History & Community

The Arlington Heights community has supported the John Hersey High School Bands for the entirety of the program’s existence, beginning with director Mr. Don Caneva in 1968. The John Hersey Band program has received countless awards and accolades throughout a colorful history, including performances, under Mr. Caneva’s direction, at the MidWest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, the Mid-East Convention, the Rose Bowl Parade and the Orange Bowl Parade. Under Mr. Casagrande’s direction, the John Hersey Symphonic Band has been accepted to perform at the Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festival every year since 2001, including the achievement of “Honor Band” in 2008 and 2012 and they have also performed at the 2004 and 2007 National Concert Band Festival. In 2007-2008, the Hersey band program received international acclaim in their performance at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic and they received the Sudler Flag of Honor given to bands of “particular national excellence” by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. The John Hersey Instrumental Association, in conjunction with Quinlan and Fabish Music Company and Music For All/Bands of America, are proud sponsors of the Chicagoland Invitational Concert Band Festival begun in 2000. This noncompetitive festival hosts outstanding music educators representing many areas of the United States who evaluate the finest bands in the state of Illinois.


Students in the John Hersey High School Band Program participate in the Symphonic Band and Concert Band for credit and meet every day. All students form the Marching Huskie Band in the fall. Various small ensembles meet regularly from November through May. The Jazz Program features two Jazz Ensembles and 2 Jazz Combos that meet regularly throughout the year. The JHHS Jazz Ensemble I has performed at the MidWest International Band and Orchestra Convention, the Chicago Jazz Festival and they have been Grand Champion at Jazz in the Meadows and the Purdue Jazz Festivals (90+ bands) several times in the last 10 years. The Marching Huskies have placed at the top of all competitions entered including being named the 2006 Marching Illini Festival Field Show Grand Champion (40+ bands), 2008 Parade Champion and 2009 Governor’s Cup winner and a Finalist the last two years in the State of Illinois Marching Championships. The Fall and Winter Color Guards rehearse throughout the year and are extremely active.

In the Symphonic Band, students are active in the Illinois Music Educators Association District and All-State Festivals. Students actively participate in various instrumental honors ensemble festivals throughout the state.

MacArthur Junior High, under the direction of Sam Simpson, River Trails Middle School, under the direction of Todd Smith and Thomas Middle School, under the direction of Candi Horton and Dana Berry, as well as several area parochial schools, annually send students to the John Hersey Band Program.