At the request of Band parents, we have compiled a list of opportunities for students in grades 9-12 to participate in concert music competitions outside Samohi. In the Fall, the Samohi Bands will post deadlines for submission of auditions for CBDA and SCSBOA honor groups, which must be submitted to Samohi. 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 – 2018 dates and location TBA. Audition excerpts are usually posted on the CODA website in late July. Audition excerpts are due (typically in September) for consideration for the November/December CODA event. 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. Audition typically due in late November. Visit for audition information. Wind, Brass and Percussion applications must be submitted to the Samohi Band Directors, not to CODA/CBDA.

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.

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. Audition dates and sites are posted on the SCSBOA website. Visit for application information. Click on this LINK for: New Audition Application Process for 2018.

SMMUSD Solo and Small Ensemble Festival – mid- to late April 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.

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 14-18, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Apply at

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

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

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

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 will travel to Asia with Michael Tilson Thomas on the podium. Applications open in September. For more information visit

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