Degrees and Certifications:
Master of Music Education Degree VanderCook College of Music Bachelor of Music Education Degree University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mr. Jeff Zilke
Jeff Zilke is currently in his twenty-third year as the Director of Bands at Walter R. Sundling Junior High School in Palatine, Illinois. His conducting responsibilities include: Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Jazz Band.
Mr. Zilke received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his Master of Music Education degree from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois.
Under his direction, the Concert Band and Symphonic Band earned consistent superior ratings at the Illinois Grade School Music Association (IGSMA) Organization Contest and the Jazz Band earned consistent superior ratings at the North Shore Jazz Festival and Jazz in the Meadows Festival. The Bands also participated in the Gateway Music Festival, Heritage Music Festival and Music in the Parks Festival. The Band Program was highlighted in a School Band and Orchestra Magazine article titled "Running a Junior High Band by the Book" (February 2004). The Sundling Music Department also earned the SupportMusic Merit Award (SMMA) from The NAMM Foundation (2020, 2021, 2022).
Mr. Zilke's professional affiliations include: American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA), Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA), Illinois Grade School Music Association (IGSMA), Mu Phi Epsilon and Kappa Delta Pi.
He has received the Quinlan and Fabish Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award (2019), Illinois PTA Teacher of the Year Award (2017), Community Consolidated School District 15 Board of Education Above and Beyond Award (2013, 2017), Illinois State Board of Education's "Those Who Excel" Award of Recognition (2013), Walter R. Sundling Junior High School Traveling Paladin Award (2012), Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award Nominee (2011, 2012), Illinois Music Educators Association Young Leadership Conference Award (2005), Walter R. Sundling Junior High School PTA Teacher of the Year Award (2004) and Superintendent's Communication Council Award (2002, 2004).
He served as conductor for 13 members of the Palatine High School Marching Band during the filming of Clint Eastwood's movie, Flags of Our Fathers (2005). He commissioned an original band composition, Endless Rainbows (Composer Brian Balmages) which the Symphonic Band premiered in March 2013. The Symphonic Band performed Go Cubs Go! at Wrigley Field during the World Series and was featured on the WGN Morning TV News in October 2016.
Jeff and his wife, Susan, reside in Lake Zurich with their children, Anthony and Madelyn, and their dog, Rizzo.