Hersey, Wheeling Bands Win Accolades In National Competition

Wheeling High School's Jazz Band 1.
© Brian Logan

Two bands from High School District 214 recently won a nationally recorded music competition.

Wheeling High School's Jazz Band 1 and John Hersey High School's Symphonic Band Band were named national winners in the 2015 Mark of Excellence Awards sponsored by the Foundation for Music Education.

The two bands are the only Illinois school musical ensembles to earn the prestigious honor. Nearly 230 middle school and high school musical ensembles from 36 states competed for this national award.

The Mark of Excellence competition allows high schools to submit recorded music to earn national recognition for their musical achievement. 

In the Class AAAAA category, Hersey's band was named a winner in the competition's National Wind Band Honors project. The band also was named a National Winner in the New Music Division, a category for high school concert bands performing works largely by a living composer.

Hersey's band, directed by Scott Casagrande, submitted a recording from its performance at the 2015 Illinois SuperState Concert Band Festival at the University of Illinois. 

Wheeling's Jazz Band 1 was named a winner in the National Jazz Honors project. Directed by Brian Logan, the band submitted three songs from its jazz band recordings. It has been named national winners in the Mark of Excellence competition four other times, dating back to 2010.

"This year's entries set a new standard of musical achievement with many stunning performances," said Rick Yancey, managing director of The Mark of Excellence competition. "These young students perform incredibly well, and that is testament to their talent, training and wonderful teachers."

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