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About Berkeley High JAZZ

 
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About BHS JAZZ

BHS Jazz is a premier jazz program for students at Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California. The program is known nationally and internationally as an incubator of talent and a citadel of swing, promoting cultural understanding and respect through the study of Black American Music.

At BHS Jazz, young people find their own voices and express themselves through the medium of jazz. The rigorous program prepares those who would like to pursue a career in music, and builds musicianship, community, and a sense of belonging among all who participate.

 

Jazz comes from a deeply rich cultural heritage, and our work aims to expand the tradition of jazz and the study of Black American and Latin jazz music. We work to make jazz accessible to a diverse range of students in our program and to share this rich music with the wider Berkeley community.

“BHS Jazz has been a huge part of my high school experience and who I am today. It's an incredible environment that has brought me up as a musician and exposed me to a ton of opportunities that I never would've experienced if I hadn't joined. I really can't imagine what I'd be like without this program.” 

 

— BHS Jazz student

Today, Berkeley High Jazz program has grown into a vibrant program with five bands. 

Recognition

 

Since its founding in 1960, BHS Jazz bands have performed by invitation at the Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals, appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and toured both Japan and Cuba. Other accomplishments include winning top prizes at national jazz festivals, including Monterey NextGen, Mingus in NY, Reno, Folsom, and many others. Since the program began, numerous BHS Jazz students have won individual and Jazz Combo awards at Jazz festivals and have been awarded music scholarships to the best music schools in the nation. In both 2012 and 2013, BHS Jazz Combos were named High School Combo of the Year by Downbeat Magazine. In 2015 the top BHS Jazz Combo was invited to participate in the Mingus Jazz Festival in New York City where they won the top combo award.

 
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About Our Staff

Sarah Cline

 

Sarah Cline has been the Jazz Director at Berkeley High School since 2011, nurturing her students to reach their highest potential in music—and in life. She is a fierce advocate for her students and for the music program. 

 

During her time at Berkeley High, she has grown the program into a dynamic incubator of talent. Sarah’s students regularly represent BHS Jazz at high-level festivals, and get into top-flight college music programs. She has also led life-changing tours to Cuba, collaborating with Escuela Nacional de Arte (La ENA) in Havana for a musical experience like no other. 

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Sarah is the founder of JazzGirls Day, an event that has spread to communities across the US that encourages young women to see a place for themselves in the world of jazz. In addition to her teaching duties, Sarah is an in-demand professional trombonist in the San Francisco Bay Area in both jazz and salsa bands. She has presented at the American Educational Research Association Conference, the Jazz Education Network Conference, and the California All-State Music Education Conference.

 
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About the BHS JAZZ Association

All parents and guardians of BHS Jazz students are automatically members of the Berkeley Jazz Association, a group of dedicated adults who work to help BHS thrive. We do this by making it possible for students to participate in jazz festivals, go on biennial international study tours, receive support for scholarships, and more.

 

BHS Jazz parents founded  the Association in 2005. Our organization has an established board, with regular annual rotation given the dynamic nature of a parent support organization for an academic/arts program. We foster leadership at all levels toensure continuity and opportunity for the 200+ parents involved each year. Since 2015, we have employed a part-time administrator to ensure continuity given the transitional nature of the volunteer base.