...creating lifelong purveyors of music

Friday, December 9, 2022

Urgent: Chamber Orchestra Parent IMEC Responses Needed

Chamber Orchestra Parents: We have just been given some deadlines from IMEC that have become pretty tight for us with our extra-early winter break.  If the following information pertains to you, please have this Google Form completed no later than midnight on Monday (Dec 12)

IMEC Concert Tickets:  Those family members planning to attend our performance in Peoria on Thursday, January 26, should click on the Form to reserve tickets.  We are given a limited number of complimentary tickets, so please try to limit this first round to 2-3 tickets per family (performers do NOT need a ticket).  Extra tickets will be released after district/building administration, school board members, etc. have had the opportunity to reserve what they need.  More information regarding specifics will be provided in January, but the performance will be at the Peoria Civic Center and will start at 4:15 with Hawthorn Junior High School performing before us.  In years past, tickets have been unavailable for pick-up until the group registered the day of the performance, so please make sure to include the name of the person responsible for picking them up outside the door before the concert.  Also in years past, these tickets were a formality and were never needed or distributed.  However, we want to be prepared just in case.

IMEC Concert Recording:  Our performance will be professionally recorded by Mark Custom Recording Service, Inc.  This is a New York based firm that specializes in international location recording (with a couple of Grammy nominations to their credit!).  It would be a great way to preserve this memory for students, send to out-of-town family, etc.  The cost would depend upon the number of CD's ordered (assuming that we have enough interest to make this financially viable), but is anticipated to be between $20-$30.  If we have enough interest, money will be collected in January from those who ordered.  Keep in mind that if you complete that portion of the Form and there is enough interest, your CD will be ordered this week...  If you would like to purchase a CD, please indicate on the Form how many you would like. 

Monday, December 5, 2022

Winter Concert Info & Hy-Vee Sign-Up

Dress Rehearsal Information

Date: Fri. Dec. 9

Time: 3:30 - 5:30 pm

Personnel: TBA (orchestras will know on Wed if they need to report)

Concert Information

Date:  Mon. Dec. 12

Call Time: 6:00 pm

Performance Time: 7:00 pm

Dress:  Full concert uniform

Personnel:  All Orchestras

Refreshment Table

Pre-COVID the orchestras would have refreshments in the atrium after the concert.  We are attempting to bring that tradition back this year and are in need of donations of cookies, punch, and a few people that could help man the table that night.  Please click here to help us out with one of these items so that we might all be able to enjoy a little holiday cheer with one another following our concert.

Hy-Vee Bagging for Tips

We still have slots available for this Friday that really need to be filled.  Even if you aren't going on the trips, the money will come back to the orchestra program.  If you are going on the trip, feel free to sign up for any additional slots that you would like at this point.  Click here for sign-ups and instructions.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Boon Fundraiser Date Extension

Our fundraiser end date has been extended and now ends on December 9th at midnight. We are a little low on sales, so we've decided to extend the sale in case you'd like a little more time to meet your fundraising goal.  If you plan to go on either trip over the next two summers, the profits go directly into your account.

Please go to our custom page at https://bsply.com/1265498 to register for your sellers page. It takes just a few minutes to register.

Then, for best results for sales, make sure to:

SEND by clicking BOOST on your personal Boon selling page to send a minimum of 10 emails to family and friends that you think would be interested in supporting you on the fundraiser.

SHARE on social media with the simple tools Boon has provided.

SHOP at Boon Supply! They offer beautiful, eco-friendly items at an excellent value. You will love the quality and selection!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Extravaganza Pictures & Last Call for Hy-Vee Bagging for Tips

Mr. Jeff Christopherson took some great photos of the Extravaganza on Monday night - click here to see if you can find a picture of your favorite NCHS musician!

Last call for Hy-Vee bagging for tips dates before the list is opened up to choir on Monday.  If you have already signed up for a slot, don't be shy about grabbing another one.  All profits will be placed directly into individual trip accounts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Fundraiser Pick-Ups and Extravaganza Wrap Up

Extravaganza Wrap-Up
- thanks to everyone who donated and/or volunteered for this event!!!!  The kids did a great job in their performance, however the U5 Music Parents are still pretty far from achieving their goal for the evening.  If you would like to donate, there is still time.  Click here to support a worthwhile cause - your kids!!!

