Strike Up the Band

St. John's offers a variety of levels and disciplines for instrumental music students who play woodwind, brass, percussion or strings.

Whether they want to master the trumpet in our Wind Ensemble, learn a second instrument in Concert Band or play Mozart in the String Orchestra, we can help them meet their musical goals. There are also smaller chamber groups such as Scarlet and Grey Strings that provide more performance options. 

For those who wish to explore a less classical style of music, our award-winning jazz program teaches the basics while also allowing more advanced players to excel in our competition group. Students who play piano, guitar or electric bass are also welcome to join one of the jazz ensembles.  


List of 9 items.

  • Wind Ensemble

    This ensemble is the highest level of band at St. John’s. Students may audition by approval of the director. These students not only perform at school and local competitions, they also travel to compete in national and international festivals.
  • Symphonic Band

    This ensemble is the second-highest level of band at St. John’s. Students may audition for this group by the approval of the director. These students perform at school and local competitions and travel to compete in regional festivals in the spring.
  • Concert Band

    This ensemble is the third level of band at St. John’s. Students in this band must have a level of playing that is beyond the beginning level but not yet ready for the challenges of the upper performing bands. Students in this band learn to improve their skills in order to be placed in the upper bands the following year. Concert Band students also have the opportunity to try other instruments in the brass class and low woodwinds.
  • Beginner Band

    This class is offered for new students and students who wish to pursue another instrument of study.
  • Percussion Ensemble

    This class is offered for students who are not yet ready for an advanced performance band but who want to improve their overall skills in all levels of percussion, including snare drum, timpani and keyboard percussion. 
  • String Ensemble

    Students who are advanced beyond a beginning level may audition for String Ensemble. This group performs at concerts and other school and community events, such as the Mothers' Mass and Tea and Open House.
  • Beginning Strings

    This class is offered to new students or novice students in their first or second year of study on violin, viola, cello or double bass.
  • Music Theory and Digital Audio Production

    This course is an elective for students who have been in the instrumental or vocal music program for at least two years and plan to study music after graduation. The course teaches the advanced elements of music theory as well as an introduction on producing music in the digital age. Approval from the instructor of their current performance group is required. 
  • History of American Music

    This course focuses on the connection between music and the American culture. By studying the development of American music in a chronological fashion, students will better understand the events of American history and see the development and growth of American culture. Students are required to have successfully completed U.S. History. 


List of 7 items.

  • Competition Jazz Ensemble

    This is our highest-level jazz band, and students are admitted by audition only. The group meets on Tuesday in the evening.
  • Swing Band

    This group is open to any student interested in performing jazz music. The group meets after school, and students do not need to be in the band program to participate in Swing Band. 
  • Jazz Combo

    This group is focused on small group jazz performances and developing improvisation skills. Jazz Combo meets after school.
  • Jazz Lab

    The Jazz Lab meets after school and is designed for students who have no previous jazz experience. 
  • Regimental Band

    The Regimental Band is a marching band based on military band protocol. This group of students performs at the Cadet Corps Gonzaga march-on and other parades.  Reg Band is comprised of Cadet Corps students who are musicians, volunteer band students who wish to continue in Regimental Band after freshman year, and all band freshmen. Rehearsals are held during homeroom on drill days. 
  • Orchestra

    St. John’s Orchestra brings together string students and band students. The group rehearses after school and performs at the Christmas and spring concerts.
  • Scarlet and Grey Strings

    Composed of a small number of strings players, the group performs at various events both at St. John's and in the DC area.

Competition Travel

Students in our instrumental and vocal arts programs have the opportunity to travel each year and compete against other high school ensembles, both nationally and internationally. Recent trips include competitions in Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Toronto, Virginia Beach, St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Nashville, and the Bahamas.

Tri-M Society

Modern Music Masters (Tri-M) is an international honor society for music students. Members of the band, strings and vocal music programs who exemplify musicianship, leadership and service are invited to be inducted into Tri-M.