Send it to josh.thompson@lz95.org

Here are some of the comments that we regularly receive about the Lake Zurich Band Program:

FROM A FORMER BAND MEMBER (on playing in Univ. of Iowa's Marching Band)
                It all started with an informational night, where we met our section leaders and had ice cream. As you know, I haven’t been in a section for a while so it was nice to get that saxophone comradery back. I met a lot of new people as well, all from band, mostly from the Iowa area. Then actual “hell week” began. I think learning all the new commands wasn’t a big deal for me at all because I haven’t really done LZHS marching for a while. Also, at DMA, we learned new commands, completely different as to what LZHS does, and that took some getting used to, but adjusting from LZHS to HMB was not bad at all. I sweated a lot, and practices went from 9AM to 9PM pretty much every day with obvious dinner breaks and lunch breaks.
                Something that was really new to learn was the Big 10 high step. Iowa’s high step has the knee bending at 120 degrees, and the thigh coming up and making a perpendicular angle to the body. It’s really hard to make it look good, and we spend a whole afternoon just stepping up and down and getting that angles perfect. Not only do we have to straight march the high step like at LZ, but we also had to learn a whole new set of fundamentals for the high step as we march this high step for all of pregame.
                Something I didn’t know about college marching band is that in a lot of ways it’s very similar to high school marching band in the fact that there are people who just do it or continue it for the friends (mostly the seniors). There is also just a lot of friendships being made and I love it. I don’t know how I would make it through college if it wasn’t for the marching band. Not to say that I have no friends outside of marching band (mostly floor mates), but I really appreciate the friends I have made through the band, which I guess is something I surprisingly did not expect. I also love all of the tradition the HMB has. Just a week ago, I played a kickball game called the “Saxamatones Kickball Game” between, obviously, the baritones and the saxes. We won this year, absolutely no thanks to me. We also do the Series, where we basically dance to all of the Drumline cadences. It was really hard at first, and it still kind of is, but I’m getting used to it.
If anybody in high school likes marching band, I strongly suggest them doing marching band in college. I really love it, and I can’t wait for our first football game this year. Our first show has only two songs (because the UNI band is also coming), and those songs are Who Are You and Pinball Wizard, both by The Who. I think I am doing very well with college band and college classes in general.

On the Dec. 7 Hosting of the Illinois Wind Symphony
Thank you so much for your professional hosting of the Illinois Wind Symphony. You, Sheri, your band parents, and your students were wonderful at every turn. It speaks so well of your excellent program. ...and man, what a great performance space! It's so honest — you can really hear everything. What a great resource. I love the KCPA Great Hall, but all that resonance covers things too.  

We truly enjoyed performing for your students and community! My hope is that it will invigorate your students to even greater focus and artistry! So cool to have some beginners in the house. I think they will remember that evening! 

I'm a big fan of you and your program — and have been since I heard you at SuperState the first time.  Let me know if I can be of service in the future. I'd be happy to travel back. The work you did to insure a terrific audience really paid off...I felt their positive energy the minute we started performing. It was an enjoyable interaction throughout the evening. 

ON May 5 Band Concert 2011
The concert was excellent- what a great evening! We all loved the music... the Sousa, all the traditional American songs, and the Vaughan Williams were my favorites as well as the piccolo piece:) I can see why we got the IHSA award, although I think we really rate 1st! Congratulations to the bands, choirs and orchestras and the great teachers.
-band parent
I had a couple of students go and they really enjoyed your performance. Congratulations on bringing this piece into the world for the first time!
-Jim Kull, St. Charles North
It's so refreshing to hear the piece breath with living musicians! There are some really nice moments, and your sax section sounds amazing. Thank you very much for sending me a recording. I can't wait to hear this thing live!
-Michael Markowski, composer
Kim Kolze,
Congratulations once again. It was a huge honor for me to present you and your team their runner-up medals and trophy. As a community member, I was very proud to be from Lake Zurich. We talked all weekend with the two girls who dressed as Add-A-Tude and they told me how much they liked the LZ fans, and considering the comments the gave me about some of the fans form some other schools, this was a sincere compliment. I also heard a tremendous amount of compliments for your band, which most people thought was the best all weekend.
Dan Klett
IHSA Board of Directors
Wauconda High School
I was listening to Channel 5 this morning and they had a blurb about the prep fb game of the week tonight matching us against Stevenson, but they also mentioned LZ’s marching band and coined it “the best band in the state”! Pretty high praise! Congrats and keep up the good work.
Hi ~ I listened to Channel 5 news this morning and at 6:15 in addition to announcing the football game as the game of the week, the weather caster (don’t know his name) also said “ and if you’re thinking about visiting the concession stand during halftime, wait and listen to the Lake Zurich High School marching band ~ they are the best in the state!” And he said a few other extraordinary compliments but I was so excited I don’t remember them.
Way to go, Josh and all of your amazing marchers!


