Welcome to the J-L Band News!

Lewiston Memorial Day Parade with the Cardinal Marching Band PHOTOS 5/27/17

J-L All Bands Spring Concert PHOTOS 5/17/17

Honoring our Veterans

Claire Huber and Anika Kierczynski named Michigan Youth Arts Festival Distinguished Scholars
The Michigan Youth Arts Festival features outstanding high school artists, May 18-20 at Western Michigan University. Claire Huber (clarinet) and Anika Kierczynski (tuba) have been chosen to perform in the MSBOA HS State Honors Band at the Youth Arts Festival on May 20. Chosen from a pool of more than 250,000 fine art students from across the state, Anika and Claire were selected via a rigorous adjudication process at State Solo & Ensemble. Both J-L band seniors scored extremely high on their Proficiency 3 solo performances. “This is a huge accomplishment for our girls. They have proven they are the best of the best on the state of Michigan. Looking at the list of students chosen for this prestigious ensemble, only 5-6 HS musicians are from schools north of Saginaw and 2 are from J-L! We are all very proud of Claire and Anika’s hard work and dedication.”, Director Kathy Nieman comments. 2017 marks the 55th anniversary of this three day event, featuring workshops and master classes for students, alongside more than 20 student performances and exhibitions that are open to the public.

H.S. District and State Solo & Ensemble

Forty-six high school band members from JLHS performed at District Solo & Ensemble festival at Mancelona High School on Saturday, February 11.  51 events of soloists or ensembles (duet, trio, etc.) from J-L performed before a judge and small audience.  29 of our events received First Division Ratings (A/A- overall) and moved on to perform at the State level!!  17 of the J-L events received Second Division Ratings (which is a “B+/B overall), playing well also and making our program equally proud!  All musicians that participated did a super job and have continued to improve our level of talent, by improving themselves as individual performers.

State Solo & Ensemble was held at Manistee High School on March 18.  26 JLHS musicians performed in 25 different events. Eighteen of the performing events received 1st Division Ratings at the State level!! Congrats to the following students for excellent performances at the state festival: (Pictured Left-Right) Front: Lena Donajkowski, Makayla Kwapis, Sarah Morey, Kaitlyn Campbell, Kathryn Kinsey, Amelia Lawrence, Vince Hummel Middle:Caleigh Madej, Nadia Greania, Mikayla Tranchida, Cara Larson, Dinah Brown, Kamryn Kennedy, Tyre Curtis, Jacob McDowell Back:Anika Kierczynski, Art Cady, Gabe Law, Nathan Lawrence, Aaron Latuszek, Max Roberts, Holly Kussrow, Taylor Peterson, Hannah Collins, Nathan Idalski      Not Pictured: Claire Huber

Congratulations to the following band members for auditioning and being accepted into the MSBOA District 2 Northern Michigan Honor Band: Mikayla Tranchida, Nadia Greania, Samantha Hipsher, Lena Donajkowski, Claire Huber, Cara Larson, Taylor Peterson, Hannah Collins, Michelle Griffith, Art Cady, Anika Kierczynski, Bailey Bennett, Max Roberts, and Dominic Cassisi.  Special congrats to Claire Huber and Dominic Cassisi for their 1st chair placement in this prestigious group.  The Honor Band performed in Petoskey on Sunday, Dec. 4 after a full weekend of rehearsals. 
The concert was amazing! Way to go Band!!

High School Band Festival Performance
High School District Band Festival was Saturday, March 4 at ELK RAPIDS HS.  The JLHS Band performed three pieces of challenging music on stage for 3 adjudicators. Each adjudicator gave the band all A/A-’s in all categories judged. After the band performed on stage, they continued their Festival performance by sight reading a piece of music never rehearsed ahead of time.  The sight reading adjudicator gave the HS Band straight A+ grades on all categories judged!! Director Kathy Nieman is extremely proud of these amazing musicians, “I gave the band difficult music to take to Festival. I am allowed to choose music that is listed for Class C/D high schools but challenged them with music performed by really good Class A/B schools. We have a tradition of excellence, and this band has kept the tradition alive.”  Congratulations to the J-L HS Band on their straight 1st Division ratings at District Band Festival.


