NCHS Orchestras

...creating lifelong purveyors of music

Friday, September 8, 2023

Orchestra Update for the Week of Sept. 11th

A busy week for the orchestras this week!  Please note the following updates and reminders:

Uniform Update - Please make sure that you have checked dresses and pants for proper length and have made arrangements to take care of any needed alterations.  If you aren't able to do the alterations yourself, we are recommending Victor's Alterations on North Street as an alternative.  Please note that any dresses or pants that needed to be ordered will arrive "raw" and need to be hemmed.  Missing buttons for uniforms will be sent home as soon as we are able to locate good replacements for our new tuxedo shirts.  

Football Game Concession Stand
 - The sign up list for the concession stand at the Sept. 15th football game is now available.  This will go into the orchestra's general account to be used for classroom needs.  Please consider donating a few hours of time to help us out!  

Gill Street Dine to Donate is on Tuesday, Sept. 12th.  Please click on this link for instructions to ensure that we receive credit for your meal.  Take the night off from cooking!!!

Gobena Coffee - Don't forget orders are due this Wednesday, Sept. 13th.  Students must bring in all payments at the time of the order. Delivery is expected sometime the week of Sept. 25th

- Please consider joining us for our first NCHS Orchestra Parents Association meeting on Sept. 14th at 7:00 pm in the orchestra room.  This meeting is an opportunity for ANY orchestra parent to get involved in their student's education.  Meetings usually last about an hour and this first meeting will focus on getting things rolling with the Hauntcert, continuing some fundraising efforts, and establishing some new committees.  Please come and join us, meet some new people, and donate a little time to a worthy cause!  Doors J around the back of the building will be open. 

Friday, August 25, 2023

Welcome Back Orchestra Family!

Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year!  This is our first official post to the blog this year, so if you just signed up for the blog and received this as an email in your inbox, you are good to go!

Fundraising Updates:

Europe - current fundraisers for individual Europe accounts are underway.  Gobena Coffee order forms have been distributed at school and are due on Sept. 13th.  There are also still a few spots open on the 1st semester HyVee Bagging for Tips Signup Genius

General Orchestra Fundraisers - mark your calendars for the Gill Street Dine to Donate on Tuesday, Sept. 12th.  Please click on this link and RSVP.  We need at least 40 people to RSVP in order to be allowed to host this fundraising event.  This is NOT a binding commitment, we just need to fill the list...   Also mark your calendars for September 15th as orchestra, choir, and drama will be working concession stand at the home football game.  Sign ups will be available soon!

Fundraising Volunteers - Melissa Miles, our orchestra fundraising committee chair is in need of some volunteers to assist with our fundraising efforts.  Please consider volunteering some time to help ensure that our orchestra program gets the money we need to provide a high quality education to your student and that our kids have the opportunities needed to allow them to participate in things like our Europe trip.  Click here for the SignUp Genius to volunteer or you can email for more information. 


The NCHS Orchestra Parents Association (NOPA) is dedicated to helping provide all of the "extras" to our orchestra students that only an active parents organization can!  Please consider joining us for our first meeting on Sept. 14th at 7:00 pm in the orchestra room.  This meeting is an opportunity for ALL orchestra parents to get involved in their student's education (in a way less embarrassing way than chaperoning a dance ;-).  Meetings usually last about an hour and this first meeting will focus on getting things rolling with the Hauntcert, continuing some fundraising efforts, and establishing some new committees.  Please come and join us, meet some new people, and donate a little time to a worthy cause! 

Uniform Update

Uniforms will be sent home on Monday, Aug. 28 - please make your student tries things on at home for you double check proper fit.  Uniform pieces that need to be ordered will be taken care of at the end of the week and it is critical that the order is accurate at that time.  Students who still have a uniform at home MUST try it on this weekend and bring it to Mrs. Siebenthal before school on Monday morning if it doesn't fit.  Also double check uniforms for overlooked tears, bad zippers, missing buttons etc.  Any missing buttons will be sent home with the student, and we would like a final count on those by the end of the week as well. 

State Farm Employees

Did you know that the hours you volunteer to the orchestra not only help provide a better education for the students, but also earn the orchestra cash?  Drop in to our first NOPA meeting or email for more info!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Concert Recordings & Fall HyVee Bagging for Tips

Dates for 1st semester HyVee Bagging for Tips are now available on SignUpGenius for those participating in the Europe trip.  The orchestra is also in need of some additional people to help with fundraising efforts and work on the orchestra/choir fundraising committee.  Please consider donating some of your time to this very necessary endeavor and add your name to the committee's SignUpGenius.

