The bands at CLS have a long tradition of excellence since the beginning of our school in 1959. Many directors have worked to build the program over the past 50+ years [see director list below]. Mr. Eric Hipple is the director for all CLS bands. He is a 1996 graduate of Concordia University – Chicago with a Bachelor of Music Education and is proud to begin his 20th year of teaching in Lutheran schools.
“Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”
- Martin Luther
The Cadet Band is for students who have never played a band instrument before. Band instruction is formally started in 4th grade, however students in higher grades can also join the Cadet Band. The Cadets primarily use a prescribed band method book along with sheet music. Cadet Band members have one group rehearsal from 7:30-8:15 am and one small group lesson during the school day each week. They participate in the Marching Cougar Band as part of our “Proud Beginners” section and Honor Guard. They graduate to the full marching band in their second year. The Cadets perform several small informal concerts throughout the year and play in both the Christmas and Spring Concerts. Instrumentalists who desire a challenge can also participate in the Illinois Grade School Music Association [IGSMA] contest in the spring.
The Concert Band is for all band students with two or more years of experience. The band performs both sacred and secular songs of grade 2-3 difficulty. The Concert Band rehearses two times each week from 7:30-8:15 am. Students also receive one small group lesson during school each week. They perform at least once each month both at school and throughout the community. Performance opportunities include chapel, Concordia Sundays [at association churches], Arts in Education, and IGSMA District & State Organizational Contests. Instrumentalists who desire a challenge can also participate in the Illinois Grade School Music Association [IGSMA] contest in the spring. Students can also participate in the ILMEA All-District Festival and the IL Lutheran Honor Band Festival. All Concert Band members participate in the Marching Cougar Band.
Marching Cougar Band
The Marching Cougars were established in 1971 by Director Jan Kiesgen as a way to bolster the school’s band program. Since its inception, the band has performed 10 times in Washington D.C. [the first grade school band to perform in the annual Cherry Blossom Parade] and has played for Presidents Johnson, Ford, and Reagan. The Marching Cougars participate in several local parades each fall including the Pekin Marigold Festival, Canton Friendship Festival, Morton Pumpkin Festival, Kewanee Hog Festival, Peoria Veterans Day Parade, and the Peoria Santa Claus Parade. The band recently represented the City of Peoria and the State of Illinois at the 2015 National Independence Day Parade in Washington D.C.
Concordia Lutheran School Band Director History
- 1962 - 1969 Marge Winters
- 1970 - 1971 Ruth Livingston
- 1971 - 1993 Janice Kiesgen
- 1993 - 1997 Sherrill Filzen
- 1997 - 2000 Adam Schneblin
- 2000 - 2002 Darren Seymour
- 2002 - 2008 Jen Moder
- 2008 - 2010 Joe Bratz
- 2010 - 2014 Janice Kiesgen
- 2014 – present Eric Hipple