Orchestra at Vernon Hills High SchoolVernon Hills High School Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Center 2011

There are three curricular orchestras at Vernon Hills High School with a total of 175 string students.  The orchestras meet separately as daily elective classes.  All freshmen begin in Concert Orchestra, and students advance to Philharmonic Orchestra as sophomores.  Symphony Orchestra is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors by audition and includes woodwinds, brass, and percussion.  The Jazz Strings is an extra-curricular ensemble open to freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. 

The Vernon Hills High School Orchestra program has an established tradition of excellence with performances at the IMEA All-State Conference in Peoria in 2004 and 2013, the MENC National Conference in 2008 and 2012, the Midwest Clinic in 2009, and at Chicago's Symphony Center in 2011 (pictured to the right).  The orchestra has toured internationally to China in 2001, Spain in 2006, Italy in 2008, Austria in 2012, and a return to Spain in 2014.  The orchestra is embarking on a tour of Cuba in 2016.  The VHHS Symphony Orchestra has also been featured on WFMT's "Introductions" program (audio link). 

The Vernon Hills High School Symphony Orchestra has been selected as a performance group for the 2015 Midwest Clinic.

Dana Green
Director of Orchestras

Dana Green graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from DePaul University in 2004 and went on to earn his Masters in Music with a specialization in Music Education from Northern Illinois University. Since graduating, he has logged thousands of hours on the podiums of Naperville North High School, Mill Street and Naper Elementary Schools, and the West Suburban Youth Orchestra. Additionally, Mr. Green has become Suzuki Certified and studied rehearsal techniques at Indiana University under the tutelage of Dr. Cliff Colnot.

At Naperville North Mr. Green grew the program from 46 to 154 students while simultaneously tripling the orchestra programs at both Naper and Mill Street Elementary Schools. Mr. Green created three extra-curricular ensembles at the high school involving over 130 string players. He established a String Quartet in Residence Program funded by the Naperville Education and introduced a yearly benefit concert that successfully raised money for the Edward Heart Hospital and the Swifty Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research. While in his post at Naperville North High School, Mr. Green also launched the District 203 Summer Instrumental Music Festival which involves over 120 instrumentalists in a week of rehearsals and masterclasses and which culminates in an outdoor concert. Under his direction the Naperville North Orchestras have earned first in the string orchestra division in Seattle, San Francisco, Boston and New York. Recently, Naperville North‘s advanced string ensemble Bella Corda was a featured ensemble at the 2016 Illinois Music Educator’s Conference.

Mr. Green’s extra-curricular appointments in Naperville included coaching both boys and girls soccer, directing the pit of multiple musical productions and running North’s mammoth Chamber Music Program.

For 10 years, Mr. Green served as one of the directors of the West Suburban Youth Orchestra. While in that role, he worked with students in grades 4 through 11 on symphonic literature. Mr. Green has also served as a chamber coach for the OPUS Chamber Music Program, where he works with student ensembles on string quartet performance practices. 

Most recently, Mr. Green was brought on to serve as one of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra's new conductors. In his new role with the organization, Mr. Green will serve as the director of the Debut Orchestra.

Haley Nichol
Assistant Director of Orchestras

Haley Nichol has been involved in music from a very young age. She began taking violin and piano lessons at the Betty Haag Academy of Music when she was only a toddler. From then on, she studied the Suzuki Method until she graduated from high school. During her time at the Academy, Haley performed annually at Orchestra Hall with the Magical Strings performing group. When offered the opportunity to choose a third instrument through the band program in elementary school, Haley began playing the saxophone which has since become her primary instrument.

Haley received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where she studied classical saxophone with Dr. Otis Murphy. At Indiana University, she benefited from the instruction of esteemed professors in both the performance and education programs, providing a foundation for further opportunities.

In addition to playing in the traditional wind ensembles at IU, Haley also became extremely involved in extra-curricular performing groups. She was a three year member of the IU Marching Hundred where she received opportunities to perform for the Indianapolis Colts, at Yankee Stadium for the Pinstripe Bowl, and regularly at multiple Big Ten venues. Similarly, Haley also performed in the Big Red Basketball Band for three years in NCAA games and tournaments. Aside from the numerous performance opportunities, Haley was selected as an Undergraduate Staff member for the Marching Hundred where she rehearsed and led band camp rehearsals, daily sectionals, and was a mentor for first year members.

As a student teacher at Bloomington High School North, Haley gained extensive experience with the numerous concert, jazz and marching bands. She led improvisation workshops as well as directed the jazz bands at the Bloomington Jazz Fest. When the top group was selected to perform at the Jazz Education Network Conference in Louisville, Haley was given the opportunity to assist in their performance as well as attend jazz pedagogy courses.  Additionally, she was also on staff for the Cougar Marching Band during their 2015 season when they competed in the state finals. She later accompanied the group to Los Angeles where they were selected to perform in the 2015 Hollywood Christmas Parade.

Haley is ecstatic to be a member of the Vernon Hills Fine Arts Department and feels extremely fortunate to begin her career in such a wonderful musical environment. She will be teaching the Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphonic Band and Concert Band while also directing the brand-new Basketball Pep Band this upcoming winter.