Recordings from last week's concert can be found here. 
So proud of all of the kids' hard work this year!!!  Thanks again to everyone who donated refreshments for our post-concert reception and to Melissa Miles for organizing everything.  Hope everyone has a safe and relaxing summer break!

Concert Recordings -

HyVee -

Fundraising Committee -

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Spring Concert, Refreshment Donations, & Fundraising Info

We're rapidly approaching the finish line!  Please see the earlier blog post for details regarding Thursday's concert.  One additional note and reminder regarding uniform collection following the concert - this is required of all students IMMEDIATELY following the concert.  Students will wear the black tuxedo shirt, but must also bring the white shirt they were issued at the beginning of the year.  Students need to bring clothes to change into after the concert.  It would be very helpful to have the white shirt returned on a wire hanger. 

We are still really short on refreshment donations for our reception after the concert.  Please consider helping us out and adding your name to the SignupGenius list.  Thank you in advance for helping us "sweeten" the evening for our seniors! []

Europe participants who have fundraised should have received an email from Mr. Luginbuhl regarding the application of fundraising profits to our travel agent.  Please read the email carefully and make sure that you follow all deadlines to ensure that your funds are appropriated the way you desire. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Spring Concert Updates

We've almost made it across the finish line!  Please see the following notes regarding the Spring Concert:

Date:  Thurs. May 18

Time:  7:00 pm (6:00 pm call time for students)

Personnel:  ALL orchestras

Dress:  Concert uniforms (seniors only are allowed formal wear other than uniforms if desired)

Uniform Collection: Uniforms will be collected immediately following the concert as part of the student's grade.  Students MUST bring clothes to change into and should then get in line in the orchestra room to have their uniform checked in by our equipment crew.  Seniors should hand off their uniform to someone to check in for them.

Post Concert Reception:  We will have a small reception of cookies and punch following the concert to honor our seniors.  Please consider helping us out and donating refreshments for the festivities!

Dress Rehearsals:  Next week, the Monday dress rehearsal scheduled for the 15th is still up for grabs for any orchestra (we have many irons in the fire and varying degrees of preparation).  Personnel required for the Monday dress rehearsal will be announced and posted on Google Classroom by Friday afternoon.  There will be NO dress rehearsal for ANY orchestra on Wednesday, May 17th.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Local Summer Music Opportunities & Last Call for Doughnuts

Two great summer music opportunities have recently come across my desk - one at ISU and one at IWU.  These would be really great ways to keep the kids playing over the summer and are well-run events.  Click here for the Illinois State flier and here for the Illinois Wesleyan flier.    

Krispy Kreme fundraiser is almost over - please consider one last push for the orchestra coffers!  We have only only met 13% of our goal and the sale ends tomorrow night.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Uniform Reminders

PLEASE don't forget to make sure that your student has their FULL uniform with them at school on Thursday including SOCKS, SHOES, and BOW TIE.  Students will not be allowed to perform if they do not have the complete uniform on and will receive a failing grade for this performanceStudents should wear the black tuxedo shirtAll uniforms not worn to school must be labeled!!!  Chamber Orchestra should use their garment bags but don't forget to put shoes in a separate bag.  Cello players need to bring their instruments.  Intermezzo and Chamber students need to bring a lunch.  Sinfonia students should wear their uniforms to school and NOT forget to bring clothes to change into after the performance. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

April 10th Update

Updates and reminders for the IHSA Organization Contest this Thursday (Apr. 13).  

Instruments: Cello players should bring their instruments from home (let me know ASAP if you ride the bus and have no other transportation - I will get you a school instrument to use).  

Uniforms: Sinfonia Orchestra should plan on wearing their uniforms to school on Thursday.  All other students must bring their uniform CLEARLY LABELED with their name to school and hang up on the rack in the green room

Lunch:  Intermezzo and Chamber students who have 4th or 5th hour lunch should plan to bring a sack lunch that day.  

We are still in desperate need of volunteers to help serve the Nelson's fundraising dinners this Thursday afternoon/evening.  PLEASE consider helping us out - both students and parents can sign up (and you can sign up for more than one shift).  Musical rehearsal is that night, so many of our choir friends are unable to assist.  We're really hoping the orchestra can step up on this one.  You can click here for the Signup Genius.

Our next fundraiser for the Europe trip accounts will be Nothing Bundt Cakes - we will be selling individual "Bundtlets" for $6 each in a variety of flavors.  Order forms will be available at school on Tuesday and must be turned in by Apr. 24th.  

There are only 8 days left in our Krispie Kreme fundraiser.  Please continue pushing out the link via social media and email to people.  This fundraiser goes into the orchestra's general account.  