Beef House Rolls - don't forget that pick up will be immediately after school this Friday, Nov 18.  Please make sure that students have notified me immediately if their situation is not "picking up after school and has a ride home" (ie students riding the bus that would need to get out of 8th hour a few minutes early, sold too many to transport on the bus and have no ride, etc.).  All rolls must remain frozen and have to be picked up by 3:45 pm.

Poinsettia Delivery - we have just been informed that the delivery date will be Friday, Dec. 2.  Please make arrangements to pick up after school.  The plants are more delicate and bulky than a bus ride home would manage... 

Boon Fundraiser - ends Nov. 28.  Let your social media page do the selling for you for a super easy, online profit generating opportunity

Gill Street Dine-To-Donate - make sure that your calendars are marked for Nov 22nd for a night off from cooking!  Grab some orchestra buddies and make an evening of it :-)  We still need to get our reservation quota taken care of, so click here to simply add your name and ensure this fundraiser is allowed to continue.  It is NOT a binding agreement!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

NCHS Orchestra Reminders

Many "irons" in the fire right now, so a few reminders of everything we currently have going on:

Extravaganza (aka the Spaghetti Supper) - click here for the blog post from last week with all information pertaining to dress, rehearsal and performance times, call times etc. for the Extravaganza on MONDAY NOVEMBER 14th.   We are still really in desperate need of volunteers for that night.  The volunteer SignUp Genius for the event can be found here.  Don't forget this is the U5 Music Parents biggest fundraiser and it provides funds to all of our ensembles in the district.  If you would still like to donate, click here for the website.

Hy-Vee - there are still plenty of opportunities left for Hy-Vee bagging for tips.  Sign up asap as these extra slots will be opened up to the choir next week. Money will be placed into individual student trip accounts.

Beef House Rolls - delivery will be November 18th (time TBA).  Mark your calendars as pick up for this product that must remain frozen is time sensitive and we do not have storage options.

Boone Fundraiser - we are partnering with Boon Supply for our next fundraiser that kicked off today.  They offer useful, eco-friendly quality products, as well as a unique platform that does most of the work for you! No order forms, counting money or distributing products.  All purchases are ordered online and delivered to the supporter's home, and the entire process takes no longer than 5-10 minutes.  All you need to do is just Register, Send, Share and Shop!   Click here to get started with the fundraiser.  More details are available in the parent letter.  All profits will be placed into individual student accounts. 

ILMEA District Orchestra - we have 13 students traveling with us on Saturday (Nov. 12) who were selected as members of the District 3 ILMEA Orchestra!!!  Students have been sent info on Google Classroom regarding the schedule, general info and map.  Please make sure they have provided us with their cell phone number on the spreadsheet.

Step-Up Day - Wed. Nov 16th the 8th graders from CJHS and EJHS will be joining Chamber Orchestra for most of the day.  Chamber students will be rehearsing, leading sectionals, and showing our JHS friends what high school orchestra is all about.  Students should have filled out their pizza order form (and brought payment).  The orchestra will provide chips and drinks and we are asking Chamber students to provide dessert. Please add to the family grocery list this weekend!

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

U5MP Musical Extravaganza Updates (formerly the Spaghetti Supper)

This fundraising event on November 14th involves direct donations via our fundrazr portal.  This is a huge fundraising effort by our Music Parents Association that helps provide all of our programs with valuable money used for so many of the supplies we need that are not covered by the school district.  Music, instruments, equipment, etc are critical to ensure the success of our students and this Extravaganza goes a long way toward helping ends meet for our ensembles.  Please consider donating by clicking here.  Sharing this link on your social media account would also be really appreciated - thank you!!!

We are also in need of volunteers for that night - if you could help us out, we would be extremely grateful!  Click here for the SignUp Genius list of jobs available.

All NCHS Orchestra students will be playing in this concert.  Please see the following information below:

Personnel:  All NCHS Orchestras

Dress:  New long sleeve orchestra t-shirt and jeans

Call Time:  Concert, Sinfonia, and Intermezzo orchestras will have a combined rehearsal directly after school and should plan on staying at school until the performance (wear the uniform or change into it); Chamber Orchestra will have a 4:45 pm call time.

