Meet the Director - Band
Director of Bands
Ballard High School
Michael James is the Director of Bands at Ballard High School where he serves as department chair and conducts the Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band 1, Percussion Ensemble and Marching Band.
Under his direction, the Ballard Band program has gained a national reputation for musical excellence and has won numerous awards and recognitions. Most recently, the Ballard Wind Ensemble performed at Carnegie Hall where they received a Gold rating for their performance in the New York International Music Festival. Ballard Jazz Band 1 has also performed on the national stage, having been invited to three of the nation’s most prestigious jazz festivals -the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival in New York City, the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, California, and the Swing Central Jazz Festival in Savannah, Georgia.
In 2011, Mr. James was recognized by the 5th Avenue Theater for having the Most Outstanding Orchestra of a high school musical in the state of Washington. He has been named one of Ballard High School’s Outstanding Educators and a Symetra “Hero in the Classroom”. Aside from his duties at Ballard, he is also the Music Director of the Seattle Symphonic Band. Mr.James earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Pacific Lutheran University and a Master of Arts in Conducting from Truman State University.
The Wind Ensemble is the school’s premier concert band. Membership is by audition only. This ensemble performs the highest level of literature written for the wind band medium by composers such as Grainger, Holst, Ticheli, Bryant, Mackey, and others. Recent honors include an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall in 2017 for the New York International Music Festival where they received a Gold rating for their performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide” and David Maslanka’s “Give Us This Day.” The Wind Ensemble has been invited to perform on a prestigious concert hour at the WMEA State Music Teacher’s Conference in Yakima in February 2018.
All Members of the Wind Ensemble also support the greater school community by performing as part of the award-winning Marching Band at football and basketball games and at parades throughout the Northwest.
The Symphonic Band is comprised of 9th-12th grade band students. Membership is by audition only. Students in Symphonic Band perform technically and musically challenging repertoire throughout the year. An emphasis on fundamental concepts, including breathing, instrument-specific techniques, and mastery of musical skills, are an important component of this band.
All Members of the Symphonic Band also support the greater school community by performing as part of the award-winning Marching Band at football and basketball games and at parades throughout the Northwest.
The Concert Band is comprised of 9th-12th grade band students. Most incoming freshmen are placed into this band. Students in Concert Band perform technically and musically challenging repertoire throughout the year. An emphasis on fundamental concepts, including breathing, instrument-specific techniques, and mastery of musical skills, are an important component of this band.
All Members of the Concert Band also support the greater school community by performing as part of the award-winning Marching Band at football and basketball games and at parades throughout the Northwest.
The Percussion class is focused on all aspects of percussion technique and playing. Students will learn various skills on mallet instruments, snare drum, timpani, and all other concert percussion instruments. Students in the Percussion class perform as part of the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble but also through various percussion ensembles.
Ballard Percussionists consistently represent the Elliott Bay Region at the State Solo/Ensemble competition and have twice placed in the top 3 at this prestigious event.
All Members of the Percussion class also support the greater school community by performing as the Drumline for the award-winning Marching Band at football and basketball games and at parades throughout the Northwest.
Jazz Band 1 is the premier jazz band at Ballard and has recently emerged onto the Seattle jazz scene as one of the Northwest’s top high school jazz bands. Its accomplishments include prestigious invitations to perform at the Essentially Ellington competition in New York (2018 & 2012), the Swing Central Jazz Festival in Savannah (2014), and the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey (2018 & 2015.) The band won 1st Place at the Mt.Hood Jazz Festival (2013) and is the only band to have been named an Outstanding Jazz Ensemble for two consecutive years at the UW Jazz Festival (2016 and 2017). Jazz 1 has also performed at Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival and Starbucks’ “Hot Java Cool Jazz” concert. Jazz 1 meets every school day at 7:40 AM
Jazz Band 2 is comprised of students interested in learning the art of jazz through the study of jazz technique and improvisation. The band plays at all school concerts. Jazz 2 meets Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:40 AM.
Jazz Band 1 and Jazz Band 2 both perform annually at Jazz Alley, one of Seattle’s most prestigious jazz venues.
The band is fortunate to have Saxophonist Gary Hammon provide mentoring and coaching. Mr. Hammon emerged from the Seattle funk and free jazz scene, studied at the New England Conservatory of Music, toured with organist Big John Patton, returned to Seattle and recorded Fangs in 2005 with saxophonist Hadley Caliman.
