The music program at Griswold High School is nationally recognized for its quality and the large percentage of students that participate. The GHS music program extends beyond the classroom; programs exist during and after school, and students perform for the greater-Griswold community regularly.
Developing the Student Musician-Athlete
Here at GHS, our students are well-rounded in all offerings at our school. For years, the GHS Music Department and Athletic Department work hand-in-hand to balance our students' involvement in all areas of interest. That's why you often see football players stepping up with Chamber Choir to sing the National Anthem at home games, or student athletes in jazz band or the spring musical. Equal support of all programs is displayed daily within the school community and beyond. At GHS, you never have to choose music or sports -- we encourage you to do it all!
Several Choirs, Band ensembles, and String Orchestra are offered at Griswold High School. Learn more about each music program below:
Griswold High School freshman and students grades 10-12 can choose to take Chorus as an elective course - a fun course where students can sing and learn music literacy.
After their first year in Chorus, students 10-12 can choose to audition for Concert and Chamber Choirs (auditions are held at the end of the academic year in preparation for the next school year). Concert Choir is a large audition choir that performs choral pieces and Master works, while Chamber choir is a smaller group made up of roughly 20 vocalists that sing more challenging arrangements of genres including popular music, jazz, folk songs, madrigals, and more.
Chamber Choir requires members to perform in various gigs outside of school, including but not limited to National Anthems at campus sporting events, dinner theaters, community holiday carol gigs, and more across eastern Connecticut. Chamber Choir also sings with Concert Choir at school concerts.
Student-run a'capella groups include include the Men's Choir, Testostertones, and Women's Choir, Sweet Harmonies. Additionally, there are music festivals students can audition for. More information on festivals is provided below.
All students with previous instrumental experience are invited to be part of our Instrumental Music Ensembles here at GHS.
The Griswold High School Band is a cornerstone of the GHS School community. The GHS Band performs at home varsity football games, basketball games, pep rallies, and parades within our community and beyond! All freshmen band members participate in our Concert Band, the largest of our 3 bands here at GHS. There, a focus on fundamentals, instrument technique, community building, and fun are at the focus. Concert Band performs a wide range of musical genres, including but not limited to pop tunes, movie/film music, marches, and classic band works.
After students' first year in GHS Band, students are invited to audition to be part of our prestigious GHS Wind Ensemble (auditions are held at the end of the academic year in preparation for the next school year). An honors level course, student musicianship, technique, and ensemble playing are polished and developed. Wind Ensemble is comprised of about 20 players and play more challenging band repertoire that include all genres of instrumental music. Students in Wind Ensemble frequently participate in outreach within our community, recruitment events, and special musical events within the school.
Jazz Band is an extracurricular ensemble offered to all GHS students with instrumental experience. Jazz band meets on Mondays from 5-7pm, and performs at all school concerts and select area jazz festivals. Jazz Band is a fun-filled "jam session" in which we learn about, listen, and play all genres of jazz such as blues, funk, rock, bossa nova, swing, etc. All band instruments are invited to participate including piano, electric guitar, and bass!
The Griswold High School String Orchestra is a growing program at GHS. Students who play violin, viola, cello or bass are encouraged to be part of this close-knit and talented ensemble. No experience necessary! As one of the only string programs in eastern CT, the GHS String Orchestra has achieved overwhelming success! Our ensemble performs in community and school events, all school concerts, and is featured as part of Griswold Schools' Annual String Festival held at Griswold Middle School in June. In addition, students from our String Orchestra are selected to participate in the pit orchestra of our award-winning Spring Musicals, sitting next to and playing alongside the best musicians in eastern CT.
Students within the program are also encouraged to form chamber groups (duos, trios, and string quartets) and are provided with opportunities to learn how to edit and arrange their own music using Sibelius and Muse Score. String students will also have opportunities for independent studies and leadership roles within the ensemble. Other instruments such as piano and bass guitar are also accepted in the group. We play a wide variety of styles such as Baroque and Classical to Film/Game Soundtracks and Pop/Rock!
Other Music Electives
Griswold High School offers several music electives outside of choirs, band and orchestra.
- Musical Theater - offers students a full, immersive experience into the world of theater
- History of Rock n Roll
- Piano/Theory I and Piano/Theory II
- Guitar and Music Tech
Find more elective courses in the Course Catalog.
Griswold High School is so fortunate to have its own MAC Lab where our Guitar, Piano/Theory, and Music Production courses are regularly held. The GHS MAC Lab features state of the art audio equipment including:
- Two JBL Studio Monitors + Sub
- 8-Channel Focusrite Audio Interface with high quality preamps are recording clean audio
- Condenser Microphones
- iMac Computers equipped with GarageBand and Pro Tools
- MIDI Keyboard Controllers with each computer
The room also houses over ten guitars and keyboards for our Piano and Guitar courses.
Like some of our other programs, the MAC Lab is growing and we are hoping for some upgrades in the near future such as acoustic treatment/sound paneling, a new recording booth, equipping our practice rooms with recording capabilities, and giving students access to more software like Logic and FL Studio.
All students (regardless of music program affiliation) can audition for the Spring Musical. Auditions take place in January, and performances are in April.
The 2022 Spring Musical will be Grease.
In addition to performing, students can opt to take part in the spring musical on Stage Crew, Light Crew, Sound Crew, Props, and more. Several GHS elective courses design and build sets, costumes, and more for the spring musical (fashion, construction, etc.).
School Concerts and gigs are listed on the GHS Music Calendar.
Concerts are scheduled for December and May.
The Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA) sponsors the Eastern Region Music Festival (January) and All-State Music Festival (April). Other regional high school music festivals include the Quinebaug Valley Music Festival and New England Music Festival (NEMFA).
Students in band, orchestra or choirs may audition for these competitive ensembles. Students who choose to audition will receive feedback from professional adjudicators and will have the opportunity to rehearse and perform in a concert with other strong musicians.
Band students may be recommended by their director for participation in the UCONN Band First Chair Festival that takes place each February. All top players in Eastern CT come together to rehearse and perform in a concert at University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT.
Brothers Sing On is an all-male choir festival at UCONN, usually held in October. Much like the UCONN Band First Chair Festival, participants are recommended by director.
Music Honor Society
Students in the music program can apply to become a member of Griswold's chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society (formerly Modern Music Masters). Students qualify for induction by being enrolled in a music ensemble on campus and earning an A or higher in those classes, plus an overall GPA of 85 or higher. Anonymous applications are screened by Tri-M advisors and voted on by membership. It is a great resume-booster, and Tri-M students participate in community projects related to the performing arts.
Pre-COVID-19, all participants grades 9-12 in the GHS music program (choirs, band, orchestra) would take a trip each spring to perform. Trips have included New York City, Disney World, Virginia Beach, and Quebec, Canada. Trips include musical performances by students, seeing shows, special outings (from dog-sledding to museum visits), all meals, and a senior night activity. Stay tuned for more information about upcoming trips!
Music Department Staff
Please contact our instructors for more information:
Mr. Raymond Churchill, Choirs, Piano/Theory I & II, Music Theater, History of Rock n Roll
Mr. Mike Albaine, GMS & GHS Orchestra, Guitar and Music Tech
Ms. Amanda Richmond, GMS & GHS Band and Jazz Band