All posts by Riley Broach

Newsletter (November 2017)

Contest Registration Deadline

December 1st is the deadline to enter for Organization and Solo & Ensemble Contests. Late entries will not be accepted. Be sure to PRINT out your Solo and Ensemble entries from the website so you have a copy. Once you have registered for contest, please print out and return the Contest Fees Sheet and checks or purchase orders to Sara Roediger, NIMCon Treasurer by December 1st.

Solo and Ensemble hosts will be contacting you in mid-January to confirm your entries. Please check them carefully to make sure all your entries are listed. Organization Contest hosts will contact you towards the end of January. Please contact your hosts with any site-related questions.

Registration & Event Pages

Judges Needed

We are always in search of high quality judges for our contests. If you, or someone you know, has experience with Middle School aged students and has exceptional ability in working with them, please contact NIMCon at

Read more about judging for NIMCon at our judges page.

Newsletter (October 2017)

Contest Registration

It’s time to register for contest! Please be sure to read the Rules & Procedures carefully and feel free to email us with questions. Two rules have changed as of this year’s Membership meeting, including changing mallet scale requirements to match winds and strings, as well as the length of Jazz Band Contest changing to 30 minutes.

  • Rules Governing Solo & Ensemble Contest, #14. Melodic soloists will perform a scale in the key of the performed piece. Battery drum soloists will perform rudiments from the required list. Ensembles do not perform scales or rudiments.
  • Rules Governing Organization Contest, #5. Jazz Bands, Choirs, and Swing Choirs will not exceed 30 minutes in the performance area including set up, performance, clinic and clean up .

Once you have registered for contest, please print out and return the Contest Fee Sheet to Sara Roediger, NIMCon Treasurer, by Dec. 1st. Please consider that date when you set your (earlier) deadline for your students to sign up with you for Solo & Ensemble Contest. We will not accept late entries. Be sure to PRINT out your registration from the website so you have a copy, and use that to fill out the payment form. Your form and check (or copy of your check request) are due by Dec. 1st.

2019 Contest Dates

The dates for 2019 contests are as follows:

Host Rotations

View the host rotation schedule for Organization Contest and Solo & Ensemble Contest (scroll down).

Update Your Membership

If you haven’t done so, please take a moment to update your membership information, even if nothing has changed. This will help us to efficiently keep track of our membership.

Fall Membership Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended the Membership meeting on September 18. We are thrilled with the active participation of our membership and appreciate you taking the time to attend and contribute your ideas for making this organization better every year. Click to read the Meeting Minutes.

Newsletter (August 2017)

Join Now!

Membership applications are currently being accepted for the 2017-18 school year. Click here to join and become an active member. Dues are only $75 PER SCHOOL DISTRICT. Dues checks should be mailed to Ellen Singer, NIMCon President by September 15th. It is important that EVERY director register each year to be included in the membership directory. Please fill out the membership form above. We are excited to hear from you!

Membership Meeting

The annual membership meeting will take place on Monday, September 18th at Lake Zurich MS North. Lou Malnati’s pizza dinner will be served at 6:15 PM. Dinner includes, salad, pizza (cheese, spinach, pepperoni, sausage), beverage and dessert. The meeting will start at 7:00 PM. Please click here to RSVP for dinner and/or the meeting. Agenda items will include contest information, budget, by-law updates, and election of Board of Directors.

Bon voyage and help wanted!

We wish Laura Blanchard lots of luck and good wishes as she moves to the east coast, and a new job in NYC. We are looking to fill the vacant Treasurer position. Please contact us if you are interested.

General Information

Please check the website for contest site information as well as the Rules and Procedures for contest and rubrics. A new addition to the website is the contest host rotation information for all contests. We are looking forward to a successful contest season! Please continue to send us your feedback!

Newsletter (March 2017)

Organization Contest

We are looking forward to seeing you at Hawthorn MS North on March 10th and 11th.

Here are a few important notes as you prepare for contest!

  • Remember to have 3 music scores with each measure numbered for the judges.
  • Please check information that was sent regarding maps for bussing, drop-off and parking.
  • Please share maps with parents so they know where to park as well.
  • Please review NIMCon rules with your students so we have a safe and successful weekend.
  • Please remind parents, families and friends that everyone is welcome to come hear any of the performance ensembles. There is a $1 admission fee for non-performers (but not bus drivers or chaperones).

Solo and Ensemble Contest Survey

Thank you to our amazing hosts Riley Broach, Marie Lemke, and Steve Stenzel for providing a well-organized and welcoming contest site. Please use this link to take the Solo and Ensemble contest survey:

Honors Invitational

The Honors Invitational will take place on Friday, April 28th at Deer Path MS. All Organizations receiving a Division I rating at Organization Contest are eligible to attend. Please use the link provided at contest to register your group by March 24th and submit your check request ASAP using the printable invoice. We are excited to offer this contest and look forward to your participation! Thank you to Corey Ames, Gina DeGregorio, Ben Gray, Diane Rener and Sarah Truding for hosting!

Contest Dates for 2018

Please mark your calendars! These dates are tentative, and as soon as hosts are confirmed, we will send out the official dates. Thank you to those directors who have stepped up to host. Your time and effort is greatly appreciated! We could still use one site for Organization that can have two performances areas. If you can help, please contact us!

