Meet New Band Director Mr. Michael Moehlmann

Artists Win Awards at Illinois High School Art Exhibition

Niles Township High School District 219 artists received awards in the Illinois High School Art Exhibition, held recently at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago. The show featured more than 65 participating high schools, over 2,000 guests, more than 40 college/university representatives, 350 plus works of art and more than $4 million in scholarship money. The show was developed by a team of teachers for students to come together to experience art. The inaugural event was so successful there are plans to expand the show to a statewide event in 2015.

Students at Niles North who received awards: Anna Poloz, Honorable Mention – Drawing; Inga Mazur, University of Illinois Chicago Summer Institute Scholarship; and Lioke Dygola, Art Institutes Summer Scholarship.

One year ago, Niles West High School art instructor John Zilewicz created a team of dedicated art instructors ( Chris Sykora, Deerfield High School; Ben Jaffe, Senn Fine Arts;  Jon Reiman, Kenwood Academy and Stephen Murphy, New Trier High School) with the goal of bringing a high quality, high school art competition to the state of Illinois. The show was built on the premise of developing connections for high school art students. The show provides opportunities for students to truly compete amongst their peers in the visual arts and make connections regarding their future that were not possible to some prior to this event.

For more information, visit or contact John Zilewicz, Northeast Council Vice President, Illinois Art Education Association and Creator and Director, The Illinois High School Art Exhibition at

Take One Earns Medals at Puerto Vallarta Jazz Festival

The Niles North High School vocal jazz ensemble Take One recently returned from a successful performance at the Puerto Vallarta Invitational Jazz Festival  held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The following students were named outstanding musicians and soloists by the judges at the festival:  Julia Thummel, vocals; Jacob Austria, vocals; Michael Hennessy, vocals; Andrew Goldberg, drums; and David Liljewall, guitar.

While in Puerto Vallarta, Take One also performed at the University of Guadalajara campus, where, according to Niles North Choral Director / Vocal Jazz Director Daniel Gregerman, it was standing room only. He also related that a woman who had heard Take One perform four years ago at a previous festival, came back especially to hear the Niles North group. “Our group was so well received, “ said Gregerman. “I was told constantly by other groups, directors and members of the audience, what a classy group we had, how they were professional onstage, and sounded incredible.”

Take One also brought boxes of school supplies to be distributed to schools in Puerto Vallarta.

Artists Win More Than 100 Awards

Niles Township High School District 219 artists received more than 100 awards in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, an organization that identifies teens with exceptional literary and artistic talent. The competition, founded in 1923, is the nation’s longest-running, largest, most prestigious recognition program for creative teenagers in the visual and literary arts. Notable past winners include Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford and Joyce Carol Oates. The Awards are an important opportunity for students to be recognized for their creative talents. Teens in grades 7 through 12 can apply in 30 categories of art and writing for the chance to earn scholarships and have their works exhibited or published.

Graduating seniors may submit work in the art portfolio category. An art portfolio must include eight different artworks and an Artist Statement. Three Niles North students submitted art portfolios. Anna Poloz earned a Gold Key, Sarah Lewin earned a Silver Key and Sally Lavengood earned a Silver Key.

Gold Key winners have achieved the highest level of recognition on the regional level. Their work is sent to compete on a national level for scholarships. Results will be announced on March 7. Gold Key winners:  (Niles North)  Anna Poloz, received five Gold Keys for drawing and painting; Alethea Busch, photography; Julia Thummel received two Gold Keys for digital art; Kristel Becares, drawing; Inga Mazur received two Gold Keys for painting and mixed media; Anna Hershinow, painting; Angela Onesti, photography; Samantha Dentzer, photography; Hamid Ahmadi, photography; and Jo Guillian Cabrera, digital art.

Silver Key winners demonstrate a high level of achievement. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of all regional submissions earn Silver Key Awards. Silver Key winners:  (Niles North) Alethea Busch received two Silver Keys for digital art and mixed media; Natalie Aleman received two Silver keys for drawing and mixed media; Faisel Warsani, drawing; Julia Thummel, painting; Mateo Ruiz received two Silver Keys for drawing; Allegra Rosenberg, painting; Anna Poloz received two Silver Keys for painting and drawing; Kelsey Pedrosa, painting; Angela Onesti, digital photo; Emily Moy received two Silver Keys for drawing; Sarah Lewin received six Silver Keys for drawing and painting; Sally Lavengood, mixed media; Zoe Hertz, ceramics and glass; Sabina Dzelilovic, photography; Alana Stein, photography; Victoria Sorin,  painting; Judith Tong, painting; Marian Almores, digital art; and Adina Lipschultz received two Silver Keys for photography.

The Honorable Mention Award recognizes students with artistic potential. Approximately 15 to 20 percent of all regional submissions receive these awards. Honorable Mention: (Niles North) Sarah Lewin received two Honorable Mentions for painting; Sally Lavengood received two Honorable Mentions for mixed media and painting; Molly Hampton, ceramic and glass; Lianne Coballes, mixed media; Alethea Busch, photography; Kristel Becares received three Honorable Mentions for drawing; Natalie Aleman, mixed media; Faisal Warsani, painting; Jaquelyn Shannon, drawing; Ambrina Syed, ceramic and glass; Anna Poloz received three Honorable Mentions for painting and drawing; Kelsey Pedrosa, drawing; Angela Onesti, photography; Natalya Merman, drawing; Amiee Meza, digital art; Tracy Randstrom, painting; Shon Thomas, digital art; Hazel Corpus, painting; Sabina Dzelilovic, photography; Karly Greenfield, digital art; Ingeborg Halseth, photography; Hannah Kamm received two Honorable Mentions for photography; and Sankalp Kharel, digital art.

