Marching band in RPS 205 ready for first competition

Eighth grader Hazel Elbers is the only student from Eisenhower Middle School in the Rockford Public Schools district-wide marching band. The band is a lot of work, she says, but that hasn’t discouraged three of her friends. They’re talking about joining the band next year, Hazel said. They’d better be ready for business. “These students are no casual, drop-in-when-you-can kind of kids–they mean business and come to play,” said Steve Mikulay, who directs the Rockford Marching Band, which is in its first year in RPS 205. Mikulay is the...

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RPS 205 Competitive Marching Band prepares for premier season

Brianna Hirsch likes performing and she likes the flute. Although she’s been playing the instrument only three years, it feels like something she could do the rest of her life. It’s like a sport, she says. She’s found a good fit with the new Rockford Public Schools Competitive Marching Band. Brianna will be an eighth grader in the fall at Lincoln Middle School. Her music teacher Steve Mikulay is one of the directors of the districtwide band, which will begin summer practices at Rockford University next week to prepare for its first season....

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Middle school students give MusiCamp a spin

For an 11-year-old, half the battle of playing the double bass is not falling over. Mason Rose tried out the big daddy of all orchestra instruments while attending MusiCamp this week at Lincoln Middle School, where he will be a sixth grader this year.  MusiCamp is a way for middle school students enrolled in band or orchestra to receive an orientation to their music class as well as their school. The double bass seemed more doable for Mason after Susan Funk – a MusiCamp instructor and the director of bands and piano at East High School ...

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Jefferson solar panels teach students, save dollars

The installation of solar panels on the roof at Jefferson High School in spring 2013 brought home the idea of project-based learning. It’s one thing to read in a textbook about energy savings; it’s quite another to put the concept literally over students’ heads. Student to teacher: “I can’t get that. It’s over my head.” Teacher to student: “That’s exactly right!” Cheap jokes aside, let’s talk about the benefits to Jefferson since the panels were installed. Dallas Turner, who taught physics at Jefferson for more than 15 years,...

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Rock musician to Lincoln students: ‘This is where it starts’

Before Bun E. Carlos was the drummer for rock band Cheap Trick, recording platinum records and touring the world, he was Brad Carlson, a middle schooler at Lincoln Middle School from 1963-1966. Carlos spoke with Lincoln sixth, seventh and eighth graders in band, orchestra and glee choir today about what it takes to have a music career. Some students had heard of Cheap Trick – the band that made it big in the ‘70s and ‘80s with songs like “I Want You to Want Me,” “Surrender,” “Dream Police” and “The Flame.” The band also did the theme for “The...

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