Welcome to DSA Bands

Current Events!

Senior Recitals/Projects of the DSA Band Majors 2020-21

Every year the DSA Band Seniors present a project or recital as part of their graduation requirement. This year many of these are online and/or there is a “watch-party” scheduled. Please support these 16 amazing musicians and participate in their end-of-the-year celebration.

Zev Lieberman –

Sterling Uhl


Annabella Brotherston –

Annabella’s Live recital link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/71738819198?pwd=OGthR1N6VkRQbDZlcFE2M28vVWNuQT09

James Kachline and Jessica Friedenthal –

Makaylee Lange and Ariana Waters –

Link to Makaylee and Ariana’s Recitial! https://youtu.be/PaLORi1J2Vk 

Jamison Wilder –

Link to Jamison’s Senior Project:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPZVJtWCd3I3V-2_smpfqPenfKsZcxbTX

Shafer Helms –

Link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCiHSM7GIFl5EFyjdkc9acPqiBtEPJipH
Description: I am dedicating one song to each year I have attended Denver School of the Arts. Since DSA is a 6th grade through 12 grade program, and I have been there the whole time, that is 7 years. Therefore this playlist will contain 7 songs.I hope you enjoy it. Thank you, Shafer Helms

“LIVE LINK” to the April 30th DSA Spring Bands Concert at 6pm (mst). Let’s make it a party!https://youtu.be/E0aXiu9O0Js

Jazz Workshop Orchestra Wins Top DownBeat Magazine Award

The Jazz Workshop Orchestra has won the top honor of Best Large Jazz Ensemble – Performing Arts High School Category. This is a huge honor as many groups from arts schools across the country compete for this national honor. The award will be announced nationally in the June Issue – Student Music Award in DownBeat.

United States Army and Marine Bands Come to DSA Bands

SSG Amanda Jury of the US Army Band (left) and Maj. Burian of the “President’s Own” US Marine Band talk with students of both the Concert Band and Wind Ensemble earlier this semester. Topics included careers in military bands, support for advanced degrees and travel opportunities. It is always great having representatives from our great military bands come and visit!

Update to Hybrid Schedule 3/4/2021

I hope this communication finds you all healthy and looking forward to an eventful Spring. We are certainly looking forward to better days ahead that may bring us back and performing together soon!

At this point the Denver Public Schools has not changed its current ban on wind instruments in all schools in the district including DSA. Although this is the safest way to return for students, it will significantly interfere with the overall curricular effectiveness of what we can offer on March 15 when we go to the new hybrid schedule. The practicing artists and I have talked and realized the best option for students is a continuation with the robust remote program we have had so much success with this year. This will offer consistency in curriculum and stability in instruction. Whether your child chooses to go in person or stays at home they will have to have a computer to log into the Band classes as per normal this year to continue their curriculum. Again, if your student is planning on being in person at DSA they must have a computer to log into classes. DPS COVID mitigation rules requires that no student share any technology with another student. Because DSA Bands will be so effected by the ban on wind instruments we are still urging that band students stay at home. Even our percussion groups who were performing on the Arts Fridays will not be able to continue in those groups based on the organization of attending students by last name.

As Spring approaches, we hope we may see some leniency on the ban, especially playing outdoors. As always, the priority of the DPS and DSA Bands continues to be the health and well-being of our students and we all hope for better days soon.
Hybrid Rotation – We will follow the hybrid model below:Monday – Black Day​ Group A @ DSA​ Group B @ home for remoteTuesday – White Day Group A @ DSA​ Group B @ home for remoteWednesday​ – Black Day​ Group B @ DSA​ Group A @ home for remoteThursday – White Day​ Group B @ DSA​ Group A @ home for remoteFriday – Stripe Day Full remote schedule from home (No Arts Fridays)
Group A/B Identification – Because of the complexities of balancing classes to 17 and teacher loads to 136, families will not be able to select which group (A or B) they are a part of. We fully understand this will create carpool transportation challenges for some families.  ● Groups are divided alphabetically. The alpha split will be:GROUP A​​ GROUP BLast Names​​ Last Names6th grade​ A – Lod ​​​ Loe – Z7th grade ​A – Kob ​​ Koc – Z8th grade ​A – K ​​​ L – Z9th grade ​A – Kir Kl – Z10th grade A – K ​​​ L – Z11th grade​ A – Lej ​​​Lem – Z12th grade​ A – Leb​​​ Lei – Z
Bell Schedule for Hybrid Monday – Thursday – You will notice that we are moving to an 8:00 am start instead of 8:30 am.  

