Mission High School

Mission High School’s musical identity is well known in the city. The high school, which opened in 1897 and is the first comprehensive high school in San Francisco, has not only boasted a variety of bands and signing groups over the years, but it has also played host to many city-wide musical performances and festivals. As early as 1929, in fact, the Oakland Tribune reports that the Mission High School band performed at the annual California music teachers’ conference held at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel on March 25th of that year.


In 1946, Mission High School hosted the first annual high school choral group performance in its auditorium. Check out a photo of the event below. Some 700 San Francisco high school students participated in the performance, which was introduced by the director of music for public schools, Charles M. Dennis.


And it was choral music that Mission High School was known for throughout most of the 20th century. Today, however, according to the high school’s current musical director, veteran musician Osvaldo Carvajal, the high school also has a popular mariachi band and a modern music band.

Image Credit: Students singing in the auditorium of Mission High School, 1946.From the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, SFPL.