Instrumental Music

Advanced study of the musical craft is essential to the development of a competent artist. We are dedicated to providing our students with a vibrant performance experience, supporting their instrumental technique and musical literacy.

Instrumental music students are constantly performing. Students are provided large ensemble experience through Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Charter Arts Big Band and Percussion Ensemble. Small ensembles such as Advanced Jazz Combo, Pop/Jazz Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble and String Ensemble also boast a full concert schedule. Through community partnerships, students also perform at various venues across the Lehigh Valley.

Beyond Ensembles, our curriculum is vast and challenging. Our students have four years of music theory, five semesters of music history, technique classes on their major instrument and a plethora of electives. Students may learn a new instrument in beginning strings/brass/woodwinds/piano, sing with the choir, swing in Jazz Improvisation, etc. All of these classes along with collaboration and cross-curricular activities prepare our students for careers as professional musicians as well as for success as music majors in college or university.

Jazz and Contemporary Music

As part of the Instrumental Music Department, the Jazz and Contemporary Music Studies Program at Charter Arts is a new and exciting opportunity for students to enhance the traditional study of music with the heritage of America’s art form, Jazz, and its evolution into contemporary modern music. The curriculum in Jazz and Contemporary Music Studies will allow students to develop their musical skills as well shape their evolution as artists and people.

Students who choose to concentrate in Jazz Studies will develop the wide range of skills and processes needed to launch a career in professional music and to prepare for success in higher education as music majors.

Our faculty in Jazz Studies are all working professional musicians as well as educators who are nationally and internationally acclaimed for their virtuosity. These artists bring not only their musical expertise to our students, but also practical experience from real-world situations. This gives our students a real and tangible edge for their future.

The experience of working side by side with our teachers in professional situations is a unique methodology where our students can apply the concepts learned in the classroom.

Click here to watch video of the Percussion Ensemble perform “First Circle”

The music department performs extensively in the community throughout the school year. Here, one of the jazz ensembles stops for a photo after a performance at the Salvation Army.

The music department performs extensively in the community throughout the school year. Here, one of the jazz ensembles stops for a photo after a performance at the Salvation Army.

Instrumental Music Department- Community Partnerships

2008-2021:  List of Community partnerships including concert engagements and collaborative projects

  • Hotel Bethlehem
  • Moravian Village retirement community
  • City of Bethlehem
  • Historic Bethlehem Partnership
  • Northampton Community College
  • Pennsylvania Music Educators Association – District 10, Region V, and All-State events
  • ArtsQuest – Steel Stacks, Musikfest, Christkindlmarkt
  • Mayfair – Allentown, PA
  • City of Allentown
  • The Allentown Symphony
  • Downtown Bethlehem Association – Christmas City Village
  • Bethlehem Area School District – Broughal Middle School
  • Air Products Corporation
  • Lehigh County Children & Youth
  • Moravian College
  • Lehigh University
  • Lafayette College
  • Temple University – Tri-State Wind Ensemble Festival
  • Susquehanna University – Honors Band Festival
  • Marywood University – Honors Band Festival
  • Kutztown University – Brass and Woodwind Day
  • Touchstone Theater
  • The Allentown Band
  • Penn State University
  • Anne’s Choice retirement community
  • Godfrey Daniels Listening Room
  • Martin Guitar
  • SteelStacks HS Jazz Band Showcase – finalists in 2012, 2013
  • Consistent participation and soloist awards in area HS Jazz Festivals at: Southern Lehigh HS, Pocono Mountain East HS, and Freedom HS

Master Classes

The Charter Arts music program has attracted master classes from the following Visiting Artists:

  • Temple University Music Faculty, Jeffrey Solow (Cello) and Phil O’Banion (Percussion)
  • Norwegian composer, Ola Gjeilo
  • Hasu Patel, composer and world-class performer of sitar music
  • Albert “Tootie” Heath, legendary jazz drummer
  • Ethan Iverson, jazz pianist
  • Ben Street, jazz bassist
  • Mindy Rosenfield, Renaissance flute/harp
  • Ronn McFarlane, Grammy nominated Renaissance lutanist
  • Dr. Neil Wetzel, associate professor of music/director of jazz studies – Moravian College
  • Glenn Caluda, professor emeritus of guitar/lute – Shenandoah Conservatory
  • Dr. Jeremy Justeson, professor of the saxophone – Kutztown University
  • Dr. Daniel Newenschwander, professor of trombone – Kutztown University
  • Dr. Kevin Kjos, professor of trumpet and jazz studies – Kutztown University
  • Mark O’Connor, violinist
  • John “Bucky” Pizzarelli, jazz guitarist
  • Howard Alden, jazz guitarist
  • Jack Wilkins, jazz guitarist
  • Craig Thatcher, blues guitarist
  • Turtle Island String Quartet, Grammy Award-winning String Quartet
  • Billy Bauer, singer/songwriter
  • Jeffrey Wohlbach, professional trumpeter/teacher
  • Greg Seifert, professional trumpeter/teacher
  • Hill to Hill Brass Quintet
  • Shenandoah Conservatory Faculty Brass Quintet
  • Leonard “Doc” Gibbs, legendary drummer/world percussionist
  • John Stowell, jazz guitarist
  • Tumbling Bones, bluegrass/early American trio
  • Petrit Ceku, International classical guitarist
  • Amadi Azikiwe, viola professor – James Madison University
  • Sam Hollander, a music producer from NYC/LA
  • Cara Owens, principal bassoon of Ft. Worth Symphony
  • XVSK – Exter vs. Kimock
  • Martha Marchena, pianist