Instrumental Music

String Program

Directors - Mrs. Nowak and Miss Kinnear

Symphony Orchestra-  This group consists mostly of freshman and sophomores.  It meets daily during third period with the orchestra performing 4-5 concerts per year on standard and contemporary repertoire for strings.  Winds, brass and percussion are added to the group in the second semester of the year.  Recent works have included O Magnum Mysterium by Lauridsen, Egmont Overture of Beethoven and March to the Scaffold of Berlioz. The Symphony Orchestra currently has over 70 string students with a projection of around 80 in the years to come.  PREREQUISITE: Ability to read music and perform at an advanced level.

Philharmonia-  This is an all-auditioned group.  Most students in this ensemble are upperclassmen or are very advanced younger players.  Philharmonia meets first period every day and performs 4-5 concerts per year and meets with the winds, brass and percussion once a week throughout the school year.  Recent repertoire has included The Finale to Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky, a 30 minute concert-version of Tosca by Puccini, Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and Danzon No. 2 of Arturo Marquez. Philharmonia currently has 45 string students and grows to around 70 members for full orchestra repertoire. PREREQUISITE: Ability to read music and perform at an advanced level.

Pit Orchestra-  This group meets after school in the winter to prepare music for the annual musical at South High School.  This is a great opportunity for students to get to play a different style of music and work with great actors and actresses.  Recent musicals have included The Pajama Game, Wonderful Town, Hello Dolly, Les Miserables and The Drowsy Chaperone.  PREREQUISITE: Ability to read music and perform at an advanced level.


Band Program

Directors - Mr. Cool and Mrs. Conte

Wind Symphony - This is an auditioned group of 100-115 students yearly.  The wind symphony is our largest band and is comprised of students in 9th - 12th grade.  Students are challenged throughout the year to perform at a their highest ability.  There are three to four concerts per year.  The wind symphony works with various guest conductors, performers, composers, and clinicians during the school year.  Past guest conductors have included Linda Moorhouse from the Louisiana State University, Robert Washburn from the Crane School of Music, Brant Karrick from The University of Toledo, Ed Lisk retired from the Oswego School District, Patrick Jones fromt the Philladelphia School of the Arts, Jim Aken from the Ohio State University, The Buffalo Philharmonic Brass Quintet,  The Amherst Saxophone Quartet, Dr. Marc Guy, The Breaking Winds, and Paula Holcomb from the Fredonia State College School of Music. PREREQUISITE: Ability to read music and perform at an advanced level.

Wind Ensemble - This is an auditioned group of 42-47 advanced level wind and percussion musicians.  The majority of students in this ensemble study privately.  The wind ensemble performs three to four concerts per year and works with various conductors, performers, composers, and clinicians during the school year.  In addition, these students participate annually in the NYSSMA solo/ensemble festival.   All County/Area All-State festivals, The Conference All-State festival, and The All Eastern Conference.  The Williamsville South High School Wind Ensemble actively commissions the works of new and well-known composers.  In February of 1998, the South High School Wind Ensemble Worked in Conjunction with the East High school and North High School Wind Ensembles to premier the composition they commissioned by Dr. Samuel Adler, "American Airs and Dances."   "Magneticfireflies" by Augusta Reed Thomas, professor of composition at Northwestern University and Composer in Residence for the Chicago Symphony, was world premiered in February of 2002.  In 2006 the wind ensemble commissioned and premiered “Variations on a Theme of Schubert Op.92”, (2005)by composer Lowell Liebermann.  The Williamsville South High School Wind Ensemble has performed at the New York State Band Director's Association Symposium in 2001 and the New York State School Music Association's Winter Conference in 2002.  Guest conductors for the wind ensemble include:  Frank Wickes from The Louisiana Sate University, Samuel Adler from the Julliard School of Music, Mark Scatterday from the Eastman School of Music, and the creator of the modern wind ensemble, Frederick Fennell. PREREQUISITE: Ability to read music and perform at an advanced level.

Marching Band - This band represents the entire wind and percussion program at South High School.  All band members participate in this group which has two performances per year:  the homecoming game in the fall and the Memorial Day Parade at the end of May.  Homecoming week is filled with excitement at South High School and the marching band fuels the energy that creates lifelong memories for all of our students.

Jazz Ensemble - This is an auditioned group of 20-22 advanced level jazz musicians.  The jazz ensemble rehearses days 1,3, and 5 of a 6 day cycle.  Many students use their lunch period to play in jazz if time doesn’t permit in the student schedule.  The first 10 - 15 minutes of class is given for those eating lunch. There are several performances each year with the pinnacle performance occurring in May at our Mill/South jazz festival, where a “respected jazz artist” is featured with our groups. (1/2 credit)

Jazz Improvisation Band - This is our largest jazz group of 25 - 45 mixed level musicians.  The jazz improvisation band rehearses days 2,4, and 6 of a 6 day cycle.  Many students use their lunch period to play in jazz if time doesn’t permit in the student schedule.  The first 10 - 15 minutes of class is given for those eating lunch.   Students are given the tools of jazz improvisation and are taught how to incorporate their skills with a quality “live band”  performing quality jazz charts.  There are several performances each year with the pinnacle performance occurring in May at our Mill/South jazz festival, where a “respected jazz artist” is featured with our groups. PREREQUISITE: Ability to read music and perform at an advanced level. (1/2 credit)

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