Find out more: http://www.hammon-esvelt.com
BHS Welcomes New Jazz Instructor Trevor Parrish
Trevor Parrish is a veteran music educator and performer specializing in trumpet, trombone, piano and jazz. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in music focused on classical and jazz trumpet performance from the University of Nevada, Reno and a master of fine arts degree from the California Institute of the Arts. He also attended the School for Improvisational Music in Brooklyn, New York.
For more than a decade, Trevor has worked as apart-time adjunct staff member for numerous high school music programs, private lesson studios and independent organizations along the West Coast.
Most recently, Trevor is in his fourth year at Glacier Peak High School teaching Jazz Big Band 1, Jazz combos 1 and 2, and a weekly Jazz and Improvisation clinic.
Trevor plays in a number of diverse music ensembles. To learn more about him, check out his website.
2018 Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition, New York
Congratulations to Jazz 1 on their inspired and energetic performance at the prestigious Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition in New York City on May 12th. From the surprise violin intro on "Night in Tunisia," to the emotional "Prelude to a Kiss," and the swinging sounds of the "Harlem Congo," our musicians represented Ballard well on the national stage.
Recognition for their performances included:
Outstanding Trumpet Section - Joe Fotheringham, Lucas Beidler, Owen Ebersbach, & Evan Fekete
Outstanding Trombone Section - Alli Beaulieu, Jane Christopherson, Parker Crotty
Outstanding Alto Sax Solo - Katie Webster
Outstanding Violin Solo - Evan Snoey
Honorable Mention Trumpet Solo - Joe Fotheringham
2018 Next Generation Jazz Festival, Monterey, CA
2015 Next Generation Jazz Festival, Monterey, CA
There’s no greater place to learn than on the bandstand. That’s why each spring we invite over 1300 of the nation’s top student musicians to play their hearts out at the Next Generation Jazz Festival (NGJF). One of the most inclusive festivals in the United States, the festival welcomes performances by middle, high school and collegiate groups of every kind: big bands, combos, vocal ensembles, as well as conglomerate bands. Ballard High School Jazz I was chosen to be one of only 12 bands to compete in the High School Big Band category and the only band chosen from outside of the state of California. Over the course of three days, students:
Hear and play with some the best student performers in the country
Learn tips and techniques in workshops led by the pros
Get their minds blown by our star-studded judges band
Receive detailed and thoughtful critique from our experienced adjudicators
Jam for each other and the locals all over downtown Monterey
Congratulations to Aisha Carpenter for winning an outstanding soloist award for her vocals on "Rocks in My Bed".
2012 Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival
Ballard High School Jazz Band I was 7th of the 15 finalists of the 17th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Band Competition & Festival, presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Three BHS students were honored:
Ruby Fore: Honorable Mention Tenor Sax
Jade Likkel: Outstanding Vocalist
Sam Zisette: Outstanding Trumpet
Find out more -
The band played three tunes:
I'm Just a LuckySo and So
Tootie for Cootie
Watch the interview with Ruby Fore, Helen Miller, Sam Zisette, and Mr. James:
The Award-Winning Ballard High School Marching Band is the largest marching band in all of Seattle Public Schools and is recognized throughout the Northwest and beyond for its excellence in music making and its precision in marching. The band is comprised of all students in the Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble and Percussion classes. It most recently won 1st Place at the 2016 Autumn Leaf Festival Parade in Leavenworth and has won numerous other awards and accolades at parades in Wenatchee, Victoria, Disneyland, and Seattle. The band has also been featured in a local commercial for Bartell Drugs.
The Marching Band performs at home football games and basketball games, 1-2 parades, and at pep assemblies and community events throughout the year. Its highly energetic and entertaining halftime show at the Homecoming football game is not to be missed!
Watch the video of Ballard's Marching Band performing at the 2012-13 Homecoming game.
Black Band t-shirts are the required uniform for all basketball games. Students will not be allowed to play with the band if they are not wearing your band shirt and you will not receive credit towards their grade for showing up without the band t-shirt. Students not wearing Band t-shirts, should not bother showing up! Students are to be in the Band Room ready to play 30 minutes prior to game time.