Ensembles and Performing Groups
The West Johnston Marching Band is, in many ways, the face of our school during the fall season. The group consists of winds, percussion, and guard members who perform throughout the fall at athletic events and parades, as well as local and regional marching competitions. The West Johnston Marching Band marched at the Inaugural Parade in 2005, the Macy's Day Parade in 2008 and the McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago in 2018, down Main Street in Walt Disney World, and often at Bands of America competitions.
After initial contract signings and camps in May and early June, the season traditionally begins in late July with leadership and rookie marching camps, before full Summer Band Camp in early August. Competitions begin in mid-September and finish around early November. The group occasionally performs at other local events throughout the year.
Marching Band is especially good for incoming freshman students because Band Camp gives students the opportunity to be a part of a group in high school a month before the school year even begins. Freshmen who join Marching Band enter school on the first day with a support system of friends already in place!
The West Johnston Concert ensembles include the Wind Ensemble and the Symphonic Band. The Wind Ensemble rehearses during 4th block and consists mostly of juniors and seniors, along with a few outstanding freshmen and sophomores. This group is our top concert group, performing grade 4-6 level music throughout the year, which is performed at concerts in the WJHS Auditorium. Auditions for this group occur in late fall/spring for the following semester.
The West Johnston Symphonic Band is the school's second concert ensemble, consisting mostly of freshmen and sophomores. The band meets during 3rd block and also performs throughout the year. Expectations are just as high for this ensemble, just with music on a slightly lower level of sophistication. This group is open for all to sign up, including those that have never played a wind or percussion instrument before!
The West Johnston Jazz Ensemble is currently Johnston County's only touring high school big band. Consisting of traditional big band instruments, the group performs throughout the year for in-house concerts, other schools, retirement homes, local venues and jazz festivals. This is a high intensity ensemble where every student learns to improvise, and develops performance in a large variety of styles from swing, bebop, funk, rock, ballad, Latin, and more. Jazz Auditions occur during the first week of school; and, rehearsals begin shortly after and run the rest of the year.
During the winter season, our A-Guard and Open-Guard are opportunities for students to perform intricate, athletic shows that utilize equipment like flags, rifles and sabers. While the Guard is part of the Marching Band in the fall, these groups are truly featured in the winter months. All students are welcome in the A-Guard, while tryouts for Open guard are in mid-November. Post-tryouts, full rehearsals begin in early December and competitions run from mid-February through April. Both groups participate in Atlantic Indoor Association competitions, while the Open-Guard is a regular participant in Winter Guard International (WGI) Regionals, as well at WGI National Championships in Dayton, Ohio.
West Johnston Fine Arts Collaboratives and Musical Pit
The West Johnston Band also partners with our amazing Fine Arts Department throughout the year to present cross-arts experiences for our students. This includes a Christmas Collaborative in December and our professional-level musical in April. These groups are selected from our finest musicians; and, perform as live background music and are featured with our Chorus and Dance Departments.