ON PEP BAND at Northwestern, December 19, 2009
I was listening to Channel 5 this morning and they had a blurb about the prep fb game of the week tonight matching us against Stevenson, but they also mentioned LZ’s marching band and coined it “the best band in the state”! Pretty high praise! Congrats and keep up the good work.
Dear Principal Kolze,
My son and I are big Northwesten fans and we just had to drop a note to congratulate and thank the Lake Zurich band for its fantastic performance at yesterday's basketball game. They chose great stuff to play and played it exceptionally well. They added tremendously to the experience of a big Wildcat win. We hope they'll return.
Peter and Brendan Gallagher Green Oaks, IL
Thanks very much to you and the members of the Lake Zurich HS band for the outstanding performance you gave at yesterday's (Dec. 19) men's basketball game between Northwestern University and the Leland Stanford Junior University. It really helped the atmosphere at Welch-Ryan Arena to have a live band there, the Northwestern fans definitely appreciated the band's presence, and I hope your students enjoyed seeing Northwestern defeat a good team from the Pac-10 Conference that NU hadn't beaten since 1962. You should be deservedly proud of a job well done. Thanks, and GO 'CATS!!!!

Lee Stevens
Past President, Northwestern University Marching and Band Alumni
We really enjoyed the Band"s presence at the game yesterday. It had the place rocking! My friend said, 'They should play at all our home games!' It really helped to charge up the atmosphere! Hope your working relationship with NU continues! Thank you for the great performance!
Phil Nelson (CAS '72)
I was at the Northwestern basketball game today against Stanford. I was surprised when I walked in to find the band. Winter break! how can the band be here? When someone mentioned it was Lake Zurich High School Band, I could not believe it was a high school band. The band was just great. Please let your kids know they did an outstanding job. Happy Holidays
Renee Blustein A Northwestern Fan


ON PEP BAND at Northwestern December 2008
Thank you SO MUCH for you and your band's FANTASTIC performance Monday night. I have received MANY compliments from staff and fans, and you were mentioned in one of our reporter's blogs. I've included the highlights below. Your group is always welcome at Welsh-Ryan Arena. I look forward to having you back!
All the best, Beth Cunningham (NU basketball game coordinator)
"The Lake Zurich High School band rocked. Filling in for NU's pep band since, well, the students are on break, about 50 (I GUESS HE COULDN'T COUNT-OR WE'RE JUST SMALLER THAN COLLEGE STUDENTS....we had 100 kids) Lake Zurich students filled the void in style. Wearing purple T-shirts with "COLLEGE" stamped on the front in white letters, the young'uns had an extended repertoire that included NU's fight song and "Hey Baby." And, proving again that they were ahead of the curve, they spent a few moments of the first half screaming every time Spencer Johnson, UMKC's No. 5, touched the ball. They did it for no reason, which is usually the best reason of all."
Please pass along our appreciation to your band for an outstanding performance at the Northwestern University basketball game last night. What energetic, skilled, excellent musicians doing a great job of representing LZHS! We were thoroughly entertained and very impressed with the size of their repertoire. Thank you for a very enjoyable evening.
Charlene & George
Libertyville, IL
This is to the members of the Lake Zurich Band that played at the Northwestern Basketball game last night.
YOU WERE AWESOME! Everyone in our section was raving about how good you were and the energy you brought with you. It was evident that you were having fun sharing your talent with us.
Thank you
Candee Nustra of Wauconda

