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Instrumental Music - Band - Grades 4 to 12
North Hills High School Marching Band

 

Elementary Band
Mr. Jeff Lucas (Ross/McIntyre)
Mrs. Jessica Webster (Highcliff/West View)

Students in grades 4, 5 and 6 who are interested in learning to play woodwind, brass and percussion instruments are invited to participate in the Elementary Instrumental Music Program. Beginning in the grade 4, North Hills School District offers intermediate grade-level students the opportunity to learn to perform on one of following instruments flute, clarinet, oboe, alto saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone, tuba and percussion instruments such as mallet instruments, drums and auxiliary instruments. In grades 5 and 6, additional instruments are offered including piccolo, bass clarinet, tenor and baritone saxophones and double French horn. Large, school-owned instruments such as the French horn, baritone and tuba are available to interested students.

Two full-time teachers are employed to instruct Grades 4, 5 and 6 students in small-group settings on a 6-day rotation throughout the school year at all elementary buildings. At the conclusion of the students’ sixth-grade year, they are then able to continue performing on their selected instruments by participating in one of the many band ensembles at the middle school.


Middle School Band
Mr. Chris Rodack

Beginning Band 7 - Beginning Band provides an opportunity for those students who did not play a band instrument during their elementary school years to become a part of the North Hills Band program. This class also provides an opportunity for those students who want to resume playing a band instrument at the middle school. The school can provide some instruments on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students will be preauditioned and recommended by the elementary band instructors or by the middle school band teacher.

Cadet Band 7 - Cadet Band is for Grade 7 students who have studied a band instrument in elementary school and who are ready to develop more extensive musical skills. The band will engage in a variety of concerts throughout the school year. Students will be recommended to Cadet Band by their elementary band instructor.

Varsity Band 8 - Varsity Band is for Grade 8 students who have developed musical skills through participation in either Beginning or Cadet Band. Students will study various exercises to continue to build technique and musicianship. The band will engage in a variety of concerts throughout the school year. Students will be recom­mended to the Varsity Band by their band instructor.

Middle School Wind Ensemble - Middle School Wind Ensemble Concert Band is an advanced class for Grade 8 students who successfully audition by playing test and excel in all aspects of band classroom rehearsal. Students will study various exercises to continue to build technique and musicianship as well as play music ranging from elementary to high school levels of difficulty. The band will engage in a variety of concerts throughout the school year.

Jazz Band - The middle school school offers two (depending on each year's interest) jazz ensemble experiences after school. The groups perform in concerts with the other bands during the year and also at the districtwide Arts Alive.

Marching Band - Band students in grades 8 to 12 may join the award-winning North Hills High School Marching Band. The band performs at all home and away football games, competitions and festivals during the year and has traveled all over the country on trips that have brought them back many accolades including participation in the 2001 Inaugural Parade, 2003 St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City, 2007 Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, D.C. and the 2013 Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Additional Middle School Band Opportunities

Those involved in the band program also have the opportunity to perform in various ensembles and festivals within and outside the North Hills School District. These include:

PMEA District Band - District 1 of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association holds a band festival each year at a school in the area which brings together students from many school districts for an honors ensemble experience with a guest conductor. Students are selected by teacher recommendation and selection committee to participate in this festival, usually held in the spring.

Exchange Concerts - In some years, the bands at North Hills Middle School participate in an exchange partnership experience with another school's band program. The students learn some of the same music, perform for each other, and benefit from working with the partner school's teacher. Concerts usually rotate between North Hills and the exchange school location over the course of several years.

Ensemble Experiences - Alle-Valley Honors Band and Northern Area Honors Band


High School Band
Mr. Len Lavelle, Mr. Chris Rodack,
& Mr. Chris Ballentine

Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble - The high school band program consists of four ensembles. Each ensemble performs a wide range of band literature in a variety of concerts throughout the year. Through the course students will gain musical skills, technical skills, ensemble skills and musical knowledge. Students are accepted and placed into each ensemble through audition and recommendation of the instructor. These ensembles require appointment through audition. Evening rehearsals and performances also are a required.

Jazz Band - Members of the Jazz Band receive training in swing, Latin and fusion music. Unless excused by the director, students are required to be in one of the school’s performing ensembles. Evening rehearsals and performances are a requirement of this course, and entry is by audition only.

Jazz II - Students who are interested in performing jazz music that either may not have successfully auditioned for the Jazz Band class, or who were not able to fit it into their schedules are invited to participate in Jazz II, an extra-curricular, after-school jazz ensemble.  Jazz II participates in several evening performances throughout the year, including Jazz Night and Mardi Gras. 

Marching Band - Band students in grades 8 to 12 may join the award-winning North Hills High School Marching Band. The band performs at all home and away football games, competitions and festivals during the year and has traveled all over the country on trips that have brought them back many accolades including participation in the 2001 Inaugural Parade, 2003 St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City, 2007 Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, D.C. and the 2013 Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Additional High School Opportunities

Members of the band program at NHHS perform at various festivals and with groups within and outside of the school district. These include:

PMEA Festivals - At the high school level, students audition for spaces in various levels of festival ensembles. Honors groups are single festivals, whereas students in the district-level festivals have the opportunity to advance to regional, all-state, all-eastern and national ensembles. These festivals include:

  • PMEA Honors Jazz festival
  • PMEA Honors Band
  • PMEA District Band
  • PMEA Region Band
  • PMEA All-State Band
  • PMEA All-State Jazz Band
  • MENC All Eastern Band

High School Musical Pit Orchestra/Band - Members of the high school instrumental program have the opportunity to accompany the cast and crew in live performance of the annual Drama Club Spring Musical. The pit begins rehearsals in late January/early February and puts on seven performances of the production during the two weekends of the show's run.

Chamber Ensembles - These groups vary each year based on student interest and availability.  Some of the groups organized by student musicians in the past include saxophone, trombone, flute, brass, and percussion ensembles. 
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North Hills School District
135 Sixth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15229
Phone: 412-318-1000 Fax: 412-318-1084
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