Performance Time:  5:30 pm 

Fundraising Updates

Gill Street Dine-To-Donate

Thank you for your support of our Papa John's Dine-to-Donate this week!  As we continue to raise funds to support our Chamber Orchestra's performance at IMEC in January, your next evening free from the chore of cooking dinner will be at Gill Street Sports Bar and Grill on Tuesday, Nov. 22 from 11 am - 9 pm. Options include dine-in, take-out, and pick-up.  Please mark your calendars and help support our state-bound musicians!  We also need to generate reservations like we did with Papa John's, so please click here to ensure that our fundraiser is allowed to continue.  This is NOT a binding reservation, we just need to get names on the list.

Trip Fundraisers

Poinsettias and Beef House rolls have been ordered, and now we turn our attention to our Boon Supply fundraiser and Hy-Vee bagging for tips days.  Look Books for Boon will be available on Monday, and a number of new Bagging for Tips days have been scheduled.  Click here to sign up asap for Hy-Vee as these days will be opened to choir next week.  We have to get all slots filled and provide Hy-Vee a minimum number of people or they will cancel the event.  All profit from Boon will go into individual trip accounts and the total profits from Hy-Vee will be split equally among all shifts worked.  Parent chaperone money will be either be applied to the parent chaperone account or the student account if the parent will not be going on the trip.  Don't forget that these fundraisers can be applied to Memphis/Nashville this summer or Europe next summer.  

Hauntcert Wrap-Up, Pictures, and Huge Thank-You's

Thank You!

On behalf of the students and myself, we simply can't adequately express our gratitude for everyone's help with the show last week!  Our 2nd show definitely goes down as one of the greatest in Hauntcert history, and we couldn't have done it without the help and hard work of everyone.  If you volunteered and have any thoughts, suggestions, info to add to volunteer instructions, etc. please drop me a line while things are still fresh in your mind so that we can adjust for next year. 

Hauntcert Pictures & Video

Click here to be directed to a Drive folder containing pictures and a video recording of the performance.  The fabulous Tirza Wolf took some fantastic shots of everyone!

Hauntcert Lost & Found

There was a blue tooth ear bud case left at the concert.  Identify it to claim!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Can You Help Make Our Lives a Little Sweeter?

We are still in desperate need of candy donations - we have a full load of volunteers to distribute it, but will really fall short for kiddies coming to the 2nd show.  If you have already signed up to bring in bags (THANK YOU), please make sure that you have signed up on the list so that we have an accurate count of what we have.  If you would like to help us out and add to our list we would be eternally grateful!!!  Please have all candy to school no later than Tuesday, Oct 25th.  

Don't Forget About Papa John's Dine to Donate October 31st

On Monday, October 31st the delicious and generous Papa John's (1407 N Veterans Pkwy) is donating back 15% of Dine-In, Takeout, Delivery & Pick up orders to support a great cause -- Normal Community High School!

On behalf of Normal Community High School you’re invited to join us and eat out, not only in support of the organization, but to show one of your Bloomington restaurants some love too!

We ask that you RSVP here: https://grouprai.se/e236032 (even if you’re not completely sure) so Papa John's knows roughly how many orders to expect & so you have access to all the event details.

We hope you can make it, and please feel free to forward this invitation to your friends and family. Thanks in advance for your support!

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Volunteer Instruction Sheets

If you signed up for one of the Hauntcert jobs (THANK YOU!!!  and it's not to late to sign up if you haven't yet...) please click on this link for a more detailed description of the job.  As this is a Google Doc, you will be able to see any edits and updates, which will be highlighted in yellow from this point forward.  Trick or treating instructions for those volunteers are also there if you or your student signed up to work.  Thanks again for volunteering - we are eternally grateful!!!!

Student Well-Being Next Week

As we prepare for next week, please remind your student to "lay low" this weekend.  Covid numbers have seen a small spike and two years ago I watched one of my son's orchestras decimated when 8 of the 13 first violins had to be quarantined.  We will be spending a lot of time together in close quarters next week and want to keep everyone healthy.  PLEASE do not allow students who aren't feeling well to come to school unless they have been tested.  Also help your student be mindful of keeping up with their academic commitments and planning ahead.  This is a long week and we want to make sure our students stay both physically and mentally strong!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Please Help Us!

