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Music Program Receives 5th National Recognition

Best Communities for Music Education

While live music around the world has been silenced due to the pandemic, music education has continued. Parents haven’t gathered for annual holiday or spring concerts. Fifth-grade musicals were not staged. But students still assemble for morning band and orchestra rehearsals in well-ventilated rooms or outside; chorus members sing through cotton masks socially distanced; and elementary and junior high students are studying and creating music with iPads and ukuleles.

While music education this year was not typical, our educators prevailed with creativity and the support of the district with special masks, instrument covers and air filters to make it possible. This is one reason why Northbrook continues to be recognized with the Best Communities for Music Education designation for its outstanding commitment to music education. The district has received this prestigious designation five times.

District 28 is one of just 14 districts in Illinois and 686 schools and/or districts nationwide to receive this award in 2021 by the NAMM Foundation, a supporting organization of the National Association of Music Merchants.

“The NAMM Foundation celebrates and recognizes the innovative and resourceful music education programs in the United States and the communities that support them,” NAMM states in its award announcement.

“The recognition from the NAMM Foundation is welcome encouragement in this trying time,” said Band Director Greg Scapillato, who completed the survey application for the award. “This is a direct reflection of the values of our families in District 28. The support for music education in our community has meant that we have a bond that is not limited by social distancing, connecting us in a way that can sustain and support. Our students are more resilient, more caring, and more expressive as a result of the role music education has played for so long in our community.”

General music education is offered 60 minutes a week for kindergarten-5th grade and as an elective in junior high. The Northbrook District 28 instrumental music program has four concert bands, beginning with 4th grade, and five orchestras, beginning in 3rd grade. Small group instruction is offered during the day and ensemble rehearsals before school. A district-wide children’s choir is offered for 3rd through 5th grade, with several choral groups for 6th grade-8th grade. Between the bands, choirs, and orchestras, over 700 students are involved in the performing ensembles in District 28.

“District 28 has an ongoing, deep commitment to music education - it’s good for our children’s brains, and it’s good for their souls,” said Dr. Larry Hewitt, Superintendent.

Band members rehearse outside.

Instrumental music continued this year with health mitigation measures in place. This is the fifth time the District 28 music program has been recognized as a Best Community for Music Education.