At the request of Band parents, we have compiled a list of opportunities for students in grades 9-12 to participate in music competitions outside Samohi. In October, Band students will receive email reminders about application deadlines for CBDA and SCSBOA honor groups. Other groups listed below range from upper intermediate to extremely advanced.

The list is provided for information only. The Samohi Bands do not endorse any particular group, nor do they have funds to support student participation in fee-based programs.

California Band Directors Association (CBDA), California Orchestra Directors Association (CODA), and California All-State Music Education Conference (CASMEC):

  • CODA Honor Symphony and Honor String Orchestra – November 30-December 1, 2018; University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA. The December CODA Honor Symphony wind/brass/percussion applicants use the same audition materials as the All-State Orchestra and Bands that perform at CASMEC in February. All CODA audition recordings must be submitted electronically by September 26, 2018. Visit for information.
  • CBDA/CASMEC High School All-State Honor Bands and Jazz Ensembles, and CODA/CASMEC High School All-State Symphony Orchestra – February 14-17, 2019 at the Fresno Convention Center. Submit auditions to Mr. McKeown by November 19, 2018. Visit for audition information. Wind, Brass and Percussion applications must be submitted to the Samohi Band Directors, not to CODA/CBDA.

Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA): All-Southern California Honor Bands, Orchestra and Jazz Bands – January 24-27, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County. Auditions must be submitted online by November 2, 2018. Visit for application information. Click on this LINK for: New Audition Application Process for 2018.

National Association for Music Education (NAfME): All-National Honor Ensembles – November 25-28, 2018 at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Only continuing students that were selected for high school All-State honor ensembles may apply. Auditions are due in May for the following November. For information visit

Bob Cole Conservatory at California State University, Long Beach: Honors Festival – early January, 2019. Guest artists present master classes for Wind Symphony, Concert Choir, and String Ensemble; Honors Festival faculty offer sectionals and group instruction to all students. The Samohi Bands will post application instructions in the Fall, when Mr. McKeown receives information about the 2019 festival.

SMMUSD Solo and Small Ensemble Festival – April 28, 2019 at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center (formerly Madison Campus). This festival is hosted by the Samohi Orchestras. In Spring, application information will be posted on both the Samohi Band and Orchestra websites. Applications due Friday, April 5, 2019.

Kiwanis Solo Instrumental Competition: Auditions are held every year in late April at Samohi; contact you band director for audition information. A select group of finalists competes for scholarships provided by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica.

“Music for All” Honor Band, Honor Orchestra, and Honor Jazz Band of America: Part of the Music for All National Festival – March 13-16, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Honor Band of America is one of three national honor ensembles that are part of the Music for All National Festival, along with the Honor Orchestra of America and Jazz Band of America. All high school band members are encouraged to audition for the Honor Band of America. The Honor Band will perform in concert, Saturday evening to close the Festival, before a historically sold-out house. Apply at Applications due October 1, 2018.

The Music Center Spotlight Awards: Nationally-acclaimed scholarship and arts training program for high school students in the performing and visual arts. Applications available at The deadline to submit Spotlight applications is October 15, 2018.

National Youth Orchestra of the USA (NYO-USA): The NYO-USA brings young musicians (age 16-19) together for an intensive summer training program and tour. In 2018, the orchestra traveled to Asia with Michael Tilson Thomas on the podium. Applications open in September. For more information visit Applications for the 2019 season are due November 15, 2018.

The Macy’s Great American Marching Band for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: November 17-23, 2018 in New York. Auditions for the 2018 parade close August 30, 2018. Visit Music Festivals and Tours – MGAMB to apply. Auditions for 2018 flutes, piccolos, and flags are now closed; auditions for the 2019 Thanksgiving parade will open in January.

Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band: Rehearsals December 15, 16, 21, 22, and 26-31; performance January 1st, 2019. Online applications open August 15, with auditions October 14, 2018. Visit for more information or to apply. Deadline to submit applications is 5 PM October 1st, 2018.

Junior Chamber Music (JCM): Annual fee-based program for students age 9-19, grouped according to level, age and location. For more information visit

Young Musicians Foundation (YMF): Annual Debut Orchestra, Chamber Music Competition, Debut Concerto Competition, and Scholarship Program. For more information visit

American Youth Symphony (AYS): Tuition-free training; membership by audition only for students age 15-27. For more information visit

Colburn Conservatory of Music:

  • Colburn Youth Orchestra: – 70-member youth orchestra selected through competitive auditions, typically held in June; visit
  • Colburn Wind Ensemble – Intended for high school intermediate through advanced level wind and percussion students; auditions in August. Visit Colburn Concert Band and Wind Ensemble

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