We still have only about half of the candy and half the volunteers necessary for Hauntcert's indoor "trunk or treat", are missing some key positions on the Hauntcert volunteer list, and have very few borrowed items like decorations and power strips/extension cords.  Please consider helping us out as we put on our biggest production of the year that not only spreads community goodwill in the age of looming referendums, but is one of our biggest recruitment tools for enticing future orchestra rock stars!  Click here for sign up information on all of these events.

Schedule for Next Week

Monday, Oct. 24 - Hauntcert rehearsal with percussion (3:30-6:00 pm) 

Tuesday, Oct. 25 - Hauntcert dress rehearsal (6:00-9:00 pm)

Thursday, Oct. 27 - 28th Annual Hauntcert (musician call time 5:00 pm; shows at 6:00 & 7:00 pm)

Friday, Oct. 28 - Poinsettia and Beef House fundraisers due

Monday, Oct. 31 - Papa John's Dine-to-Donate night

***Dress for Hauntcert is FULL concert uniform. NO uniforms for the dress rehearsal however (in the musician's life, a dress rehearsal simply indicates the last rehearsal before a concert - uniforms are not required unless specifically requested for a picture, a final run through with an audience, etc.) **

Hauntcert Publicity

Hauntcert fliers are now available for students to take home and post/distribute in the community. Please let your student know to pick some up if you have the opportunity to hang or distribute them.  But please remind students to only post these items with permission.  Click here to access an electronic version of the flier if you have the means to post to any electronic bulletin boards at work, on social media, etc.  With two shows now, we would love to pack both of them!

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Orchestra Updates 10.12.22


We are gearing up to roll out our indoor "trunk or treat" for the Hauntcert and are in need of some people to distribute candy before both shows and also in need of candy donations.  Please help us spread some good will (and hyperactivity ;-) to the little ones in our community!   Further details and the SignUp Genius can be found by clicking here. 


Our theme this year is "Judgment Day" (ala Judge Judy style).  We are seeking to borrow any items you might have around the house that could fit this theme (gavels, scales of justice, etc).  Although a tricky theme to decorate for, we will also be creating Halloween-themed displays in the auditorium and for the trunk-or-treat, and would love to borrow any Halloween themed decorations, especially inflatables!  Extension cords and power strips are also desperately needed.  Please send any items to school that you are comfortable letting us borrow and make sure that they are clearly labeled with your name if you would like them returned. Thank you!


Many hands make light work, and we are hoping to have the Hauntcert volunteer list filled this week.  In addition to a few important jobs that still need filling, there are still a number of spots available to help decorate the night of the dress rehearsal.  Getting involved with this show is a great way to meet other orchestra parents!

Dine to Donate - Papa John's

Mark your calendars for an evening of not having to cook dinner for the family!  Our first Dine-to-Donate night is scheduled for Oct 31st (Papa Johns).  The proceeds from our Dine-to-Donate nights will be going toward helping off-set expenses for our upcoming performance at IMEC in January.  More details will be forthcoming as we get closer to the date, but in order for Papa John's to allow us to move forward with the fundraiser, we need to get a number of people to commit to purchasing pizza that night.  We're asking everyone to click on this link as soon as possible so that we can continue to plan the event. Just enter your name and email address (this does NOT have to be a firm commitment at this time). 

Friday, October 7, 2022

Orchestra Updates 10.7.22

We are happy to report that based on the feedback on our trip survey, there is enough interest to plan the following 2 trips:

  • Summer 2023: Memphis & Nashville, TN
  • Summer 2024: Europe!


There are no details yet on either trip, but as soon they become available, information will either be emailed out or an informational meeting scheduled.


