The program includes three levels of stage bands, a jazz combo and a rhythm section fundamentals class. The three different levels of performing ensembles are Stage Band 1 (beginning), Stage Band 2, (intermediate) and Stage Band 3 (advanced).
The Jazz Combo class, made up of selected students, meets once a week after school. Instrumentation includes saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, guitar and drums. A student who does not play a specified instrument, but who wishes to participate in the stage band, may learn to play a secondary instrument. Many who do this are very successful at it!
Currently, the program has an enrollment of 93 students from grades 7 through 12. They have entertained audiences in places such as Australia, Japan, Singapore, Mexico, New Orleans, and at jazz festivals in Hawai‘i, California, Texas, Nevada, and Kobe, Japan. They will be traveling to Europe this winter.
The stage bands also have hosted numerous world-class jazz clinicians and featured many notables as guest artists, such as saxophonists Frank Morgan, Ronnie Cuber, Gabe Baltazar, Andy Suzuki, bassist Rufus Reid, the Tower of Power rhythm section, trombonist Conrad Herwig, the University of Texas at Arlington jazz faculty and the Grammy Award-winning Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra under Arturo O'Farrill.
The Rhythm Section Fundamentals class offers students pursuing their interest in bass, drums, guitar and piano, a great introduction to the related music styles.