PIONEER PRIDE BANDS
The Kirkwood Band Program is a vertically aligned program with instructors teaching students from 5th grade to 12th grade on a daily basis. Annually, approximately 600 Kirkwood students participate in band in the Elementary Instrumental Band Program, North Kirkwood Middle School Band, Nipher Middle School Band and Kirkwood High School Band. Students begin band in 5th grade in homogeneous classes that meet at Nipher middle school before school twice a week. The band program at Kirkwood High School provides a comprehensive musical experience for its students with special emphasis placed in the areas of Concert and Solo & Ensemble performance. Performance opportunities at North Kirkwood and Nipher Middle Schools include 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands. North Middle School band classes meet four days a week. Three days are a 47 minute class and one day is a 90 minute class. Nipher Middle School band classes meet every day for 45 minutes. Both middle schools have active jazz and percussion ensemble programs meeting after school once per week.
Performing ensembles at Kirkwood High School include the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Woodwind Chamber Ensemble, Brass Choir, Jazz Combo, Jazz Band and Pit Orchestra. In the fall, all of these groups combine to form the 200-member Pioneer Pride Marching Band. Special emphasis is placed on auditioning for the St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association District Honor Band in the fall and participating in the SLSMEA/MSHSAA Solo/Small Ensemble Festival in the spring. Because we encourage active musical experiences of both an individual and a shared nature, all 7th through 12th grade students are required to prepare and perform a solo or choose a small ensemble with appropriate instrumentation for performance. Students are strongly encouraged to perform their solo or small ensemble at St. Louis Suburban District Solo and Ensemble Festival.
We believe that musical experiences enrich the lives of students and the life of the community. The program is structured in such a way that students can be involved in every area of the school culture without having to choose one activity over another. The goal of the music program is to foster, encourage, and support students to be scholars, athletes and musicians throughout their lives. This is the Portrait of a Pioneer.
The band teaching staff is made up of four full-time band directors, one full-time percussion instructor and two part-time band teachers. Each instructor teaches two sections of homogenous beginning 5th grade band classes that meet twice per week. The five full-time instructors also teach in a lead or assistant role at grade 6-12 band levels, offering continuity of instruction. By the time they graduate from Kirkwood High School, students have been guided through the goals put forth in the band curriculum for eight consecutive years by the instructors who taught them their first notes. This approach allows for a unique and comprehensive band experience.