Jazz Band

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The Los Gatos High School Jazz Band is comprised of students in grades 9-12 who play trumpet, trombone, saxophone, piano, jazz guitar, bass guitar, string bass, and drum set. The jazz ensemble meets during 7th period throughout the entire school year and performs at school concerts, adjudicated festivals, and town events. In years when the LGHS concert bands do not go on international tour, the Jazz Band may also participate in the Reno Jazz Festival.

The jazz ensemble performs diverse styles of music such as swing, Latin, bebop, ragtime, and pop/rock/jazz fusion, in big band arrangements. The band occasionally works with clinicians during the year who specialize in these styles to help students gain deeper understanding of jazz performance. Members of this ensemble also explore improvising and playing in smaller “combo” groups. Students in this ensemble must take this class as their second music elective in addition to Marching/Concert Band or Orchestra.

Jazz Band is an audition-only ensemble. Previous participation in a middle school music program (need not have studied jazz) and an interest in jazz music are strongly recommended. Students in this ensemble may receive up to 3 years of Performing Arts credit (grades 9-11) and 1 year of Applied Arts credit (grade 12). 

Ian and Graham HoutsSeniors Ian Houts and Graham Houts (left and right in photo) have landed spots in the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars for 2016-17, the first LGHS students to do so via a highly competitive audition process that attracts top high school players from all over Northern California. Ian, who plays both upright and electric bass, will perform in the All-Stars Big Band, and Graham will play guitar in both the Big Band and the eight-piece All-Stars Combo. Highlights of the coming year will include performing with sax great Joshua Redman at the SFJAZZ Center in December, competing in the Mingus Festival in NYC, and taking the stage at a jazz conference in New Orleans.

Previously the twin brothers played percussion in LGHS Marching Band and Wind Ensemble, earned a 2015 Reno Jazz Fest award as bassist and guitarist in an LGHS Jazz Combo, and performed with the Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band and the San Jose Jazz High School All-Stars.

... Congratulations to Ian and Graham!

(photos courtesy of r.r. jones)

Ian Houts


Lazare Herzi

Graham Houts

Honor Band season is off to a roaring start, with LGHS students earning three of seven coveted spots in the 2015-2016 Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band in Santa Cruz. Senior Lazare Herzi (trombone) and juniors Ian Houts (bass) and Graham Houts (guitar) will rehearse with the group weekly at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, named one of the world's top jazz venues by DownBeat magazine, and will perform at South Bay and Monterey Bay events throughout the year. While regional jazz honor bands typically focus on big band arrangements, the Kuumbwa ensemble is unique for its smaller combo format that showcases each individual player.

. . . Congratulations to Lazare, Ian, and Graham!

At the annual LGHS Music Awards & Performances in May, the following students received special recognition from staff for their achievements in 2014-2015. Congratulations to all the honorees!

Instrumental Ensembles

John Philip Sousa Band Award®: Tony Moller

Introduced in 1955, this award honors the top student in the high school band, recognizing superior musicianship, dependability, loyalty, and cooperation.  It was created with the approval of Helen Sousa Albert and Priscilla Sousa, daughters of the famous composer and bandmaster.

National School Orchestra Award®: Shadia Mustafa

The counterpart to the Sousa Band Award®, this is the highest honor bestowed on a member of the high school orchestra, to recognize excellence in playing and contributions to the ensemble.

Louis Armstrong Jazz Award®: Lewis Fowler

This award was inaugurated in 1974, shortly after the great jazz artist died in 1971. It honors the outstanding achievements in the field of jazz as demonstrated through superior musicianship, character, and individual creativity.

George Penniman Award: Joseph Eichel

George Penniman was an LGHS student and drum major in the early 1960s. He was known for his outstanding character and dedication to the LGHS music program, and was a recipient of the Sousa Band Award in 1964. After graduating, he served in Vietnam, and was killed in a training accident in San Diego.  This award was originally created in his honor, and was reinstated in 2010.

LGHS Music Hall of Fame, for selection to Honor Bands: Max Swisher (state), Margaret Field, Elizabeth Gallmeister, Sarah Storton (county)

Outstanding Musician: Laila Sathe

Outstanding Freshman: Elizabeth Gallmeister

Outstanding Orchestra Section: Cellos

Outstanding Wind Ensemble Section: Double Reeds

Outstanding Symphonic Band Section: Low Brass

Most Improved Orchestra Member: Will Fulton

Most Improved Jazz Band Member: Marco Bommarito

Marching Band

National School Marching Award (known as the “Golden Shoe” at LGHS):
James O'Toole

This award recognizes outstanding contributions on the field and honors the musical contributions and dedication of student leaders whose example inspires others.

Percussion "Sticks" Award: Marin Rosenquist

Most Dedicated: Josina-Els Bol

Most Team Spirit: Robby Storton, Travis Welch

Most Improved: Michele Brianti

Outstanding Sections: Tubas & Trumpets

Fall Color Guard

Outstanding Member: Emma Weber

Most Improved: Adrianna Alpern, Joy Wang

Winter Guard

Outstanding Flag: Emma Latta

Outstanding Rifle: Sophia McDaniel

Most Improved Flag: Amanda Land

Most Improved Rifle: Jordan Loesch


Chamber, 3rd Period:

Outstanding Ensemble Members: Alex Coady, Kayce Hobson

Chamber, 5th Period:

National Choir Award: Nitin Srinivasan

Outstanding Ensemble Members: Colette Marcellin, Jaina Ponkey


Outstanding Ensemble Members: Molly McCanny, Natalya Temple