High School Bands
The West Ottawa High School Band Program is widely recognized around the state as an outstanding program. Students are afforded numerous performance opportunities including Symphony Band, Wind Symphony, Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz I, Jazz II, Musical Pit Orchestra, Basketball Band and numerous Chamber Ensembles. Our ensembles have achieved great recognition, being featured numerous times at the Michigan Music Conference, Michigan Youth Arts Festival and Western Michigan University’s Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music. Each year we have students selected to perform in All-State and Youth Arts Festival Honors groups. Many of our alumni perform in college – some major in Music Education, Composition or Performance, while others perform in their university’s marching band or concert program.
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Please read about the topics below to learn more about our award winning band program!
Symphony Band was one of only two high school bands selected to perform at the 2023 Western Michigan University Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music. They have also been a featured ensemble at the Michigan Music Conference in 2012 and 2018. This group regularly performs college level literature and consistently receives Straight I ratings at District and State Festivals.
Wind Symphony performs a variety of standard and new band repertoire at the high school to advanced high school level. The Wind Symphony consistently receives First Division Ratings at District Band Festival and frequently at State.
Advanced Percussion Class
Advanced Percussion Class is made up of percussionists who perform with the Symphony Band and Wind Symphony. These students meet as a separate class. During marching season, this affords us class time to meet the high demand of their music. During concert season, these students perform in advanced Chamber Percussion Ensembles during class and at Solo & Ensemble Festivals in addition to their performances with the bands. Our top Percussion Ensemble has been selected twice as the top High School Chamber Percussion Ensemble in the state. They have been finalists for this honor 13 times.
Concert Band performs a variety of standard and new band repertoire at the high school level. and consistently receives First Division Ratings at District Band Festival.
Jazz I has twice been featured at the Michigan Music Conference. In 2014, the group was one of only two high school jazz bands selected by audition to perform at MMC. In 2019, Jazz I was the only high school jazz band selected to perform at this prestigious event. Jazz I regularly performs college and professional level literature. They consistently receive First Division ratings at State Jazz Festival, and they have received numerous soloist, section and ensemble awards at Central Michigan University’s Jazz Weekend, including Outstanding Ensemble in Class AA in 2014 and 2015. Jazz I has hosted and performed with the following world-class professional jazz artists and clinicians: Wycliffe Gordon, Jon Faddis, Jeff Hamilton Trio, Rodney Whitaker, Sean Jones, Eric Reed, Wes Anderson, Robin Eubanks, Antonio Hart, Michael Philip Mossman, Marcus Printup, Cris Crenshaw, Victor Goines, Carl Allen, Reggie Thomas, Todd Williams, Etienne Charles, Paul Keller and Max Colley, III. Jazz I also puts on several performances in the community each year at elementary schools, retirement communities and service club meetings. Jazz I meets as a class for credit during Zero Hour each school day.
Jazz II is an extracurricular group that meets during Seminar twice a week when students are allowed to transfer from their Seminar classroom. This ensemble performs a variety of high school jazz band literature. In addition to performing at the High School Band Winter Concert and Collage Concert, Jazz II also performs at CMU’s Jazz Weekend each year.
Fall Marching Band
Fall Marching Band consists of students in Symphony Band, Wind Symphony and Advanced Percussion Class. They march at all home varsity football games and the Parade of Lights on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. They also perform at the MSBOA District Marching Festival each year, where they consistently earn First Division Ratings.
Fall Marching Band Color Guard
Fall Marching Band Color Guard is made up of students from any of the three high school concert season bands as well as non-band students who have not been enrolled in band for at least two years. Students must audition in the spring to be selected for Fall Color Guard. Color Guard performs at all Marching Band performances listed above.
Several of our families work at or own businesses in downtown Holland, Additionally, almost all our students know or are related to individuals who currently or formerly served in the military. We are proud to give back to our community by performing in the Tulip Time Parades and Memorial Day Parade each year with all our students in the high school band program.
Extra Curricular Activities: Solo & Ensemble, Basketball Band, Musical Pit Orchestra
Solo & Ensemble
We have a very active Chamber Music program involving most members of Symphony Band and Advanced Percussion classes as well as many Wind Symphony students. In addition to these large ensembles, we have numerous soloists and small ensembles participate. Each year our students earn more than 100 First Division medals at both District and State Solo & Ensemble Festival.
Our Basketball Band plays for 8 Varsity games each year. (4 Girls’ Games, 4 Boys’ Games). We play mostly oldies rock and roll tunes with a few newer selections. We have a large group of students participate each year, and it has become a great social event for our students. Students from ALL WOHS Bands are invited to perform in Basketball Band.
Musical Pit Orchestra
The Pit Orchestra provides the music for our High School Musical each Fall. The Pit is an exclusive, “invite only” group of our top winds, strings, and percussion students at the High School. We meet after school or in the evenings, (based on student availability), from mid-September through the end of the musical in mid-November.
Trips & Social Events
Traditionally we have taken our WOHS Band students on a major trip every four years. In June 2023, we made our fourth successful trip to New York City. Students from all high school bands are invited on these trips. Students can use fundraisers to help pay for the trip.
We have an active social committee that schedules monthly or bi-monthly events for ALL our high school band students. These events are held at WOHS with band director supervision.
Music Boosters: Scholarships for Private Lessons & Summer Music Camps
- The West Ottawa Music Boosters support all 6th-12th grade Music students in Band, Choir and Orchestra.
- The Boosters typically run two major fundraisers each year.
- Through these fundraisers and generous donations from individuals and local businesses, the Music Boosters offer Private Lesson Scholarships and Summer Music Camp Scholarships in addition to funding several other expenses for our music program.
- The main service project for our Boosters is hosting District Festivals. We typically host five days of District Festivals at our school: 3 days of choir, 1 of band, 1 of orchestra. Every year we have outstanding volunteers that help us to run a great festival site for our students and our visitors from other schools.
- For more information, visit the Music Booster website at: https://www.westottawamusicboosters.org/
If you didn’t find the information you need in the areas above, please contact one of our band directors for more information:
Mike Hamann – email@example.com
Jay Gainforth – firstname.lastname@example.org