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Band

Our Band Program

The Pinecrest Academy Band program was founded in the Fall of 2009 with fewer than 100 beginning band students in grades 4th-11th. Nineteen months later the band performed at the Heritage Music Festival in New York City, winning their class, and receiving an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall the following spring. Since then, the private school band program has more than doubled in size, includes six concert bands, and has been invited to perform at many prestigious music festivals throughout the world.

The High School Wind Symphony has performed in world renowned venues including Carnegie Hall in New York City, and Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and The Band will perform in Spring 2018 at the US Bands National Concert Band Festival at Verizon Hall in Philadelphia, PA. Students have also performed at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center, Universal Studios in Orlando, FL, and received an invitation to perform for the Pope at the Vatican for the “Day of Peace”.

Throughout the years our program has commissioned, and premiered, several new works for the wind band repertoire from distinguished composers including Jack Stamp, Colonel Don Schofield, and Leonard Insalaca. We also bring in world class college conductors several times a year to work with our bands, including directors from the University of Notre Dame, the University of Miami Frost School of Music, the University of Maryland, and the University of Georgia.

Our students have performed in numerous honor bands including the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) All-State Band, the GMEA All-District Bands, the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) All-Select Bands, University of Georgia Honor Bands “Janfest”, Troy University Honor Bands, Young Harris College Honor Bands, and the Reinhardt University Honor Band. Our bands have received superior ratings at every evaluated festival they have participated in over the past nine years.

Pinecrest Academy has partnered with the Ascension Music Academy to offer private lessons on all band instruments and piano, instruction in music theory and composition, ensemble coaching, and college/honor band audition preparation and recording, all with the convenience of never having to leave campus.

Although our award-winning Band program may be small in numbers, we have achieved a great level of success in a short period of time. In line with our motto “Catholic Formation through Performance in Band” the smaller numbers allow each student more individualized attention from the instructors, and the ability to form lifelong friendships with their fellow bandmates.

Courses

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  • 4th Grade Beginning Band

    This class is geared for students who are learning a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument for the first time. The class meets twice a week and will focus on reading notes and rhythms, tone development, technique, articulation, breathing, listening, and goal setting. They perform on the Christmas program, Dessert Concert, Lower School Showcase, and Band Spring Concert.
  • 5th Grade Band

    This class is geared for students who are continuing their education on a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument in order to prepare for the middle school bands. The class meets twice a week and will focus on reading notes and rhythms, tone development, technique, articulation, breathing, listening, and goal setting. They perform on the Band Fall Concert, Christmas program, Dessert Concert, Lower School Showcase, and Band Spring Concert.
  • AP Music Theory

    AP Music Theory corresponds to two semesters of a typical introductory college music theory course covering topics such as musicianship, theory, musical materials, and procedures. Students develop the ability to recognize, understand, and describe basic materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a score. Development of aural skills is a primary objective. Students understand basic concepts and terminology by listening to and performing a wide variety of music.
  • High School Wind Symphony

    This course provides instruction in the fundamentals of wind performance. Emphasis is placed on tone quality, intonation, phrasing, breathing, technique, reading, listening, and goal setting. It is an honors level course and is designed for the advanced musician who has 3 years of prior experience. Instruments offered are: flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, and concert percussion. Students will perform in concert in both the fall and spring semesters and may require rehearsals outside of the school day. They perform on the Band Fall Concert, Christmas program, Open House, Band Spring Concert, Graduation, and at a National Music Festival each spring.
  • Intro to Music Theory

    This course is a comprehensive insight into the fundamentals of music theory: notation, harmony, ear training, sight singing, etc. It will cover material such as pitches and scales, intervals, clefs, rhythm, form, meter, phrases and cadences, part writing, and aural skills.
  • Jazz Band

    This course is offered to students wishing to learn jazz history, style, theory, and literature through performance. An emphasis will be placed on improvisation. Genres will include, swing, dixieland, blues, be-bop, rock, funk, and a variety of latin styles.
  • Middle School Beginning Band

    This class is geared for students who are learning a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument for the first time. The class meets everyday and will focus on reading notes and rhythms, tone development, technique, articulation, breathing, listening, and goal setting. They perform on the Band Fall Concert, Christmas program, and Band Spring Concert.
  • Middle School Concert Band (Intermediate)

    This course provides instruction in the fundamentals of wind performance. Emphasis is placed on tone quality, intonation, phrasing, breathing, technique, reading, listening, and goal setting. This class is designed for the student with a minimum of 1 year experience in band. Instruments offered are: flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, and concert percussion. Students will perform in concert in both the fall and spring semesters and may require rehearsals outside of the school day. They perform on the Band Fall Concert, Christmas program, and Band Spring Concert.
  • Middle School Symphonic Band (Advanced)

    This course provides instruction in the fundamentals of wind performance. Emphasis is placed on tone quality, intonation, phrasing, breathing, technique, reading, listening, and goal setting. This class is designed for the student with a minimum of 1 year experience in band. Instruments offered are: flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, and concert percussion. Students will perform in concert in both the fall and spring semesters and may require rehearsals outside of the school day. They perform on the Band Fall Concert, Christmas program, and Band Spring Concert.
  • Music Appreciation

    This course is a survey of the history of western music from Gregorian Chant through modern day. Students will be able to identify music of each period by form, texture, and instrumentation, and will develop an understanding of music’s relationship to society. This class cover the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th Century periods. In addition we will delve into film music, jazz, rock, and pop.

