Symphonic Winds West Coast Whirlwind Tour

Over the Christmas break, 48 students and five staff departed for a three-week musical exchange across the West Coast of the United States. Musicians from Symphonic Winds, Senior Stage Band, Pep Band and Jazz Combo spent time in Hawaii, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

With 17 Performances and six masterclasses along the way, highlights included:


  • Workshops with Jazz Trumpet legend, Mike Lewis, and University of Hawaii’s Dr Gabriel Arnold. Students also enjoyed an amazing day performing and interacting with the animals at Honolulu’s Sea Life Park.
  • Performances and masterclasses with the United States Pacific Fleet Band in front of the USS Missouri at Pearl Harbour and a tour of the Arizona Memorial.
  • Performing at the Ala Moana Centre, shopping in Waikiki and the view from the summit of Wakapu’u peak on the North Shore.

Los Angeles

  • Performances at California Adventureland and a recording session with Grammy Award-winning conductor, Stan Freer, in Disneyland.
  • Performances and homestays with Newport Harbour High, Palisades Charter High and visits to Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier.
  • A masterclass with Dr Dustin Barr from California State University and dinner at Bubba Gump’s.

San Francisco

  • Travelling the Pacific Ocean Road through Pismo Beach and Monterey was the best way to reach San Francisco. The Old West Cinnamon Rolls were amazing!
  • A Workshop and masterclass with Professor Bradley Stirling Hogarth and Professor Dennis Aquilla from the San Francisco State University set us up for a spectacular final performance with our hosts at George Washington High.
  • Our final day was highlighted with a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, down Lombard Street and dinner on Pier 39.

Thank you to staff for their amazing efforts on tour. It was a pleasure to take 48 talented and well-disciplined musicians overseas to represent their College and country.

Thank you to local composers, Mr Shannon Rogers and Mr Kerry Jacobson, for their compositions that were premiered across the West Coast. If you would like to purchase a copy of our CD, ‘Comin Home’, please collect one from the Performing Arts Centre Reception whilst they are still available.

Grantley Sutch – Head of Band