students playing instruments in symphony band

The Band and Choir Departments of Chicago Heights School District 170 under the direction of Alecia Dixon, James Fallinske, and Theodore Hattan, presented their annual Winter Concert in the auditorium at Washington-McKinley School on Wednesday. December 13th.

The concert, consisting of performances by the district's Beginning, Combined, and Jazz Bands, and the School District 170 Choir earned rounds of applause from family, friends, and community members in attendance.

The students performed traditional holiday favorites like Jingle Bell Rock, Let It Go, Hot Chocolate, and Jingle Bells, along with standards such as London Bridge, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and Old McDonald.

It's always great to have an opportunity to perform for family, friends and the community," Hattan said. "The musicians rehearsed their parts for over three months, and it was nice to be able to show off their growth as musicians to family and friends."

Hattan went on to explain that he and Fallinske were especially proud to see the continued growth of the district's band program.

"It is most gratifying to note the student's enthusiasm," he said, "and the increased enrollment and consistent rehearsal attendance indicate a growing interest in the program."

The band's repertoire of fun activities and popular music is a critical element in the program's growth.

"We make every effort to increase the 'fun" factor for all of our students," Fallinske stated. "For example, we have incorporated a 'Band Karate' reward oriented tiered system that recognizes student achievement as they progress through their lessons and this enjoyable routine has resulted in consistent progress for our students."

Fallinske and Hattan also trust that programs like this one will enhance parent contact and support in the band program, and hope to create a 'Band Booster' organization in the coming months.

The district's renowned choir has continued to perform throughout the area. The group recently performed at holiday tree lighting ceremonies in Chicago Heights and South Chicago Heights and will participate in a program at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium later this month. The choir also is planning on singing alongside the internationally known Glen Ellyn Children's Choir at Anima Springfest 2018.

"This has been a great year for our choir," Dixon noted. "Our students work so well together, and they have shown marvelous growth, and I am heartened by the fact that our collegial group dynamic has helped some timid students to blossom and begin taking leading vocal roles."

Mary Kay Entsminger, CHSD170's Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction praised the efforts of everyone involved in the band and choir programs.

"On behalf of Chicago Heights School District 170 I am thrilled to recognize and applaud the efforts of all of the students and teachers who worked so diligently to ensure the success of the 2017 Band and Choir Winter Concert," Entsminger said.

"We recognize the vital importance of musical extra-curricular activities as an essential element of a complete educational experience and pledge to continue to make every effort to provide our students with the opportunity of participating in programs and activities of this type that showcase their wonderful talents."