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JTHS Orchestras

     Welcome to the Joliet Township High School Orchestra page.  Here, you will find some important information about our program, and we hope that you will come back often to visit this site.

     To begin with, we just want to introduce you to our orchestras.  The Websters Dictionary defines orchestra as a group of musicians playing at a concert, an opera, or a play.  An orchestra is usually distinguished from a band by the use of violins, violas, cellos, and string basses.  Whereas, the parents of the musicians of JTHS District 204 define the orchestra as 165  hard working and dedicated musicians playing violins, violas, cellos, and basses!

     Joliet Township High Schools have three distinct orchestras; the JTHS Strings, the Philharmonia (an advanced chamber ensemble), and the Symphony Orchestra (an ensemble meeting outside the school day which includes woodwinds, brass, and percussion players from both Central and West campuses).  Each orchestra performs at various times and locations throughout the year.   The one common thread connecting our three orchestra groups .....our musicians, their excellent performances, and their dedication.



     Records show evidence of a student orchestra as early as 1905. The ’05 picture appears in the 1951 golden anniversary yearbook. It is also said that a high school orchestra performed at the dedication ceremonies in 1901 thereby giving the orchestra the proud distinction of being the oldest organization at JTHS. However, there is not much written documentation about this first orchestra. Mr. Hiram A. Converse began his direction of the JTHS Orchestra in 1914. Fifteen musicians made up the organization: eight violins, two cornets, a flute, a clarinet, drums, a piano, and a string bass player. Rehearsals were held three times per week in a variety of locations including the “old” auditorium (which is now the present band/orchestra room,) classroom 229, the school’s greenhouse or St. John’s Lutheran Church (the former Little Theater.)

     We started this celebratory year with our current orchestra students, parents/guardians and our Administration; Dr. Cheryl McCarthy-Superintendent, Dr. Teresa Gibson-West Principal, and Mr. Shad Hallihan-Central Principal with a 110 Year Kickoff in the Joliet West Auditorium. We unveiled the 110 year t-shirt, presented them to Mr. Lipari, Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Gibson & Mr. Hallihan and Mr. Lipari opened and presented our first commissioned piece written by Richard Meyer, composer of Incantations. The title of the piece is Stone and Steel and will be played at a future concert.


     There are many time-management challenges for our musicians during their days; time for school, homework, practice, concerts and well-deserved free time.   Then you throw in preparing to audition for ILMEA (Illinois Music Educators Associations) and working on music for Solo and Ensemble Competitions and the preparation of specific music pieces for other competitions and auditions and you find some very busy and dedicated students.  Somehow they find the time to do all of this and to do it all with talent and integrity.

     If you look around the community you may see some of our musicians. Here are just a couple locations you may find them; at their various churches as accompanists, at McDonald's restaurants holding fund raising nights, in the pit accompanying the school musical, accompanying the choir for their performances, as part of the marching band in the color guard, singing in the school choir, on the tennis team, swimming team and many other school and outside functions.



October 22, 2015. Fall Showcase Concert. Joliet West High School Auditorium. 7pm

October 23, 2015. Orchestra Festival Day. Joliet West High School Field House. 6pm

October 31, November 1 & 2, 2015. Musical. Joliet Central High School Auditorium. 7:00pm & 3pm

November 21, 2015. ILMEA Festival @ Lincoln-Way Central for invited students only

December 6, 2015. Sounds of the Season. Joliet Central High School Auditorium. 3pm

January 27, 2016. Winter Concert. Joliet Central High School Auditorium. 7pm

March 17, 2016. Spring Chamber Concert. Joliet Central High School. 7pm

April 14, 15, 16, 2016. Musical. Joliet West High School Auditorium. 7:00pm & 3pm

April 28, 2016. Spring Concert. Joliet West High School Auditorium. 7pm


Questions?   Please don’t hesitate to contact me:
Peter Lipari, Director of Orchestras, JTHS



     If you are a parent/guardian of an orchestra student you are a  member of the Orchestra Parents Association (OPA).  We do not collect any yearly dues, but we would not turn down any offer of assistance for concerts, fund raisers, raffles, or the annual banquet.  The goal, like any parent organization is to raise money through various ventures and provide assistance for all musicians and the program; sounds simple but we do need help from everyone.


