Celebrating the Arts

Lutheran Schools Fine Arts Festival

Dear Participating Schools,

On Friday, April 28, 2023, Grace Lutheran Church and School, 7300 Division St. in River Forest, is hosting a Lutheran Schools Fine Arts Festival. Students in 5-8 Choir, Orchestra, Band and Handbell members will perform for judges who will critique their performance. The festival is an outstanding opportunity for students to receive positive feedback and guidance from experienced judges and directors, encouraging them to become more accomplished musicians. Students spend the day supporting and interacting with their classmates and rehearsing alongside students from other schools to prepare selections for the evening concert.


9:00 AM                              Opening devotions at Grace

9:30-10:15 AM                   Mass choir rehearsal/Solo and ensemble

10:20-11:05 AM                 Mass band and Orchestra rehearsal/Solo and ensemble

11:10-11:55 AM                  Mass bell rehearsal/Solo and ensemble

12:00-12:30 PM                 Lunch

12:35-2:15 PM                    Solo and ensemble performances

2:30-3:25 PM                     Mass choir rehearsal/Solo and ensemble

3:30-4:25 PM                     Mass band rehearsal/Solo and ensemble

4:30-5:25 PM                     Mass bell rehearsal/Solo and ensemble

5:45-6:30 PM                     Pizza dinner

7:00-8:15 PM                      Concert. Parents are encouraged to attend!

Students need to be picked up by parents after the concert.

Mass Events

Students may participate in two Mass Ensembles. There are four: choir, band, orchestra, and hand bells. Music selections will be sent. Each school is expected to order their own music and bring it to the festival. In the event that the music is out of print, we will provide it for you. Schools are expected to have prepared the music so that they may join the mass groups successfully. For instance, if a student is in handbell choir and in band, they can do both. Or, if they are in choir and strings, they can do both. We have professional musicians who will be leading each Mass Ensemble. Choir: Laura Pinto of Pro Musica, Band: Dr. Jeff Doebler of Valparaiso University, Orchestra: Betty Lewis, Concertmistress of Bach Cantata Vespers Orchestra, and Bells: Lisa Wolfanger, Former Bell Director at Grace.

Judged Events

In addition to performing with the school ensembles, students are strongly encouraged to prepare a solo or small ensemble performance. Ensembles should be no more than 4 students. Students have much to share at the festival and a great deal to gain from the performing experience and the feedback they receive from the judges. Students can perform solos in these categories: piano, strings, voice, wind instruments and percussion. All entries should be finalized by Friday, March 17 and sent to Johanna Johnson. You may send a typed list this year.

Your school may also have your own ensemble adjudicated in all categories (ex: school choir, handbell choir). Please let us know on your list as well.

You must bring your own accompanist for any ensembles or solos.

Teachers with a handbell choir should come April 27, Thursday evening, to set up. We will provide tables. Please bring your own foam, covers, bells, and any equipment.

Art Entries

Art entries must be submitted and in the building at Grace no later than April 21. Entries will be judged, and the results posted on April 28. Mrs. Trixy Zielke from Timothy Christian Academy will be judging this year. Each entry should be clearly labeled with student’s name, teacher, and school. Each entry is $10. 2D and 3D entries are welcome. Further questions should be emailed to Natalie Johnson at njohnson@graceriverforest.org.


Parents and other family members are welcome at the judging sessions, mass rehearsals, and the evening concert. Each school needs to provide chaperones. We recommend one per every 10 students.

Sheet Music Guidelines

Students must provide a legal copy of their music for the judge when they arrive in their assigned room for their performance. They may not use a copy unless there is proof that it is an authorized copy. The first measure of each system must be numbered for the adjudicator. Students without music for the adjudicator will not be allowed to perform.

Piano Guidelines

All piano entries should be memorized. Choice of musical selection is left to the discretion of the performer and instructor. No student composed pieces are allowed. A legal copy of the selection, with the first measure of each system numbered, must be given to the adjudicator at the time of the student’s performance or the student will not be allowed to play.


Students will need to bring their own lunch. Drinks and snacks are available for purchase throughout the day. A pizza dinner will be provided before the concert.

Area to store belongings

Each school will be given a designated classroom to store belongings. They will be locked and a Grace teacher will be available to let you in as needed.


For students participating in small ensembles or performing a solo the cost for the festival is $25. For students involved in the mass/school ensembles only the fee is $20. Please send payment along with your list of solos, ensembles and large ensembles by Friday, March 17. Checks may be made payable to Grace Lutheran School – memo FAF.

Behavioral Expectations

We expect that students will stay focused and do their best during all rehearsals and performances. We expect that students will be appreciative and encouraging of other ensembles’ and soloists’ performances. We expect that students will be polite and courteous to everyone they encounter throughout the day. Students may bring a game, do homework, or watch the mass ensembles rehearse. There will be a designated area that students can relax with supervision.

Dress Code

Boys are to wear a white collared shirt and dress pants or khakis. Girls are to wear a white blouse and dress pants or skirt. Shoes should be comfortable for standing during rehearsals and also suitable for performances. No flip-flops or sandals, please.

Contact Johanna Johnson at jojohnson@graceriverforest.org with any questions you may have.

We look forward to seeing you at the Festival!

Johanna Johnson

Pastor Costello