• Terry Sakow
  • Kevin McKeown
  • Tom Whaley
  • Sean Pawling
    Jazz II
  • Andy Bill
  • Juan Gonzalez
    Color Guard
  • Jody Anderson
    Color Guard
  • Julia Barnett
    Instructional Aide

Terry Sakow began teaching at Santa Monica High School (Samohi) in 1990. During his tenure at Santa Monica High School the bands have grown to 270 students from 80 his first year. Between 1995 and 2006 he served as Chair of the Santa Monica High School Music Department overseeing the entire music curriculum, and also serving as consultant for a massive renovation of the school auditorium, and the music facility.


At the end of his time as department chair, the music department enrollment reached an excess of 800 students, and the music facility and performance hall are now state of the art facilities. The band program at Santa Monica High School has developed into one of the finest and most comprehensive of its kind in California during Mr. Sakow's tenure.

His ensembles have received top honors at adjudicated performances, and are considered amongst the finest bands in California. The Santa Monica High School Wind Ensemble performed at the California Music Educators Asssociation Convention in 2006. The Wind Ensemble also performed in Carnegie Hall in 2007. Many past members of the Wind Ensemble have continued their music education at prestigious conservatories, universities, and schools of music.

Mr. Sakow was born in Yokosuka, Japan. Because his father was in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Sakow grew up in Japan, Hawaii and California, beginning his musical studies in the 6th grade in Poway, California as a trumpeter in the school band. Mr. Sakow earned a Bachelor of Arts in music from UCLA in 1989 and later a Masters in Music Education from the University of Illinois in 1997.

His musical mentors are Karl Fitch, Lar Best, Marc Davis, Gerald and Linda Anderson, Chris Schwabe, Samuel Krachmalnick, Dr. Thomas Lee, Gordon Henderson, Gary Rosenblatt and Dr. Abel Ramirez.

Mr. Sakow is also the principal trumpet player of the Santa Monica College Orchestra and the Santa Monica College Concert Band. Despite his busy schedule as a high school band director, he still finds time to perform on the trumpet and is invited to perform with many community and university ensembles around Southern California.

Kevin McKeown Kevin McKeown has joined the Samohi Band program as a Director of Bands. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Mr. McKeown and his family left “The Troubles” behind in 1982 to come to Santa Monica for a new life. He is a proud alumnus of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Mr. McKeown started playing clarinet in 4th grade at Grant Elementary, and he attended John Adams Junior High and graduated from SAMOHI. Mr. McKeown attended UCLA for his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education. Under the direction of Gordon Henderson, he was a four year drum major for the UCLA Bruin Marching Band, known as “The Solid Gold Sound.” He went on to earn a Masters of Music in Instrumental Conducting, becoming the Graduate Associate Conductor of the UCLA Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Lee.

Before joining the faculty at SAMOHI, Mr. McKeown taught at John Adams Middle School, S.M.A.S.H. Middle School, and at every elementary school in the SMMUSD. He has developed and continues to conduct collegiate level wind ensembles at Santa Monica College and the Clare Trevor School of Arts at the University of California, Irvine. He is an active adjudicator, clinician, and guest conductor throughout Southern California, and has previously held positions at CSUN, CSULA, and Long Beach City College. Mr. McKeown is an active member of SCSBOA and CBDA and is on the Board of Directors of Elemental Strings, a youth orchestra for 4th and 5th grade string students in the Santa Monica community. Outside of teaching and conducting, Mr. McKeown enjoys spending time with his family, riding his bicycle, eating great Japanese food in his Sawtelle neighborhood, and working on his ongoing pursuit to carry a single digit handicap in golf.

Kevin McKeown

Tom Whaley

Tom Whaley, the district’s Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator, as well as Samohi Jazz Band Director, directed middle and high school bands in Burbank and Morro Bay, and his ensembles have won many awards in Band Festivals throughout the state. He has been featured in the Los Angeles Times and has received both the Burbank Mayor's Commendation and the Crystal Apple Award sponsored by NBC. He earned a B.A. in Music Education from Boston's Berklee College of Music, a M.A. from the University of Miami in Traditional Performance and a M.A. in Educational Administration from CSULA. He is also a professional trombonist, and has performed in numerous motion picture, television, and recording sessions. From 2005-07 he served as the jazz representative to the California Music Educators Association.

More Information Coming Soon!

Andy Bill - Percussion Instructor

Juan Gonzalez - Color Guard Caption Head Picture coming
Picture Coming Jody Anderson - Color Guard
Julia Barnett - Instructional Aide