Orchestra at Vernon Hills High School

Vernon Hills symphony orchestraThere are four curricular orchestras at Vernon Hills High School with a total of 175 string students. The orchestras meet separately as daily elective classes.  All freshmen begin in Concert Orchestra, or can audition for either Philharmonic Orchestra or Chamber Strings.  Symphony Orchestra is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors by audition and includes woodwinds, brass, and percussion.  String Project is an extra-curricular ensemble open to freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Membership in SP is mandatory for any students taking orchestra for Honors Credit.

The Vernon Hills High School Orchestra program has an established tradition of excellence with performances at the IMEA All-State Conference in Peoria in 2004, 2013, and most recently, 2020. VHHS Orchestras have also performed at the MENC National Conference in 2008 and 2012, the Midwest Clinic in 2009 and 2015, and at Chicago's Symphony Center in 2011 (pictured to the right).  The orchestra has toured internationally to China in 2001, Spain in 2006, Italy in 2008, Austria in 2012, a return to Spain in 2014, Cuba in 2016 and finally Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic in 2018. The VHHS Symphony Orchestra has also been featured on WFMT's "Introductions" program. 

Dana Green

Director of Orchestras, Vernon Hills High School
Director of Debut Orchestra, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
Chamber Coach, OPUS Chamber Music


Dana Green is a violinist, educator and conductor. With the support of his parents, Dana began studying the violin when he was five years old with Steve Bjella. In the course of his education as a musician, Dana went on to study with Brian Groner, Laura Miller, Hilel Kagan and Theresa Fream.            


Dana graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from DePaul University in 2004 and went on to earn his Masters in Music with a specialization in Music Education from Northern Illinois University and more recently studied rehearsal techniques at Indiana University under the tutelage of Dr. Cliff Colnot. Since graduating, he has logged thousands of hours on the podiums of Vernon Hills High School, Naperville North High School, Mill Street and Naper Elementary Schools, the West Suburban Youth Orchestra and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.

At Naperville North, Mr. Green grew the program from 46 to 154 students while simultaneously tripling the orchestras at both Naper and Mill Street Elementary Schools. Mr. Green created three extra-curricular ensembles at the high school involving over 130 string players.

Dana has led ensembles to place first in national music competitions in Seattle, San Francisco, Boston and New York. Orchestras under Mr. Green’s baton from both Naperville and Vernon Hills have been selected as featured performers at the Illinois Music Educators Conference.

For 10 years, Mr. Green served as one of the directors of the West Suburban Youth Orchestra. While in that role, he worked with students in grades 4 through 11 on symphonic literature. Mr. Green continues to serve as a chamber coach for the OPUS Chamber Music Program, where he works with student ensembles on string quartet performance practice. 

Dana is a highly sought-after music educator and serves regularly as contest adjudicator and festival guest conductor. His energetic and inspiring style have served to engage students and communities throughout the Midwest.

Mr. Green is currently the Director of Orchestras at Vernon Hills High School and director of the Chicago Youth Symphony’s Debut Orchestra where he continues to spread the joy of music.  

Ben Voigt

Assistant Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra

Ben Voigt is an in-demand music educator and professional saxophonist in the Chicagoland area. He is on staff at several high schools where he teaches orchestra, band, jazz band, guitar, and music theory. Ensembles under his direction have been invited to perform at the Illinois Music Educators Conference and the Illinois SuperState Concert Band Festival. He studied at DePaul University where he earned degrees in Music Education and Jazz Performance. He is an active performer in Chicago’s jazz scene and plays in a range of musical projects including big bands, standard small jazz groups, and new ensembles performing original creative music.

Randy Sundell

Assistant Director of the Symphony Orchestra

Randy Sundell has received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. He has been the Director of Bands at Vernon Hills High School since its opening in 1999. Prior to that, Sundell held positions as the Associate Director of Bands at Libertyville High School, Libertyville, IL and Director of Bands at Oak Grove School District #68 in Green Oaks, IL.

Mr. Sundell directs the Freshman Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Football Pep Band, and is the assistant director of the Symphony Orchestra. He has also taught AP Music Theory.

Under his direction at Vernon Hills High School, the Wind Ensemble has been recognized for numerous awards and honors. The ensemble has been selected to perform at the Illinois Superstate Festival hosted by the University of Illinois every year since 2003. They were named the Honor Band for the 2007, 2010, 2012, and 2014 festivals. The Wind Ensemble was featured on WFMT’s Innovations in 2010. The group was chosen as a National Winner for the Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors competition 2011-2013 and a Commended Winner in 2014 and 2016. The Wind Ensemble has also performed at the Illinois Music Education Association All-State Festival in 2004 and 2013.  The band program was recognized by the National Band Association National Programs of Excellence in 2014 as the North Central Division Winner.

Mr. Sundell received the Chicagoland Music Educators Award from Quinlan and Fabish Music in 2004 and has been elected to the American Bandmasters Association. He is active as a judge and clinician in the Chicago area. As a performer, Mr. Sundell plays bassoon in a woodwind quintet, Winds Off The Lake and the North Suburban Wind Ensemble of which he is also the Associate Conductor.

His professional affiliations include the American Bandmasters Association, NAfME, the International Double Reed Society, the National Band Association, the American School Band Director Association, and Phi Beta Mu.