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Fundraising Updates - GO EUROPE - Organization Contest

Less than two weeks to go in our Krispy Kreme fundraiser and we have only met 10% of our goal.  Please continue pushing the link out on your social media and emailing to friends and family even across the country.  A very simple fundraiser - order and pay for doughnuts online, take voucher to any local Krispy Kreme at your convenience and pick them up!  This fundraiser is going into the orchestra's general account.

We are still in need for volunteers to help with the Nelson's dinner fundraiser next week (April 13th).  We really need to get the slots filled to ensure that everyone who purchased a ticket gets fed that night.

Europe is a go!!!  We have just over 100 people registered and are calling for any last minute registrations if you had been holding off waiting to see about the referendum.  Registration instructions are on the second page of this document - make sure that a guardian registers as a new user and then adds all participants as "travelers".

I still have not been given final confirmation for the IHSA Organization Contest next week, but feel it's prudent to start planning based on our assumptions...  Contest is April 13th and will be held during the day at Normal Community High School for orchestra (choir is on Friday).  This is a change in the calendar to ensure our FBLA students can still attend their state convention.  We will do our best to make sure the performances are recorded that day and make them available to parents.  At least a portion of our performance will also be performed at the spring concert.  Students will need to bring their uniforms that day and will not be allowed to perform without them.  PLEASE help them remember!  Our cellists will also need to bring their instruments from home.  Any cellist who rides the bus and has no other transportation option that day should see me about using a school instrument. Updates will continue as they become available.  All orchestras are performing on this day.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Krispy Kreme & Nelson's Fundraisers; Last Call Europe Registrations

With $12, you can't buy happiness, but you can buy a dozen doughnuts and support Normal Community High School!! 🍩 We have just launched a GroupRaise x Krispy Kreme Digital Dozens fundraising campaign. From now until April 18, 33% of orders will be donated back to the Normal Community High School Orchestras, when you purchase your doughnuts using our fundraising sales page. Find out more/place your order here.  Simply purchase your doughnuts online, and show the appropriate validation at your local Krispy Kreme. Share this link on all of your social media pages as this fundraiser is valid for pickup at Krispy Kreme stores across the country (excluding Connecticut and Puerto Rico Krispy Kreme stores)!!! 

Please note: this is a general fundraiser for the orchestra program and is NOT going into individual trip accounts. 

Don't forget Nelson's dinner ticket orders are due THIS THURSDAY (March 23rd).  This fundraiser is going directly into trip accounts.  We also need volunteers to help plate/distribute food the day of the event - please sign up to work a shift!  

We're running out of time to get participants registered for the Europe trip - please make every effort to get that taken care of before spring break so that we can determine the viability of the trip.  

Monday, March 6, 2023

IHSA Solo & Ensemble Contest Wrap-Up; IMEC Recordings Payment Due; Unit Orchestra Calendar Change

Congratulations to the Normal High School Orchestra program on winning the Class AA IHSA Solo & Ensemble Sweepstakes for strings!!!  Students from all four orchestras contributed to our narrow three-point victory over Loyola Academy.  Way to go Iron Strings!

A HUGE thank you to all of the students and adults who helped out with contest this weekend - we adjudicated hundreds of young musicians and fed them and their families at the concession stand.  Set up and tear down went faster than it ever has, and this was one of the most smoothly run contest days that we can remember!  All of the volunteers this year were simply amazing and we couldn't have done it without you - we are truly blessed to have such a fantastic group of individuals working behind the scenes to help provide these kinds of opportunities for our students and the students of other local districts!

If you ordered an IMEC recording, the company is ready to begin finalizing the finished product.  I will send a reminder email to everyone on the list, but if you could get $30 per recording ordered sent to school as soon as possible, our invoice is now due. Checks can be made payable to NCHS Orchestra.  We will also have a few extras available for purchase if you missed the initial order. 

All Unit Orchestra rehearsals and concert have been cancelled.  We will be replacing this event with the IHSA Organization Contest on April 14th.  More details will be forthcoming as they become available, but will most likely involve a "field-trip" style event with orchestras being bussed to Heartland sometime during the school day to perform.  Students will also perform part of their repertoire for this performance on the spring concert as we understand it is unlikely most parents would be able to attend this event in the middle of the day. 

Friday, March 3, 2023

Message from the Unit 5 Music Parents Association


Hello Parents,

 WE NEED YOUR HELP!  We need help staffing informational tables at upcoming music concerts in March. If you are passionate about your music student and their ability to continue receive great music opportunities at school, please sign-up to help.  Visit the Sign-up Genius to let us know you can assist us in providing parents. We will provide all of the set-up, literature, and information you need to help us.

