Under the direction of Joel Carlson, the GRAMMY® award winning Mira Costa Bands are part of the comprehensive music department at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, CA, and have been hailed by professional critics and adjudicators alike for fantastic performances of advanced high school, collegiate and professional repertoire in concerts, festivals and competitions from coast to coast. From the Concert Ensembles to the Jazz Ensembles and the Marching Ensembles, the Mira Costa Bands provide a breadth of opportunity to students to perform at the highest level of excellence.
Our Concert Ensembles were featured in their Carnegie Hall debut in Spring 2016 and our Jazz Band took top honors at the 49th Annual Berklee High School Jazz Festival in 2017. The MCHS Jazz Bands and Combos competed for adjudicators at the Riverside Jazz Festival, held last April 2019. They won first place in two divisions, as well as for sight-reading. Marching Band is a perennial Finalist at State Marching Band Championships.
This spring 2020, the Mira Costa Bands were scheduled to travel to Washington DC over Spring Break when the Concert and Jazz Bands were invited to participate in "The President's Cup" National High School Concert Band Festival, hosted by the U.S. Army Band, and the Marching Band and Colorguard were to march in the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. Unfortunately, the trip had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
With the intent of providing each student performer with experiences that will result in their finding wonder and excitement in the creative endeavor, the highest quality literature and opportunities are selected to encourage the greatest individual musical growth, depth of experience and development of a life-long appreciation for music and the arts.
The music department at Mira Costa operates at a high level of artistic ambition and achievements. In 2014, they were awarded the prestigious GRAMMY® Signature Gold Award for being a top three high school music program in the United States. In 2015, the California Department of Education designated Mira Costa High School as a Gold Ribbon School through the strength of its Performing Arts Department.
The program currently consists of Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Jazz Band, Marching Band and Flags/Colorguard.
Due to the level of training, rehearsals, performance and professionalism taught to the students over the years in band, many have gone on to play in prestigious college music programs either as a career or to continue as a hobby. Also, a whopping 40% of Mira Costa’s National Merit Semi-Finalists for 2018 were band members.
Please enjoy the latest video from Mr. Joel Carlson and the Mira Costa High School Jazz 1 with supporting cast members from Jazz 2.
Symphonic Band performs advanced high school literature and is considered the next stage of musical development after performing in Middle School Band in MBUSD.
This course is an intermediate to advanced level performance-based instrumental music ensemble for wind and percussion players which teaches and develops the higher order of thinking skills involved in the musical performance process.
With the core principle of communicating musical intent with clarity, students pursue the ability to think and play creatively, collaboratively, and critically as the primary focus of this course. As a subsequent focus, students will progress in their ability to acquire and apply historical and theoretical knowledge about the music literature being studied.
Performances outside of regular school time are required.
Students in Wind Ensemble will advance their musicianship through the study and performance of challenging band, wind ensemble, and chamber music.
Students will participate in performances and occasional rehearsals outside of the school day
Students in Wind Symphony participate in the Mira Costa Symphony Orchestra. This is a performance-based class designed for highly skilled and versatile string musicians selected through an advanced audition process. This course involves a comprehensive education covering a variety of genres, elements, and performance techniques.
Performances and rehearsals outside of regular school time are required.
This course offers instrumental music students the opportunity to explore the areas of traditional and contemporary big-band jazz music of various styles through group rehearsals and public performances.
Instrumentation includes trumpets, trombones, saxophones, and rhythm instruments (i.e. piano, guitar, bass, drums, and percussion).
Marching Band takes the musicianship learned in one of the core music ensembles outdoors, onto the football field and into the stands. Advanced training in visually expressing music through marching and movement is acquired through practice during after school hours commensurate with a sports team.
It is a no cut program and can be taken for PE credit and no prior marching band experience is required. However, as a competitive "Sport of the Arts", Marching Band is a physical demanding team where everyone performs at the Varsity level.
Performance opportunities include: marching band tournaments, home and away football games, and local parades.
Mira Costa’s award-winning program is a year-round sport that combines athleticism, creativity and artistry.
COLORGUARD is a performance sport that utilizes flags, rifles and sabers to create a visual show. In the Fall, the Colorguard is part of the Marching Band, and performs along with the Band at home and away football games, participates in parades, and competes in Field Tournaments with the Marching Band. In the Spring, the Colorguard goes inside, and performs as WINTERGUARD in the gym. Using the same skills, the team performs a themed show using flags, rifles, and sabers.
