Meet Our Staff
Director of Instrumental Music
Michael Samson graduated from Ithaca College in 2014 with a Bachelor of Music in Composition with an emphasis in Piano Performance. While attending he was active in student-organized extracurricular musical activities, organizing and conducting a concert of Disney music involving over 100 musicians comprising the orchestra, chorus, and vocal soloists, and founding the Ithaca College Gamer Symphony Orchestra, a still-active ensemble which arranges and performs music from video games. He was also a performer in the Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps for four seasons - where he won awards for Best Visual Performer and Brass Performer of the Year - and with the Blue Devils International Corps in 2015. Samson has coached several high school marching bands, Broken City Percussion, and the Blue Devils 'B' and Sacramento Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps, the latter of which he served as the Visual Caption Head. Most recently, Samson was the director of Orchestras at Clovis West High School and Kastner Intermediate School, a position he held for two years before stepping into his current role as the Director of Instrumental Music for California High School in San Ramon. Samson is a passionate teacher, a band geek, an orch dork, a tree hugger, a dog lover, and a lifelong learner.
Color Guard Coach
Luis F. Cardoza
Color Guard Caption Head
Luis is a native of San Francisco, California, currently residing in the East Bay Area. Finding his performance passion at a young age, Luis continued his passion for the marching and performing arts through the areas of dance, theater, music, drum majoring, cheerleading, gymnastics, and teaching. Beyond color guard, Luis devotes much of his time into his studies and works full time in special education. Currently, he serves as a technician/choreographer, as well as clinician for various groups in the Northern California bay area region. Luis was a member of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, along with indoor winter guard experience with the InMotion Performance Ensemble. Luis is beyond excited to be a part of the award winning Marching Band and Color Guard here at California High School. Go Grizzlies!
Joanne Chiu has been with California HS since 2011 and works with the marching percussion section. Joanne is on the Northern California Percussion Alliance Board of Directors, starting in 2016 serving as the Events Director, and will continue on the NCPA Board for 2019/2020 as Treasurer. Joanne is from southern California and marched at Ayala HS, Esperanza, RCC, and at UCLA. In addition to dedicating time to teaching music, Joanne works as a habitat conservation planner with Contra Costa County.
Kishan is from San Ramon, CA and attended California High School, graduating in 2018. He currently attends UC Riverside and is studying Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing. Kishan has marching experience with Cal High, as well as a season with Vessel Percussion in 2019, a world class WGI ensemble based out of Pasadena, CA. He hopes to further expand his marching experience with his remaining seasons of DCI/WGI eligibility.
Karina Hazari is a sophomore at the University of Washington in Seattle. She was part of Cal High’s instrumental program as well as the marching band for all four years of high school. In Wind Ensemble and the first two years of marching band, she played the clarinet. Her junior and senior year of high school she was lucky enough to have the opportunity of being the drum major for two years in a row. She worked with the band and drum majors last year and look forward to watching them grow and achieve great things again this season!
Administrative Asst. & Leadership Coach
Kelley Ho has lived in California all her life and is delighted to a part of the Cal High team. She graduated with a BA in Drama with honors in directing and a minor in Art History at University of California, Irvine. Most of her creative experience lies in stage management, direction, and marching band. She has seven consecutive years of experience as a drum major including four years in the Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps. She also spent the past five years teaching leadership teams all over California and Hawaii.
Ethan Jagasia is ready to teach Cal High for the second year. He wants to build off the skill level they reached last year and aim for new heights. He is in his second year at Las Positas College. He went to Amador Valley High School and was part of the marching band for all four years as a mellophone player. After his sophomore year, he was a part of the Blue Devils 'B' corps from '16-'18, winning in '16 and was section leader in '18. He wants to thank you the students for giving him the opportunity to teach and he’s excited for what we can do this season.
Battery Caption Head
Gurshawn is in his second year of college at University of California, Riverside. He graduated from Cal High and was in marching band for three years. He has been playing trumpet since the fourth grade. This will be his second year teaching for the marching band. He is an energetic and fun person, but likes to get his work done
because he is a pretty competitive person He wants to try his hardest to teach in exchange for the same dedication from his students. He hope to have a fun and successful season. Go Cal!
Visual Designer & Visual Caption Head
Katherine Sullivan is an Instrumental Performing Arts Visual Designer and Instructor. She has had the opportunity to learn and perform in several exceptional groups including Blue Devils (2013-15) and RCC (2016). She designs and instructs for High School Fall and Winter programs as well as Drum and Bugle Corps.
Front Ensemble Caption Head