South Lake High School is located in beautiful and historic Groveland, Florida, thirty miles west of Orlando, Florida. The school opened in 1993, combining Clermont and Groveland High Schools, and has since grown from a population of 1,100 students in its first year to around 2,400 students today. Our students come from Groveland, Clermont, Mascotte, Minneola, and the surrounding areas of Lake County. Our award-winning, Superior-rated band program consists of the Screaming Eagle Regiment, Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Studio Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Lab Band, Jazz Combos, Woodwind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Indoor Guard Ensemble, Dance Ensemble, and Athletic Pep Band. We perform several concerts each year at South Lake High School and our partner schools, as well as some public community concerts, and at various competitive venues throughout the State of Florida. We perform at several South Lake High School athletic and school-sponsored events as well. Our program utilizes music performance to educate students about culture, quality standards, organization, time management, leadership skills, and social skills through each of our outstanding ensembles.

Our mission is to foster a community of passionate musicians dedicated to excellence in performance, leadership, and character development. Through disciplined rehearsal, innovative instruction, and collaborative spirit, we strive to inspire creativity, instill pride, and cultivate lifelong skills in our students, empowering them to soar to new heights both on and off the stage and field.


Screaming Eagle Regiment

Wind Symphony & Symphonic Band

Studio Jazz Ensemble & Jazz Lab Band

Jazz Combos & Chamber Ensembles

Percussion & Guard Ensembles

Athletic Pep Band

All-State Honor Bands

All-District Honor Bands





Mr. Ryan Wright is the three-time Grammy-nominated (2021/2022/2024) Director of Bands at South Lake High School, in Groveland, Florida, a position he has held since 2008. Mr. Wright holds a Master of Science degree in Music Education from Troy University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Rollins College, and Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from the College of Central Florida. He has studied percussion under Beth Gottlieb, Danny Gottlieb, Bob McCormick, and Dr. Andy Harnsberger. Mr. Wright is a 2021 and 2022 Grammy Music Educator of the Year national quarterfinalist. He has previously directed bands and choirs at East Ridge High School and Dunnellon High School. His other professional experience over the last several decades includes instructing, composing, and designing for more than thirty schools throughout the southeastern United States. Mr. Wright has performed professionally as a drummer and percussionist with many organizations over the years including: Southern Winds, the Hernando Symphony Orchestra, multiple national convention performances, and freelance live performance and studio work. He has also worked with Magic of Orlando Drum and Bugle Corps, Heat Wave of Florida Drum and Bugle Corps, USF Brahma Percussion, Riptide Percussion, and Spitfire Percussion. He is also an adjudicator for various marching, concert, jazz, solo and ensemble events and circuits. His professional affiliations include: Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, Percussive Arts Society, National Association for Music Education, Tri-M Music Honor Society, Florida Music Educators Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Mr. Wright is an educator/endorser for Innovative Percussion Sticks and Mallets, Evans Drumheads, and Sabian Cymbals. Mr. Wright has also been a worship team member/leader at Gateway Church since 2002. He has resided in Clermont since 2001, along with his beautiful wife, Gina, and their two amazing sons, Aidan and Lucah, and their miniature dachshund, Hundley. 




Mr. Briggs comes to South Lake High School as Associate Director and Percussion Instructor, originally from Illinois.  He is currently the Director of Bands at Cecil E. Gray Middle School, a position he has held since 2022. There he instructs beginning band, intermediate band, advanced band, jazz band, and percussion ensembles.  Prior to teaching at Gray Middle School, he spent 9 years teaching general music at Groveland Elementary School, and before that he was the elementary music teacher and high school percussion instructor at Kewanee Schools in Kewanee, Illinois. Mr. Briggs studied Music Education at Eastern Illinois University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in music.  Mr. Briggs studied percussion under Professor Johnny Lee Lane, Mr. Jon Crabiel and Mr. Craig Williams. Mr. Briggs has spent the last several decades composing and instructing several high school drum lines throughout the Midwest as well as a clinician for the TRAC-8 athletic conference.  Mr. Briggs also plays drums for the band ThruFlyte and for some local area churches.  










Music undergraduate majors are the most likely group of college graduates to be admitted to medical school.

~ Lewis Thomas, Case for Music in the Schools, Phi Delta Kappa

Students who participate in school band or orchestra have the lowest levels of current and lifelong use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs among any group in our society. 

~ H. Con. Res. 266, United States Senate

High school music students have been shown to hold higher grade point averages (GPA) than non-musicians do in the same school.

~ National Educational Longitudinal Study

78% of Americans feel learning a musical instrument helps students perform better in other subjects.

~ Gallup Poll, “American Attitudes Toward Music”

Nine out of ten adults and teenagers who play instruments agree that music making brings the family closer together.

~ Music Making and Our Schools, American Music Conference

With music in schools, students connect to each other better - greater camaraderie, fewer fights, less racism and reduced use of hurtful sarcasm.

~ Eric Jensen, Arts With the Brain in Mind

71% of Americans surveyed by the Gallup Poll believe that teenagers who play an instrument are less likely to have disciplinary problems.

~ Gallup Poll, “American Attitudes Toward Music”

A study of 7,500 university students revealed that music majors scored the highest reading scores among all majors including English, biology, chemistry and math.

~ The Case for Music in the Schools, Phi Delta Kappa

Students who were exposed to music-based lessons scored a full 100% higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner.

