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Kaneland Connection: Students reign in Washington, D.C.

Kaneland High School students were good as gold last weekend at a competition in Washington, D.C.

When their feats were added up, the Kaneland group scored a sweepstakes victory at the Heritage Festival. The students included those in the concert choir, bella voce, madrigals, concert band, wind ensemble and jazz band.

Kaneland music specialist Bryan Kunstman and band teacher Aaron Puckett said it was a great experience for those involved.

“I think it’s definitely very exciting to see your students recognized for their efforts,” Puckett said. “And it’s exciting to see them react to that recognition in a positive way. We know they work hard. We know they do a great job. It’s nice when other people notice, and it’s nice when they get recognition in those special kind of ways.”

Kunstman said winning the sweepstakes award means Kaneland had the highest overall performing music department of those at the competition. He said there were representatives from 11 states and more than 50 ensembles.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Kunstman said. “There are a lot of very, very fine groups. It says a lot for our students.”

Students participating include Mitch Bateman, James Tockstein, John Briggs, Matt Alfrey, Chris Farrell, Carter Taylor, Spencer Good, Ben Mitchinson, Dean Divizio, Rick Cotton, Blaine Rivas, Alec Kovach, Tucker DeBolt, Ray McGarvey and Brandon Lewkowich.

Also, Zack Gomes, John Purnell, Josh Opp, Anthony Romano, Chris Barker, Alex Gale, Jim Fell, Ryan Koeppen, Sam Kilgore, Mark Dykstra, Chris Overstreet, Alonzo Dominguez, Michael Kinder, Collin Seidelman, Sam Kitz, Alex Turk, Brian Kemp and Creston Saylors.

Also, John Venneri, Garrett Patterson, Jayvon Swain, Austin Doyle, Cameron Carlson, Cory Nordine, Alex Willis, Drew Doyle, Spencer Serwin, Brandon Park, Alex Speckman, Maggie Wallace, Sarah Wolfe, Vanessa Cook, Aislinn Lodwig and Haley Zimmer.

Also, Rachel Keske, Katelyn Blaszynski, Alyssa Faulkner, Mallory Dugan, Erika Carlson, Erin Kettelkamp, Kristin Staub, Emily Grams, Sarah Grams, Morgan Withey, Lauren Rusnok, Kristin Lipinis, Emily Herkes, Amy Burgholzer, Brittany Larsen and Cassandre Stasik.

Also, Catalina Lopez, Carissa Miller, Ashley Castellanos, Nicole Packard, Rachel Miller, Stephanie Maras, Anna Hayman, Mikaela Messik, Hannah Conley, Kaitlyn Nelson, Meghen Nance, Dymond Lesak, Kylee Mosley, Nora Murphy, Kayla Hedgren, Sydney Luse, Jemma Waldrop and Kaitlyn Wendling.

Also, Katie Kenkel, Brianna McElroy, Rachel Urich, Ashley Garcia, Rachel Benson, Shannon Barker, Christie Crews, Emily Laudont, Christina Schrems, Krissy Frohlich and Aaron Steenwyk.

• Al Lagattolla is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at

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