Our sincere thanks,

Unit 5 Music Parents Association

Friday, February 24, 2023

Europe Informational Meeting, Monicals Info, & IHSA Solo & Ensemble Update

We are ready to go with our Europe trip itinerary! We will be holding a Europe 2024 kickoff meeting on Monday, March 6 at 6:30 pm in the NCHS Auditorium. Our tour company representative will be here to present the itinerary, discuss costs, and answer questions.  It is not required that you attend the meeting to go on the trip, but we would encourage you to come if you can (or send someone from your family) so you can learn more about it.

For your planning: trip registration will occur in the month of March, with initial deposits ($285 per traveler) due by March 21.  To make this trip affordable, we have to have at least 85 people, but we would prefer to have at least 100 for better rates.  We will send out a message with the details after the meeting for those who aren't able to attend.

We are very excited to get this trip off the ground, and hope you'll join us as we plan to head to Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, and points in between in June 2024!

Don't forget about our Monical's Dine-to-Donate night on Monday February 27th.  You must provide a PAPER copy of this form in order for us to get credit for your purchase (no "cell phone pictures" allowed).  Physical copies are available at school if you don't have access to a printer.  Please be advised that no one is allowed to distribute these on Monical's property or place copies into people's mailboxes. 

We are still in desperate need of volunteers for the IHSA Solo & Ensemble contest on March 4th.  This is a big fundraiser for the NCHS music department and helps us purchase things that we share as a department (ie music stands, pianos, uniforms, etc.).  Please consider helping us out on Saturday!  

Saturday AM Shifts (March 4) - students and adults

Saturday PM Shifts (March 4) - students and adults

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

IHSA Solo & Ensemble Contest - Volunteers and Schedule

Dear NCHS Music Students & Families,

We are hosting IHSA Solo-Ensemble Contest next Saturday, March 4. This event is a big undertaking, as we will be hosting over 900 student performers from 27 high schools in the area. 

We are known for being great hosts of this event, and that is because we have excellent volunteer help!  We are asking that you please consider helping us in any capacity - we need students and adults to set up, monitor rooms, run judging sheets, help with concessions, tear down, and several other positions. We have divided the jobs into Friday, March 3 (students only), and am / pm shifts on Saturday. This can be for students who are performing or not - we need over 130 volunteer slots filled, so we will take anyone willing to help!

For students performing: please look at the performance schedule, and see if you can sign up for a shift outside of the time of your performance(s). Parents - if you are volunteering when your student is performing, you can absolutely take a quick leave to go watch their performance.

Attached is the performance schedule. Once you have looked at that (if you’re performing), please click on one of the links below to sign up to help. You can sign up for more than one shift if you desire!

Friday sign up (March 3) - students only

Saturday AM Shifts (March 4) - students and adults

Saturday PM Shifts (March 4) - students and adults

Please let me know if you have any questions. We greatly appreciate your help, and ask that you go ahead and sign up right away instead of waiting to let everyone else sign up first! : )  We are hoping to complete these lists without having to send out multiple emails!!!


Mr. Luginbuhl

Mrs. Siebenthal

Mr. Carter

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR A SCHEDULE OF CONTEST EVENTS - this is information for those students performing and contains performance times and room numbers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Showcase Concert Updates and Gobena Fundraiser Reminder

Thursday, Feb. 16th

Time: 7:00 pm (call time 6:15)

Personnel: Chamber Orchestra ONLY (program also includes Chamber Choir and Wind Ensemble)


Dress:  Full concert uniform (tuxedo/dress)

Cost:  Free!

Parking: the School Street Parking Garage has about 450 spaces that can be used for free after 5:00 pm. The address for the lot is 400 S School St, Normal, IL 61761. It is directly behind the CPA.  You can enter the building from there and just walk up to the front lobby, which faces the ISU Quad.  The South University Street deck is also near the CPA, and it is $1 per hour for parking. The address for that lot is 450 S. University Street, Normal IL 61761.

To quote the staff at the CPA regarding the School Street deck parking:  "There will be a parking sign illuminated to “open” to verify parking is available (at the School Street Garage). Basically, you can park anywhere once the car starts up a ramp. The bottom floor is accessible and some spots that are reserved 24/7 and the very top floors are blue zones that are off limits. But the middle of the garage has about 450 spots available for free parking for Fine Arts events!"  Please pay attention to parking signs to avoid getting a ticket. 

Reminder that our Gobena coffee fundraiser forms and money are due this Friday, Feb 17th.  Checks should be made payable to U5MP or U5 Music Parents.

There are still several slots open for the April 1st Bagging for Tips at Hy-Vee.  Please note that this is during spring break.  Click here to sign up.