NAPERVILLE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL BANDS AND SPIRITS:
INFORMATION FOR 8TH GRADE TRANSITION/INCOMING FRESHMEN
(CLASS OF 2026)
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
Auditioned Ensembles: incoming freshmen may choose to audition for Wind Symphony
Symphonic Band (Intermediate Band) 9th-12th grades
How to Register for High School Band
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
NCHS Solo and Ensemble Contest (at NCHS in February)
Full Symphonic Orchestra (as part of NCHS Band and Orchestra concerts, Wind Ensemble only)
NCHS Extracurricular Bands and Groups
Bands and Groups that meet outside of the school day. Participation in curricular band not required.
The Marching Redhawks
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.
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.
- Marching Percussion “Chops” Sessions (targeted practice in winter and early spring before battery and front ensemble auditions in April/May)
- Jazz 1: JSO (Jazz Studio Orchestra)
- Jazz 2: Jazz Band and
- Jazz 3: Jazz Lab
- Fall Color Guard (Marching Band, Auditions TBA)
- Winter Guard
Other Performance Ensembles and Opportunities:
- District 203 Steel Band
- NCHS DRUMSHOW! (by Audition. Information Meetings in November 2019)
- 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:
- Mr. Alstadt, Director of Bands. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Estes, Associate Band Director, Marching Redhawks Director. bestes@Naperville203.org
- Mrs. Padmanabhan, Fine Arts Department Administrative. vpadmanabhan@Naperville203.org
- NCHS Spirits: Danielle Beaton and Debbie Wiles email@example.com
- NCHS Fine Arts Department
- Charms: NCHS Bands Calendars, volunteer opportunities and band-related documents: https://www.charmsoffice.com/charms/parents.asp?username=NCHSMusic (if you are prompted to enter a school code please enter ” NCHSMusic “)
- Naperville Central Bands Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NCHSBands/
- NCHS Band Boosters Association Facebook Group (closed group for all NCHS Bands’ parents, just ask to join!).
- Great place to ask experienced parents all of your questions! https://www.facebook.com/groups/nchsbba/
- NCHS Drumshow
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.