Six inducted to Illinois Music Honor Society

The Coal City Chapter of the Illinois Music Honors Society welcomed six new members at its Third Annual Induction Ceremony on Tuesday, April 18. 

Illinois Music Honor Society is for Illinois music students in middle and/or high school who are dedicated to their school music program and wish to create and participate in extended opportunities for leadership, service, enrichment, and connection with other student musicians.

The 2024 inductees into the Music Honor Society were Mackenzie Brown and Bradley Burla, class of 2024; Vince Mugnolo, class of 2025; Grace Heatherwick, class of 2026; Brady Pierson, class of 2028, and Jonathan Wegner, class of 2029. 

Students in the local Music Honor Society participate in a variety of music programs at their school including various divisions of Band, Choir and Madrigals. 

Membership requirements for both new and returning members are rigorous and are based on musicianship, leadership, citizenship and scholarship.  Examples of each of these qualities were presented by Music Honor Society officers—Melody Kinder, president; Mackenzie Messina, vice president; Jacob Cimino, secretary, and Rhaina Vanek, treasurer. 

As each new member was introduced they stood and struck the gong, each making the same first sound of music as a new member of the society.

“The sound from the gong resonates outward from the center and we hope that the influence of this distinguished group of students will do the same,” said Hope Connelly, Director of Bands and the state Illinois Music Honor Society Chairperson. 

With the new members inducted, the students heard a message from Dr. Cindy Bennett, retired Coal City School District music instructor.

“This is a milestone on your journey as a musician,” Dr. Bennett said. She spoke to the students about their continued development in the field of music. “You can’t help but be a lifelong learner as a musician, you have to keep learning,” she said. 

In her message she said, “as you are learning, music is about so much more than that end product—the concert or song—it’s about you becoming transformed. Learning music is a tremendous commitment and it involves developing so many skills. You will grow in your personal skills, you will develop a more sophisticated ability, the music made in ensembles, rehearsals and rehearsal space, become egalitarian where  each of you have an equal voice,  each of you is important  and have ideas to contribute to the group.  An egalitarian community is where each person's commitment, contribution and musical voice become intertwined in the 

roles and responsibilities to each other, as well as the ensemble to actually become something that is truly  greater than the sum of its parts.”

Dr. Bennett’s message was directed to all members of the Music Honor Society as the new inductees were joined on stage by the current membership. 

Members of the Music Honor Society  include: 

Class of 2024—Stephen Byers, Jr., Angela O’Connor and Kylee Sheer

Class of 2025—Melody Kinder, Mackenzie Messina and Mason Natyshok

Class of 2026—Isabella Byers, Sawyer Chapman, Jacob Cimino, Abigail Kodat, Martin Ramirez, Olivia Sage and Rhaina Vanek.

Class of 2027—Cora Armstrong, Wyatt Chase, Caroline Childers, Lorelai Erhard and Aubrey Jensen

Class of 2028 —Jaiden Leman, Abi Rose and Grace Sitar

Class of 2029—Owen Burla, Jaycee Chase and Aiden Middleton.

Also taking part in the ceremony were Michael Kren, Director of Choirs and Ann Kodat, Music Instructor and fellow members of the Coal City Music Honor Society Advisory Board.

At the close of the ceremony, the senior members were presented with their honor cords to be worn at graduation.