     Fund raising is something we do all year.   The hope is that everyone becomes involved with the various fund raising projects.  After all, the funds raised are for the benefit of all students in the orchestra.    


     Every two years, it is the intention of the orchestra to tour.  Since Mr. Lipari came to JTHS in 2007, the orchestra has toured New York City, Dallas Texas, Boston Massachusetts and last year they traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, then to Nashville and Memphis Tennessee! The plan for 2017 is currently pending.



     We are currently in the process of creating the Orchestra Alumni.  To join the growing list of members, please contact Lynne Lichtenauer, JTHS Director of Alumni Relations at (815) 727-6763 or by email: llichtenauer@jths.org . If you are not an orchestra alum, but know of family members, friends or classmates who have been members, please also have them contact the alumni relations office. 

     Please go directly to the newly-created Joliet Township High School Orchestra Alumni Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JTHSOrchestra?ref=hl.

     We would like you to leave us comments and feedback about what you would like to see transpire as the alumni orchestra becomes a reality. The sky really is the limit as we rally together. In the future, we can foresee an alumni board and scholarships established along with presenting exciting alumni orchestra concerts. With your help, we can make the JTHS Alumni Orchestra a resounding success!







      Mr. Lipari received his bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana, IL, Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and Certificate of Music from the University Of London, Royal Holloway & Bedford New College, Egham, Surrey, UK.  Lipari has been guest conductor with the New Philharmonic, Lake Shore Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Musical College, L'Opera Piccola, City of Southhampton Orchestra, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Worthing Symphony Orchestra, Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra, Sioux City Orchestra, Eugene Opera, Light Opera Works, Ohio Light Opera, Grant Park Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Spoleto Festival, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theatre, and Laboratorio Lirico d'Alessandria.

      Maestro Lipari has founded symphonic choirs for the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra, the Wheaton Symphony Orchestra and the West Suburban Symphony Orchestras.  He also founded a chamber orchestra and a summer festival orchestra to complement the West Suburban Symphony.  Since 2001 Mr Lipari has led the West Suburban Symphony to regional prominience and in the summer of 2003, took the orchestra to England for a concert tour, which included a July 4th performance in central London entitled Last Night of the Proms - Chicago Style.  In August of 2010, Mr. Lipari lead the West Suburban Symphony Festival Orchestra on another celebrated tour to Breckenridge, Colorado.

      Monday through Friday you can find Mr. Lipari at Joliet West and Joliet Central campuses teaching our musicians and preparing them for upcoming competitions.  Mr. Lipari is the conductor of the JTHS Strings, Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia.  


opa Board 2014-15

Mrs. Sandra Becker
9 S Raynor Ave, Joliet, IL 60436
Cell: (815)690-4716
Main: (815)730-6891
Vice President-Central:



Vice President-West:



Mrs.Gina Maske
Cell: 815-735-9782
Home: 815-744-5106
Sharon Miller
116 Hillsdale Road
Joliet, IL 60433
Home 815-726-7714 
Cell 815-341-2262
Uniform Chair:
Mrs. Melody Bautista
1111 Kelly Avenue, Joliet, IL 60435
Cell: (815)263-9664
Main: (815)722-1675

Concert Chair:
LeAnn Turner
902 Kelly Ave
Joliet, IL 60435
Cell: 815-630-0317
Publicity Liaison:


Co-Fundraiser Chair


Co-Fundraiser Chair
Lisa Scarcelli
117 Inwood Drive
Joliet, IL
Main: (815) 744-8287
Cell: (815) 260-2516

Joliet Township High School District 204
300 Caterpillar Drive, Joliet, Illinois, 60436|Get Directions
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