6th and 7th Grades

Period 1 – arts 8:00 am – 9:10 am​ 70 minutes​​​

Period 2 9:15 am – 10:05 am​ 50 minutes

Period 3 ​10:10 am – 11:00 am​ 50 minutes​

Period 4 ​11:05 am – 11:55 pm​ 50 minutes​

Period 5 ​12:00 pm – 12:50 pm​ 50 minutes ​ 

8th through 12th Grades

Periods 1 or 2 ​ 8:00 am – 9:10 am​ 70 minutes

​Periods 3 or 4 JWO ​ 9:15 am – 10:25 am ​70 minutes​

Periods 5 or 6 ​ 10:30 am – 11:40 am ​70 minutes​​

Periods 7 or 8 arts 11:45 am – 12:55 pm ​70 minutes​
Bell Schedule for Hybrid Fridays (fully remote)

6th and 7th GradesPeriod 1 arts        8:00 – 8:55       ​(55 minutes) 

Period 2               ​9:00 – 9:40   ​    (40 minutes)​​

Period 3      ​        ​ 9:45 – 10:25      ​(40 minutes)  

Break         10:25 – 10:40​    (15 minutes)​ 

Period 4​​             10:40 – 11:20    ​ (40 minutes)

Period 5       ​        11:25 – 12:05  ​  (40 minutes)

8th through 12th Grades​​

Period 1      ​ 8:00 – 8:25     ​(25 minutes)

Period 2      ​ 8:30 – 8:55     (25 minutes)

Period 3      ​9:00  – 9:25     ​​(25 minutes)

Period 4      9:30 – 9:55      (25 minutes)

Break          9:55 – 10:10   (15 minutes)​​

Period 5    ​  10:10 – 10:35  ​(25 minutes)

Period 6​       10:40 – 11:05​​   (25 minutes)

Period 7​       11:10 – 11:35​​   (25 minutes)

Period 8       ​ 11:40 – 12:05  ​​ (25 minutes)

Arts Fridays

Arts Fridays started January 29th at DSA. Dr. Ed Breazeale is handling the in-person activities in the school while Mr. Hammond continues with the Performance Fridays online simultaneously. The class schedule is Concert Band at 8:30-9:45am and Wind Ensemble 10:15-11:30am. Mr Hammond ran a band parent meeting Thursday, January 28th and gave the following presentation:


Auditioning for the Denver School of the Arts Bands Department? Make sure you:

  1. Attend the MANDATORY Pre-Audition Meeting January 7th at 6pm on Zoom: link for preaudition meeting
  2. Check out this information video BEFORE the meeting: https://youtu.be/WKhbjO-izI8
  3. After the Pre-Audition Meeting on January 7 at 6pm go to this google form to upload your audition: Note: This form will not be available to accept responses until after the Pre-Audition Meeting!
Please enjoy the Bands Virtual Winter Showcase at this link: https://youtu.be/Y_EdcOPF-bM

Welcome to a whole new world! – Bands Department 2020-21

As you all know by now, virtual learning is a completely different animal from in-person. We all have to learn to adapt during this challenging time and I have had many, many hours of adaptation! We have spent many weeks thinking, conversing and then planning on an experience for you that does a number of things: 1) Offering a curriculum that will make you a better musician, 2) Offering an experience that will hopefully engage you – and keep you engaged, 3) Offering an experience that allows you to move outside your musical nature and apply thoughtfulness to who you are, what matters to you and where you are going. All these things mean different things to different students – what matters to a 6th grade student is wildly different than what matters to a senior.

The key to all this is diversity. We will try to offer as diverse a curriculum as possible without straying too far from our band roots and what makes us practice our instruments every day, what makes us love music and want to express ourselves better and better through music.

