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Middle Level HonorFest

MLHF_2018_headshot_bar_Dolan       MLHF_2018_headshot_bar_Sinclair       MLHF_2018_headshot_bar_Ozsvath

At Middle Level HonorFest, advanced middle school band and choir musicians spend a day working with a master clinician in a higher education setting. This one-day festival is designed to give your best students an opportunity to perform in an honor band environment early in the school year. 

Middle Level HonorFest is a great way for your students to meet and make music with advanced musicians from other schools. Students will perform quality literature, practice in small group sectionals, and spend the day on a college campus. The HonorFest bands and choirs will rehearse during the morning and afternoon, and conclude with a performance in the early evening. The HonorFest concert is free of charge and open to the public.

Designed for grades 6-8, participation in Middle Level Honor Fest is determined by director nominations. Directors may nominate up to eight students; selection is based upon your nomination as well as instrumentation.

Completed nomination forms should be received no later than Friday, September 14, 2018. Participating students and directors will be notified of final accepted rosters by Tuesday, September 18, 2018.

There is no cost to nominate students, but a $40.00 per-accepted-student participation fee is due no later than Friday, September 28, 2018.


This year's clinicians:


Stacey Larson Dolan (MMEd '98) is Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor of Music at VanderCook, where she teaches music education courses, conducting courses and band at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dolan enjoyed success teaching elementary, middle and high school music before joining the faculty at VanderCook in 2004. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from Millikin University and her master’s from VanderCook. Dolan was on the design and teaching staff for the National Champion Lake Park Marching Band for 12 years and was the creative director and conductor of the Bensenville Young Musicians Mentor Band from 1995 to 2007. She has conducted honor bands and presented workshops at MEAs and festivals in China and throughout the United States. She has taught tens of thousands of middle school and high school students through her work as a clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor. Her professional affiliations include NAfME, Phi Beta Mu, NBA and CBDNA.
Sinclair,_Robert_headshot_2016Dean of Graduate Studies Dr. Robert L. Sinclair has served VanderCook as Director of Choral Activities since 2001. His educational background includes three years at Luther College, where he sang in the Nordic Choir under the direction of Weston Noble. After transferring to Sam Houston State University, he completed his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music degrees with B.R. Henson. In December of 2000, Dr. Sinclair completed a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction (music education) at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he worked with Drs. David Rayl and Wendy Sims. Dr. Sinclair has 10 years of public school teaching experience and has presented sessions to the Music Educators Associations of Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and Texas, the Illinois Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), as well as the Southwestern and Southern Divisions of ACDA. He continues to work as an active choral clinician and adjudicator for junior high and high school students from across the nation and abroad, including honor choirs in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, and Japan in addition to all-state choirs in Illinois and Wisconsin. Dr. Sinclair is an active member of ACDA, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity, Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honors Fraternity, and the National Association for Music Education.
Ozsvath,_Keith_headshot_2016_cKeith Ozsvath has been sharing his lifelong passion for music with the students at Rotolo Middle School in Batavia, IL, a three-time NAMM Best Community for Music Education, since 2000. Ozsvath currently leads the Symphonic Band, Eighth Grade Band, and Jazz Ensemble, while finding unique ways to integrate technology to enhance his students’ learning. He extends his combined love of music and teaching beyond the walls of his classroom as an active clinician. His website, Teaching Band & More, provides music educators with practical ideas and expertise to improve their teaching. Ozsvath has presented numerous professional development sessions for music educators at the Midwest Clinic, Virginia Music Educators Association, Illinois Music Educators Conference, the Association of Middle Level Educators, and VanderCook College of Music. His dedication to teaching has been recognized with the Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator award in 2015, and twice by Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. In 2017, Ozsvath was honored with an Exemplary Educator Award from the Batavia CANDO parent organization. Most recently, he was inducted to the Nazareth Academy Fine Arts Hall of Fame (his high school alma mater) in 2018. He has had the distinguished honor of being an Illinois Summer Youth Music conductor at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, and is the co-founder and coordinator for the Middle School Concert Band Camp at the Music for All Summer Symposium held at Ball State University.

EVENT DATE: Saturday, September 29, 2018

Nomination Deadline: Friday, September 14, 2018
Online Nomination

Band PDF Nomination

Choir PDF Nomination

Return completed form and payment to:

VanderCook College of Music
Attn: Patrick Benson - MLHF
3140 S. Federal St.
Chicago, IL 60616-3731

Submissions may also be faxed to 312.225.5211.


Fees cannot be refunded once student is selected, so please nominate wisely. This fee includes a performance t-shirt and lunch. Music will be issued on the day of the festival.


If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Benson at 312.788.1139 or at


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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