San Marcos High School is one of two comprehensive high schools in the San Marcos Unified School District located in North San Diego County. The music tradition at SMHS reaches back to the opening of the school in 1961 and began with a small winds program. Today, the music program encompasses four wind ensembles, three jazz bands, percussion ensembles, chamber ensembles, choir, the Axiom performance ensemble, digital music, 3 color guards, and the Knight Regiment marching band.

Having experienced phenomenal growth over the last decade, the San Marcos High School music program supports more than 300 students, making it one of the largest high school music programs in San Diego County. With a rich tradition of high accolades in every performance group, the SMHS Music Program takes pride in continually pressing forward by performing new compositions and stretching itself in new artistic directions. Keeping with that tradition, the SMHS program has developed a reputation for consistently delivering some of the most creative, innovative, and exciting field shows, winter guard shows, and concerts.  Moreover, the Axiom Performance Ensemble has received wide acclaim and is truly an exceptional and one of a kind show.

Students from SMHS Music Program have performed both throughout the United States and internationally. The percussion ensemble has made five appearances at the Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis. In 2014, students traveled to Central Europe, the heart of music and culture, to perform in a variety of historic musical venues. During the summer of 2011, students traveled to Italy to perform with the award-winning composer, Frank Ticheli.  In the summer of 2008, our musicians traveled to Beijing, China, and performed for the Olympics pre-festival, and, in 2006, music students performed in the world premiere of David Gillingham’s Sails of Time in the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

Strong academics are a large component to the success of the San Marcos Music Program, with many of the student musicians recognized for their academic success. San Marcos is proud of its musical achievements and has also established a reputation for scholarships and leadership within the community. With alumni having studied at some of the most prestigious universities across the country, including the Juilliard School, Oberlin, and Stanford, the philosophy of the San Marcos Music Program is to develop all facets of a student’s potential, using music as the common element.

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2006 – Present - GEOFF RADANT
2004 – 2015 - MATTHEW ARMSTRONG (Became VAPA Coordinator for SMUSD 2015)
2003 – 2004 - JEFF MCNURLAN (Opened Mission Hills High School 2004)
1965 – 2003 - LES SAMENOW
1961 – 1965 - LARRY NIGLI (composed SMHS Alma Mater)

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