Ken Tonaki has taught grades 4-12 orchestras in the Sycamore Community School District for the entirety of his 28 year career. His high school orchestras have performed at the ILMEA All-State Convention, the University of Illinois Orchestra and Chamber Symposiums, and the Northern Illinois University Orchestral and Chamber Festivals. He has served as a Guest Conductor for youth music camps at the University of Illinois and University of Wyoming along with many orchestra honor festivals in the greater Chicagoland/NW Indiana area.
In addition to his regular teaching duties he has faithfully served the IL-Music Educators Association. He currently serves as the High School Orchestra Representative in the NW Illinois region. He has also conducted the District 1 & 6 ILMEA Junior Festival Orchestras.
With drum corps and marching band experience, Ken has also acted in the role as a marching instructor for several bands in the northern Illinois area in the 1990s to early 2000s. Most notably he was an instructor for the Prospect High School marching band and served as the marching caption head for the Northern Illinois University Huskie Marching Band. Ken also writes drill for Sycamore High School Marching Band.
In addition to his teaching duties, Ken has played violin with the KSO since 1991 and in other community functions. He is married to Amy Lestina Tonaki (cellist in the KSO), who is the Sycamore Middle School Orchestra Director. They have two children, Evan (also a cellist in the KSO), and Mia (a violinist).
Ken Tonaki earned his Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Music Education from Northern Illinois University. He is an active member of the Illinois Music Educators Association, American String Teachers Association and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.