ABOUT

Clear Lake High School

Clear Lake is located in Harris County approximately 25 miles southeast of downtown Houston and neighbors NASA's Johnson Space Center. The school population is comprised of students from all parts of the United states and many foreign countries. Approximately 95% of the graduates go on to a two or four year college institution. Student's graduating from Clear Lake have entered prestigious universities such as Oxford, Harvard, Duke, MIT, Notre Dame, Yale, Northwester, Rice, Stanford, A&M, Baylor, and UT Austin. Clear Lake is known not only for its outstanding Fine Arts and Athletic programs, but also success through academic achievements. Clear Lake takes pride in its consistent Recognized and Exemplary rankings from the Texas Education Agency, and is also a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Most recently Newsweek magazine recognized Clear Lake as one of America's Best High Schools. The U.S. News and World Report also placed the school as one of the top high schools in the United States. In 2013, Clear Lake had 20 semi-finalists and 30 commended students in the National Merit Program. In addition, a total of 761 students tool 1499 AP tests and in 2013, the percentage of 12th graders who scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam in their high school career was 50.5%. The high school is part of the Clear Creek Independent School District which has been recognized in previous years by TEA as the largest Exemplary school district in the State of Texas. In addition, CCISD serves a diverse population of more than 217,000 citizens and an enrollment of over 38,000 students. Currently the district is operating 7 high schools, 10 intermediate schools, and 26 elementary schools. CCISD operates on the belief that public education is a join effort between students, parents, staff and community in which each child is equally important. The district is a strong supporter of the Fine Arts and the essential need for the arts in building a well rounded education in each student. Even during current economic times and budget restraints, CCISD has always and will continue to value the importance of Fine Arts in our schools.

Clear Lake High School Orchestra

The orchestra program at Clear Lake High School consists of over 240 string students, who are placed in one of six different performing ensembles that meet on a daily basis. The Clear Lake High School Symphony Orchestra meets once a week, combining the top two string orchestras with the top players from the Wind Ensemble. The orchestras at Clear Lake have consistently ranked as finalists each year in the TMEA Honor Orchestra Competition, in both the string and full orchestra divisions. Over the years, the program has produced numerous All-Region and All-State level performers. Under the direction of Mr. James Kidwell, who served as Lake's director from 1976 - 2004, Clear lake quickly established itself as one of the outstanding orchestra programs in the state earning many honors, championships and consistent UIL Sweepstakes. In 1991, the Clear Lake High School Symphony was named the State Honor Full Orchestra. In 2004, under new direction, the Clear Lake High School orchestra continued its growth and tradition of excellence. The Music Department has been recognized several times as a GRAMMY Signature School by the GRAMMY Foundation, and all orchestras have earned consistent UIL sweepstakes awards. In 2006, the orchestra performed for the Chinese New Year World Global Gala sponsored by New Tang Dynasty Television which was broadcasted worldwide. They have performed in the National Band and Orchestra Invitational held in Carnegie Hall, the Circle of Honor series in Chicago at Symphony Hall, and have been named Grand Champions several times at the Festival Disney Honors. The Symphony Orchestra was named the Texas State Honor Full Orchestra in 2011 and 2013. In addition, the orchestra was named Grand Champions at the prestigious National Orchestra Gold Cup competition in New York at Alice Tully Hall in 2013 and the Chamber Orchestra was named the Texas State Honor String Orchestra in 2014. Much of the success of the Clear Lake High School orchestra program can be attributed to the outstanding middle school programs and their directors.

DIRECTORS

Bryan Buffaloe

Bryan Buffaloe currently serves as the director of orchestras at Clear Lake High School in Houston, Texas home to NASA. Under his direction, the “Lake” Orchestra has grown to its present enrollment of over 240 members. They have received consistent superior ratings at UIL contests and have earned Best in Class and Overall Outstanding Orchestra Honors at South Coast, DC Music Festivals and Music-fest Orlando. They have been named as a GRAMMY Signature School by the GRAMMY Foundation two times and in 2013, were named National Champions at the prestigious National Orchestra Gold Cup competition in New York City at Alice Tully Hall. Under his direction, the Clear Lake Orchestras have consistently ranked as a top three finalist in the TMEA State Honor Orchestra competition in both full and string orchestra and also place a large number of students in the TMEA All-Region and All-State Orchestras. In 2011 and 2013 the Symphony Orchestra was named the State Honor Full Orchestra of Texas. Read more...

