Good News Sunday: St. Charles Singers invites high school choirs to join in song

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories published by the Daily Herald during the previous week:

The St. Charles Singers have filled the Baker United Methodist Church and other venues with wonderful music for nearly four decades. St. Charles Singers founder and music director Jeff Hunt claims, with a hearty laugh, that it took him 40 years to come up with a “great idea” for the choral group’s community interaction.

His idea has resulted in two “Choral Connections” concerts at the end of the month featuring six area high school choirs and the Singers.

“I’m really excited about these concerts because they are really pushing the envelope on this idea of connections,” Hunt said. “As an organization, we are really hoping to reach all parts of the community with new audiences and high school students.”

The idea falls into place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, and Saturday, Feb. 24, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles.

For the Feb. 23 concert, Kaneland, Glenbard North and Geneva high school choirs will perform; while Woodstock, St. Charles East and Sycamore choirs will sing Feb. 24.

The choir directors of the six high schools were quick to say yes when Hunt pitched the idea. Those directors are: Bryan Kunstman of Kaneland, Monica Bertrand of St. Charles East, Laura Johnson of Glenbard North, Jessica Palmissano of Geneva, Brian Jozwiak of Woodstock and Drayton Eggleson of Sycamore.

Tickets at $20 are available to the public on the website.

“It is a concert,” Hunt noted. “But it also is more of way to celebrate the music and each other.”

For the full story, click here.

Harper College philosophy instructor Rebecca Scott uses games and play-based methods to engage with students in her classes at Harper. Courtesy of Harper College

Harper College professor Rebecca Scott combines play, philosophy

You might say that it’s all fun and games for Dr. Rebecca Scott. A lifelong fan of board games, the associate professor uses games and play-based learning in her Harper College philosophy courses.

Scott is also a 2023 recipient of the American Philosophical Association’s Prize for Excellence in Philosophy Teaching. She encourages engagement with her students through games and breaks down barriers between educators and learners via the magic circle of play.

Harper College’s Rebecca Scott is a 2023 recipient of the American Philosophical Association’s Prize for Excellence in Philosophy Teaching who encourages engagement with her students through games. Courtesy of Harper College

In Scott’s classes, students may play an argument-mapping game or a role-playing game where the characters are based on philosophers. She uses party games as more than just ice breakers, priming students to enter into a philosophical mindset.

“Play and playfulness is at the heart of who we are as social beings,” said Scott, referencing Dutch historian Johan Huizinga and his works that influenced the idea of the magic circle of play. “When we enter into this magic circle, we suspend the normal rules and it helps us to try out new ways of being. We need students to unlearn or suspend certain ideas and beliefs — question things that they’re not used to questioning. Games offer one way of loosening up assumptions about school: ‘It’s hard’ or ‘I’m not a philosophy person.’”

For the full story, click here.

Barrington’s Anslem sets sights on state swim title

Barrington High School's Rylan Anslem is beaming after the Broncos won the Mid Suburban League conference title last year.

Rylan Anslem is getting ready to make another splash.

After finishing fourth in the state in the 200-yard freestyle and 400 freestyle as a junior at Barrington last year, he's focused on winning titles at the IHSA meet in late February.

“Real bad,” Anslem said when asked how much he wants to be a state champ. “We've got the start of our championship season coming up here, so we'll see how that goes, and hopefully I'll be really close to where I want to be. That's what we've been working for.”

Anslem, who will continue swimming at Penn State, has a work ethic that borders on unbelievable.

In addition to swimming for the Broncos' varsity, Anslem competes year-round with the Barrington Swim Club and was the Illinois Swimming open water male athlete of the year in 2021-22.

Oh yeah, he's also on Barrington’s water polo team.

“I get tired,” Anslem said with a laugh. “But I'm able to survive, and that helps motivate me.”

The Broncos will try defending their Mid-Suburban League title on Feb. 10. From there, it's sectionals at Stevenson High School and on to the state meet at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont.

For the full story, click here.

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