Instrumental Music

Boys play . . . music.

In the rehearsal space—the music classroom, so to speak— boys learn that, just as with athletic skills development, the adage "practice makes perfect" takes on real meaning. What happens in the studio is the same as what happens on the field. Playing in an ensemble takes teamwork; instead of working together to score, boys play individual instruments to create a harmonious sound.

In playing an instrument, boys have a platform for expression, and a variety of groups offer myriad opportunities for musical articulation. For a musician, "game time" comes during public performances. Gilman boys have the opportunity to bring their "A" game at winter and spring concerts and various events throughout the year.

Performance Groups

Concert Band

Director: Peter Lander

Instrumental musicians may perform in one of several groups.

Band begins in the fifth grade and continues through Middle School. In the Upper School, between 45 and 55 wind and percussion students with prior experience participate in Band, a non-auditioning wind ensemble for which students receive a half-credit on their academic transcript.

Students perform as a member of a highly disciplined unit conscious of rhythm, melody, form, tempo, dynamics, tone quality, intonation, and style. They develop their reading and technical skills through practice of scales and band music. The repertoire is varied, and the band performs at least four times a year.

String Ensemble

Middle School String Ensemble

Conductor: Ariel DeChosa

The Middle School String Ensemble is a club performance group comprised of interested students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. It meets during study halls for 6th graders (Days 2 and 6) and during study halls for 7th and 8th graders (Days 1 and 4). Students perform traditional music within the string orchestral repertoire, as well as newer more avant garde style which incorporate solos and improvisation. The string ensemble performs in both the Winter Concert and the Spring Festival of the Arts. Other performances may include, but are not limited to, performances for other divisions in Gilman, outside schools, and the Greater Baltimore community.

Upper School String Ensemble

Conductor: Ariel DeChosa

The Upper School String Ensemble is a non-auditioning performance group for string musicians with prior experience. The ensemble rehearses once a week during the students' free periods. Recent repertoire has included unabridged versions of Vivaldi' Four Seasons , Elgar's Serenade for Strings , Bach's Double Violin Concerto , and works commissioned from student composers. The ensemble has also accompanied the Glee Club and the Bryn Mawr joint choirs in holiday performances of Franz Schubert's Mass in G and the sections of Handel's "Messiah." The ensemble also performs at various Gilman events, as well as in assemblies and in the winter and spring concerts. Finally, members of the string ensemble have performed in the orchestra for the tri-school spring musical.

Note: To be eligible for the All State Junior and Senior Orchestras, students must play in the String Ensemble.

Jazz Ensemble

Director: Cheryl Nkeba

Jazz Ensemble is an Upper School performing group that explores classic and contemporary big band jazz repertoire and general musical ensemble skills. Students also learn how to create their own jazz solo voice through individual improvisation techniques. The group meets three days a week during lunch.

Hand Bell Choir

Director: Cheryl Nkeba

The Hand Bell Choir provides a percussive outlet for boys with an interest in making music who may not play a wind or string instrument.


Directors: Eric Marner and Elizabeth Sesler-Beckman

The Gilman Drumline serves as the pep band for home athletic events. Middle and Upper School students learn how to march in step, execute drum rudiments, and prepare cadences and routines. Prior percussion experience is not necessary, only a desire to keep the beat.

The Gilman Drumline performed for the Morgan State University drumline after the MU marching band, known as "The Magnificent Marching Machine," performed at the Gilman-McDonogh 100th Game halftime.