Excerpts of e-mails and notes received about the band '07-'08

Thank you very much for having us perform at your Band Festival. Your hospitality was very much appreciated by all of us and the Festival was a great beginning to our trip. I was most impressed with the literature and level of your ensemble. Please let your students know how much we appreciated their playing. Best wishes to you for the rest of this year. Please let us know when we can come back and if I can ever be of assistance.
Sincerely, Gary Shaw
Director of Bands, Millikin University


I actually meant to write you awhile back after the Lake Zurich - Lake Forest game, but was just reminded as I was talking to our band director, Steve Nendza and it came up that the two of you went to grad school together. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how impressed I was with your halftime show that night. It was by far the best one I have seen at the high school level. It was entertaining, fun, and well performed. I also thought the band served as an extension of the intimidating atmosphere that you guys have over there. For example, when the band positioned themselves for the show with a couple minutes left in the half and basically marched our cheerleaders right off the track. Anyway, I was really impressed and wanted to let you know
-Junior high teacher in Lake Forest District
Just a quick note to say Congrats on preceding Santa in the Thanksgiving Day parade downtown. I sent a note out to many of the football moms to make sure everyone is watching on Thanksgiving!!
You guys are absolutely incredible and it is so wonderful to have you representing our school on such a special day in front of a very special person! Congratulations to all.
Carm Bondeson (Michael Dietrich's mom)
I saw the LZ band a lot over the Thanksgiving break (T-Day parade in Chicago, then in Champaign for the football game). I thought the band looked and sounded great. My wife and two brother-in-laws (all LZ grads) couldn't believe the size of the band. Congrats on the state championship and (I'm sure) the fun trip to Champaign. Keep up the great work.

Kerry Rea
Mather HS Band Director
Hi Josh. Just wanted to tell you that I thought the marching band did an awesome job at the parade--what a place of honor before Santa! Everyone looked and sounded fantastic, and it was exciting to see LZ on tv. Thanks for the fun and great entertainment!
Just wanted to drop a note to you and your band for a great job on Saturday. I have never seen the Lake Zurich Band before so I was very impressed.
Vic Scimeca-
Director of Bands Wheaton-Warrenville South
The turnout at the Sat. Rowling Meadows game (the subject of my prior e-mail, my brother from NZ was over and very impressed by the band), the presentation of the Band in the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the performance at UI-CU was outstanding. I have to tell you that a co-worker who attended the UI-CU 7A finals on behalf of WWS had to admit defeat, and had to also admit that the LZHS band, and team was in his opinion, first class. As was the LZHS formation I saw on TV broadcast.
The kids, the fans, everyone loves the band. You just need to know that. It is an unbelievalbe feeling to sit and watch the band come in and play for the crowd. Most of us "mom's" start to get choked up as soon as you all march in the stadium. You are all incredible.

