private instruction from one of a number of talented musicians from our area.
All band students also participate in a composer in residence program that features a guest composer working with all of the concert bands. Past composers include: Charles Rochester Young, Jim Bonney, Sam Hazo, Richard Saucedo, Frank Ticheli, Jonathan Newman, Michael Daugherty, Michael Markowski, Wataru Hokoyama, Kim Archer, and David Maslanka.
The Wind Ensemble has been invited to perform at both the Wisconsin WMEA and WNBA convention, and regional MENC conventions in Minneapolis and Cincinnati and the National MENC, as well as collaborated with the Wind Ensembles of UW-Madison, UW-Stevens Point, and Carroll University in preparation of new music and concert performance.
The Jazz Ensemble I has performed at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic with Wynton Marsalis and the WMEA convention with Clark Terry. The jazz ensemble has been a 9 time national finalist in the “Essentially Ellington” festival, placing 3rd three times.
The Sound of Sun Prairie has won its’ circuit Championship honors many times in the Mid America Competing Band Directors Association summer circuit.