In 1985, William H. Taft High School opened its doors to the far west San Antonio Community. The inaugural band program began under the direction of Ben Chasan and Frank Horejsi as the fifth high school in San Antonio's Northside Independent School District. Over nearly 4 decades, many talented directors, and thousands of band students, the Taft Band program has been a staple in the Fine Arts of Taft High School.
The most visible aspect of the Taft Band is the Marching Arts program which encompasses all students each year. The 200+ member Raider Band is currently a member of UIL Region 29 and UIL Area H after the most recent realignment in 2016. The Taft Raider Marching Band attends all football games, pep rallies, send-offs, and other public events to support our campus!
When football season concludes, Taft proudly branches into three UIL evaluated Wind Band Ensembles; the Taft Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band. Team taught by all directors, the Taft concert ensembles are proud to have maintained sweepstakes ratings in all ensembles for the past decade.
The Taft Percussion Program is currently in the care of director Jeremy Chapman. Currently the back-to-back winners of their division of the Dripping Springs drumline competition, the percussion program not only boasts an award winning marching product, but also a diverse assortment of percussion ensembles which expose students to all forms of performance techniques, independent of the percussion involvement with the wind bands.
The Taft Color Guard Program has grown exponentially in the last five years at the helm of head director Jacob Barrientes. Boasting championship titles in the TECA indoor guard circuit, the 30+ member color guard group performs with both the Taft Raider Marching Band and as an independant scholastic indoor guard unit.
Since 2013, the Taft Jazz Ensembles have focused and grown from a single class of five enrolled students to its current version of two full big bands who meet each day during school. Both ensembles are team taught by all directors, with directors working with all students in all groups in order to enable both ensembles to perform for community functions and competitions in addition to participating in the TMEA region process. Both jazz band meet simultaneously during the same class period, allowing players from both bands to work in sectionals together, develop their idea of a section sounds, learn charts and grow in improvisation together. Each Friday, all students pause their progress and come together for Listening Friday. This weekly event teaches the students how to discover and listen to the artforms' greatest champions both past and present. Students bring in their own personal discoveries to expose the class to what they are currently listening to as their ears develop. Students from the Taft Jazz program compose over 20% of students earning positions in the TMEA Region 29 Jazz Ensembles, and have had consistent representation in the TMEA All-State Jazz bands having multiple first-chair players. After graduating from the Taft Jazz Program, students have gone on to major and minor in music, participate in non-campus ensemble, and most importantly enjoy and support jazz in their post-secondary education on campuses such as Texas State, UNT, UTSA, Trinity University, St. Mary's, Texas Tech, the Manhattan School of Music, and the New School of Music in New York.
The Taft Band program is currently under the care of directors Greg Mills, Robert Soto, Jeremy Chapman, and Jacob Barrientes.