Niles North band in 2nd year after 20-year hiatus

ABC 7 in Chicago reports that the marching band at Niles North High School in Skokie is doing “incredible things,” since it was revived last year after a 20-year hiatus by the school’s new band director.


Photo posted on the school’s site by band director Cheryl Filipek

Before last year, there had been no marching band at Niles North since 1993, which is remarkably close to the year the oldest student on the field tomorrow will have been born, 1995. Financial problems around the turn of the century, reported here in the Chicago Tribune, made it so the only marching band in the two schools in District 219 would be at Niles West. Then former Chicago Public Schools teacher Cheryl Filipek came to Niles North.

The band’s return in the fall 2012 football season was captured on at least one YouTube video, here. It’s rare to find a north-suburban high school without a strong band program, but even rarer, I’m afraid, to find a school that gives rebirth to a marching band program after budget cuts eliminated the program more than a decade earlier.

We therefore extend congratulations to another music program in Illinois that has a marching band: it’s a great leadership-building and teamwork-promoting activity for band students. The show for the fall season of 2013 features popular tunes, including Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie,” “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift, and “Treasure” by Bruno Mars.

Niles North High School in north-suburban Skokie, founded in 1964 and now with 2,233 students, brings a marching band tomorrow afternoon to the third annual “Skokie Skirmish” football game between the Vikings and sister school, Niles West. Sure, the schools have met more than three times, but the naming of the contest started only two years ago, when there was no marching band at the school. Director Cheryl Filipek joined the faculty for the 2012-13 school year and activated the band, which is, in its second year, the talk of the town.

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more biographical information, see the About page.