The Farmington High School Band Program is a comprehensive instrumental music education program serving over 300 students. Comprising five concert bands, four jazz ensembles, competitive marching band, pep band, solo/ensemble contest, winter percussion, and many other small ensembles, FHS band students collaborate with professional conductors, composers, and college ensembles on a regular basis.
The concert ensembles are the nucleus of Farmington High School's band program. Based on grade level and/or audition results, FHS students participate in two Varsity Bands, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble. The FHS Concert Bands are top-tier ensembles that qualify several students each year for prestigious programs like the Minnesota All-State Band and Orchestra program.
The jazz program is a hallmark of FHS and the greater Farmington community - the largest curricular jazz program in Minnesota. FHS jazz ensembles have been selected for the most prestigious performances, including appearances at the Minnesota Music Educators Midwinter Clinic and Carnegie Hall. As a curricular class, all four Jazz Bands meet daily throughout the school year, the largest program of its kind in the state of Minnesota. The jazz ensembles perform in four formal concerts annually, participate in several regional festivals, and play regularly for community and social events.
The Farmington Tiger Marching Band has been a staple of football games and area parades for decades, but also began competing in field marching festivals in 2014. After only three years of competition, the Farmington Tiger Marching Band took 4th Place in the 2016 Minnesota Class A Marching Band Championships. By 2019, the Marching Band had risen to the rank of 2nd Place in Class AA. In the winter season, the FHS Pep Band is one of the most exciting groups around, playing regularly for varsity hockey and basketball teams.
In the fall of 2020, Farmington High School also introduced its first project-based instrumental music courses, two sections of Rock Band, an exploratory music course for students interested in guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and vocals. Rock Band is a course in which students learn to arrange, write, and perform music of their favorite popular genres, including - but not limited to - rock, R&B, country, pop, and more. It will incorporate a variety of both acoustic and electric musical elements and styles, and is designed for students without formal music or musical notation experience. In the fall of 2021, the bands will offer another semester elective in cooperation with the social studies department, “Hamilton: History & Music.” With approximately 20% of FHS students currently taking a music course, we look forward to presenting opportunities for all students to find personal and artistic expression without any musical prerequisite.
The FHS Bands are directed by Erin Holmes, who has been teaching music in the Farmington School District since 2000; Bradley Mariska, who joined the FHS team in 2016.