NCHS Orchestras

...creating lifelong purveyors of music

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

COVID Opportunities for NCHS Orchestra Members!

You can't keep creative musicians down, and a global pandemic is merely an opportunity for creativity.  A number of these virtual opportunities just crossed my inbox this week. These are GREAT chances for the students to learn from amazing collegiate faculty for FREE!!!!

Northern Illinois University Viola Webcast - Sept 17 (FREE)

  • Concert featuring viola quartets by Bach, Telemann, Bowen, and Hindemith

  University of Wisconsin Whitewater- October 12 (FREE)

  • Virtual Music Major for a Day - see link for details

  • A day celebrating the cello!

Western Illinois University Virtual String Institute

WIU ILMEA All-State String Workshop - Sept 26 (FREE)

  • For those students auditioning for the ILMEA District Festival

WIU String Day - Oct 24 (FREE)
  • For any interested string player

WIU College Audition Preparation Workshop - Nov 27 (FREE)

  • For high school seniors looking for college audition tips

  • For those students auditioning for the ILMEA festival orchestra

University of Illinois School of Music Open House
 - October 19 - 30 (FREE)

  • MANY different sessions to choose from - click on the link above for a description of all the workshops available

Linda Luebke Strings Festival - October 4 - November 15 (FREE)

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Unit 5 Orchestra Face Masks & Gaitors


Click here to purchase U5 Orchestra face masks and gaitors. A variety of color choices are available and can be customized with your clef or the U5 Orchestra logo.  A bargain at only $6 (plus shipping)!!!   What a great way to support the program, show your team spirit, and help protect yourself and others!

Monday, August 10, 2020

NCHS Orchestra 2020 Fall Supply List

Greetings Students and Parents!

Welcome to a new year of making music together!!!  Obviously, things are going to look much different than they have in previous years and this promises to be one of the most bizarre openings to school we have ever seen...  But I am eagerly looking forward to getting back into the classroom (regardless of how "virtual" it is) and hope that the students are looking forward to this as well.  More information will be forthcoming over the next couple of weeks, but there are a few supplies that I wanted parents to have a heads up on so that we can hit the ground running.  Please click on this link to be directed to a Google Doc that outlines what students need to have in order to help them be successful this semester.  

We hope that you would consider supporting local business for these needs as this has been a very difficult time for small businesses. The Music Shoppe has been given a heads up to anticipate a run on some of these items and is preparing to help you secure these supplies.  I believe they have various curbside pick-up, direct shipping, etc. options available. 

Please note: the last few months of remote learning found a number of students trying to cope with playing without a music stand.  Please understand that this is a vital piece of equipment and is in NO way optional.  Students will be doing a great deal of synchronous learning this quarter (all students online in a virtual classroom together) and will be expected to be set up properly with a chair and stand just as they would in the classroom.  As with all supplies, please let me know asap if there is a financial hardship with procuring any of these supplies, and I will work with your family to help arrange something. 

Hope your summer has been uneventful, and your family is safe and healthy!  Please reach out with any questions you might have.

Melissa Siebenthal

Friday, May 29, 2020

End of Year Orchestra Check Out Sheet

Please see the attached check list to ensure that you complete all necessary tasks for orchestra while in the building next week.  All students should be in the building ONLY on the day and time assigned to them by the administration to clear out lockers etc. and should include this checklist in the music department as part of that process. Don't forget that students are expected to wear face masks, social distance at all times, and complete all tasks in the building as quickly as possible.   Please contact Mrs. Siebenthal immediately with any questions. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Summer Music Opportunities

As COVID-19 continues to inspire creativity and people work to find alternatives to things that have been done in the past, the NCHS orchestra program is really excited to present some great opportunities for music this summer.  Students are HIGHLY encouraged to take advantage of at least one of these activities!  Illinois Wesleyan and the University of Missouri - St. Louis are both offering a FREE summer music camp experience, while ISU is offering a session of private lessons for a reasonable fee.  All activities are done online, via Zoom, etc.  Please click on the links below for more information and registration.  Let Mrs. Siebenthal know if there is anything she can do to be of assistance.  

University of Missouri St. Louis (June 1-5 FREE FREE FREE!)     

ISU String Project (June 22 - Aug 2)     

IWU Illinois Chamber Music Festival (July 20-25 FREE FREE FREE)   

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Join Us Now for the 2020 NCHS Orchestra Awards Night and Senior Recognition

The Siebenthal family is on the couch waiting for you to join us for the 2020 NCHS Orchestra Awards Night and Senior Recognition!  Use the links below to download the video from Google Drive, or watch via YouTube.  And a special shout out to all of the parent volunteers who delivered senior gifts in the monsoon today - you guys are amazing!!!  Thanks so much for helping us make this day a little brighter for our seniors!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Orchestra Awards and Senior Recognition

Tune in here on the orchestra blog at 7 pm, Thursday May 14th for access to the NCHS Orchestra Awards Night and Senior Recognition (  We will post links and details at that time. The awards will also be posted on all Google Classrooms at the same time in the hopes we may be able to thwart technology if something goes wrong...  Let's watch together even though we are apart and show solidarity for our seniors - GO IRON! 