7-8th Grade Band
J-L Middle School musicians have also been working hard and making excellent music! After many rehearsals and lots of home practicing, the 7-8th grade musicians were very disappointed to have their District Festival date get “frozen” out.  The weather was so bad, school was cancelled early and the band was not able to attend festival this year.  These musicians did perform at a Solo and Ensemble Recital held on March 21.  Each student performed for a large audience in duets, trios, quartets, etc.  Many 8th grade musicians also performed solos with a piano accompanist.  Parents and audience members wrote many super comments to the musicians on a performance “well-done”. Congratulations to all J-L 7-8th grade musicians on an excellent recital!!

Home of the famous J-L Band Program!

WOW!!  What an incredible first performance at the Christmas Concert by our 6th graders! 
Many audience members were SHOCKED that a beginning band could sound soooooooo GOOD.
Congrats to all students for a job well done.  The 6th Grade band is now setting goals to complete the beginning book by April. 
Students must PRACTICE lots to meet this goal.  As we get deeper into the book, the book gets harder. 
Parents please remind students to practice at home every day possible and to turn in PRACTICE SHEETS.  
 Students will fall behind this goal if they only play at school.
Sixth Grade band’s next performance will be the Spring Concert scheduled for May 17.

J-L Band Boosters

J-L Band Schedule


J-L Marching Band District II Marching Band Expo - Traverse City Photos 10/10/16

Veteran's Appreciation Game
J-L vs. Gaylord St. Mary's Featuring the Cardinal Marching Band PHOTOS 10/7/16

Homecoming J-L vs. Inland Lakes Featuring the Cardinal Marching PHOTOS 9/30/16

Varsity Football vs. Central Lake Featuring the Cardinal Marching Band PHOTOS 9/16/16

Varsity Football vs. Mancelona Featuring the Cardinal Marching Band PHOTOS 8/26/16


J-L Band Members and Mrs. Nieman would love to see you at any performances this year. 
All concerts continue to be free to parents and community members. 
If you need to contact Mrs. Nieman or would like to help the J-L Band Program or Boosters
in any way, please call the band office at 732-1773  x.226.



Let's Hear it for the Band!

J-L Marching Band 2015 Sectional Pictures

Johannesburg-Lewiston All Bands Christmas Concert PHOTOS 12/9/15

CLICK HERE TO view the
J-L 7th & 8th Grade Band HALLOWEEN CONCERT 2015

J-L Middle School Halloween Concert Photos

Photo Courtesy of Kb Holt Photography

Click Here for Band Booster News

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J-L High School & Middle School Pre-Festival Band Concert 2/8/15 PHOTOS


Congratulations J-L Solo & Ensemble Perfomers!



Click Here to join the J-L Bands & Alumni Facebook Group


Click Here for Reasons to Join the Band!


Johannesburg-Lewiston All Bands Christmas Concert PHOTOS 12/9/15

J-L Marching Band 2015 Sectional Pictures

HOMECOMING 2015 - Varsity Football vs. Lincoln-Alcona 10/10/15

Varsity Football vs. Detroit Consortium & the Cardinal Marching Band 10/3/15

Varsity Football vs. St. Ignace & the Cardinal Marching Band 9/25/15

Varsity Football vs. Gaylord St. Mary's & the Cardinal Marching Band 9/18/15

J-L All Bands Spring Concert Photos 5/13/15

J-L High School & Middle School Pre-Festival Band Concert 2/8/15

J-L Marching Band Home Football Game 9/12/14

J-L Marching Band Memorial Day Parade PHOTOS 5/25/13

J-L High School & Middle School Pre-Festival Concert 2013 PHOTOS


J-L Cardinal Marching Band PHOTOS 2012-13

J-L All Bands Christmas Concert 2010 PHOTOS

J-L All Bands Christmas Concert 2011 Photos

J-L High School Band Trip to Washington D.C. Photo Album I

J-L High School Band Trip to Washington D.C. Photo Album II

J-L Cardinal Marching Band ~ at Traverse City
Northern Michigan Marching Band Expo District II ~ Photo Album II

J-L Cardinal Marching Band ~ at Traverse City

Northern Michigan Marching Band Expo District II ~ Photo Album I

Musically yours,
Kathy Nieman
High School Band Office 732-1773 ext. 226

The Johannesburg-Lewiston Area Schools Band Program is in need of used
instruments for students who are not able to rent/buy their own.
Participating in Band is a rewarding learning experience,
which teaches not only music but also responsibility and leadership. Instruments needed include:
flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpet/coronets,
French Horns, trombones, baritones, and percussion kits.
If you have a used instrument that you would like to donate, please contact the
J-L Band Office at 989-731-4420 ext. 226 or 989-786-2253 ext. 365

J-L's Nieman voted Band Director of the Year
By Judy Wagley - Gaylord Herald Times

Strike up the band!

