The North band program has developed a rich tradition of excellence in all of its major areas: the concert bands, jazz bands, Cougar Marching Band, and Color Guard. Concert and jazz bands meet during the school day, while marching band, jazz combos, and pep band are extracurricular (though marching band students receive a half credit).
Intermediate Concert Band
Students who have more than one year of playing experience may join this group. It is conducted by both Janis Stockhouse and Thomas Wilson. (The course catalog refers to it as “Intermediate Concert Band,” but sometimes people call it “Advanced Concert Band.”)
The Wind Ensemble performs a wide range of standard band literature. It has a long history of success in ISSMA regional competitions. Thomas Wilson is the conductor.
The Symphonic Band plays the most advanced music of all the concert bands. It has been an ISSMA state finalist all but two years since 1985, including numerous top-four finishes. Members of the group are routinely given Gold awards at district and state solo and ensemble contests and selected for all-state bands and orchestras. Symphonic Band is conducted by Janis Stockhouse.
Intermediate Jazz (Jazz 4)
This class introduces students with some instrument experience to playing jazz. Directed by Thomas Wilson.
Offered if there is sufficient interest.
Lab Jazz (Jazz 3)
This group is intended for students with some jazz experience. Much emphasis is placed on improvisation and exposure to all jazz styles. Directed by Janis Stockhouse.
Studio Jazz (Jazz 2)
Led by Thomas Wilson, Studio Jazz has been recognized with top ratings at numerous events in recent years.
Advanced Jazz (Jazz 1)
Janis Stockhouse directs the Advanced Jazz Band, one of the nation’s top high school jazz ensembles. Its members are frequently recognized as outstanding soloists. They have performed at conventions, festivals, and competitions in Toronto, New Orleans, Long Beach, Omaha, New York City, and elsewhere.
North student musicians organize their own jazz combos with the assistance of the band directors. Most perform at various festivals and competitions and receive top awards. Combos may be available to perform at private and community events. Contact Janis Stockhouse for more information.
Cougar Marching Band
The Bloomington North Cougar Marching Band represents Bloomington North in weekly invitational and ISSMA competitions during the months of September through October. They compete in Class B, which is determined by school size, not band size. Since 1994 they have been a state finalist many times, finishing as high as 5th (in 2006). Notable performances include the 1999 Rose Bowl Parade, the 2003 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the 2006 and 2012 Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parades. Mr. Wilson is the driving force behind their success.
Winter Percussion provides practice, motivation, and playing opportunities for students who play percussion, as well as students who play other instruments but want to learn percussion (mainly mallet instruments). The ensemble plays at competitions of the Indiana Percussion Association. There are various marching and concert divisions at different levels; North performs in Open class Concert Percussion, which means they roll the instruments onto the gym floor and then play their piece, no marching is involved. (From least to most competitive, the classes are B, A, Open (PSCO), and World.) This is an extracurricular activity that takes place after marching band ends. Directors are Ben Handel and Karen Cole.
The pep band, composed of volunteers from the bands listed above, provides spirited support for the Bloomington North boys basketball team. The Cougar Marching Band performs at home football games.
Color Guard/Winter Guard
Our Color Guard program provides “dancers,” flags, etc. for the Cougar Marching Band in the fall, while the Winter Guard has their own competitions. The program has been steadily growing since 2004 with the introduction of a color guard class at the high school. The Winter Guard is increasing in size and talent every year. Spring training and rounds of auditions for Color Guard are from May 1 to the end of June. Immediately following Marching Band State Finals, there are auditions for the winter season group.