Auroris Dance Company piece selected for Illinois Dance Festival

Niles North High School student and Auroris Dance Company member Anna Hershinow had her dance “Words” accepted into the Illinois High School Dance Festival Student Showcase that will take place in May at Stevenson High School. Hershinow and fellow company member Jake Orlan auditioned on February 15 at Rolling Meadows High School and her choreographed duet was one of 11 pieces, out of 40 pieces that auditioned, to be selected for this prestigious festival.

This is the third time that the Auroris Dance Company will be performing at the Illinois High School Dance Festival. The Illinois High School Dance Festival is a annual gathering of high school dancers and their teachers. This exciting day of dance includes four master classes, a professional company performance and a student choreography showcase. Students and teachers are able to share this day with their peers throughout the state in an effort to create connections, to learn through similarities and differences in dance programs and to simply appreciate the art of dance.

The Auroris Dance Company performed in the 9th annual Naperville Showcase on Sunday, February 16.  This is the fifth year that the Auroris Dance Company has participated in this festival. The dance company performed four  pieces in the festival including: “Forever Young” choreographed by Zoe Hertz, “Colors of Bollywood” choreographed by Keenna Shah, “Words” choreographed by Anna Hershinow and “Work It!” choreographed by Elmo Scott.

See “Words” here:

Bears Items Raffle Winners Chosen!

The NNFAPP & Theatre Raffle to benefit the NN Thespians picked the two winners today. Dr. Ryan McTague, principal of Niles North, announced Tim Poland and George Neuhaus as the lucky recipients of the Chicago Bears Devin Hester autographed jersey and Matt Forte signed football.

Many thanks to all the participants and contributions to NNFAPP. A video of the drawing that took place today will be posted shortly.

Dan Gregerman Named Jazz Educator of the Year

In 1991, a choir director named Daniel Gregerman brought vocal jazz to Niles North High School and under his direction, the program grew and flourished. The vocal jazz program recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary, with many alumni reuniting at the school to take part in a concert. On January 8 through 12, 2014, Niles North Choral Director Daniel Gregerman will be presented with the 2014 John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year award. This honor is presented by the Berklee College of Music in Boston, with the Jazz Education Network (JEN). The award is named after legendary jazz educator John LaPorta who served as a distinguished professor at Berklee for more than three decades prior to his passing in 2004 and played a pivotal role in the earliest stage of formalized jazz education. The award recognizes an outstanding elementary, middle or high school educator with a focus on jazz education, who represents the highest standards of teaching. Gregerman is the first vocal jazz educator to win, along with being the first public school teacher to win this award.

The award includes a monetary gift, an online class at the Berklee College of Music, a guest artist visit from Berklee to work with his groups, and classroom materials from the Berklee Jazz Press.

District 219 Director of Fine Arts Jason Brown said, “Dan’s 23 years of hard work and dedication to the vocal music program at Niles North has led to this national honor. An award of this magnitude is a major career accomplishment and Dan truly deserves this recognition. He is a passionate music educator who strives to provide the best educational opportunities to his students on a daily basis.”

One of Gregerman’s students, Julia Thummel said, “I for one have had an exceptional experience through the vocal jazz program at Niles North.” She related an example of Gregerman’s teaching methods. “I remember my freshman year the group sang ‘Bailando’ by Greg Jasperse, and in the middle of rehearsal, Mr. Gregerman had us all stand in a circle in the center of the choir room and start stomping to the beat of the song. We all thought it was silly at first, but after a while we found we had not only internalized the complicated Latin rhythm, but were genuinely enjoying ourselves and the music.”

Thummel’s fellow section leader in Niles North’s top vocal jazz ensemble, Take One, Jazib Gohar, said, “Mr. Gregerman is one of those rare kind of teachers who takes the time to make sure that all of his students are performing to the best of their ability, but he also cares so deeply for them as well. Through my experience in his vocal jazz group, Take One, Mr. Gregerman has grown to be a father figure to me, as he’s inspired me to become more confident as a musician and a person.”

Gregerman directs five concert choirs, teaches piano class, and directs the top vocal jazz ensemble. His groups have earned national recognition, performing at regional and national conferences, winning multiple Down Beat awards, and performing in festivals both nationally and internationally. Gregerman’s ensembles have shared the stage with names such as Diane Schuur, The New York Voices, The Real Group, Take Six and Janis Segal of The Manhattan Transfer. He is a founding member of JEN and currently serves as the Conference Office Coordinator for the annual JEN Conference. He has held positions as State and District Chairman of Vocal Jazz for the Illinois Music Educators Association. He has a Bachelor of Music Education from Northwestern University and a Master of Music Degree with an emphasis in Choral conducting and Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University.

“I’m very humbled and honored by the award,” said Gregerman. “It’s an acknowledgement of not just my work, but the hard work of the students and ensembles, as well as the commitment of the school, the administration and the community. I would not be able to do what I do without the support and resources of District 219. “

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