The Okemos High School is home to an active music program, which includes three String Orchestras, an extra-curricular Full Orchestra, and three Choral Ensembles. The Okemos Band Program is home to the Freshman Band, Concert Band, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Chiefs Marching Band, and an extra-curricular Jazz Ensemble.
The three concert bands join together each Fall to form the Chiefs Marching Band. The band performs for home varsity football games, school assemblies, the annual Grand Ledge Invitational Marching Band Exhibition, the MSU Homecoming Parade, and various school functions.
The Okemos Bands have amassed an enviable 40+-year record of first division ratings at district and state festivals. In recent years, the bands have represented Okemos at home and abroad in such venues as Pearl Harbor, San Antonio, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Chicago, Washington D.C., St. Louis as well as London, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Toronto; Caracas, Venezuela; and in Florence, Venice, and Rome, Italy.
The band has performed under the baton of guest conductors Leonard Falcone, Stanley DeRusha, Kenneth Bloomquist, Sir Vivian Dunn, Seraphime Mike, Col. John Bourgeois, Dave Catron, Kevin Sedatole and John Madden.
Individual band members have distinguished themselves with superior ratings in district and state solo festivals, as well as at summer music sessions at the Marrowstone Festival in Washington State, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Interlochen, Northwestern University, Brevard Music Center, the Kennedy Center/National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute, Oberlin, MSU, Albion, WMU, Elmhurst College, Ball State and others.
The Okemos High School Band program provides an experience in instrumental music for all students.
As parents and educators, we are deeply interested and involved in the educational experience our children are experiencing. We believe that music plays a vital role in the growth of every child. Current research confirms that the study of music is one of the most effective tools to improve learning throughout a child’s academic curriculum.
As educators and role models, we want to help students:
- Develop a habit of persistence that will help them through the tough times in life and keep them on task when it would be easier to quit.
- Learn to be responsible and to see mistakes as an opportunity to grow and make necessary corrections on the pathway to success.
- Master the skills of cooperation so they can enjoy working with their counterparts in every realm of personal and professional life.
- Create a set of personal values that will allow a prosperous and fulfilling lifelong journey and find a way to express these understandings.
- Find a meaningful form or contribution that is significant to self and others.
In many ways, the band experience is a training ground for all of these attributes, and much more. We believe that participation in the band has the potential to have a positive impact on important aspects of a child’s life. Healthy participation in the band develops a child’s mind and character. The disciplines learned can transfer to all of life.
The Okemos High School Band Boosters, Inc. support the band in all of their activities, and the Okemos Music Patrons supports music programs K-12 in the Okemos Public Schools.