What parents and students are saying:

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  • Christine Welsko, Alumni Parent

    The Band program proved to be one of the greatest lifelong gifts our daughter Lizzy received during her 14 years at Pinecrest Academy. She started playing in 5th grade and grew her talent through the years to make All-District Band for five consecutive years. She served in officer positions for four years and as Band Captain her Senior year. The program is run in such a way that students develop inner discipline to practice and strive for far-reaching goals of talent and leadership. Lizzy enjoyed the camaraderie of time spent with multiple grade levels of both boys and girls, and annual trips to musical competitions, which formed a tight bond centered on performances of excellence. Participating in the band program is one of Lizzy's favorite memories, so much so that she has incorporated music into her college experience.
  • Gabi Rodriguez, Middle School student

    After being in the Pinecrest Band for five years, I have developed skills and bonds that help me be a better musician. I cannot thank God enough for allowing me to have such an amazing teacher like Mr. Insalaca. Not only has he shown me how to know my instrument, but he has also supported me with any kind of band event I've had. Band isn't just some class we have during 6th period, it is where we can bond by expressing feeling through music. In my eyes, we are all like family. A loud, and at times out of tune, family.
  • Lilia Starnes, Alumna, Class of 2017

    I started Band as a freshman in high school, so I started later than usual. All throughout middle school, Mr.Insalaca would try to recruit me to join Band and every time I would say “Band is not my thing”. When I finally joined the Wind Symphony everyone was so welcoming and wanted to help me grow as a musician. Band at Pinecrest is unlike band at any other high school; the diversity is what makes it so fun and appealing. You weren’t just a band kid - you could also be on the soccer team or be the lead in a school play. You come out of Band learning the value of hard work and the importance of working for one another. Because I had such a great experience at Pinecrest, I am now playing in the Wind Symphony at Georgia College and State University.
  • Ryan Clever, Middle School Student

    Band at Pinecrest Academy is an experience like no other. Learning to play an instrument and being able to make others happy while playing it is the most exhilarating feeling. Music really has changed my life, and has changed the way I see the world and others. Some of my best friends have come out of band and I know that they will always have my back because we all have something in common - our love for music!
  • Tracy Aufleger, Alumni Parent

    The Pinecrest Band under Mr. Insalaca’s leadership has excelled. Mr. Insalaca has a “big” music resume, and the Band has students winning often in the district competitions and in competitions as a band. This is what we see on the surface. Inside is a band director that makes each and every member feel special, and inclusive. He hits the heart of the student. They form lasting friendships with each other. For a parent, he makes the tuition at the school worth every penny.

Awards & Accolades

  • Performed at New York Heritage Music Festival - Straight Superior Ratings, 1st Place - 2011
  • Performed at the National Band and Orchestra Festival at Carnegie Hall, New York City - 2012 (not rated)
  • Performed at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center -2013 (not rated)
  • Performed at the Worldstrides Festival of Gold at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL - 2014 (not rated)
  • Performed at Worldstrides OnStage! Music Festival in Williamsburg, VA - Straight Superior Ratings, 2nd place overall - 2016
  • Performed at Worldstrides OnStage! Music Festival at Universal Studios - Straight Superior Ratings, 1st Place - 2017
  • Performance scheduled for the US Bands National Concert Band Festival - Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA - 2018 (not rated)
  • Received numerous invitations to perform at prestigious music festivals throughout the world

Honors, Guest Conductors & World Premiers

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  • Guest University Conductors

    Dr. Ken Dye, University of Notre Dame
    Prof. Gary Green, Frost School of Music at the University of Miami
    Dr. David Gregory, Georgia Wind Symphony
    Dr. Douglas A. Harris, Western Kentucky University
    Prof. John Kilkenny, George Mason University
    Dr. Mary Land, Young Harris College
    Dr. Mike Robinson, University of Georgia
    Dr. L. Richmond Sparks, University of Maryland
    Dr. Jack Stamp, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    Dr. Cynthia Johnson Turner, University of Georgia
    Dr. Jason Worzbyt, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Student Honor Band Participation

    GMEA All-State Band
    GMEA All-District Band
    GISA All-Select Band
    UGA Honor Band “Janfest”
    Troy University Honor Band
    Young Harris College Honor Band
    Reinhardt University Honor Band
  • World Premieres

    Were You There? - Leonard Insalaca
    Hallelujah Fanfare - Don Schofield
    Ellacombe Variations - Jack Stamp
    Heroic Fanfare - Leonard Insalaca

Meet Our Band Instructors

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  • Leonard Insalaca, Director of Bands

    Leonard Insalaca has been the Director of Bands at Pinecrest Academy since the program’s inception in 2009.
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  • Thomas Kieffer, Assistant Director of Bands

    Thomas Kieffer has been the Assistant Director of Bands at Pinecrest Academy since 2015.
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  • Michael Pflug, Associate Director of Bands

    Originally inspired by his grandfather and father who were both trumpet players,
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  • Dr. L. Richmond Sparks, Resident Guest Conductor/Consultant

    Dr. L. Richmond Sparks was the Director of Bands at the University of Maryland.
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