Jazz Bands

Harlingen High School is home to one of the finest high school jazz programs in the country. The Harlingen H. S. Jazz performing groups consist of the Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Band II, Jazz III, Jazz IV, Jazz Trumpet Ensemble and several student combos. Auditions for the ensembles are held in May and August. Jazz camps are held in July and include improvisation classes, sectionals, and big band rehearsals. Jazz students compete in individual regional competitions (All-Region Jazz Bands), and have on average placed 15-17 students in the two region bands. On average, Harlingen High School has placed 10-12 students at the area level.  Many students have gone on to make the prestigious All-State Jazz Ensembles including several 1st chairs (tenor sax, bari sax, trumpet, tenor trombone, bass trombone, and a drum set player almost every year).  Students involved in the jazz program also participate in the marching band, concert band, and even the mariachi band.

The jazz ensembles are very active participants in various jazz festivals throughout the state of Texas, as well as numerous community appearances including RV parks, television and radio shows, banquets, hospitals, bank functions, school board functions, new teacher orientations, dinners, and elementary school performances. Festivals attended include the Texas State University Jazz Festival in San Marcos,Texas; University of Houston, Houston, Texas; Texas A & M -Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas;  Victoria College, Victoria, Texas; Coastal Bend Festival of Jazz, Corpus Christi, Texas; Georgetown HS Jazz Festival, Georgetown, Hanks HS Jazz Festival in El Paso, and Palo Alto College, San Antonio, Texas. The Top Jazz Ensemble has continuously taken home Grand Champion honors or overall Outstanding Jazz Band of the festival awards at most of the festivals in which it has participated. Jazz Band II has placed 1st or 2nd in its respective division at most of the festivals it has participated in as well.  Harlingen High School students also developed and host a jazz festival called the Rio Grande Valley Jazz Festival, which began in 1997. The festival hosts approximately twenty to thirty bands throughout the state and has performed with several guest performing artists.

Jazz students have attended clinics and concerts given by some of the best musicians in the world, including Michael Brecker, Conrad Herwig, Kenny Garrett, Marcus Printup, Rick Condit, Ron Wilkins, Bobby Shew, Ernie Watts and Ed Shaughnessy. Students have also worked and performed in clinics and concerts with John Fedchock, Mike Steinel, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Dennis DiBlasio, Ernie Watts, Ed Shaughnessy, James Moody, Bobby Shew, Armin Marmelejo, Dr. Maurice Portis, Bob Mintzer, Wynton Marsalis, Arturo Sandoval and Noe Marmelejo just to name a few.

In 1998, second year director Ronnie Rios led the Harlingen High School Jazz Ensemble to perform at the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) Convention in New York, with John Fedchock as guest artist. This marked the first time in history that a South Texas High School jazz ensemble reached this lofty height. While in New York, the jazz band also participated in a tribute to Duke Ellington's music with Wynton Marsalis leading the Harlingen Jazz Ensemble at Lincoln Center. The clinic was part of an instructional series that was published for music educator's nation wide.

In 2003 and most recently, in 2015,  the Harlingen High School Jazz Ensemble was selected as one of two high school jazz ensembles in the world to perform at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. The group's 2017 TMEA performance is the 1st time in Harlingen High School history, that a group from the band department has been selected as the top performing group in the state.

Jazz Staff

Ronnie Rios - Jazz Ensemble
Maria Coronado - Jazz Band II, Trumpet, Improvisation
Rob Larios - Jazz III, Drums

Manuel Hernandez - Jazz IV, Saxophone, Improvisation


Ensemble Awards

Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic- Chicago, Ill -Jazz Ensemble - One of two High School Jazz Bands chosen to perform.

University of Houston Jazz Festival- Houston TX
Jazz Ensemble - Outstanding Band of the Day
Jazz Band II - 1st Division

Rio Grande Valley Jazz Festival-Harlingen TX
-Jazz Ensemble-Host Jazz Ensemble
-Jazz Band II-First Place 5A Second Band - 7th Consecutive Year
-Jazz Band III - First Place Third Band - 2007

National School Board Association- Orlando FL
Jazz Ensemble - One of three High School musical acts chosen in the US to perform

Texas A & M-Kingsville Jazz Festival, Kingsville, Texas 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005
Jazz Ensemble - Outstanding Band of the Festival
Jazz Band II - 1st Place 2002, 2004, 2005

Moores School of Music Jazz Festival, Houston, Texas 2002
Jazz Ensemble - Grand Champions
Jazz Band II - Best band of the Day

Coastal Bend Festival of Jazz, Corpus Christi, Texas
Jazz Ensemble - Grand Champions
Jazz Band II - 1st Place in Class

Southwest Texas State University Hill Country Jazz Festival, San Marcos , Texas 2003
Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Band II - 1st Division and Outstanding Performance of the Day

Victoria College Jazz Festival
Jazz Ensemble - Outstanding Performance

IAJE Convention, New York, New York, 1998
Jazz Ensemble with guest artist John Fedchock & Wynton Marsalis

Jazz Ensemble invited to Midwest Clinic, Chicago, Illinois, 2003

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