Mr. Buffaloe, a native of Wichita Falls, Texas, is a graduate of Sam Houston State University were he was a member of the Symphony Orchestra, University Chorale and Symphonic Choir. Prior to coming to Clear Lake, Bryan served six years as orchestra director at Klein Forest High School where he was named Outstanding Fine Arts Teacher in 2002, Teacher of the Year in 2003, and the music department was named the 2003 National Signature School by the GRAMMY Foundation. He also served two years as assistant orchestra director at Stratford High School in Spring Branch ISD and was a founding teacher of the youth orchestras and public school string program in Conroe ISD. Mr. Buffaloe's orchestras have performed at the Southern Music Conference in Atlanta, Georgia and the American Honor Orchestra Conference in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, as well as the National Band and Orchestra Invitational in New York City at Carnegie Hall in 2001 and 2006. In 2010 his orchestra performed in the Circle of Honor Invitational at Symphony Hall in Chicago and have been named the Grand Champion Orchestra at Festival Disney Honors in 2003, 2008 and 2011.

In addition to his teaching, Bryan is active as a clinician and adjudicator having conducted numerous all-region orchestras, the Myrtle Beach All-County Orchestra and the South Carolina All-State Philharmonic. He is past conductor of the Greater Houston Youth Orchestra Philharmonic and is the founder, and former director, of the Bay Area Youth Symphony and served six years as production manager and board member of the Austrian Alps Performing Arts Festival held in Innsbruk, Austria. Bryan has served as Orchestra Vice-President of Texas Music Adjudicators Association and is currently a Past-President of the Texas Orchestra Director's Association and currently serves as Texas Music Education Association Region 17 Secretary. Mr. Buffaloe is also the manager of the Sam Houston State University Summer Orchestra camps and has served as an instructor at the camps for the past 19 years. He has been named many times to Who's Who Among America's Teachers and was the 2003 recipient of the Marjorie Keller Young Teacher Award presented by the Texas Chapter of the American String Teachers Association. In 2008, Mr. Buffaloe received the Fidelity Future Stage Award as an Outstanding Music Educator and Music Advocate for the city of Houston presented by the Houston Symphony. Bryan has performed as a soloist at the American Choral Directors Association convention in Carnegie Hall and as an accomplished “fiddler”, has performed across the US and won several fiddling championships. Mr. Buffaloe has presented workshops for both the TODA and TMEA conferences, String Teachers Workshop for Ohio State and has served as a guest leader of professional development workshops for school districts around the state of Texas. Bryan's professional memberships include TMEA, TODA, TMAA, ASTA and Mu Omicron.

Bryan enjoys singing and is currently serving as the worship leader at First Baptist Church of Deer Park. He is married to Anita Ladd-Buffaloe, a choir director at Deer Park High School and has three awesome children Brendon (Boo), Braden (Brady) and Brynlee (Princess).

Kevin Black

Kevin Black has been the Assistant Director of Orchestras at Clear Lake High School since 2005. In his seventeen years of teaching he has also served as Director of Orchestras in Pasadena ISD and Clear Creek ISD, most notably at Clear Creek High School and Space Center Intermediate. During his tenure at Space Center Intermediate, his program doubled from 55 students to 120. The orchestras were recognized as a finalist in the TMEA Middle School String Honor Orchestra contest, and were consistent UIL Sweepstakes winners. At Clear Creek High School, his program tripled from 32 students to 91 in the span of three years. During his tenure, they were awarded UIL achievements for the first time in six years, and the first sweepstakes award in eight years. Mr. Black earned his B.M.Ed. from SUNY Potsdam (Crane School of Music) in which he studied cello under Julian Tryczynski and Dr. Angela Myles Beeching. His professors include notable educational composers Richard Stephan, Elliot Del Borgo and Robert Washburn. During his time at Crane, he had the unique opportunity to study as the continuo cellist for the studio of Patricia Misslin, where he accompanied future Metropolitan Opera singers Stephanie Blythe and Margaret Lattimore. He also holds a M.M. in Cello Performance from the University of Akron, studying cello with Michael Haber, formerly of the Cleveland Orchestra, and chamber music with Alan Bodman, of the Meadowmount School of Music. Read more...

