Skokie School District 73.5

Located just 15 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, Skokie School District 73.5 is home to approximately 1100 kindergarten through 8th grade students. The district consists of three schools: Elizabeth Meyer School (pre-kindergarten and kindergarten), John Middleton School (grades 1 through 5) and Oliver McCracken Middle School (grades 6 through 8). Our students have ancestral origins from all over the world. Nearly half of our students are bilingual, speaking nearly 40 languages. Our students are more diverse, economically, racially, religiously, linguistically and socially, than most schools in the surrounding suburbs. Our community embraces and celebrates this diversity and appreciates the opportunity children and families have to interact and form friendships with such a wide spectrum of people.

McCracken Middle School serves a population of about 375 students. Recognized as a National School of Excellence by the Blue Ribbon School Program in 2001, McCracken students achieve not only academic success, but have a tradition of excelling in the fine arts.

McCRACKEN MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND

McCracken Middle School Symphonic Band

Currently, 185 students in grades four through eight participate in the Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Intermediate Band, Beginning Band and various chamber ensembles. The McCracken Middle School Symphonic Band, among the elite of middle school bands in Illinois, has performed at several prestigious events in recent years:

  • John Philip Sousa Foundation
    • 2006 Sudler Silver Cup Award
  • Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic
    • 2013 Symphonic Band Performance
    • 2006 Symphonic Band Performance
    • 2013 Symphonic Band (demonstration group for Bruce Pearson clinic)
    • 2012 Symphonic Band (demonstration group for Jodie Blackshaw clinic)
    • 2011 Symphonic Band (demonstration group for Paula Crider rehearsal lab)
    • 2008 Symphonic Band (demonstration group for Chip De Stefano clinic)
    • 2006 Symphonic Band (demonstration group for Bruce Pearson clinic)
    • 2005 Symphonic Band (demonstration group for Gary Barton rehearsal lab)
    • 2003 Clarinet Choir (demonstration group for Julie DeRoche clinic)
  • MENC North-Central Regional Conference
    • 2011 Symphonic Band Performance (Ohio Music Educators Association Professional Development Conference
    • 2005 Symphonic Band Performance (Michigan Music Education In-Service Conference)
    • 2001 Symphonic Band Performance (Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conference)
  • Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conference
    • 2010 Symphonic Band Performance
    • 2008 Symphonic Band (demonstration group for Chip De Stefano clinic)
    • 2008 Symphonic Band (demonstration group for Bruce Pearson Clinic)
    • 2005 Symphonic Band (demonstration group for Chip De Stefano and Karen Debauche clinic)
    • 2004 Symphonic Band Performance
    • 2003 5th Grade Band (demonstration group for Chip De Stefano clinic)
    • 2003 Clarinet Choir (demonstration group for Julie DeRoche clinic)
    • 2001 Symphonic Band Performance (MENC North-Central Regional Conference)
  • Illinois Music Educators Association Music Education Day at the Capitol
    • 2001 Clarinet Choir Performance
    • 1998 Percussion Ensemble Performance
  • University of Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festival
    • 2013 Symphonic Band Performance (Honor Band)
    • 2012 Symphonic Band Performance
    • 2011 Symphonic Band Performance (Honor Band)
    • 2010 Symphonic Band Performance
    • 2009 Symphonic Band Performance
    • 2008 Symphonic Band Performance
    • 2007 Symphonic Band Performance
    • 2006 Symphonic Band Performance (Honor Band)
    • 2005 Symphonic Band Performance
    • 2004 Symphonic Band Performance
    • 2003 Symphonic Band Performance (Honor Band)
    • 2001 Symphonic Band Performance
    • 2000 Symphonic Band Performance (Honor Band)
    • 1999 Symphonic Band Performance
  • Illinois Grade School Music Association
    • 2013 Selection as “honors ensemble” at State Festival
    • 2012 Selection as “honors ensemble” at State Festival
    • 2011 Selection as “honors ensemble” at State Festival
    • 2010 Selection as “honors ensemble” at State Festival
    • 2008 Selection as “honors ensemble” at State Festival
    • 2007 Selection as “honors ensemble” at State Festival
    • 2006 Selection as “honors ensemble” at State Festival
    • 2005 Selection as “honors ensemble” at State Festival
    • 2004 Selection as “honors ensemble” at State Festival
    • 2003 Selection as “honors ensemble” at State Festival
    • 2002 Selection as “honors ensemble” at inaugural State Festival
    • 51 consecutive Division One (superior) ratings at the IGSMA District Contest

The Symphonic Band meets before school four mornings a week for 33 minutes and after school once a week for 80 minutes. Through a class pull-out program, each section also receives a weekly 45 minute sectional. Our students are extremely active in the IGSMA solo and ensemble contests and have achieved much success in auditioning for the IMEA District 7 Junior Honor Band.

The Symphonic Band has also performed at the Chicagoland Invitational Concert Band Festival, Plainfield Concert Band Festival, the Midwest Music Festival, Skokie Festival of Cultures, AYSO Opening Ceremonies, and WBBM News Radio 780 30th anniversary promotion. In the spring of 2001, the band was highlighted in WLS-TV’s (Chicago’s ABC affiliate) feature “Someone You Should Know.” Four times in the recent years, Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen and the Village Board of Trustees have passed resolutions honoring our students' outstanding achievements in instrumental music.

The success of our band program is due to the hard work of the administration, the parents, the community, the educators, and most importantly, our students.