We start with the schedule of what our offerings will be:

Remote Schedule DSA Bands 2020-21

As you can see, all band majors will see their respective Practicing Artists twice per week (green boxes) rather than once. These Mondays and Thursdays add consistency to the sectionals and increase specific instrument training. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are days that we will break the majors into Music Theory/Composition groups to help the students with these very essential skills. These blocks will also contain Ethnomusicology Studies, Listening Labs and Ear Training classes as well. Jazz Band meets Mondays and Wednesdays at the time indicated. Fridays will feature a chance for the students to hear performances but also to give performances to the class. I hope you are as excited as your teachers are to offer such a wide range of daily curriculum.

How and where we meet will be communicated through Schoology, our new platform for giving assignments, information and grading. We will start the synchronous learning on Google Meets.

2019-20 School Year in DSA Bands —————————————–

Essentially Ellington Virtual 25th Anniversary Festival


After performance interview with Essentially Ellington Education President Todd Stoll, judge Riley Mulherkar, and JWO director Dave Hammond (top row l-r) and students Mitchell Galligan, Maddie and Megan Cody (bottom l-r). The band won Outstanding Saxophone Section, Outstanding Guitar (Maddie Cody), Outstanding Tenor Saxophone and Clarinet (Shota Renwick) and Honorable Mentions: Mitchell Galligan – Piano and Dylan Kries – Alto Sax. Over placement of the bands was not given this year due to the online nature of the festival. Congratulations to ALL JWO1 students!
Senior Dinner 2020 or “Virtual Vittles” was held on May 13th. Mr. Hammond had a wonderful time with the seniors as we all ate out favorite meals. Congratulations 2020 DSA Band Seniors!
For the eighth time in recent years students of the Denver School of the Arts Jazz Workshop Orchestra are recognized in this year’s Student Music Awards issue of the preeminent jazz magazine DownBeat. The band wins the 2020 Co-Winner Large Jazz Ensemble in the Performing Arts School category. The frequency of DSA JWO getting this award should not underestimate how difficult this level of performance is for a high school jazz band. The students have worked extremely hard to achieve such a level of excellence, depth and understanding of America’s art form.
Both Concert Band and Wind Ensemble 2020 were extremely successful this year before the shut down of performances. Both ensembles were awarded “Superior with Distinction” having all judges giving the groups the highest scores possible for their performances. Congrats to the Concert Band and Wind Ensemble members!

2019-20 Overview

Think that this year was cut short as far as the success of the students and program? Think again! The students of the DSA Bands Department were motivated, mobilized and executed a phenomenal year of success even though the year was cut short at school because of the pandemic. Look below at the amazing awards locally, state-wide and nationally that the students were able to achieve this year. Congratulations to all the students, especially seniors!



Congratulations DSA Band Department 2019 Seniors!

The 2019 Seniors at the Bands Senior Dinner, May 14, 2019. (From top left: Giselle Florencio, Galen Metzger, Thutmose Toure, Farinaz Molei, Makayla French, Ben Fraterelli, Makenna Nolop, Camryn Honea, Natalie Joram, Adam Burton, Aleks Girshevich, Chris Ferrari, Sam Keedy, Jack Bendure and Azura DeHerrera.


Superior With Distinction

The phrase “Superior With Distinction” means that all judges present gave the ensemble the top scores possible:

Superior With Distinction:

Band Composer Richard Saucedo master clinics the DSA Wind Ensemble after their performance at the CBA State Concert Band Festival where the ensemble received “Superior With Distinction” Scores (4/16/18)

September 8th DSA hosted Zimbabwean Mbira master Patience Munjeri in a master class that offered advice in music and in living life – a truly unique experience for DSA band students.

On September 13th DSA Percussionists and JWO members had the opportunity to meet and experience a master class with Percussive Arts Society’s “Best Percussionist in 2017”, Cuban born congero Pedrito Martinez and his band.

On September 14th DSA hosted pianist Emmet Cohen and his band Russell Hall (Bass) and Kyle Poole (Drurms) to play for DSA students and to clinic the DSA JWO jazz combo.

