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District 28 Music Receives Outstanding Program Award

faculty recital

Spring concerts will be performed in person for live audiences next month, another welcome sign that music education continues to blossom in spite of the pandemic, and students will again reap the benefits of making music together and performing for audiences.

Music education continued for the past two years with mitigation measures in place. Students were provided with special masks and instrument bell covers. Air filtration equipment was added to rehearsal rooms. These mitigation measures allowed students to stay engaged even though indoor public performances were not possible. Concerts returned last fall with limited capacity and will continue this spring, along with the 5th-grade musicals and last month’s spring musical at Northbrook Junior High. This commitment demonstrates why Northbrook District 28 received the Best Communities for Music Education designation for the sixth time in seven years by The NAMM Foundation.

District 28 is one of 22 districts in Illinois, and 738 schools and/or districts nationwide, to receive this award in 2022 for its outstanding efforts to provide access to music education for all students.

“This year’s survey included a bank of questions on how the pandemic impacted our music programs. The recognition reflects the steadfast support from the community and District 28 in the face of significant challenges over the last several years,” said Band Director Greg Scapillato, who completed the survey application for the award.

General music education is offered 60 minutes a week for kindergarten through 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, as well as several choral groups for 6th grade-8th grades. Between the bands, choirs, and orchestras, over 700 students are involved in the performing ensembles in District 28.

Dr. Hewitt commented, “Just when I think our music programs have reached a pinnacle, the staff and students do something else that’s simply wonderful and amazing. While the pandemic was wreaking havoc with so much of our lives, our teachers and student musicians continued making music - nothing was going to stop them.”  

According to the NAMM Foundation, researchers have found that after two years of music education participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers, and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well.


Pictured above:

The District 28 music faculty perform during an annual recital on April 13. The district recently received the Best Communities for Music Education designation for the sixth time in seven years by The NAMM Foundation. From left, Anca Aptean (choral), Jeremy Bartunek (music), Bryan Kyrouac (band), Jennifer Lee-Stewart (orchestra), Mike Govert (orchestra), Doug Schuler (band); Keri Stone (band), Alex Hibbard-Brown (orchestra), Sarah Stanley (orchestra), Greg Scapillato (band) Kathy Colsen on drums. Faculty not pictured include Abby Blair (music), Kathryn Finch (music) and Deb Peterson (orchestra).