Incoming NCHS Freshmen: 8th Grade Transition Information



The NCHS Bands and Spirits programs have a place for everyone.  Join us and create the soundtrack for your high school memories!!

NCHS Curricular Bands
Bands that meet during the school day
  • Auditioned Ensembles: incoming freshmen may choose to audition for Wind Symphony
    • Auditions:  April 17, 2018 (Audition times TBA)
    • Audition forms were due December 1 (incoming freshmen submit “B-Audition” form to NCHS)
    • Wind Symphony (“Intermediate Advanced Band”, “B-Audition“)  9th-12th grades
    • Wind Ensemble (“Advanced Band”, “A-Audition“) 10th-12th grades only
  • Non-Auditioned Ensembles:
  • Register for “N12011, N12012 Intermediate Band” on your class schedule and NCHS Bands will take care of the rest if you are going to audition!
  • Enhancements to participation in Curricular bands:
    • Private lessons before, during or after school (based on private instructor availability, lessons can be taken for primary instrument or a second or third instrument if desired)
    • ILMEA District 9 and ILMEA State Honor Bands and Jazz Ensembles
    • IHSA Solo and Ensemble contest
    • Full Symphonic Orchestra (as part of NCHS Band and Orchestra concerts, Wind Ensemble only)

Pictures from 11/10/16 SouthSide Band Festival at NCHS with LJHS and MJHS)


NCHS Extracurricular Bands and Groups
Bands and Groups that meet outside of the school day.  Participation in curricular band not required.

Marching Band (Marching Redhawks)

2017 NCHS Marching Redhawks – “Amour”

The NCHS Marching Redhawks are one of the most recognizable groups at NCHS.  The Marching Redhawks include the Drum Majors, Wind Section (woodwinds and brass), Battery (marching percussion), Front Ensemble (stationary percussionists who play mallet instruments, keyboard, and auxiliary percussion) and the artistry of the NCHS Spirits Fall Color Guard.

The Marching Redhawks host a Spring Orientation and Show Reveal meeting every spring     (March 14, 2018).

Spring auditions are required for NCHS Spirits fall color guard, junior Drum Majors, Section Leaders (rising juniors and seniors), Battery and Front Ensemble.  No auditions are required for the wind section. Many students choose to play a second instrument in marching band.  For example, a bassoon player may choose to audition for the front ensemble.  A clarinet player may choose to play tenor saxophone in the wind section (many college bands march only brass and saxophones).

  • Percussion “Chops” Sessions (targeted practice in winter and early spring before battery and front ensemble auditions in April/May)
    • 2018: TBA
  • Marching Redhawks 2018:

Jazz Band

Jazz Studio Orchestra (JSO)
  • JSO (Jazz Studio Orchestra)
    • Auditions: May 2018 (TBA)
  • Jazz Band and Jazz Lab
    • Auditions: Nov 2018 (TBA)

NCHS Spirits

NCHS Spirits Fall Color Guard



Other Performance Ensembles and Opportunities:

  • District 203 Steel Band
  • NCHS DRUMSHOW! (by Audition.  Information Meetings in November 2018)
  • Pep Band (for Boys and Girls varsity basketball games.  A really fun energetic group open to all musicians)
  • Pit Orchestra (NCHS musicals, usually by invitation)
  • ILMEA District 9 and ILMEA State Honor Bands and Jazz Ensembles (membership in a curricular band not required for ILMEA Jazz Ensemble auditions)
  • IHSA Solo and Ensemble contest
  • Chamber Ensembles (Clarinet Choir, Flute Choir, Brass Ensembles, percussion ensembles, etc).  Participation in curricular bands not required.  Ask a band director for the latest ensemble information.
  • Private lessons before, during or after school (based on private instructor availability, may be available to students who are not in curricular band)

FAQ: Myths and Facts about NCHS Bands


Good things to know!
  • Do you have to be in Marching Band to enroll in Curricular Band?
    • No!  Many of the 115+ members of the Marching Redhawks are enrolled in curricular bands but not all.
    • As well, you can audition or enroll in a curricular band without participating in Marching Band.
    • You can choose to continue your music experience in the Marching Band as an extracurricular activity even if you do not enroll in a curricular band.
    • Some Marching Redhawks are enrolled in a choir!
    • Some Marching Redhawks play a different instrument for marching band than curricular band or participate with the NCHS Spirits Colorguard.
    • The choice is yours!
  • Honors Students won’t have time for curricular band or Marching Band due to the class load.
    • Not true!  A majority of students in the curricular bands and Marching Band are enrolled in multiple honors and/or AP courses.  The “flat wing” around the band room is where many students involved in bands spend their free time before and after school and where many find sources of help and support with their classwork from other band members who are taking or have taken the same classes.  They help each other make it work.  We regularly have band students that are National Merit Scholars!
  • My participation in athletics makes me unable to enroll or participate in band activities
    • Not true! We are proud to have NCHS Bands students participating at every level of athletic involvement!  Some students go from marching band season (truly a sport on it’s own) to playing basketball, wrestling or running track for NCHS.  Students who play fall or spring sports find participation in curricular bands a very complimentary and essential part of their high school experience.
  • Curricular Bands:  The only requirement to be involved in a curricular band is to play in a band during the regular school day.  Students have the opportunity to audition for an advanced ensemble.
    • Many incoming Freshmen begin with Symphonic Band (“Intermediate Band”) or audition for Wind Symphony (“Intermediate Advanced Band”, “B-Audition“).
    • Current Freshmen in Symphonic Band will automatically be placed in Symphonic Band as sophomores or you can audition for Wind Symphony or Wind Ensemble (both require annual spring auditions for all members).
    • Curricular band students participate in 4 concerts and solo and ensemble contest during the school year.  Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble may have additional performances.
    • All curricular bands have a concert uniform requirement (men – tuxedo / women- black concert dress).  Details and ordering information are communicated early in the fall semester.
    • Students enrolled curricular bands can easily take a full academic load, including all of their required coursework for graduation, four years of foreign language and four years of band.
  • Extra-curricular bands:  Just like in junior high, there are many voluntary and fun extra-curricular groups and ensembles available:  Marching Redhawks, Jazz Bands (3), Pep Band, Drumshow, Chamber Ensembles, Pit Orchestra and IHSA solo/ensemble contest.  Many students are able to participate in sports and extracurricular bands at the same time.
  • Private Lessons: Curricular and extra-curricular band students can sign up for private lessons during curricular band, study hall or lunch periods (based on availability).  Lessons can be taken on primary or secondary instruments (those doubling or learning another musical instrument).
  • Band Facilities:  NCHS has fantastic spaces for band activities to support all students.  The band rehearsal room is spacious and there are many private practice rooms with keyboards in the flat wing.  The band locker room has lockable spaces for a wide range of personal instruments.  Due to the ongoing generosity of parents and fundraising through the Band Boosters Association, the NCHS bands have an amazing variety of instrumentation for percussion, low brass and unique woodwinds.  The music library also has a wide variety of musical scores for all of the bands and ensembles.
  • Instrument Storage: Lockers are available to store band instruments (based on availability, first priority goes to curricular band students).

For more information...


NCHS Bands Contacts, Websites and Social Media:


Explore YOUR art!  As musicians and performers, you will find the support you need to grow and the inspiration you seek to realize your unique potential in the NCHS Bands and Spirits.