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Wind Ensemble

The DeKalb High School Wind Ensemble is the premiere wind band at DHS.  Membership is obtained by competitive audition each spring.  The ensemble regularly programs the music of preeminent composers such as Alfred Reed, Gustav Holst, John Philip Sousa, Leonard Bernstein as well as the works modern works of living composers.  Recent performances have included the music of John Mackey, Kimberly Archer, Mark Camphouse, Leslie Gilreath and many more. 

The Wind Ensemble regularly competes in the Illinois High School Association's Organizational Contest each Spring, where the band regularly receives recognition for its superior level of performance.

Wind Ensemble deals with upper level performance indicators as set forth by the National Standards in Music Education.  Students should be prepared for a rigorous practice schedule, including sectionals outside of the regular class period. 

Marching Band

The DHS Marching Barbs are proud to be the largest single student group on campus.  Performing at parades, competitions, community and sporting events throughout the world; the Marching Barbs have a long tradition of success in a variety of endeavors.  

2019 awards for the Marching Barbs include Grand Champion (plus class champion, best visual, DM and music) at the Sandwich Musicfest.  The band also received its first class placement (3rd in 5A) at the University of Illinois Marching Band Championship, where the band also won best music (besting every other band in every class in the music caption).

In 2017, the Marching Barbs traveled to Ireland for a week-long performance tour, which included performances at Kilkenny Castle, Titanic Belfast, alongside our friends in the Finglas Concert and Marching Band, and in the Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade, where the band was named best Junior Band in the parade.

The Marching Barbs plan to travel to Europe again in 2020, where they have accepted an invitation to perform in the Prague Christmas Parade.

Concert Band

The DHS Concert Band is the foundational course in Wind Band performance at DeKalb High School.  Concert Band membership is obtained through completing a District 428 middle school band program, or through audition with the band staff.

In each semester the Concert Band prepares music for public performance. The groups regularly prepares literature which represents a wide variety of musical styles including: chorales, ballads, large scale concert works, marches, transcriptions and popular music.

Percussion Ensemble

The DeKalb High School Percussion Ensemble was founded as a curricular ensemble in 2006.  Since that time the DHS Percussion Ensemble has performed twice at the Music for All National Percussion Festival (2011 and 2018) and at the 2011 ILMEA Illinois Music Education Conference.  In addition to regular percussion ensemble rehearsals, students in the percussion techniques course also rehearse music for the marching band, two concert bands, two orchestras and choirs.

Jazz Ensemble

The DHS Jazz Ensemble is one of the top public school jazz programs in the nation.  Having performed twice at the Essentially Ellington High School Band Competition Finals in New York City (2008, 2012) and twice at the Illinois Music Education Conference (2005, 2015).  The band keeps a regular schedule of performances in around DeKalb.

The band is proud to have founded Jazz at the Egyptian, at DeKalb's historic Egyptian theatre alongside the NIU Jazz Orchestra and the Sycamore High School Jazz Ensemble.  

The 2019 Band appeared at Jazz in Chi's Essentially Ellington Regional Festival, where the band's reed section took home the award for best Saxophone Section. In August of 2019, the band was honored to perform at the Chicago Jazz Festival.

The Band has notable alumni performing professionally.  These alumni include Sam Crittenden, trombonist with Sammy Miller and the Congregation and professional saxophonist, Jeff Miguel.



The DHS Steel Band was founded in 2012 with opening of the new DHS Facility on Dresser Rd. Steel Band is a one semester class that runs in the Spring during 13th hour.


The Steel Band performs music from all over the world, with a primary focus on music from the Caribbean.  The band plays calypso, soca, samba, afro-cuban and pop music. 

Jazz Lab Band

The DHS Lab Band is the primary training ensemble for the Jazz Ensemble.  The band focuses on the development of jazz styles, techniques and improvisation.  

The band competed in the 2018 Illinois High School Association's Organizational Contest, where it received a superior rating.  The band has also performed at Northern Illinois University's High School Jazz Day and during regular performances at DeKalb High School.

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