The Jazz Ensemble meets every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 7:30 am. Instrumentation for the group consists of saxophones, trombones, trumpets, guitar, bass, piano, vibes and drum-set. The Jazz Ensemble will perform 8 to 10 concerts per year including our annual "Jazz Night Out" fundraiser in the spring. Students will work on not only ensemble skills but jazz improvisation. The Jazz Ensemble has had many guest artists and clinicians over the years, including John Bacon, Bobby Militello, Walt Weisckopf, Fred Sturm and Clark Terry to name a few. The band has traveled throughout the Eastern United States and has won first place in local and national festivals including Dixie Classics and Springville Festival of Bands. Former members of the Amherst Jazz Ensemble have gone on to study music at Eastman School of Music, Berklee, Oberlin College, University of Michigan, SUNY Purchase, Fredonia and Potsdam. Membership in the Wind Ensemble or Concert Band is required of all Jazz Ensemble members.
The Pep Band plays at Friday Night Home Varsity football games in the fall. The Pep Band plays a variety of pop music and the National Anthem before and during the first half of the games.
Sweet Sixteens and Varsity Singers
Started by Mr. Walter Reitz, these two auditioned choirs have been a part of the Amherst High School vocal music department since 1950. Comprised of the best singers at Amherst High School, the groups rehearse on Tuesday evenings from 7 - 9 pm. “Sweets” and “VS” are traditionally student-led ensembles of female and male voices respectively, singing a wide variety of music literature from the classical idiom to that of jazz and pop music, to contemporary arrangements written by the students themselves.
Over the last few years, the “Sweets” and “VS” have joined forces to sing several outreach concerts including most notably pre-concert music for the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus’ annual “Messiah” performance at the OLV Basilica in Lackawanna, NY, fundraising benefits for Shakespeare in Delaware Park at the Buffalo Seminary, the Macy's National Santa Claus Tour at Macy's Galleria, and "Magical Memories on Main" in Downtown Buffalo.
The groups have also performed large scale choral/orchestral works at King Concert Hall, SUNY Fredonia with Western New York Chamber Orchestra and the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Concert Choir. In 2011, the Sweets and VS also served as the lead choir for the ACSD/Buffalo Philharmonic Link-Up partnership at Kleinhan's Music Hall. Sweets and VS was also invited to sing for a US Postal Service First-Day-Issue Ceremony hosted by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in 2010.
Previous Student Directors
2023-2024 Alison Whitton and Celeste Whitton, Carson Belle-Isle and Jack McLaughlin
2022-2023 Rebekah Grande, Sarah Murphy, John Bewley and Theodore Bellavia-Frank
2021-2022 Hannah Gabelnick, Meredith McIntyre, Jackson Kelly and Dominic Vivolo
2020-2021 Iris Izydorczak, Evangeline Manuel, John Calandra and Max Whitton
2019-2020 Eliza Shook, Zachary Liddick and Logan Sullivan
2018-2019 Sasha McCoy, Matthew B. Cullen and Sean Murphy
2017 - 2018 Margaret O'Connor and Shane Keyes
2016 - 2017 Cassidy Klaybor and Harrison Zeisz
2015 - 2016 Grace Simson and Michael Hidalgo
2014 - 2015 Monica MacDonald and Ethan Ahuna
2013 - 2014 Mackenzie Oprean and Harrison Graser
2012 - 2013 Hannah Dauria and Jackson Stocking
2011 - 2012 Katherine Licata and Alex Ferro
2010 - 2011 Jessica Schmidt and Thomas Pera
2009 - 2010 Taylor Ramsey and Anthony May
2008 - 2009 Danielle Chiz and Zack Weissman
2007 - 2008 Alexandra Gilewicz and Sam Suggs
2006 - 2007 Jamie Meyer and Ian Murray
The Amherst Central High School Sinfonia is an extra-curricular orchestra that meets every Wednesday and Friday morning at 7:30AM. The Sinfonia performs a concert series of approximately eight performances per school year. Students volunteer to be a part of this ensemble, and perform advanced selections from the standard repertoire. This group has also participated in national competitions. In 2015 the ACHS Sinfonia participated in a Music in the Parks Festival and captured 1st place in the High School Division, and Overall Grand Champion, scoring a perfect 100% score from both judges. In 2016, they repeated as Overall Grand Champion and won two divisions; String Orchestra and Full Orchestra. In 2017, Sinfonia traveled to Hershey Park, PA to compete in another Music in the Parks Festival where, once again, they captured 1st place in both Full Orchestra and String Orchestra Divisions.
Amherst Operetta Pit Orchestra
Amherst Operetta Association
The Amherst Operetta Association productions are always accompanied by an all-student, full Pit Orchestra. They rehearse on selected mornings in November/December, as well as mornings and evenings beginning in January. Five performances occur in early February. Participation in the group is voluntary. Past productions have been 2023: Seussical: The Musical (Kenny Award Finalist); 2022: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Kenny Award Finalist; Winner "Outstanding Choral Performance," Winner "Best Dramatic Performance," Winner "Best actor in a Male Supporting Role"; 2021: Strawberry Fields (One Act Opera); 2020: TITANIC: the Musical (Kenny Award Finalist).