About the Program
The goal of the Williamstown High School Band Program is for every Williamstown Band member to develop a lifelong appreciation for the value of music in their lives, and for every student to become the most proficient musician and performer possible. We hope to instill a strong sense of self-discipline, self-motivation, and an inner drive for excellence as well as to provide students with memorable musical experiences through participation in our performing ensembles. We hope to develop an attitude of success while striving to focus each student’s skills and abilities to the common good of the band.
Concert Band & Wind Ensemble
The Concert Bands serve as the foundation of our band program. Although we provide many different opportunities for musical performance outside of school hours, these ensembles provide the fundamentals from which other opportunities stem.
The Wind Ensemble is a select ensemble and has gained a strong reputation for performing advanced repertoire with a very high level of musicianship. Over the past few years, the Wind Ensemble has consistently received Gold ratings performing at state festivals and has been chosen to perform at the NJBA State Gala in 2015 and 2019. Membership is by audition only.
The Concert Band is made up of 9th-12th grade students and performs medium and medium-advanced repertoire. An audition is not required to participate.
Both ensembles can be taken for credit for multiple years as either a 5-day course or a 3-day course. Grading is determined based on daily preparation and participation, individual improvement both from home and during class, and lesson preparedness/attendance. Every student enrolled in a concert ensemble is required to attend a 20 minute lesson either during their lunch or after school once per week. During lessons students learn fundamental techniques, etude exercises, solos, and chamber music in both an individual and group setting.
Students are always encouraged to take additional private lessons with someone who performs on their primary instrument to further improve proper technique. Please contact Mr. Kuntz for recommendations.
The WHS Marching Braves is one of the largest ensembles at the high school, and has won numerous regional and national awards over the years. It is made up of students in grades 8-12 from Williamstown High School, Williamstown Middle School, and Gloucester County Institute of Technology. These students include members who play wind instruments, percussion instruments, and color guard members, who dance and spin guard equipment, bringing an important visual aspect to our yearly show theme. Marching band combines the art of performing wind band repertoire with many aspects of theater and storytelling. The Marching Braves offer the most performance opportunities of any ensemble during the school year, performing at competitions on weekends throughout New Jersey and surrounding states, during the halftime shows at all home football games, and as a pep band at both home and away football games.
This ensemble also offers a lot of student leadership opportunities ranging from Drum Major to section leader, and students who have earned these positions are given extra responsibilities that contribute to the overall success of the ensemble. Marching band is truly a team activity where every student is a Varsity member. There is no freshman or JV marching band and there are no “bench players” like in sports. This means that first year rookies are just as important as fifth year veterans in order to produce a complete and balanced show. Marching Braves members are eligible to receive a Varsity Letter after two complete years of participation.
The Marching Braves also has the biggest staff out of all of the ensembles offered at WHS, hiring people who have experience with marching and teaching with DCI, DCA, and other high schools. Students receive valuable and consistent individual and group instruction at every rehearsal from teachers who specialize in different areas of expertise such as brass, woodwinds, percussion, color guard, marching technique, and music technology.
The Marching Braves hold recruitment rehearsals in late June and begin full rehearsals throughout the months of July and August. There is also a two week band camp where the majority of the field show is taught and learned. Fall rehearsals during the school year occur two nights per week from 6 PM to 9 PM.
The Jazz Ensemble is a select ensemble made up of students in grades 9-12 who play saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and rhythm section instruments including drum set, auxiliary percussion, bass/bass guitar, guitar, and piano. This ensemble is intended for students that want to further their education and performance of jazz music. The Jazz Ensemble rehearses after school twice each week and competes in several festivals each year throughout New Jersey.
Indoor Percussion Ensemble
The Indoor Percussion Ensemble is made up of students in grades 7-12 who attend WHS, WMS, and GCIT who play percussion instruments and occasionally color guard. Students in 7th and 8th grade are eligible to participate in the indoor percussion ensemble if they agree to join the Marching Braves the following school year. Over the years this group has numerous state and regional awards and like marching band, combines the art of performing percussion repertoire with aspects of theater and storytelling. The Indoor Percussion Ensemble begins rehearsals in January and offers many performance opportunities throughout New Jersey and surrounding states from February through May.
Similar to the Marching Braves, the Indoor Percussion Ensemble has more than one staff member, hiring people who have experience with marching and teaching with WGI and other high schools. Students receive valuable and consistent individual and group instruction at every rehearsal from teachers who specialize in different areas of expertise such as drumline, mallet percussion, auxiliary percussion, and music technology.