Varela is a SACS accredited institute with high academic standards. Those standards are also an important part of our Performing Arts Electives as well. Our 4 performing ensembles (The Band of Mystery Marching Band, the Wind Ensemble, the Viper Select Chorus & Band, and the Concert Jazz Band) will perform a combined 35-40 events this school year. Please take a few moments to plan to see our major concert performances November 7th, December 11th, April 2nd, and May 14th. Students in the Varela music program also play a significant role in bringing Varela’s yearly Spring Musical to life.
The Band of Mystery Marching Band is a co-curricular activity that is aligned with the Wind Ensemble and Concert Jazz Band. All students who wish to participate in either the Wind Ensemble or Concert Jazz Band MUST audition to participate in the Band of Mystery Marching Band program. All marching band students will receive ½ Physical Education credit and 100 community service hours for a full season of participation. This includes band camps, weekly afterschool rehearsals on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:00 – 6:30, Saturday Competitions, FMBC States in Daytona (Nov 22-24), all Scheduled Football and Basketball Games, and both the 3-Kings and 4th of July Parades.
BAND/CHORUS LEVELS AND PLACEMENT
Felix Varela Senior High School currently offers six (6) music classes during the day and one class after school. All ensemble placements (periods 1,2,3,4,) are at the discretion of the Director of Music. Students who wish to take Duel-Enrollment classes (periods 5 & 6) require a signature from Dr. Lussier and approval from the APC.
PERIOD 1: CHORUS
The Varela Chorus is a major performance ensemble that performs in conjunction with the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band as well as on its own – both on school grounds and in the Miami-Dade community. Previous singing experience is not a requirement for participation. Students are required to learn basic music theory in order to successfully perform their individual parts. This ensemble regularly sings in 3-part harmony (SAB) – it is not a Karaoke class!! The Viper Select is an elite group of 25 singers selected from chorus to perform at local competitions, FVA evaluations, and special events.
PERIOD 2: BEGINNING BAND
Beginning Band is designed to teach basic music theory and reading skills through performance. This is the only band class requiring no prior experience in music. Students will be introduced to a variety of instruments and will be permitted to select one for use during class. With the permission from the instructor, a student may be permitted to change instruments after the first 9 weeks of classes. Students in this ensemble are required to perform daily practice on their instruments (verified by a parent or legal guardian). The instruments utilized in this class include Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Saxophone, Trumpet, French horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, and Percussion (only after successful completion of the first 9 weeks). There are no piano, guitar, or strings (except Acoustic Bass) available in this class.
PERIOD 3: CONCERT JAZZ BAND
Concert Jazz Band is an advanced level jazz ensemble designed for advanced students. This ensemble requires a minimum of 2-3 years of ensemble experience, plus at least 1 year of experience in jazz; and permission from the ensemble instructor. Participation in Marching Band is Mandatory! Students selected for this ensemble will be expected to perform daily practice on their instruments and individual parts (verified by a parent or legal guardian), as well as have sectionals after school, or on weekends in preparation for upcoming performances and District Evaluations. The instruments utilized in this class include Trumpet, Trombone, Saxophone, Piano, Acoustic or Electric Bass, Drums, Guitar, and Latin Percussion.
PERIOD 4: WIND ENSEMBLE
Wind ensemble is an advanced level ensemble designed for those students who have successfully completed the intermediate level (Concert Band). This ensemble requires a minimum of 2-3 years of ensemble experience, in addition to permission from the instructor. Participation in Marching Band is Mandatory! Students selected for this ensemble will be expected to perform daily practice on their instruments and individual parts (verified by a parent or legal guardian), as well as have sectionals after school, or on weekends in preparation for upcoming performances and FBA Music Performance Assessments (District Evaluations), All-State, and S&E. The instruments utilized in this class include Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Saxophone, Trumpet, French horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, and Percussion. There is no piano, guitar, or strings (except Acoustic Bass) allowed in this class.
PERIOD 5 & 6: Duel-Enrollment Music Appreciation & Jazz History
These two 3-credit college courses are designed to give the student an overview of musical concepts (History, Theory, Harmony, Styles, Analysis) dating from the Middle Ages through Modern time. Music Appreciation covers primarily Classical composers, literature, and all styles up to and including 20th Century American music. Jazz History covers the evolution of Jazz and Popular Music from the late 19th Century through Present-day.