James Krais completed his undergraduate studies in Music and Education at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, and Dowling College in New York. He received his Masters Degree from SUNY Stony Brook. He has taught elementary band, middle school band, and general music in the Herricks School District, and high school band, and music theory at Holy Trinity High School. Mr. Krais is currently in his twenty eighth year at West Islip High School for which he has been Director of Bands since 1999. He is the director of the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Jazz “A” Ensemble, Marching Lions, and All District Band. He is also the High School Drama Coordinator, House Manager for the Performing Arts Center, as well as Coordinator for the West Islip Summer Music Program.
Mr. Krais is a certified NYSSMA adjudicator and NYSSMA jazz adjudicator, has been the instrumental chairperson for the SCMEA All-County Jazz Festival and the All-County Jazz Ensemble, and has chaired the NYSSMA solo and ensemble festival in Nassau County. Under his direction, the West Islip High School Marching Lions have performed throughout the east coast and have consistently placed among the top groups in the annual Columbus Day Parade in New York City. His concert and jazz ensembles have been consistent recipients of Gold and Gold with Distinction awards at NYSSMA Major Organization Festivals, and have been featured ensembles at the New York State Band Directors Association annual Symposium, the Mid-Atlantic Honors Wind Band Festival, Walt Disney World, Carnegie Hall, and the 2014 NYSSMA Winter Conference.