During the Spring season, Winterguard participates in competitions throughout Southern California. Flags and Colorguard are offered to all Mira Costa students. The students learn movement, dance techniques, choreography, manipulation of traditional Colorguard equipment (flag, rifle, and saber), as well as non-traditional equipment and choreographed routines.
This class is open to all levels of participation and interest. Students who sign up for the course are expected to participate in after school practices and weekend competitions for both seasons. During marching season, students are expected to attend all home football games and perform at halftime.
Placement Assessments for wind and percussion players are held in June for the following school year. Assessments are not auditions - the data is then used to appropriately group players of similar capabilities within the three Concert Ensembles (Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony) as well as to determine part assignments for Marching Band and placement within the Full Symphony Orchestra which is formed from members of the Wind Symphony. The purpose is to ensure that every musician is placed in the band that is the best fit to ensure that the development level and challenges allow the student to thrive.
There are two Band concerts per academic year - the Winter Concert in December and the Pops Concert in May. These concerts are held in the Mira Costa Auditorium. Additionally, there is an All District Band Concert held in February. There are also separate Jazz and Percussion Concerts. Each of the bands perform in all these concerts and participation is mandatory.
An Evening of Eclectic Ensembles is now an annual Spring music event where Mira Costa Band and Orchestra students combine in small ensembles to play a variety of music genres.
All bands participate in off campus festival performances each year.
The MB/X Foundation sponsors numerous High School Booster Clubs organisations and their efforts to raise money in support of of their activities. Donations received are directed to the Booster Club.
MB/X is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a Section 501(c)3 organization and as such donations received are deductible to extent allowed by law.
The MCHS Band Booster Club is an organization of parents, alumni and community members who provide monetary and volunteer support to the Mira Costa Bands. By having a student in the program, you are automatically a member. They support quality instruction and curricular and extracurricular experiences for MCHS students and promote music education and appreciation throughout the community. Parents work behind the scenes to benefit all of our young musicians to sustain a truly excellent music program.
The Booster Club organises volunteers, keeps parents up to date on events and all things band throughout the year, including important announcements relating school trips, concerts and festivals. The Booster Club also helps raise funds for the Band Program as families defray nearly all costs associated with providing for the program; including, the purchase of new instruments, music scores, licensing, coaching fees, concert costs, festival fees, Financial Assistance and other incidentals.
Joel Carlson is the Instrumental Music Teacher for the Bands at Mira Costa High School, a 2014 GRAMMY Signature Schools Gold Award winning school and one of three awardees to be recognized by the GRAMMY Foundation in 2014 as having one of the best comprehensive music programs in the nation.
During his tenure at Mira Costa, the bands have grown in size, scope and excellence. From the Wind Ensembles to the Jazz Bands and the Marching Band, the Mira Costa Bands are consistently rated at the highest levels of musicality for their outstanding performances.
A native Californian, Joel is a proud graduate of Thousand Oaks High School and the University of California, Los Angeles (BA, Music Education & Music Performance, oboe, 2003; MA, Conducting & Music Performance, oboe, 2005), and is a proud alumni of the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps (2000-2002) where he was honored to be named as the 2002 Brass Player of the Year.
Mr. Carlson enjoys the daily pursuit of helping each student to realize the fullest cognitive, collaborative, and creative benefits that music education has to offer. Mr. Carlson directs the three Wind Ensembles, the two Jazz Ensembles and the Marching Band.
Jeremy Miller is a graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music and holds a degree in Performance and Professional Music. Born in eastern Pennsylvania, Mr. Miller began his music career as both a performer and private instructor. His marching career started as a member of the 12-time Tournament of Bands East Coast Percussion Champion Emmaus High School Marching Band and Drumline and continued to include the 2002 Tournament of Indoor Association Champion, Mid-Atlantic Percussion Society Champion and WGI Open Class Finalist Aftermath Independent Indoor Drumline, as well as the Drum Corps Associates Champion Reading Buccaneers Drum and Bugle Corps.
Now residing in Los Angeles, California, Mr. Miller has had numerous percussion and drumline teaching opportunities with Santa Monica High School, Hart High School, Pacific Palisades Charter High School, and Mira Costa High School. He continues to perform, teach, and record as a drum set player with numerous area artists in a variety of venues and genres, assists with instructing the Wind Ensembles, is the Percussion Caption Head for the Marching Band and the Director of the Indoor Percussion and Percussion Studio programs.