The St. Augustine High School Instrumental Music Program consists of a wide range of students from both St. Augustine and Academy of Our Lady of Peace. We offer a variety of ensembles to suit almost every musician’s needs, whether you’re an advanced brass player, a beginning drummer, or you like just like to sing when no one is listening, we have something for you!
All ensembles are open to everyone, with most of them being courses that meet your Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) graduation requirement. See the course catalog for more details about meeting times and possible prerequisites. Here is a sample of ensembles which you can perform:
The Saints Band, our largest ensemble, is comprised of two classes, Concert Band for first year students, and Symphonic Band for returning band members. This group is open to students of all ability levels, including beginners. Every student in the music program participates in this group, as this is where students learn and refine their playing skills, while being exposed to a wide variety of ensemble settings and a diverse repertoire of music. Each quarter the band takes on a different performance theme:
- 1st Quarter: We perform at home football games, and a fall concert, typically shared with another local high school or university.
- 2nd Quarter: We form small ensembles that perform Christmas Concerts all over San Diego County. These student-led groups include brass quintets, saxophone quartets, percussion ensembles and more. We also perform our annual Christmas Concert in early December.
- 3rd Quarter: We perform at home basketball games and prepare a festival set for a local band festival where we receive a clinic with local professional musicians and educators.
- 4th Quarter: We prepare for our spring concert, which typically includes pops music, as well as film scores and other lighter selections. We also give a school-wide performance combined with art and drama, as well as prepare for graduation and end-of-the-year performances.
The 32nd Street Jazz Band is our premiere ensemble, performing jazz, Latin, rock and pop music from the last 100 years. The group uses the standard Basie-style big band with 5 saxophones, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, guitar, piano, bass, and drums. Auditions are required for placement into this group. Beginners on certain instruments are welcome if you have some experience reading music.
The Saints Jazz Combo is an elite group of musicians that meet once a week to refine their jazz improvisational skills. The group is open to anyone in the jazz band, but typically is comprised of a rhythm section and 2-3 horns. The group is instructed by professional saxophonist Ian Tordella, and is hired to perform around town quite regularly. Students in this group are working musicians and are expected to take gigs several times per month.
Worship Music Ensemble is a new course that is open to vocalists, as well as instrumentalists on guitar, piano, bass, and drums. Students will rehearse daily in preparation for weekly Mass. All students will learn to sing, and instrumentalists will be encouraged to learn a “double” to diversify their playing abilities.
String Ensemble meets once per week after school and is open to all musicians on violin, viola, cello, and string bass. Except for basses, students must provide their own instrument. The group is student-led, and performs on our spring ensembles concert.
Percussion Ensemble meets once per week after school during second semester, and is open to all students, regardless of your experience on percussion. This is a great chance to learn a new instrument and refine your music reading skills in a low key environment. This group performs on our spring ensembles concert, and travels to perform at Disneyland on years there are at least 15 members.