  • Solo and Ensemble Contest @ Big Hollow February 24 (Confirmed)
  • Organization Contest @ March 9/10
  • Jazz Contest @ March 15
  • Honors Festival @ April 20 or April 27

Board of Directors Meeting

The Board of Directors is meeting in May. We will be discussing ideas for next year, and reviewing your comments from the Contest surveys. If you have any other comments that you would like us to discuss at our meeting, please let us know by April 3rd. These ideas will help generate an agenda for the general Membership meeting in September.


Newsletter (February 2017)

Solo & Ensemble Contest

Solo & Ensemble Contest is just around the corner! All around Northern Illinois students are working hard toward perfecting their music. What an awesome thing to contemplate. Music making is happening everywhere!

Contest is on February 25 at Lake Zurich Middle School North. Thank you to LZMS-North directors for their hard work in hosting contest this year.

For specific rubrics, see Solo & Ensemble Contest Rubrics.

Below are a handful of reminders about the big day.

Edited (1/31/17) – The Rough Draft Schedule has been sent via email.

Remember to Practice Your Scales / Rudiments!

As a membership, we value the idea that instrumental soloists need to learn the scale that makes up their piece. The rubric for soloists includes a score of 1-3 points for the student’s performance of a scale. As a friendly reminder, be sure you are preparing students to perform a scale that makes sense for their piece. Here are the details for each instrument type:

Winds & Strings will play a scale in the key of the solo being played. The scale should be up and down and at least one octave. Tempo and note length are at the soloist’s discretion. Beginning students may play the scale in split octaves, that is, a beginning clarinet player may play CDEFGA (drop the octave) BCB (back up the octave AGFEDC. Similar accommodations may be made for other instruments.

Percussionists (mallet players) will play a scale from the Scales for Mallet Players sheet.

Percussionists (snare drum) will play snare drum rudiments. Students should prepare all designated rudiments based on their years of experience.

Percussionists (drum set) will play drum set patterns. Students should prepare all designated patterns based on their years of experience.

Instrumental Ensembles & Vocal Performers do not need to play / sing scales.

S&E includes Short Clinics

Performance time slots allow for a short clinic where the judge can work with the student. Please, prepare your students so they expect a short clinic where the judge may ask them to play various sections again as well as try different things.

Organization & Jazz Contests

March contests will be here before we know it. Thank you to the directors at Hawthorn MS  North in Vernon Hills for hosting Organization Contest (Mar 10-11) and West Oak MS in Mundelein for hosting Jazz Contest (Mar 14).

Stay tuned for more information.

For specific rubrics, see Organization Contest Rubrics.

Organization Contest includes a Short Clinic

Performance time slots allow for a short clinic where the judge can work with the ensemble. All ensembles should make every effort to enter and perform promptly to maximize their time for the clinic.

Please, prepare your students so they expect a short clinic where the judge may ask them to play various sections again as well as try different things.

Contest Rules & Procedures

As always, you can view the Contest Rules & Procedures at any time.

Newsletter (December 2016)

Grant Writing Survey

Hello Fellow NIMCon members!

As we prepare to share our hard work for winter concerts, community venues, and contest season…  we ask that you share one part of all this hard work with us…yours. After all that is why NIMCon exists, because of you! Please take a moment over the next couple weeks to share “What NIMCON means to you.” Results are anonymous and will be used for grant writing purposes.

Click to take the survey

Thank you for all you do every day to bring the music experience into the lives of children, friends, and families. If you have questions or comments, please contact Laura Blanchard at:

Contest Registration Closed

Thank you for registering for contest! Expect to hear from your contest host in mid to late January with preliminary scheduling information.

We are in the news!

Photos by Claire Esker / 22nd Century Media (from
Photos by Claire Esker / 22nd Century Media (from

We are in the news! Read the article written by Olivia Polony from The Lake Forest Leader.

Update (3/7): Thanks to Jen for scanning whole article!

“Anna Schilling, a LFCDS eighth graders and flutist, described the feeling prior to performing as a potent mixture of nerves and excitement.”

“Although the students are being critiqued by judges, Jen Lydigsen, the band director at LFCDS and a member of the [NIMCon] Executive Committee, said the main goal was to give students positive feedback and help them improve rather than judge them.”

“We were surprised to find that the judge used every bit of her time for us instead of taking a drink of coffee or taking notes… [s]he offered lots of help to Anton for his future performances.”

Solo & Ensemble Contest Success!!!

Congratulations to all of the student performers and their teachers on a terrific day at Solo & Ensemble Contest! We received a lot of positive feedback about the student friendly format with longer performance times and the mini clinics. Twenty-one schools participated with nearly 1000 events taking place over the course of the day.

Many thanks to Lake Forest Country Day School for their hard work in hosting – it was great!

Directors, please take a moment to fill out the survey at

Now it’s time to get geared up for Organization & Jazz Contests.

Welcome to

Welcome to, the online home of the Northern Illinois Music Conference. At you should find all that you ever need to know about the organization. This site acts as a single source for all of your needs in participating in NIMCon.

Read more about NIMCon on our “About” page.