There are currently three fundraisers available for individual student trip accounts, two of which are due on Friday, October 28. All monies raised from these fundraisers go directly to student accounts to help offset expenses for trips. The current fundraisers are as follows:

  • Beef House Rolls / Strawberry Jam / Apple Butter.  If you've never been to the Beef House in Covington, IN (just across the border from Danville), you are missing out! Besides being known as the "Best Steakhouse in Indiana," they are also well known for their delicious dinner rolls, strawberry jam, and apple butter. The rolls come frozen and are sold by the dozen. This is the perfect fundraiser for holiday meal tables. Please note: Delivery will be on November 14, and if the rolls can't be delivered to buyers that day, you will need to store in the freezer - they can't be left out.  We cannot store any rolls at school - they must go home with sellers.
  • Living Color Poinsettias+: This is the same fundraiser we did last year, and the plants are beautiful and last a long time. I personally suggest the amaryllis bulbs if you're not good at tending to live plants...you simply place it on a surface and it grows on its own - no watering!  Delivery will take place between November 28-December 10. 
  • Bagging for Tips: new dates have been added for the Bagging for Tips at Hy-Vee, and some slots are still open.  Click here for the Sign-Up Genius link. 

Don't forget our upcoming NCHS Orchestra Parents Association meeting will be this Tuesday (Oct 11) in the orchestra room (50) - doors J around the back will be open.  We would love to love to see a full house - all orchestra parents are welcome!!

A reminder that Sunday (Oct 9) is the deadline to order Hauntcert apparel if you are interested.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Hauntcert 2022 Apparel

The portal is now open for students and parents who wish to pick up some Hauntcert gear!  The order deadline is midnight, Sunday Oct. 9th.  Items will be delivered to school, so please make sure to add your student's name and building to the order form in the appropriate drop-downs.  

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Rehearsal Schedule Change, Uniform Information, & Extravaganza Update

There has been an important change to next week's Hauntcert rehearsal schedule - the Tuesday after-school rehearsal on the 4th has been moved to Thursday, October 6th and will take place DURING the school day.  The auditorium became unexpectedly available and this change will allow us to have one more rehearsal on the actual stage before Hauntcert tech week without having to move the entire theater set for the fall play on their dark day.  The rehearsal scheduled for October 18th after school will now be in the cafeteria instead of on the stage.  Don't forget that these rehearsals involve Chamber, Intermezzo, and Sinfonia orchestras only.  Concert Orchestra is not involved in these events.

Hopefully students with tuxedos have brought home the new black shirts we just got in.  I must know by Monday if something doesn't fit correctly so that we can get another ordered asap.  

We now have our time slot for the "Spaghetti-less Spaghetti Supper Extravaganza" and the orchestras will be performing at 5:30 pm.  The concert will involve all orchestras, dress will be the new orchestra long-sleeve t-shirt and jeans, and after-school rehearsal times for combined groups will be forthcoming.  

NOPA Update

Don't forget that our next NCHS Orchestra Parent's Association meeting will be Tuesday Oct. 11th at 7 pm in the orchestra room (room 50).  Doors J around the back of the building at the end of the music hallway will be unlocked.  We would love to see you at the meeting and will be finalizing Hauntcert preparations and continue our fundraising discussions.  

We still have a number of spots available on our Hauntcert volunteer list - if you would be able to donate a few hours of your time, we would be forever grateful!  

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Hauntcert Volunteer List

The Hauntcert volunteer list is now available, and we would love to have it filled as quickly as possible. We need many volunteers to make the show happen and are hoping that you would consider volunteering a few hours of your time. There are many different jobs available and this show is a fun endeavor for both the students and the community. Simply clickhere for the SignupGenius link to help with Hauntcert 2022: Judgment Day. As always, please let me know if you have any questions - thank you in advance!

Orchestra Calendar Correction

Please note that there was an error in the calendar contained in the syllabus.  Our spring concert will be on THURSDAY May 18th (not Tuesday).  Sorry for the inconvenience.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Upcoming NOPA Meeting

Don't forget that our first NCHS Orchestra Parents Association's (NOPA) meeting will be this Thursday night in the orchestra room (room 50) at 7:00 pm.  Doors J around the back of the building will be unlocked.  This group is open to all NCHS orchestra parents and we would love to see you there!  We'll get the conversations rolling on Hauntcert, fundraising, and look to fill officer positions.  Come meet some other orchestra parents and play a part in helping us offer all of the little extras to our kids that only a strong parent group can!

Monday, August 29, 2022

Welcome Back!