~ Neurological Research and Music Education Statistics

The schools that produced the highest academic achievement in the United States today are spending 20% to 30% of the day on the arts, with special emphasis on music.

~ International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement

Music enhances the process of learning. The systems they nourish, which include our integrated sensory, attention, cognitive, emotional and motor capacities, are shown to be the driving forces behind all other learning.

~ Konrad, R.R., Empathy, Arts and Social Studies

Teaching through the arts motivates children and increases their aptitude for learning.

~ Eric Jensen, Arts With the Brain in Mind

During moments of musical euphoria, blood travels through the brain to areas where other stimuli can produce feelings of contentment and joy-and travels away from brain cell areas associated with depression and fear.

~ Dr. Frederick Tims, reported in AMC Music News

95% of Americans in a Gallup Poll believe that music is a key component in a child’s well-rounded education; three quarters of those surveyed feel that schools should mandate music education.

~ Gallup Poll, “American Attitudes Toward Music"

With music instruction in schools, teachers found that students were less aggressive.

~ Konrad, R.R., Empathy, Arts and Social Studies

Students of lower socioeconomic status who took music lessons in grades 8-12 increased their math scores significantly as compared to non-music students. However, just as important, reading, history, geography and even social skills soared by 40%.

~ Gardiner, Fox, Jeffrey and Knowles

54% of American households reported having a least one musical instrument player, the highest figure since the study began in 1978.

~ Gallup Poll, “American Attitudes Toward Music”

The College Entrance Examination Board found that students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math than students with no arts participation.

~ College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton, NJ: The College Entrance Examination Board

The world’s top academic countries place a high value on music education. Hungary, Netherlands and Japan have required music training at the elementary and middle school levels, both instrumental and vocal, for several decades.

~ International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IAEEA) Test

Music training helps under-achievers. Students lagging behind in scholastic performance caught up to their fellow students in reading and surpassed their classmates in math by 22% when given music instruction over seven months.

~ Nature (music education statistics article)

College-age musicians are emotionally healthier than their non-musician counterparts for performance anxiety, emotional concerns and alcohol-related problems.

~ Houston Chronicle

The arts are one of the six subject areas in which the College Board recognizes as essential in order to thrive in college.

~ Academic Preparation for College: What Students Need to Know and Be Able to Do

The arts produce jobs, generating an estimate $37 billion with a return of $3.4 billion in federal income taxes.

~ American Arts Alliance Fact Sheet

Students taking courses in music performance and music appreciation scored higher in the SAT than students with no arts participation. Music performance students scored 53 points higher on the verbal and 39 points higher on the math. Music appreciation students scored 61 points higher on the verbal and 42 points higher on the math.

~ College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers, The College Entrance Examination Board, Princeton, New Jersey

According to the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, music students received more academic honors and awards than non-music students did. A higher percentage of music participants received A’s, A’s/B’s, and B’s than non-music participants.

~ National Center for Education Statistics, Washington D.C.

Lewis Thomas, physician and biologist, found that music majors comprise the highest percentage of accepted medical students at 66%.

~ “The Case for Music in the Schools,” Phi Delta Kappan

Research made between music and intelligence concluded that music training is far greater than computer instruction in improving children’s abstract reasoning skills.

~ Neurological Research, Vol. 19

The arts enrich communities and employees, and also stimulate the kind of intellectual curiosity our company needs to stay competitive.

~  Norma R. Augustine, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Martin Marietta Corporation

A grounding in the arts will help our children to see; to bring a uniquely human perspective to science and technology. In short, it will help them as they grow smarter to also grow wiser.

~ Robert E. Allen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AT&T Corporation, in “America’s Culture Begins with Education”

Arts Education aids students in skills needed in the workplace: flexibility, the ability to solve problems and communicate; the ability to learn new skills, to be creative and innovative, and to strive for excellence.

~ Joseph M. Calahan, Director of Corporate Communications, Xerox. Corporation

I believe arts education in music, theater, dance and the visual arts is one of the most creative ways we have to find the gold that is buried just beneath the surface. They (children) have an enthusiasm for life, a spark of creativity, and vivid imaginations that need training…training that prepares them to become confident young men and women. As I visit schools around the country, I see a renewed interest in arts education and a growing concern about the negative impact of cutting art and music out of curriculum. The creativity of the arts and the joy of music should be central to the education of every American child.

~  Richard W. Riley, Former U.S. Secretary of Education

Student involvement in extracurricular or co-curricular activities makes students resilient to current substance use among their peers, according to a recent statewide survey of Texas Schools. Secondary students who participated in band, orchestra or choir reported the lowest lifetime use of all substances.

~ Texas School Survey of Substance Abuse Among Students: Grades 7-12

Studying Music Strengthens Students’ Academic Performance. Rhode Island studies have indicated that sequential, skill-building instruction in art and music integrated with the rest of the curriculum can greatly improve children’s performance in reading and math.

~ “Learning Improved by Arts Training” by Martin Gardiner, Alan Fox, Faith Knowles, and Donna Jeffrey

Music lessons, and even simply listening to music, can enhance spatial reasoning performance, a critical higher-brain function necessary to perform complex tasks including mathematics.

~  "Music and Spatial Task Perofrmance: A Casual Relationship", Frances Rauscher, Ph.D., Gordon Shaw, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine

Music Is One of Our Greatest Economic Exports. “The arts are an economic plus — second only to aerospace as our most lucrative national export.”

~  Michael Greene of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences


If you would like to become a sponsor of our program, please email Mr. Wright at