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The El Cerrito High School Instrumental Music Program is a comprehensive music education program at ECHS that has held a long tradition of musical excellence and award-winning ensembles since 1941. The program offers students a variety of musical experiences through rehearsals, performances, clinics and travel opportunities. Currently under the direction of Keith Johnson, the program continues to build on its rich history offering three levels of band, three jazz bands, jazz combo, and marching band.

Notable accomplishments in recent years include four consecutive CMEA Unanimous Superior Awards by the ECHS Wind Ensemble. The Wind Ensemble was also one of twelve groups selected from across the state to participate in the second CMEA State Band and Orchestra Festival and was one of four groups to receive a Unanimous Superior Award. The ECHS Jazz Ensemble has also been the recipient of five consecutive Unanimous Superior Awards at the CMEA Jazz Festival and the Jazz Workshop, the program’s second level ensemble, has also been the recipient of two consecutive Unanimous Superior Awards.

The Jazz Ensemble has also taken first place at numerous festivals including the Delta, Folsom, and Reno Jazz Festivals and was featured as one of four ensembles in the finals competition at the 2014 Folsom Jazz Festival and one of three high school ensembles featured at the 2014 Reno Jazz Festival’s showcase concert. The Jazz Ensemble was selected as the only high school jazz band statewide to perform at the 2014 California All-State Music Education Conference. This summer the group embarks on its first international tour where they have been invited to perform at some of Europe’s top jazz festivals including the North Sea, Montreux, and Umbria Jazz Festivals.