Kirk Hickman is excited to have joined the faculty of Naperville North High School in the fall of 2016. This appointment follows his time teaching at Lincoln-Way North High School music department in Frankfort, Illinois when the school opened in 2008, until it closed in 2016; an appointment that followed a six-year tenure as Director of Bands at Johnsburg High School in Johnsburg, IL. For two season he taught marching percussion with the Capital Sound Drum and Bugle Corps in 2002-2003. He was also the director of the McHenry Community College Percussion Ensemble.
Under his direction, recognitions for the Lincoln-Way North include: six consecutive Jazz in the Meadows Division I ratings, Essentially Ellington Regional Performer, and consistent Division I recipient at Midwest jazz festivals. They have received 3rd place in class AA in Jazz in the Meadows 2012, and Grand Champion at the Chicago Area Jazz Festival 2012-14 as well as Grand Champion at the ISU Jazz Festival 2015. The Marching Band at Lincoln-Way North is the 7 time Illinois State Class 4A Champions, a two time Bands of America Class 3A Regional Champion and six time BOA Regional Finalist. The percussion ensembles at Lincoln-Way North performed for the 2012 ILMEA Convention, and jazz ensemble for the 2015 ILMEA Convention. The Pep-band was selected as the IHSA Class 1A & 2A Boy’s Basketball Official Pep-Band in March 2015.
Individuals form the program are awarded outstanding recognitions frequently including outstanding soloist honors, US Army All-American Marching Band, BOA Honor Jazz Band of America, BOA Honor Orchestra of America, BOA Honor Band Rose Parade, National Youth Orchestra of the United States, Grammy Band, and a Finalist in the Marine Band Concerto Competition.
As an active clinician and adjudicator, Mr. Hickman judges music events in the areas of percussion, jazz, marching band, and concert band. He additionally has served two years as ILMEA District 7 Band Representative, two years as ILMEA District 1 Jazz Representative and twice as an Illinois Music Educator’s Association District 7 Jazz Ensemble reading band director.
As a published composer, Mr. Hickman writes music in multiple genres most actively for marching percussion and percussion ensemble. He has taught percussion for 14 years at the Birch Creek Summer Music Camp in Egg Harbor, WI.
Mr. Hickman was published in The Instrumentalist April 2018. His article The New Job To Do List started as the notes and steps he came up with upon his appointment at Naperville North HS, and expanded to include more detailed help for directors starting at a new job.
As a performer Mr. Hickman performs as a freelance percussionist regularly performing on drumset, mallet percussion, steelpan and tabla. Mr. Hickman appeared on the Sage4 CD Lightning Strikes on tabla, and performed at the 2000 World Steelpan festival in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Academically, Mr. Hickman attended Northern Illinois University for his undergraduate degree in Music Education and the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago for his Master’s Degree in Music Education. In the summer of 2013 Kirk attended the Jazz at Lincoln Center Band Director Academy.
Kirk and his wonderful wife Samantha welcomed their first child Alya Ellyngton Hickman into the world in April 2015. He enjoys exercise, travel, attending concerts, reading, cherished time with his new family and continued lifelong support of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Born and raised in Metamora, Illinois, I received a B.A. in Music Education from Western Illinois University, where I studied under Dale Hopper, Jon Dugle, Dennis Johnson, Roland Vamos, and William DeJong. While there, I was Principal Trumpet in pretty much everything, Drum Major for the Marching Band, and Drill Designer for several shows (a passion I developed in high school). At that time, I was also teaching private trumpet lessons for Galesburg High School, a member of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony, and Soprano Bugle Soloist for the Geneseo Knights Drum and Bugle Corps. Upon "aging out", I was immediately named Brass Caption Head, a position I remained in for a several seasons, writing drill and arranging much of the music along the way.
After student teaching under Greg Bimm at Marian Catholic High School, my public school teaching career began in Milledgeville, Illinois, teaching 5-12 band in a K-12 building, and even directing some of the musical drama productions. That was followed by four years at Watseka High School, ending in a Class 2A State Marching Band Championship. During this time, I got married (to Kay, an outstanding elementary band director. We now have two grown daughters, also in education). I performed regularly with the Bensenville Wind Ensemble, the R.A. Brass Quintet, the Kankakee Municipal Band, the Kankakee Valley Theatre Pit Orchestra, and the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra (Principal Trumpet and featured soloist). Moving back to the Peoria area, I was Director of Bands at Limestone Community High School, garnering another State Marching Band Championship along the way. While in the area, I performed regularly with the Peoria Symphony, the Millennium Big Band, the Peoria Municipal Band (featured soloist), and the Prairie Wind Ensemble (featured soloist), doing a good deal of church and wedding gigs as well.
It was during those early teaching years that I established myself as a freelance drill-writer, designing perennial State Championship shows for Monticello High School, Herscher High School, United Township High School, and Normal Community Community High School. Other high school programs I've designed for include Lockport Community High School, Pontiac High School, Prairie Central High School, and Champlin Park High School. Currently, I am designing complete programs (drill and music) for Geneseo High School and Oak Park/River Forest High School.
After eleven highly successful years teaching downstate, I took some time off to earn a Masters Degree in Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern University, studying under Don Owens, Antonio Garcia, Michael Kocour, Rodney Dorsey, and Mallory Thompson. There, I was Drill Designer for the Northwestern University Marching Band (They're still using the pregame drill I wrote for them in 1998), and was Director of the University Jazz Band performing several of my arrangements. I performed as Lead Trumpet in the University Jazz Ensemble, the Contemporary Music Ensemble, and the legendary Waa Mu Show (in which I also arranged for the pit orchestra). I also established great relationships with mentors and colleagues Ruben Alvarez, Joel Spencer, Marlene Rosenberg, Greg Fishman, Mitch Paliga, and Mike Staron (conducting one of Mike's pieces with John Adams in the audience!)
Following Northwestern, I came to Naperville North High School, where I've been for nearly two decades. Under my direction, the NNHS Marching Band earned twelve Finalist appearances at the State of Illinois Marching Championships and six Finalist spots at various Bands of America Regionals and Super-Regionals. The Symphonic Wind Ensemble has twice performed as a feature group at the Illinois Music Educators Conference, three times at the Music for All National Festival, and three times at the Illinois Superstate Band Festival (AAAA Honor Band in 2016). The Jazz Ensemble has also been featured twice at the IMEC, and has earned appearances at the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival, The Monterey Generation Next Festival, and the Midwest Clinic. Guest artists/clinicians have included Wycliffe Gordon, Wayne Bergeron, Rich Moore, Bob Lark, Mike Vax, and Ron Carter.
During my time in Naperville, I have performed with the Wheaton Municipal Band, the Naperville Municipal Band (Principal Trumpet and often featured soloist and conductor), and am currently a member of and arranger for the Pete Ellman Big Band, along with a steady diet of church, weddings, and other freelance gigs. I've been invited to clinic dozens of bands around the state, as well as at district and state conferences. I've also penned several articles for music education journals, and am putting a new full-band method book through trials with my own band and others. I've adjudicated many marching contests, jazz festivals, and concert festivals, and am taking on more and more custom arranging work for many mediums. My catalog of published works is ever-growing, and I have a huge backlog of pieces I'm graduallly getting "cleaned-up" for eventual publication. I'm slated to "retire" in 2019 from public school teaching, at which time I plan to devote myself full-time to all my now avocational endeavors.