DeKalb High School alum awarded 2021 Palmer Family Music Education Scholarship

SYCAMORE – Karl Olsen, an alum of DeKalb High School, is the recipient of the 2021 Palmer Family Music Education Scholarship award.

The award is made possible each year through a fund established at the DeKalb County Community Foundation. In total, the Palmer Music Family Scholarship Fund has awarded $33,401 in music education scholarships over the past 13 years.

Olsen is pursuing a career as a music teacher. He began his freshman year at Northern Illinois University this fall.

“As a music educator, I hope to share my passion for music and impact lives,” he said in a news release. “I aim to become a teacher who strongly cares for his students and helps them to succeed. Additionally, throughout college and into my teaching career, I want to continue to grow as a musician. I want to be a life-long learner and teach what I learn to others.”

Olsen grew up in a musical family where most of his siblings played piano, violin, clarinet and flute. He joined the band in middle school as a percussionist and continued on this path into high school. He participated in the DeKalb High School Marching Band, Pep Band, Percussion Ensemble, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Lab, Jazz Ensemble, and Tri-M honors group. He also auditioned for and made it into both the ILMEA Regional Band and ILMEA Regional Jazz Band. Outside of school, he volunteers as a drummer for his church’s worship team.

Dee Palmer, director of the DeKalb Municipal Band since 1948, died in November 2011 at the age of 97. Palmer and his family have contributed to the musical pleasure of thousands of people in DeKalb County for more than 160 years. In 2009, the Palmer Family Music Education Scholarship was set up at the Community Foundation to honor this local music legacy.

Contribute to any fund at the Community Foundation, including the Palmer Family Music Education Fund at, or by mail to the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, IL 60178.