Excerpts of e-mails and notes received about the band in '05-'07

Great concert on Tuesday. We are always blown away on how well the kids perform. We also liked seeing Professor Schickele... very entertaining.
The band and I feel like the night at your place was by far the most rewarding of our trip. We had such a grand time hearing the other groups and getting to play in such a great hall. Thanks again for this opportunity. -Mike Fansler, Director-Western Illinois Symphonic Wind Ensemble.
That was so, so wonderful last night! All three of the bands were fantastic! What variety and quality! WIU was Wow! The LZ singing was so unexpected and dramatic! Johnsburg was very moving too! Your Band was exceptional and the singing piece was PERFECT. Please pass along to your band -- how much I appreciated their hard work and talent!!!!!!!!! -Thompson's Dad!
The Wind Ensemble Invitational concert was great. The Western Illinois ensemble was excellent. We enjoyed all the ensembles very much. I thought LZ's performance of Turning was even better the second time. Great job. I hope this can continue as an event.
Mr. Thompson and the Jazz Ensembles, AWESOME!! We just returned home from your Thursday night concert and we were so well-entertained. What an impressive group! We have been enjoying the Ellington CD and are blown away at the depth of performance for a high school group. Please pass along our thanks and congratulations to the members of the Jazz groups.
Jane Hyla (Teacher at Seth Paine) and Patrick Hyla ( a musician in his own right who is awed by you)
Dear Mr. Thompson, OMG; WOW !! What at fun evening last night. It had me attending my first ever band concert. It's quite a talent to have great music and theater meld together like last night. Thanks to you and your students for being 'fine art'.
All I can say is WOW what a great concert.
I just wanted to thank you and your students for a great concert. Your student's behavior in the PAC was so professional I forgot I was watching high school students. The extra added excitement and showmanship of both Voodoo and Godzilla brought the house down. Thank you for ending the band's concert year on such a high note. I look forward to both the Jazz and Orchestra concerts later this month.
Great concert last night! It was 2 hours long, but it didn't seem like it! The music was very entertaining - and the talent was great! I'm so glad you mentioned it at the band exchange. I'm happy I went - great job!!
I know you didn't have us write a reflection paper but I thought I'd give you my opinion anyway. I liked Salute to American Jazz and Voodoo was fun but songs like American Elegy are the reason I am in band. Songs like that are not just songs - yes, it is a beautiful ballad, but it acutally meant something. Thank you for letting us continue to work on it and play it in the concert. Some parts were very good and some a little rough, and we all know we've played it better, but I don't think anyone was too concerned. Thanks again and I hope we can play more music like that in the future.
What a fantastic performance at the New Trier HS Wind Ensemble on March 17! So sharp looking, so professional, so difficult, so inspiring! We watched and listened over the internat all the way in Houston, Texas. You should be very proud of what you are learning and accomplishing. We are also proud to be the parents of Mr. T!! When he tells us what the LZ Band is doing -- we just love it. Again some classy music - well done! Congrats!!
I have been a basketball parent for the past three years. Attended most of our away games and have heard and seen many school Pep bands. Just wanted you to know that you should be very proud of your band. By far, your band is the best, both in size and quality of music. Continue the great job you do during the basketball and football games.
We would like to thank the LZHS Marching Band for visiting Seth Paine this morning!!!! YOU WERE AWESOME! YOU WERE THE BEST! It was great seeing people in the band that used to attend Seth Paine! Thanks for taking your time to come to our school! Our entire class wants to be in the band when they get older! MARCH ON! DO YOUR BEST!
Mrs. Johnson's Third Grade Class
Thanks for the great performance yesterday at Quentin....our kids really enjoyed hearing the marching band.....they did a great job! And it was fun to see all the former Quentin students.....It's good to know that they are actually "growing up" and turning out to be nice young adults.... Thanks again for all your hard work!
Julie Sundin - Music Teacher
Charles Quentin Elementary School
Mr. Thompson,
I just wanted to tell you how impressed I was with the band this past Friday night. The half time music sounded very good from where I was sitting and the marching was impressive compared to past years. Kinda wished I could've marched that music, looked like it was a lot of fun. Anyway I just wanted to congratulate you all on a great homecoming show, keep up the good work.
Mr. Thompson,
Just had to e-mail you to tell you how incredible the band sounded at tonights game!! And it just wasn't me who thought that. I heard it from others, too. They performed wonderfully and the hard work showed through tonight. They deserve a big hand! Thanks.
On a side note...the Marching Band has been doing an outstanding job this year. They seem to learn the music and positions very quickly. Loved the dance routine last week. Lots of great comments from parents (non-band parents too) in the stands.