Kathy Nieman has been doing just that in the Johannesburg-Lewiston Schools and was recently named Northern Michigan Band Director of the Year by the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) District 2.

Nieman, who has been teaching sixth- through 12th-grade band as well as kindergarten through fifth-grade general music in the J-L schools for 24 years, was surprised by the honor.

“It was a humbling experience,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it.”

Nieman said she was nominated by two different band directors in the MSBOA; three directors in all were nominated. She was voted No. 1 May 6 at an MSBOA meeting in Traverse City. As a district winner, her name will be submitted at the state level and put on a ballot which will be voted on next winter.

Some of the criteria for the award included the number of students enrolled in the band program compared to the size of the school; the number of students who participate in solo and ensemble events; and the number of superior ratings earned at band festivals.

There are more than 700 students enrolled in the J-L schools. Seventy-six are in the high school band and more than 250 are in the band program. 

The school regularly sends 50-60 students to solo and ensemble events, and the middle and high school bands consistently bring home high ratings from every contest they enter.

J-L is also proud to have the most student musicians in the District 2 high school honors band.

Nieman said the band program is getting noticed.

“Our fellow band directors see the success going on here,” Nieman said.

Curt Chrencik, J-L High School principal, believes Nieman’s rapport with her students is a major key to her success.

“Her ability to form relationships with the kids is phenomenal,” he said. “Her expectations are high; she is an extremely hard worker — a perfectionist. She gives 100 percent to the kids, not just to the music. The kids and the staff respect her and love her.”

J-L sophomore Orin Kierczynski, who has been playing trumpet since sixth grade, said he appreciates that Nieman not only directs the band, but teaches the students about music history and different musical genres.

“I like learning about what the different instruments can do,” he said.

Kierczynski said Nieman’s positive spirit keeps him and his fellow band members performing at their best.

“It’s the will to go farther,” he said. “Everybody is like a family here.”

Like Chrencik, Kierczynski said Nieman gives her all to every student.

“She is pretty work-oriented, but she always has time for everyone. You can tell her anything, she’ll do what she can to help you. She works really hard and that keeps her top notch for sure.”

Nieman hails from Lapeer and received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in music education from Central Michigan University and a learning disabilities teaching endorsement from Saginaw Valley State University.

“Teaching is the thing I’ve wanted to do since forever,” she said.

Chrencik said Nieman is a “great person, a great instructor and a down-to-earth teacher.”

“The amazing number of kids in band compared to the size of our school is a tribute to her,” he said. “It shows in the way they perform, the way they handle themselves and the way they represent the school when they go out.”

Nieman said she looks forward to traveling with the J-L band to Washington, D.C., every four years, where the group  attends a concert at the Kennedy Center, takes in a theater production, visits the Smithsonian museums and takes in the sights of our nation’s capital.

She said while she enjoys band festivals, she puts emphasis on the musical performance rather than the ratings.

“I like the experience because it pushes the students to fine tune and put a sparkle on the music,” she said. “My enjoyment comes from watching the kids feel that success.”

Nieman credits the J-L administration, the school board, the staff, parents and student musicians for her award. She said while many band directors work long hours with their students, not all receive such strong support.

“The award is truly for all of us, recognizing the pride everyone has for our bands,” she said.

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Visit other J-L Band links...

J-L Band Schedule of Events


8th Grade BAND HANDBOOK 2016-17

7th Grade BAND HANDBOOK 2016-17

J-L Band Boosters

6th Grade Band Practice Sheets

7th & 8th Grade Band Practice Sheets

Click Here for Reasons to Join the Band!

Updated 6/27/17
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Always feel free to contact Mrs. Nieman with any questions or concerns
at the H.S. Band Office. 989-732-1773 ext. 226
or e-mail Kathy Nieman