Jeff Benson, Department Head
Private Music Instruction
Instrumental and vocal music instruction can be taken by all students, either to learn how to sing or play an instrument, or improve individual performance. All members of the band, choir and orchestra are encouraged to supplement their training either during or after school hours with the organization's director or a qualified private teacher.
Marching Band/Color Guard
The Marching Band and Color Guard is open to students in grades 8-12. The ensembles rehearse regularly between August and November for a minimum of two nights per week. Private lessons are strongly encouraged to promote individual growth. Each season, the Marching Band performs a minimum of four competitions, four parades, and all home football games, in addition to the Thanksgiving Day game. Performances are mandatory. Instrumentalists that elect to join the Marching Band must make every attempt to be scheduled in the band class.
The Jazz Ensemble is open to students in grades 9-12 by audition. This group rehearses a minimum of one afternoon and one evening each week during the months of October through May. A variety of big band jazz, blues, and jazz-rock is studied and played in order to learn the various styles of this American art form. Students that are accepted into Jazz Ensemble must make every attempt to be scheduled in Band Class. (Exceptions are made for bass, guitar and piano players) Students that are accepted into the ensemble must take a regularly scheduled private lesson on the instrument they play. This ensemble performs a minimum of three jazz festivals per year.
Show Choir Combo
The Show Choir Combo is the instrumental ensemble that provides the band accompaniment for the Show Choir. Rehearsals are held once per week, with students also making a commitment to participate in weekend festivals and performances. Combo members have the opportunity to perform jazz repertoire in a small-group setting with work on improvisation. Students learn techniques and styles of show and jazz literature. The Combo consists of the following instruments: piano, synthesizer, drums, auxiliary percussion, bass guitar, lead guitar, trumpets (2), trombones (2) saxophones (alto, tenor, baritone) Students are selected by audition.
Vocal and instrumental ensembles of varying types and sizes such as Jazz Band, Madrigal Singers, Trios, Quartets, etc., are organized in the fall of each school year. These groups function as units for the year, playing and singing appropriate music, listening to related recordings, and attending concerts. These ensembles are open by audition.
The Oliver Ames High School Chamber Orchestra is based on the requirements for the High School Orchestra but necessitates a more advanced playing ability. This is an auditioned group that rehearses one night a week for an average of two hours. The Chamber Orchestra's main performance of the year is the Annual Easton Messiah Sing. They also perform at the Spring Scholarship Concert and Chamber Orchestra members play at community events throughout the year. A variety of string techniques and styles will be studied and played. Students who audition for the OA Chamber Orchestra must be independent learners who are very self-motivated. Students are strongly encouraged to study their instrument privately to promote individual growth. Students accepted into the Chamber Orchestra must be scheduled in the Orchestra Class.