Excerpts of e-mails and notes received about the band in '04-'05

I forgot to mention yesterday that the band sound great on Memorial Day- As a parent it was very easy to be proud of what you got the kids to play and sound as good as they do. Several Veterans that were standing by us commented that they were impressed that the kids played the different branches songs as well as they did. You should be proud.
Congratulations on a GREAT Jazz Concert last night. This was by far the best band concert I have seen at LZHS. The selection of music, the addition of vocals, and the performance of both bands were outstanding. The person or persons who organized and came up with the idea of the show are to also to be congratulated, because all great things start with an idea and build for there. Thank you and the band for and enjoyable evening.
The May 12th concert was fantastic. From the Concert Band to the Wind Ensemble, the student's performances were wonderful. The chior piece was a nice touch.
BRAVO!! All of the percussion sections did an outstanding job on Thursday night. We were really impressed with the Cadet Band's performance of Caribbean Night (I think that was the name of the song). I think the expression he used definitely applies to the Cadet Band's performance
***THEY WERE FEELING THE MUSIC***BRAVO!! Excellent concert on Thursday night!
We really enjoyed the concert on Thursday (March 10). Congratulations on a wonderful performance!
Thanks for another great Jazz Concert, the students were superb. It is amazing to see the growth each year as they get older. Looking forward to Sunday also.
I agree. Good job guys!--Mr. Egan
If I haven't said so before, I'm saying it now that the band did an excellent job this entire marching season. Band -O-Rama was great and there were such positive comments from everyone at all the football games regarding the performances. The band worked hard and it really showed.
Thanks for all the effort put into last night' s concert. We thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Thanks for affording our son the opportunity to be a part of such a talented and awesome group. The band sounded sooooo good.
Excellent concert last night. I really enjoyed it. Keep up the good work.
Great Show! What a lot of fun and energy!
Just wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed last week's half-time show. The
band sounded great and, it wasn't raining much. Hope the weather holds out
for this week.
By the way the band sounded excellent last Saturday- Especially the brass in the STYX arrangement. I have never seen the marching band until this year and did not realize what a fun and cool thing I was missing.

Excerpts of e-mails and notes received about the band in '03-'04

Just listened to your Spring Concert on the internet in Houston, Texas.
Really, really enjoyed it. I needed to hear the Star Spangled Banner and you
did such a great job...it was very moving.
Keep up the excitement over the Summer and keep my Son -- MR. T -- busy!!!
But, do what he says...or I'll come up from Texas and have a word with you
Just wanted to let you know I enjoyed the concert last night. You guys have done another fine job. I especially enjoyed the Holst Suite and ...Korean Folk Song. A couple of my personal favorites. Please share my congrats with the students.--Mr. Nightlinger
Friends of ours was able to see the bands perform at the conservatory. They were impressed with the ability of both bands, as well as the variety of songs performed by the Jazz Ensemble. Please express my thanks to the parents who helped with all the planning. I know it's a huge undertaking.
I also want to tell you that you would have been very proud of the brass quintet that played at Seth Paine on Sat. morning for our Seasonal Celebration.
I just want to say how impressed I was with the band on Saturday night. I enjoyed sitting with the students and listening to their (and yours) enthusiastic cheers and songs while on the end zone. Everyone seemed to be having a good time despite the weather and many even stayed for the duration.
I'm not even a band mom... ...but I just wanted to take a minute and tell you how awesome the band was last night at the football game. I had intended to email you after homecoming, but never got around to it. I really enjoyed the homecoming show. It was great to see the creativity of the group, and great to see them all having so much fun!! I'm glad I had another opportunity to see our band in action. They're great !!!
Greetings from Sarah Adams, Just wanted to say how SMART the band sounded and looked today. They are a great group of kids. Both of you guys do a great job!! Thanks so much for the performance.
I just wanted to let you know that the band sounded the best that they have all marching season on friday Oct 3 homingcoming game. Their performance was enjoyable also, keep up the good work. The band really seamed to really have it together on Friday, I loved the dance number too!
Have been meaning to e-mail you with regard to the wonderful show the band put on during homecoming. The skit was a nice twist! The fans seemed very impressed and very enthusiastic.


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