After months of preparations, three fine arts students learned recently that they are among an elite group. Jonathan Ngoy ’21, Daniel Fecko ’20 and Caroline Lavender ’19 all have been selected to represent Saint Viator High School at the Illinois Music Education Association District 7 Music Festival on Nov. 10.
“Auditions are highly competitive,” says Mrs. Joleen Kragt, choral director, “where students are judged on the performance of challenging repertoire, sight reading, scales, and triads.”
The district festival takes place at New Trier High School and will feature the best band and choral students from the North and Northwest suburbs. Being selected is something like making it to sectionals in a sporting event since students now are eligible to be considered for selection to the All-State Festival, which takes place in January in Peoria.
“Earning acceptance takes a high level of commitment and a strong work ethic,” says Mr. Vince Genualdi, director of bands. “These students have proven their dedication and commitment to a high caliber of music performance.”
He points to Jonathan Ngoy, the only band member to advance. Jonathon plays trombone in Saint Viator’s symphonic band, and he recently was accepted into the Chicago Youth Symphony’s concert orchestra.
At the district festival, he will take his seat with other talented band students from across northern Illinois. Together, they will rehearse and perform under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Peterson, associate director of bands and clinical professor of music at the University of Illinois in Champaign.
“Jonathan is a passionate musician who takes his craft seriously,” Mr. Genualdi adds. “He has proven to be a great musician and leader within the ensemble. We’re very proud of his work thus far, and we’re very excited to see how he progresses in the years to come.”
At the same festival, Daniel Fecko and Caroline Lavender will represent Saint Viator’s choral programs. Both are talented vocalists, who participate in many of the school’s choral offerings, musicals, and including its new show choir. These well-rounded students also compete in sports as well.
“Besides having beautiful voices, solid musicianship and strong work ethics, students who enter these competitions need a certain tenacity as we are up against schools several times bigger than we are,” Mrs. Kragt adds. “Both of these students possess those necessary characteristics and are just terrific people as well.”
Caroline is a part of “The Revelations” show choir and music ministry, while also competing on the girls’ golf team. Just last summer, she added another feather to her cap by earning a perfect score on the ACT.
Meantime, Daniel anchors Saint Viator’s new men’s a cappella ensemble, The Viatones, singing bass, and he also performs in the Chamber Singers. When he’s not singing, he plays soccer in the fall and volleyball in the spring.
At the festival, both students will be performing under the direction of Dr. Eric Esparza, director of choral activities and vocal area coordinator at DePaul University, in a difficult program that ranges from spirituals and gospel to a romantic ballad.