Saturday, May 9, 2020

2020 NCHS Orchestra Awards Night & Senior Recognition

In lieu of our spring concert this year, the orchestra program will be presenting our awards and senior recognition on Thursday night, May 14th @ 7:00 pm.  A video will be pushed out at that time so that we might all watch it together and support one another, even though we still remain apart.  The end-of-the-year award winners will be announced and our seniors will be recognized. More details as to how this will be posted will become available this week as we work to figure out the best implementation.  Please plan on joining us May 14th @ 7 pm as we celebrate our music making this year together. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Pratt Scholarship Applications

Although it might be hard to be thinking about anything other than our current situation at this time, the Pratt Scholarship is designed to provide students with financial difficulties lessons and music supplies for free.  This has been a wonderful boost to many of our students and some of NCHS's best string players have been products of this program.  Click on the yellow picture for all of the necessary information.  Applications are due by May 1st and require letters of recommendation (including one from myself) and all materials must be included by that date.  I wanted to make sure that you have time to complete this process as we have gotten no indication from the Pratt Foundation that this deadline is going to be extended. Please contact me if there is anything I can do to assist you or if you need a letter.  Thoughts and prayers that your family is safe and healthy during this time (and remains so!).

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Unit Orchestra Concert Update

Please note the following message regarding the cancelling of the Unit Orchestra concert scheduled for next week.  The NCHS Orchestra program is currently investigating a way to still provide the students with some sort of performance venue that could culminate in a recording for parents to watch.  Information will be communicated as it becomes available.  Thank you for your patience and understanding regarding the district's decision.

Dear Unit 5 Orchestra Students and Parents,
Today, Unit 5 district administration decided to cancel the Unit Orchestra concert scheduled for Tuesday March 17th at West. This concert features over 400 performers and draws a very large crowd, and public health officials have suggested events with large gatherings be avoided for the time being.
Due to the size of the ensembles we will also be cancelling the rehearsal that was scheduled for Monday March 16th also at West.
The Orchestra Directors appreciate all the work that students have put into the music and your continued support of our program.

Mrs. Boyd, Mrs. Siebenthal, Ms. Boehm, Mrs. Fontana, Mr. Golick,  Mrs. Keeney, Mrs. Stalter and Ms. Szwajka
Unit 5 Orchestra Faculty

Unit 5 Orchestra Apparel Order

U5 Orchestra gear is now available. Click here to order your Unit 5 Orchestra spirit wear!!!  All orders are due by March 18th and will be delivered to school.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Solo & Ensemble Contest Wrap-Up

HUGE thank-yous to all of our volunteers from this weekend!!! There were so many positive comments from directors from all over the area about how well everything worked, and that is a direct result of the efforts of over 120 people!

Musically, the event was also a huge success for the bands, orchestras, and choirs. The orchestra program ended up tying for 1st place in the state for the Solo & Ensemble Class AA sweepstakes and we also took the "Best of Day" awards in two of the three string rooms. So proud of all of the students' hard work, effort, and growth over the last month!!!  GO IRON!!!!

Unit Orchestra Reminder

Just another reminder that all students attending the Unit Orchestra rehearsal this Wed. Mar. 11 (all orchestras except Chamber Orchestra) need to bring a FOLDING MUSIC STAND to rehearsal (and their cellos).  Please make sure that the stand is labeled with your name.  All students are to be picked up in the BUS LANE promptly at 6 pm. Don't forget the rehearsal is here at Normal Community.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Unit Orchestra Information

Unit Rehearsal #1

Date:   Wed. Mar. 11
Time:   4-6 pm
Location:   NCHS Cafeteria
Personnel:  All orchestras EXCEPT Chamber Orchestra

Unit Rehearsal #2

Date:   Mon. Mar. 16
Time:   4-6 pm
Location:   NCWHS Gym
Personnel:  All orchestras EXCEPT Chamber Orchestra

**Students will be given a pass to get out of school 5 min early, offering them plenty of time to beat the parking lot traffic and travel to NCWHS.  STUDENTS MUST PROVIDE THEIR OWN TRANSPORTATION!!!

Unit Concert

Date:   Tues. Mar. 17
Time:   7 pm
Call Time:  TBA
Location:   NCWHS Gym
Personnel:  All orchestras EXCEPT Chamber Orchestra
Dress:  Orchestra Uniforms

Friday, February 28, 2020

Solo & Ensemble Contest Volunteer Lists

The IHSA Solo & Ensemble Contest that NCHS is hosting is only a week a way (Sat Mar 7) and our volunteer lists are so very sparse. We REALLY need people to help us out and sign up today to volunteer a few hours of time.  This is a huge fundraising event for our department and benefits the music students in every ensemble at Normal Community.  Please encourage your student to sign up as well as most of the jobs are able to be filled with students or parents alike. Please click on the links below and donate just a few hours of your time to our students - they are truly a worthy investment!!!