The instrumental music program at AHS serves approximately 170 students and supports strong wind band, orchestra and jazz programs. Craig Bryant serves as the Director of Instrumental Music at Albany High School in Albany, CA, a position he has held since the Fall of 2007. Mr. Bryant leads a strong and visible music program that has quickly become recognized for its musical excellence throughout the Bay Area. Numerous students participate in the Jazz School Studio bands, the Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco Youth Orchestras, the All-State Bands and Orchestras as well as with other area honor groups.
The instrumental music program is made up of 2 concert bands, 2 jazz bands, and a string orchestra. There are about 170 students involved in the program, with most of the jazz students also participating in one of the concert bands. Each group at the school meets 3 times per week to rehearse (50 mins. on Mondays, and 90 on T/TH or W/F.)
All performing groups have received the Unanimous Superior ratings at the CMEA large ensemble festivals. The ensembles at AHS perform four main concerts a year in addition to participating in festivals and recording competitions. The groups have garnered positive attention through performances at Yoshi’s Oakland, Ashkenaz, the Freight and Salvage and other Bay Area venues. Travel is a frequent part of the program with weekend trips to regional festivals, retreats to the redwoods, and sometimes destinations more remote (NYC and Spain).
The Albany High School Jazz Band has received top ratings and awards at the Folsom, Reno and Santa Cruz Jazz Festivals. The 2010 group performed as a featured ensemble at the 2010 California Music Education Association State Conference in Sacramento. The band was also selected as a finalist for the 2010 and 2015 Next Generation Festival, presented by the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the 2010 Essentially Ellington festival, presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, NY.
The Albany High School Wind Ensemble has received Unanimous Superior or command Performances at nearly every festival since 2007. They perform the highest level of literature for wind bands and have been fortunate to feature guest artists from the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band, the United States Navy Band, the Kennedy Center Opera, San Jose State University, Georgetown College and Young Harris College.
The Albany Orchestra program has grown from 15- 55 in five years. It is an innovative 6-12 program mixing a wide range of skills and ages. The group has received Unanimous Superior marks for four straight years. Many students are members of the various youth orchestras in the area.