Local News

7 students selected as Mad Hatter Ball honorees

NCI ARTworks will host fifth annual Mad Hatter Ball on Nov. 19

Student honorees representing La Salle, Bureau and Putnam counties will perform and present their work at the North Central Illinois ARTworks fifth annual Mad Hatter Ball from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19 at the Auditorium Ballroom in La Salle.

This year’s honorees include: Izzy Cacciatori, Hall High School; Jamie Dooley, Mendota High School; Catherine Engels, La Salle-Peru High School; Jacob Ensor, Mendota High School; Emelia Grant, Putnam County High School; Zoe Kidd, La Salle-Peru High School; and Allie Snyder, Ottawa High School.

Cacciatori will present several works of original art. She is a junior at Hall High School and is the daughter of Amy and Justin Cacciatori. At school, she participates in the Devilettes dance team and student council. She has created paintings and drawings for seven years and her teachers include Hugo Heredia and Mary Janusick. One fun fact: She loves to create art, but has a talent for painting. She loves seeing her parents’ faces when she brings home her newest work of art.

Dooley will present several works of original art. She is a junior at Mendota High School and is the daughter of EmLee and Daniel Dooley, of West Brooklyn. She is in the art program at school under the tutelage of Brock Sondgeroth, and enjoys working most in graphite pencil or clay. “I enjoy the way most people react when they see all of the things that I’ve had fun making and I find it fun to create wherever I want with what is at my disposal,” she said. She also is active in the Interact Club at school and plans to pursue a career as an English Language Learner teacher with hopes of teaching abroad.

Engels will present a flute performance. She is a senior at La Salle-Peru High School and is the daughter of Amber and Brian Engels, of La Salle. At school, she is a section leader and plays flute in the wind ensemble, marching band and pit bands. She has been selected for District 2 Illinois Music Education Association at both the junior and senior levels and an All-State musician in her sophomore year, and has received superior ratings at solo and ensemble contests. She also plays with the Illinois Valley Flute Ensemble, has received honorable mention and runner-up honors in the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra Young Performers competitions and has participated in the annual summer flute retreat performing in the masterclass of Gerald Carey, flute professor emeritus at Western Illinois University. She has studied flute with Sue Gillio since age 5, is on the high school varsity tennis team, and plans to attend Lewis University and pursue an aviation career as a pilot.

Ensor will present a trombone performance. He is a junior at Mendota High School and is the son of Andrea and Chad Ensor. At school, he is active in the music programs as a member of the band, under the direction of Paula Baker, and in the choir and madrigals, conducted by John Steben. He has been chosen for District 2 ILMEA and is active in a variety of sports including football, golf and bowling. “I enjoy how music creates friendships,” he said. He plans to attend Illinois Valley Community College and then transfer to a college for a degree in music.

Grant will present several works of visual art. She is a sophomore at Putnam County High School and is the daughter of Lisa and Tom Grant, of Hennepin. She has been creating art for nine years under the instruction of Mary Janusick at Music Suite 408. She also participates in cheerleading at school. “What I love about doing art is that it gives me the freedom to express myself in different ways,” she said. “I think art is important because it allows people to tell a story without words to express their thoughts and feelings. My interest in art developed after doing my first painting and art projects with Mary. In the future I would like to do something with graphic design.”

Kidd will present a vocal performance. She is a junior at La Salle-Peru High School and is the daughter of Kim and Steve Kidd, of La Salle. At school she is in the concert and chamber choirs, under the direction of Matthew Butler, and has performed in the spring musicals and has performed in Stage 212 productions. She studies with Jenilyn Roether at Music Suite 408. “Music is a very fun way to spend my time and to me it feels like I will never be out of way to explore it,” she said. She plans to attend an in-state college and will pursue a psychology degree.

Snyder will present a clarinet performance. She is a senior at Ottawa High School and is the daughter of Cindy and Chris Snyder. She has been playing the clarinet for eight years under the direction and instruction of Andrew Jacobi, Tom Makeever and Emily Gallagher. She played in the ILMEA district band in 2018 and 2020 and in its All-State band in 2020. At school, she is involved in volleyball, track, Rotary Interact and Honors Society. Her favorite thing about music is “that special feeling of sharing music with my friends and community,” and “hearing the assembly of the parts as they come together completing the vision of the composer.” She plans to attend a four-year university and study biology with a minor in music.

“The Mad Hatter Ball is the regional equivalent of a state championship of the arts, where top notch local talent is honored, great food is eaten, and prizes and music and fun fill up the evening,” said Julia Messina, executive director of NCI ARTworks. “This event showcases local student performers in all of the arts: visual, music, performing, literary, etc.”

Dinner music will be provided by Al & Jeannie Brown; Guys on the Radio will DJ; and the Mad Hatter will emcee the event, where the Queen of the Arts will be crowned for the fifth year in a row. Tickets are $35 and are available online at nciartworks.com or by calling 815-228-1253.