Hope everyone's school year is off to a great start!  If you are receiving this blog post in your email, congratulations - you are successfully signed up for the orchestra blog :-)  So you might have received this information already via Infinite Campus.  But after the next week or two, this will be the only method of communication (without the redundancy).

Our first project of the semester will be a fundraiser in conjunction with choir and drama.  Here is the link of the concession stand slots that we need to help fill with students and parents for this Friday night's football game (Sept 2).  This is a great activity to work alongside of your student, please just make sure that you note there are two different shifts and are some slots that can only be worked by adults.  If we get down to crunch time, adults can fill student slots but NOT vice versa...

The Unit 5 music staff is placing another order for the Best Communities for Music Education apparel to commemorate last year's award that the district won.  So if you missed that order last year and would like to show the community your support of the program (and brag on us a little...) you can click here for the link.  Orders are due by Sept. 9.  Students also have the link in Google Classroom.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Congratulations IMEC Bound Chamber Orchestra!

Congratulations to the NCHS Chamber Orchestra on being selected to perform at the Illinois Music Educators Conference in January of 2023!!!  The group began working on their audition recordings and submission materials this past January and have earned the honor of performing for a conference that involves over 12,000 students and educators throughout the state.  The orchestra program is deeply indebted to the senior class who helped us reach this goal - their leadership and dedication will be greatly missed, but will serve as a shining example to those who will carry the torch forward across the finish line.  Our orchestra is "state-bound" and we could not be more proud!!!  #ChooseExcellence 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Spring Concert Update


Date: Thurs, May 19

Call Time:  6:00 pm

Concert Time:  7:00 pm

Dress:  full orchestra uniforms (formal wear for SENIORS ONLY)


Uniform Collection:  ALL tuxedos must be turned in immediately following the concert and students with those uniforms should plan on bringing clothes to change into (the Green Room will be unlocked).  This is part of the concert grade.  Dresses need to be returned ONLY if the student in not enrolled in the program next year.  If a student with a dress is returning to orchestra next year, please launder the dress and keep over the summer.  This ensures that students who have had the dress hemmed don't have to do it again.

Friday, April 22, 2022

BCME Apparel

The Unit 5 Music program is excited to be recognized as one of our nation's 2022 Best Communities for Music Education, a designation awarded by the NAMM Foundation.  To commemorate this achievement, Unit 5 Music t shirts and hoodies are being made available.  If you would like to place an order, please do so no later than Friday, April 29 so that delivery can occur before the end of the school year.  Make sure that you include the name of your student's school for delivery purposes.  You may shop at tinyurl.com/unit5musicshirts  Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

NCHS Music Department Fundraiser

Come to Musical Mayhem this Friday night to support the NCHS music programs and see the wide range of talents from our musicians! There will be a variety of classical and modern from singers, strings, band instruments, and more! All proceeds will go to the NCHS music programs.  Please see flier for more details! 

Monday, March 7, 2022

U5 Board Meeting Reminder


Don't forget that the Unit 5 school board will be meeting this Wednesday to vote on cutting the 5th grade instrumental music program and the reductions in force of three music teachers.  The meeting will be held at Normal WEST High School at 6:30 pm in the auditorium if you would like to attend. 

Unit Orchestra Updates


See information below regarding the Unit orchestra rehearsal schedule and concert information.  Please note that the rehearsal this week has been shortened to ensure that all students and parents are available to attend the board meeting on Wednesday.  Reminder: personnel for this concert involves Concert, Sinfonia, and Intermezzo orchestras only.  Chamber orchestra is NOT involved in this concert.

Wed. March 9th  4:00-5:15 pm - rehearsal at NCHS (students will NOT be going home after school as it will be all hands on deck to set up for the event before West arrives)

Mon. March 14th  4:00-6:00 pm - rehearsal at WEST; students must provide their own transportation and will be given a pass to get out of 8th hour 5 min early to ensure that they can quickly and safely get out of the parking lot

Tues. March 15th  7:00 pm - Unit Orchestra concert at WEST; dress is concert uniform; call time is 6:15 pm

**All students must bring a folding music stand to each of these events.  Please make sure that both parts are labeled with the student's name. **