The Lakota Schools Instrumental Music Program

The Lakota Schools Band Program

Lakota prides itself on offering a wide range of quality instrumental experiences, including concert band, jazz band, marching band, pep band and other small ensembles. At Lakota, band instruction begins in sixth grade at each of the 10 elementary schools, meeting twice per week for 40 minutes. Directors team-teach and are woodwind, brass or percussion specialists, paired accordingly. Students met in heterogeneous groups and are often divided into woodwind or brass/percussion. For the past 10 years, about 700 beginners a year have joined the instrumental music program. There are four junior schools in the Lakota District. Hopewell Junior and Liberty Junior both are Lakota East High School feeder schools and have three seventh and two eighth grade concert bands, which meet daily throughout the school year. The junior schools also have one seventh and one eighth grade jazz band, which meet daily for one semester of the school year. The concert bands, which are equal in ability and instrumentation, consist of between 50 to 60 members. The jazz bands consist of 25 to 45 members. Jazz band students are also members of a concert band. All junior schools eighth grade concert bands participate in Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) large group adjudicated competitions and consistently earn superior ratings.

The History of the Lakota East High School Band Program

Lakota East High School consists of two campuses, the Lakota East Freshman Campus for ninth grade and the Lakota East High School Main Campus for students grades 10-12. The Main Campus opened its doors in the fall of 1997. At that time, the band program had one 87-member concert band, one after-school jazz band, and a 96-member marching band. Since 1997, the program has grown to five concert bands, five jazz bands, and a 220-member marching band. All band classes are held during the school day, with the exception of marching band, which meets after school.

The Lakota East High School Concert Bands

The Lakota East Freshman Campus has two concert bands, which are Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) Class C. At the Lakota East Main Campus, students audition and are placed into one of three concert bands: Symphonic Winds (OMEA Class AA), Symphonic Band (OMEA Class A) and Concert Band (OMEA Class B), based on their musical maturity. Symphonic Winds, the top concert band, went from an OMEA Class B band in 1998 to OMEA Class AA in 2000. Symphonic Winds earned superior ratings at every district and state level adjudicated events in Classes B, A and AA.  In 2001, 2004 and 2007, Symphonic Winds participated in the National Adjudicators Invitational Events and earned superior ratings as well as the Top Honor Band Award each time. The Symphonic Winds band also performed on three different occasions at the OMEA’s Professional Development Conference. Other performances include the Ohio University Concert Band Clinic, the Bowling Green State University New Music Reading Clinic, the University of Akron Ohio Band Directors Conference, the Capital University New Music Clinic and the Music for All National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis. All five Lakota East Concert Bands have consistently earned Superior Ratings at OMEA adjudicated events. All students are highly encouraged to participate in various honor bands, ranging from OMEA District XIII Honor Band to All-State Band and Orchestra. Another important part of the overall program is the OMEA solo/ensemble adjudicated event. All students enrolled in band (grades 9-12) participate in at least two events: a small ensemble and a full choir.  For many years, Lakota East High School has more than 200 solo and ensemble entries.

The Lakota East High School Jazz Bands

The Lakota East High School Jazz program offers three-ability based jazz bands at the Main Campus (grades 10-12) and two jazz bands at the Freshman Campus. These jazz groups perform and earn top ratings at various concerts and festivals throughout the community, state and country.

In 2010, Lakota’s East Side Jazz Ensemble was selected as one of 12 high school big bands to be invited to the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, CA. In 2009, the East Side Jazz Ensemble was one of only 12 high school big bands in the country invited to perform at Savannah Music Festival’s Swing Central Competition. The East Side Jazz Ensemble participated in the 2009 University of Louisville Jazz Festival, where they earned a superior rating and were the only high school group selected to perform at the festival’s final professional evening concert.

The Jazz Ensemble was invited as one of the top 10 applicants from around the country to perform at the 2007 University of North Texas Jazz Festival. The Jazz Ensemble also performed at the 2007 OMEA Professional Conference.

The Lakota East Jazz Program includes jazz combos. These combos meet weekly after school, allowing students the opportunity to rehearse and perform in small jazz ensembles, with heavy emphasis on the art of improvisation. In 2009-2010,  Lakota East High School had three jazz combos, each of which performed regularly in Lakota Schools and in the Greater Cincinnati area.

The Lakota East High School Marching Band

The Lakota East High School Marching Thunderhawks Marching Band is a co-curricular activity after school. All of Lakota East’s instrumentalists are strongly encouraged to be part of this award-winning group. Along with numerous Best in Class, Best of Show and Grand Champion awards, the Marching Thunderhawks Marching Band has earned superior ratings at every adjudicated event in which it has appeared. The Marching Thunderhawks have performed at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, CA. The band traveled to Pearl Harbor and the Waikiki Holiday Parade in Honolulu, HI.

The Lakota East Upbeat Club

The Lakota East Upbeat Club (LEUC) is the band booster organization that supports the Lakota East High School concert bands, jazz bands, marching band, and East Freshman School bands. The LEUC provides the majority of the physical and financial support  for ALL the bands and ensembles. LEUC works year-round to support the entire program and the band directors. All funds raised go to purchase music, pay entrance fees, provide student awards, provide professional development, make uniform purchases and perform uniform maintenance, maintain guard equipment, maintain and purchase instruments, compensate for drill writing and pay for parent newsletter mailings.

Lakota Local Schools

Located in southwestern Ohio, Lakota is the seventh largest school district in the state of Ohio and the largest school district in Butler County. The word “Lakota” is an Indian name meaning “coming together,” “unity” or “togetherness.” The Lakota community has undergone the change from a rural agricultural area to a cosmopolitan community that embraces its agricultural heritage as it strives toward the future that the growth of the area demands. With two high schools, two freshman schools, four junior schools, 10 elementary schools and four early childhood schools, Lakota has grown in the last 20 years from a rural district to a suburban district with student population of more than 18,000. Enthusiastic teachers and a comprehensive curriculum provide students with a strong foundation in core subjects, as well as art, music and physical education. Lakota students have made their mark across the state and country, earning regional and national honors in mathematics, journalism, music, science and athletics. More than 90 percent of Lakota graduates are college-bound.

The Lakota Local School District covers a total area of 68 square miles in West Chester and Liberty Townships, which are located in the northern suburbs of Cincinnati, OH. With two high schools, a freshman school, four junior schools, 10 elementary schools and four early childhood schools, Lakota has grown in the last 20 years from a rural district to a suburban district with student population of more than 18,000. Lakota is Ohio’s largest “excellent” district for six years running. 

Liberty Township’s official website

West Chester Township’s official website

 Map of Community

 History of West Chester

 History of Liberty Township

Township Information: 

Liberty Township
6400 Princeton Road
Hamilton, OH 45011 
Phone: (513) 759-7500
Fax: (513) 759-7501 
West Chester Township
9113 Cincinnati-Dayton Road
West Chester, OH 45069
Phone: (513) 777-5900
Fax: (513) 779-9369