Instrumental and Choir Offerings
The Johnstown High School bands are directed by Mr. Andrew LaCoppola. Currently, there are two curricular performing groups (Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble), and two co-curricular groups (Jazz Ensemble and Marching Band). Students are given group instrumental lessons each week; these groups may sometimes perform as chamber ensembles, such as Percussion Ensemble, Woodwind Choir, Brass Ensemble, etc.
Symphonic Band is the transitional band between the instrumental experiences at Knox and the JHS Wind Ensemble. Symphonic Band, typically working at a NYSSMA level 3-4, is comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores, as well as some upper classmen who had room in their schedule. The group is full of promising talent! The band rehearses every day during seventh period. The intensive rehearsals provide musical development which virtually guarantees success for the individual performer and for future bands in Johnstown High School. The students take weekly lessons and will learn solo or duet pieces and all their major scales.
Wind Ensemble is the top instrumental ensemble of the high school. It is comprised of mostly junior and seniors, with a few talented sophomores and a few hard-working freshman that made the cut. The group plays at a NYSSMA level 5-6, as well as the standard literature of the band repertoire. The group also experiments with the more contemporary styles of recently composed pieces. The music selected for this group truly relies on the individual performers. These students take weekly lessons, learn solo works, small ensemble pieces and all their major scales. The Wind Ensemble meets every day during second period, making great music together. The group will continue to perform major contemporary works from the band repertoire as well as some lighter numbers for the enjoyment of our audiences.
All students in the program are required to present a performance final, which mirrors the requirements of a NYSSMA solo performance. This final exam determines their placement for the following year. The students are also encouraged to attend the NYSSMA Solo Festival in the Spring to perform for a trained adjudicator and receive a rating.
Junior High School
The junior high school bands are directed by Mrs. Jennifer Casey and include two curricular performing ensembles: the Seventh Grade Band and the Eighth Grade Band, as well as extra-curricular performance offerings.
Band provides an environment for students to improve on their major instruments in a large group setting. They will work together as a team to prepare diverse literature for performance. Seventh Grade Band students perform music that reinforces basic musicianship and ensemble skills. Eighth Grade Band members perform more challenging music and strive to refine their musicianship. Both ensembles perform for the Winter and Spring Concerts and the GJSD All City Concert to Celebrate Music in Our Schools Month. The Seventh Grade Band also performs for the eighth grade promotion ceremony. Band members are required to participate in all scheduled performances and lessons.
Band students are required to attend a weekly small group lesson focusing on performance techniques and pedagogy specific to their instrument. Lessons meet once a week on the same day but during a different period to prevent repeatedly missing the same class. It is the student’s responsibility to check for missed class work. Each week students will be given homework assignments to practice.
Prerequisites for Junior High Band:
Seventh Grade Band: Successful completion of Elementary Band program
Eighth Grade Band: Successful completion of Seventh Grade Band
Jazz Band: participation in 7th or 8th Grade Band
(Exceptions may be made based on teacher discretion.)
Elementary school students have the opportunity to begin instruction on a musical instrument in fifth and sixth grade.
Warren Street Elementary School has a concert band consisting of second year instrumentalists and the more advanced first year band students. Students involved with the concert band perform for Veteran’s Day assemblies, the Winter Concert, the All-City Band & Chorus concert in May, and end of the year assemblies.
In celebration of national Music in Our Schools Month, each concert band performs for the community at the Johnstown Senior Citizens Center, the Wells House Nursing Home, or the Willing Helpers Home for Women.
Selected second year players perform with the Fulton County Music Educators Association’s All County elementary band held in February.
Choirs and Vocal Ensembles
Concert Choir is designed as an entry-level choral experience for freshmen and sophomores, or for those new to the choral program at JHS. Students will work on issues specific to their vocal needs, including pitch and rhythmic accuracy and sight-reading, good vocal techniques, breathing, and posture. This class also teaches basic ensemble etiquette and rehearsal techniques and will equip students to succeed in more advanced choral settings, either later in their high school career or in collegiate, community, or other choral organization. Students receive semi-private weekly small group lessons. In addition to rehearsals, the Concert Choir participates in 3-5 concerts each year, collaborating with other ensembles in the JHS Music Program.
For women with Intermediate to Advanced skill in choral singing, this ensemble reinforces the concepts and techniques taught in Concert Choir and then seeks to build on those experiences. Members sing three and four part treble music, focusing on tone, blend, intonation, and accuracy. Members of Women’s Choir participate in small group lessons and may participate in NYSSMA solo festival and Major Organization adjudications. Women’s Choir members also perform in smaller groups at Basketball games and other venues in the community as the pieces are ready.
The most advanced curricular singing group at JHS, Chamber Choir meets daily and focuses on providing high quality performance and rehearsal experiences for its members. The “flagship” ensemble of the JHS Vocal Music department, Chamber Choir regularly represents the department to outside organizations, performing joint concerts, singing the National Anthem at sporting events, presenting concerts as community service at nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, and serving the school by singing at assemblies and presentations. Membership is by audition the previous spring, and students are expected to master the fundamentals taught in Concert Choir and Women’s Choir. Members have demonstrated the highest level of sight-reading ability, vocal techniques, rehearsal etiquette, dedication, and a willingness to go “above and beyond” the minimum requirements. In addition to community service and local concert presentations, the Chamber Choir is adjudicated annually at the NYSSMA Major Organization festival and sings periodically for the Music in Our Schools Month concerts at the State Capital. Regular overnight tours are planned to expose students to different performing venues and evaluators.
There are three different choruses junior high students may participate in. They are the Purple Chorus, the Gold Chorus, and the Select Chorus. Theses chorus classes are designed to promote musical growth in every student by further developing vocal skills and learning to read music. Although primarily performance based, there is a strong emphasis on sight-reading, ear training, and basic music theory. The course is designed as a comprehensive approach to musicianship giving students an opportunity to listen, sing, evaluate, and study different styles of music.
The Purple Chorus consists of mostly seventh graders and is primarily a two-part chorus. The Gold Chorus consists of mostly eighth graders and is primarily a three-part chorus. The Select Chorus is an optional chorus in which the students join by audition. In the Select Chorus, the students pick their own music and put together their own choreography.
Elementary students in grades 5 & 6 have the opportunity to join the elementary choral ensemble under the direction of Miss Jenna Poling. Students learn vocal technique and musicianship, music reading skills, discover diverse music genres, apply concepts learned in their general music class and gain valuable performing experience to prepare them for their continued school music education at Knox and JHS.
During their choral year, students perform a festive Winter Concert at their home school, various school assembly programs, and a Spring All City Concert in May with all three elementary school choirs. Additionally, choral students have the opportunity to perform as part of an All City Select Prism Choir at Johnstown High School to celebrate Music in Our Schools Month in March. An All County Select Elementary Chorus also performs at an annual Festival, providing choral students the opportunity to perform with other students from Fulton County.