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December, 20, 2024
08:30 AM - 09:30 AM




High School Percussion Ensemble


Conductor Thumb
Sean Clark

Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Saratoga sits at the south end of the San Francisco Bay Area, part of the Silicon Valley. The City of Saratoga has approximately 28,000 residents. Saratoga remains a small town with just 3 elementary schools, 1 middle school, and 1 high school. Much like the rest of the Silicon Valley, Saratoga’s population has expanded into a community with great diversity, embracing new cultures and traditions with open arms and enthusiasm. Nearly 40 languages and dialects as well as over 15 ethnic groups are represented amongst the families of the distinct community. Steadfast support for the schools in Saratoga remains constant, and the City Council and Saratoga community are great advocates for their schools. The City of Saratoga has given Commendations to the Saratoga Music Department fourtimes in the last 25 years. Involving over 40% of the school population of 1,159 students, the Saratoga High School Music Department offers 3 concert bands, 3 concert percussion ensembles, 2 jazz bands, a competitive marching band, 4 string orchestras, a symphony orchestra, 3 choirs, 2 winter percussion ensembles, 2 winter guards, handbell ensemble, AP music theory, pep band, and pit orchestra. Saratoga music programs have developed a proud tradition of encouraging as many of the community’s students as possible to have a music ensemble experience of some kind before graduating from SaratogaHigh School. Each year, several first-time music students are incorporated into the multitude of musical offerings alongside those that began their craft as young as the age of 3. Additionally, a thriving Tri-M chapter supports local community organizations as well as a 100% student-run mentoring program called MESH (Music Education with Saratoga High), in which SHS students assist the Saratoga Union School District elementary teachers to work with the younger string players in grade 5-8. The Saratoga High School Band program consists of Freshman Band (grade 9), Symphonic band (grade 10-12, non-audition), and Symphonic Wind Ensemble (SWE), the most advanced of the 3 concert bands at SHS, consisting of annually auditioned students in grade 10-12. Select winds and percussion members from SWE also partake in the Symphony Orchestra alongside the auditioned string orchestras. The SHS Percussion program is modeled similar to its bands, having three percussion ensembles: Freshman Percussion Ensemble (grade 9), Symphonic Percussion Ensemble (grade 10-12, non-audition) and Saratoga Percussion (grade 10-12, auditioned). In these percussion ensembles, all percussionists study extensive concert percussion ensemble repertoire in addition to the concert band expectations. Each member learns and performs a solo or chamber work during the Winter and performs several large ensemble and chamber works in the Spring, in addition to their marching band, winter percussion, jazz band, band, orchestra, and symphony orchestra responsibilities. Saratoga Percussion Studio has performed at regional conferences and Days of Percussion for PAS, earning consistent superior ratings. In the Spring of 2022, the concert percussion ensembles and winter percussion ensembles did a Pacific Northwest tour, performing at Southern Oregon University with Dr. Terry Longshore, finishing the tour with a performance at WGI Portland Regional, where they placed 2nd in their division (PSO). SPS has also had the privilege of performing internationally. Most notably, SPS 's recent performance in Schladming, Austria as part of Schladming Tattoo in the summer of 2023. SHS’s competitive marching band (of which all band members participate) have performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (2012) and the Tournament of Roses Parade (2016). The marching band was the 2019 Sierra Cup Classic Champion, the 2015 Bands of America West Coast Regional Champion, and has consistently been Class AA champions and finalists at BOA Regional events for the last 10 years. Saratoga’s winter percussion ensembles have competed in Winter Guard International’s World Championships (2015 in PSO) and are returning this year (2024 in PSW). Any success accorded by the Saratoga High School Music Department is grounded in the musical experiences students were provided at Redwood Middle School and the 3 elementary schools in the Saratoga Union School District. Led by alumni Jon Jow (class of 2002) and Isabel McPherson (class of 2012), the Saratoga Union School District provides students with a challenging, rigorous, and engaging musical experience in grade 5-8. In spite of declining enrollment in SUSD, the music department continues to thrive with more students involved in music than ever before (over half of the student population participates in music), thanks to the leadership of their dedicated and passionate teachers.

Saratoga High School Percussion Studio

Conductor's Bio

Sean Clark is a performer, educator, and composer based in Northern California. He is the Director of Percussion and Assistant Director of Bands at Saratoga High School in Saratoga, CA, where he manages all aspects of the percussion program and works intimately with Saratoga’s Symphonic Band and String Orchestra. His duties include Marching Band, Marching Band PE, Symphonic Band, String Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Band I and Winter Percussion (“A” and “World”). Since 2018, Sean has served as the Battery Caption Head, Arranger, and Program Coordinator for the Marching Band and Winter Percussion ensembles (“A” and “World”). Under his direction, the Saratoga High School Winter Percussion competed for the first time in the Percussion Scholastic World (PSW) division and received 9th place at the prestigious WGI World Championships in Dayton, OH. Outside of Saratoga’s music program, Sean holds multiple roles with Blue Devils Performing Arts, which provides enriching musical experiences for hundreds of music students through its programs. Sean serves as Percussion Caption Head, Battery Arranger, and Staff Coordinator at the Blue Devils “B” corps. In these roles, he manages over 200 members and staff through daily rehearsals from May - August as they compete in the drum corps season. Additionally, Sean works with the Blue Devils “A” corps as Battery Technician. More recently, Sean has spent his efforts founding a youth marching indoor percussion ensemble based in Northern California, “Thesis.” Established in 2021, Thesis aims to equip aspiring teacher-performers with skills to effectively teach and network with programs in need of high quality instruction. In 2023, Thesis was acquired by Blue Devils Performing Arts, becoming BDPA’s most recent performing ensemble. Sean currently serves as the Director and Program Coordinator for Thesis. As a performer, Sean has been fortunate enough to perform and present clinics internationally and throughout the United States. In 2018, Sean co-founded the California percussion quartet, “Orphic,” a new music percussion ensemble devoted towards commissioning new works for chamber percussion ensembles. At Orphic, Sean serves as a performer and Operations Director. Orphic has served as Artist in Residency for Los Positas Community College, presented signature concert programs at the University of the Pacific, and has been a feature ensemble for private benefactor concerts for the Stockton Symphony. More notably, Orphic performed in the Nuremberg Day of Percussion and Austria Day of Percussion as guest artists in 2019 and 2022. As a performer with Orphic, Sean has most enjoyed workshopping new compositions with living composers and performing these works to audiences around the world. Sean completed his undergraduate studies at California State University, Fresno in Fresno, CA, graduating summa cum laude in Music Education and Percussion Performance. Here, Sean studied under experienced percussionists, Mr. Dave Gabrielson and Dr. Matthew Darling, and under the baton of Dr. Thomas Lowenheim and Dr. Gary P. Gilroy. In 2020, Sean earned a Masters in Education with an emphasis in Social Emotional Learning from National University. Sean Clark is a proud endorser of Evans drumheads, Marimba One concert equipment, Promark sticks and mallets, and Zildjian cymbals.

Additional Directors

Additional Conductor Image

Chavadith Tantavirojn

Jason Shiuan