O’Connor High School Jazz Ensemble I, II & Jazz Combo
The O’Connor Jazz Program started in the fall of 1998 with just 9 students in a combo setting. In the 2017-2018 school year there were 55 students in two jazz classes during the school day. These two classes have full instrumentation and include an advanced jazz combo. Every day the students study jazz vocabulary, theory, dictation, improvisation and the basics of great jazz ensemble playing. They play all styles from the standards to more contemporary composers and all genres from big band, Latin, funk, pop, ballads and vocal features. Our O’Connor jazz students have earned the largest percentage of students earning chairs in the All Region Jazz Ensemble since the school opened (often 40-50% of the All Region Jazz Ensemble).
O’Connor has had nine TMEA All State Jazz Students in the program. The O’Connor Jazz I was Named Outstanding Jazz Ensemble at the Hill Country Jazz Festival at Texas State University (2003-2017). We have had over 120 soloists named to All Star Bands and Outstanding Soloist Awards at various Festivals. The O’Connor Jazz I has won every caption award (section soloists and sections) at the Jazz Along the Medina Jazz Festival. They were named the Outstanding 5A band at the Jazz Along the Medina Jazz Festival for 4 consecutive years.
A great honor was being recognized and representing all jazz programs at the 2003 Arts Education Day at the Texas Capital. The OHS Jazz Ensembles give performances throughout San Antonio and are one of the few high school bands still hosting an annual Big Band Dance at the end of every year. In 2006 the O’Connor Jazz Ensemble was selected as the Outstanding 5A Jazz Ensemble at the Hill Country Jazz Festival, Palo Alto College Jazz Festival, and the Rio Grande Valley Jazz Festival with the outstanding soloist of each festival coming from O’Connor HS. The Jazz Combo also was selected as the Outstanding Combo as well with our Jazz II placing among other 2nd jazz ensembles. In 2007 the O’Connor Jazz I & Combo were named for Outstanding Performance at the Hill Country Jazz Festival and selected to perform at the NORTH TEXAS JAZZ FESTIVAL in Addison Texas.
In 2008 the band was named Outstanding at the Temple College Jazz Festival and the Texas Lutheran University Band Festival. We have had as many as nine students in the San Antonio Youth Jazz Ensemble. This is an auditioned group that makes up the best of San Antonio high school jazz musicians. We are very PROUD to keep jazz alive in our schools and community! The 2009 Jazz I and Combo were named Outstanding at the Hill Country Jazz Festival and once again were invited among high schools from 14 states to be featured at the North TEXAS JAZZ FESTIVAL. In 2010 The Jazz group once again was selected for Outstanding Performance at the Hill Country Jazz Festival and all 3 bands were featured at the Jazz Along the San Antonio Riverwalk Festival. They also perform throughout the community including grand openings, NISD Teacher of the Year Ceremonies and the Express News “A” Team Luncheon. They have also driven the music for both NISD performances for the Texas Association of School Boards and School Administrators.
Since 2006 the band has earned Best In Class honors throughout Texas. In 2012 the band was featured at JazzSALive (the official jazz festival for the City of San Antonio) and in 2013 at Fiesta’s Taste of New Orleans and the 1st Annual Helotes Jazz Festival. O’Connor Jazz has also been featured and served as demonstration groups at both TBA and TMEA. The bands all earned Outstanding Performance honors at the Texas State and Palo Alto Jazz Festivals in 2014 and 2015. The band was once again featured at Fiesta’s Taste of New Orleans in 2017 as well as more Outstanding Performance honors at Texas State University and the South Texas Jazz Festival. Truly one of the great jazz programs in Texas