Music

Central to the philosophy of music education at Urban is the idea that music is a language everyone can learn, and that with proper support and guidance, even young musicians are capable of excellence. Students with a wide variety of musical experience – from beginners to seasoned musicians – are encouraged to participate in Urban’s ensembles. The Urban Singers, Lab and Advanced Jazz Bands, and the Chamber Orchestra serve as ambassadors for the school community and perform at school functions, neighborhood outreach centers, other Bay Area schools and regional music festivals. The ensembles hold two annual concerts at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco and winter performances at the school.

Urban’s Advanced Jazz and Lab Jazz Bands and their small combos play in a variety of styles, from swing to rock, pop, fusion and funk. In recent years, the Jazz Band has also become a source of talent for the highly regarded SF Jazz High School All-Stars program. Through its ongoing relationship with SF Jazz, the Jazz Band continues to enjoy access to workshops with nationally acclaimed artists.

The Urban Singers draws its repertoire from a broad range of styles, including gospel, folk, rock, jazz and classical, with students having the opportunity to work with a range of outstanding guest artists. In addition to the co-ed Urban Singers, there are opportunities for men’s and women’s a capella and solo singing performances.

The Chamber Orchestra has become a central part of Urban’s musical arts program. Students work in small ensemble settings, playing music drawn from the standard western classical repertoire, as well as some more contemporary pieces.