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High School HonorFest

High School HonorFest

May 2, 2020

This event gives Chicagoland high school students an opportunity to perform quality repertoire with peer students ranked at the highest performance level. The HonorFest band will rehearse during the morning and afternoon, and perform in the early evening.


Alex Kaminsky, Director of Bands

Kaminsky_p1Alexander Kaminsky recently joined the faculty at VanderCook after an extended tenure at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. In addition to being active as an adjudicator, Kaminsky is in demand as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the U.S. He has presented his clinic, “How Can I Get My Band to Sound Like That,” at the school district and post-secondary level, including the 2015 Music Education Lecture Series sponsored by the School of Music at Loyola University, and most recently as the headline clinician for the 2016 Colorado Bandmasters Association Convention. Bands under his direction consistently earn Superior ratings at all levels of evaluation. Kaminsky has earned Superior ratings at the State Concert Band Assessment (FL) for an unprecedented 22 consecutive years. For 12 of those years, including the last 10 consecutive years, Kaminsky has had two bands earn Superior ratings at State. Additionally, he is the only director in the history of the Florida Bandmasters Association to have had three concert bands earn straight Superior ratings at State, and he has achieved this twice (2009 and 2018).

Kaminsky holds degrees from the University of Florida and Indiana University. He is a 10-time recipient of the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence, and has been recognized with numerous achievement awards for education including the 2019 FMEA Secondary Music Educator of the Year Award, FBA Oliver Hobbs Award, FBA Andrew J. Crew Award, National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teacher, Nobel Educator of Distinction, Teacher of the Year, and is listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Kaminsky’s bands have been invited to perform at prestigious state and national festivals and conferences including the Midwest Clinic (2005, 2009, 2014, and 2018), American Bandmasters Association National Convention (2014), CBDNA/NBA Southern Division Conference (2004 and 2014), FMEA State Conference (2014), National Concert Band Festival (2002 and 2012), and the National Wind Band Festival at Carnegie Hall (2009 and 2018).

Dr. Robert L. Sinclair, Director of Choral Activities

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.

Dr. John-Rine Zabanal, Director of String Music Education

IMG_0298_CROPAs an adjunct assistant professor at Florida State University, Dr. John-Rine Zabanal worked with both undergraduate and graduate string students, making him a great resource for all VanderCook students. He has additional experience with music technology, psychology of music, and research in music.
Prior to his work at FSU, Dr. Zabanal was the Director of Orchestras at Riverbend High and Ni River Middle Schools in Virginia, where his students consistently earned Superior Ratings at VBODA District Orchestra Assessment.
Beyond the classroom, Dr. Zabanal has involved himself with a number of programs that provide elementary-to-high school aged students the opportunity to build positive musical foundations. These include the FSU Strings Orchestra Camp, Rappahannock Summer Music Camp, Tallahassee Youth Orchestra and the Rappahannock Youth Orchestra.
Like many of us at VanderCook, Dr. Zabanal is a strong advocate of music education. He has held memberships with organizations such as the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and the American String Teacher Association (ASTA). Currently, Dr. Zabanal serves as the Vice President of the FSU chapter of ASTA and is the Media Specialist and Editor for the Florida chapter. He holds a Ph.D. in Music Education and a master's degree in music education from FSU, and a bachelor's degree in music education from The Ohio State University.
To learn more about Dr. Zabanal, visit his website at
Date: May 2, 2020

Registration Deadline:
April 24, 2020

Participants: Students of all levels may attend, and ensembles of any level may sign up to perform.

Online Registration Form

Attendance Fee: $40.00 per student.
For any questions or concerns, please contact Patrick Benson, Director of Continuing Education & Outreach, at or 312.788.1139.


VanderCook College of Music

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

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