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D161 recognizes students excelling in music

Back row, from left, Superintendent Dana Smith, Daniel Burke, Sarah Gorecki, Abigayle Pedigo, Valerie Pasqua, Elana Reid and Adam Diller. Front row, from left, Dania DeShazier, Hunter Huisman, Bree Frye, Sophia Folaju, Braden Douglas, Emma Santiago, Julie Lee, Cameron Burrah and Chinelo Uchegbu. (Chris Weber/H-F Chronicle)

At the Feb. 5 meeting, the Flossmoor School District 161 Board of Education recognized standout students in the Parker Junior High School band and orchestra and the elementary school choirs. 

The students were nominated by music, band and orchestra teachers before they were selected to participate in events sponsored by the Illinois Music Educators Association (IMEA). 

Valerie Pasqua, the music teacher at Western Avenue Elementary, thanked the board for supporting the district’s music program. 

“Each elementary school nominated between two and four students from their fourth and fifth-grade choirs who we felt were the most dedicated to the program. Students who had a work ethic that transcended outside of their school day,” Pasqua said. “They got to participate in a statewide choir down in Peoria with students from all around the state.” 

Two Parker students were selected to participate in IMEA festivals. 

“They had a very rigorous audition process and practiced all summer,” Parker band director Elana Reid said. “They did a wonderful job, and we’re so proud of them.”

The junior high students submitted a video and were asked to participate after a competitive review of their virtual auditions. 

Cameron Burrah was selected for his jazz audition and was invited to a full day of rehearsals culminating in an evening performance at H-F High School with other area jazz students. 

Chinelo Uchegbu played her violin with the 2023 IMEA Junior Festival orchestra in November.

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