In 2010, Mr. Black was awarded a fellowship with The Fund for Teachers® and used his grant funds to study chamber music at the St. Lawrence String Quartet Chamber Music Seminar at Stanford University. While in Palo Alto, he participated in an intense week of coaching and performances with members of the St. Lawrence Quartet, the Gryphon Trio, and notable pianist, Stephen Prutsman. In addition to this festival, his favorite moments in his career include conducting in Carnegie Hall, New York, in 2006 and Symphony Hall, Chicago, in 2010.

Mr. Black attributes his love of the arts and education to his parents, who raised him in a musical home. His father, a tenor with the Syracuse Opera and middle school choir director, and his mother, a visual artist/educator and pianist/organist, captured his interest by enrolling him in cello lessons when he was 8 and percussion lessons when he was 9. He currently lives in Clear Lake with his two children, Sophia and Sean, whom also study music on the violin and cello. He is an active in TMAA, TMEA, and TODA, and is an active clinician as a cellist and a conductor. In addition, he is a freelance cellist and enjoys performing for many churches in the Greater Houston area.

ORCHESTRAS

Philharmonic II

This orchestra will provide students an opportunity to develop more advanced techniques, improve vibrato, tone quality, use of various bowing styles and improve music reading skills. This is a competing orchestra at the sub non-varsity level provided the class has met all requirements and preparation for the competing event at the director’s discretion. There are minimal after-school obligations and participation in mandated activities is required. Private lessons are encouraged.

Philharmonic I

This orchestra will provide students an opportunity to perform at a higher level while continuing to develop more upper position techniques, improve vibrato, tone quality, use of various bowing styles and improve music reading skills. This is a competing orchestra at the sub non-varsity level. There are minimal after-school obligations and participation in mandated activities is required. Students must maintain academic eligibility to remain in this class. Participation in private lessons and solo/ensemble are strongly encouraged.

Symphony

This orchestra will provide students an opportunity to perform at a more advanced level. Students must demonstrate understanding of upper position techniques, use of vibrato, characteristic tone quality and use a various bowing styles. This is a competing orchestra at the sub non-varsity level. There are minimal after-school obligations and participation in mandated activities is required. Students must maintain academic eligibility to remain in this class. Participation in private lessons and solo/ensemble and All-Region are strongly encouraged and necessary to progress.

Chamber II

This orchestra will provide students an opportunity to perform at a very advanced level. Students must demonstrate mastery of all upper positions, use of vibrato, characteristic tone quality; use a various bowing styles and excellent sight-reading skills. This is a competing orchestra at the non-varsity level. Students must maintain academic eligibility to remain in this class. Members of this orchestra are required to participate in the Full Orchestra and attend the weekly rehearsal after-school on Tuesdays from 3:00 – 5:00. Participation in private lessons, solo/ensemble and All-Region orchestra auditions are required. All-State orchestra auditions are encouraged but not required. In addition, this ensemble is showcased throughout the year in many public settings and represents our school program at the National level.

Chamber I

This orchestra will provide students an opportunity to perform at the most advanced and competitive level. Students must demonstrate mastery of all upper positions, use of vibrato, characteristic tone quality; use a various bowing styles and excellent sight-reading skills. This is a competing orchestra at the varsity level. Students must maintain academic eligibility to remain in this class. Members of this orchestra are required to participate in the Full Orchestra and attend the weekly rehearsal after-school on Tuesdays from 3:00 – 5:00. Participation in private lessons, solo/ensemble, All-Region and All-State orchestra auditions are required. In addition, this ensemble is showcased throughout the year in many public settings and represents our school program at the National level.

AWARDS

OFFICERS

Sponsors Executive Board

President Elizabeth Arceneaux
Co Vice President Fundraising Rama Krishnan (Subramania)
Co Vice President Fundraising Joreen Lee (Julia Sang)
Vice President Programs Christine Alexander
Secretary Mary Fowler
Scholarships Missy Baylor
Uniforms Jennifer Halter
Uniforms Assistant Debbie His (Trinklein)
Treasurer Cathy Meilchen

Student Officers

President Jami Copeland
Vice President Amanda Hua
Secretary Kevin Chan
Historian Sophie Ming
Historian Steven Wu
Historian Ally Way
Librarian YanHao Wong
Tech Manager David Chen
Equipment Manager Kasun Raigama
Equipment Manager Nick Hasapes