The Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band showcases some of the most talented high-school student musicians from Santa Cruz and neighboring counties. Hand-picked by their band directors, these talented young ambassadors of jazz pass a rigorous audition to earn their position in the Honor Band. During weekly rehearsals at Kuumbwa, they study advanced jazz theory, arranging, improvisation, and learn valuable life skills in teamwork and critical thinking. The band gains vital performing experience at special events and festivals throughout the school year, culminating in a special headline performance at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center.
The band is directed by David McGillicuddy, a graduate of Aptos High, Cabrillo College, and UCSC. He has been teaching music since 1997 and his jazz guitar YouTube lessons have garnered nearly a quarter-million views. A longtime member of the Kuumbwa community, he attended his first Kuumbwa show in 1985 and has been volunteering since 1988.