Since the before the beginning school the DSA Pit Orchestra has worked tirelessly to rehearse then to perform 8 shows of “In the Heights”, this year’s All School Musical.  The production was tremendous in that it focused on DSA’s students of color and also presented the pit with great opportunities to learn many styles such as mambo, reggaeton, merengue and salsa!

What is DSA Bands?

The DSA Pit Orchestra again performed 8 phenomenally professional Shrek shows elevating the all school musical to new heights. The show was featured at the DSA Gala on Saturday, September 22nd along with the DSA Wind Ensemble – both performed to rave reviews to a very knowledgeable, elite crowd. A big thank you going out to both groups for their continued commitment to excellence!

See a great article about DSA bassoonist Tatia Slouka from the Denver Post:


See “Leave Them Wanting More” – a video about the Jazz Workshop Orchestra’s preparation for and the trip to New York for the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival and Competition in May of 2017.

See a video about the Jazz Workshop Orchestra and other schools deep in the teaching of jazz music from Rocky Mountain PBS’s “Arts District” show.


The Jazz Workshop Orchestra poses on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York after winning second place at the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival and Competition in New York City.

The DSA Woodwind Quintet sets up to play at the Colorado Youth Leadership Awards Ceremony. The Mayor recognized the group at the event.

JWO2 plays Dazzle on 5/1/17. This will be the last performance of the bands at this Dazzle location.

The Jonathan Kreisberg trio plays for DSA students 5/1. DSA Alum Colin Stranahan ’05 was playing drums.

Members of the DSA Brass Quintet perform in Master class under the watchful eye of the famed Canadian Brass at the University of Colorado at Boulder 1/29/17.

The Jazz Workshop Orchestra poses for the official picture at the 70th Annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Festival, 12/16/16.

The Jazz Workshop Orchestra poses for the official picture at the 70th Annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Festival, 12/16/16.

DSA students Abby Davidson, Jenna Pizer and Tatia Slouka performed in the finals of a National Chamber Music Competition at New England Conservatory, Boston.

DSA students Abby Davidson, Jenna Pizer and Tatia Slouka performed in the finals of a National Chamber Music Competition at New England Conservatory, Boston.

Highlights from the 2015-16 year!


DSA Wind Ensemble Collaborates with Augustana Symphonic Band 2/25/16

Top DSA Band Students Perform at the 2016 Concerto Concert

DSA Middle School Band students pose with other students from DPS Schools at the Denver Citywide Honor Band event on Saturday, 2/20.

DSA Middle School Band students pose with other students from DPS Schools at the Denver Citywide Honor Band event on Saturday, 2/20.


Mr. Hammond and the Denver School of the Arts congratulates the following Band students for their representation in the following All State Ensembles.  We are very proud of you!

2016 American Composers Network Honorable Mention

Zach Bahn

DSA Band Students: CU Honor Band

Jenna Pizer, Erik Ondrejko, Alison Orthel

DSA Band Students:  2016 All State Symphonic Band

Callie Nellis, Josh Bogen, Jenna Pizer, Carson Hann (alt.), Erik Ondrejko,

John Bickle, Alison Orthel

DSA Band Students: 2016 All State Orchestra 

Philharmonic Orchestra: Caroline (Callie) Nellis, Eli Castro

Symphonic Orchestra: Tatia Slouka, Allison Orthel

DSA Band Students: All State Jazz Bands

Rico Jones, Christopher Ferrari, Erik Ondrejko, Liam Hughes-Butler,

Gabe Rupe, Julian Archer

All American Jazz Band

Rico Jones, Erik Ondrejko

Next Generation Jazz Band

Erik Ondrejko

DSA Bands News…

Jazz Symposium 2015 with Visiting Artist Greg Osby

DSA Bands Rock the Colorado Symphony 5K

DSA Bands showed up for business on Saturday’s (9/19) 5K race to benefit the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.  DSA Bands won the “Largest Group” award and Emily Hanson won the 3rd overall female winner in the race.  Many DSA students came in top places in their age group but all had a great time at the event!  Thanks to all that showed up!

DSA Jazz Workshop Orchestra featured in the Stapleton Front Porch: http://frontporchstapleton.com/article/dsa-jazz-band-play-five-points-jazz-festival-may-16/

DSA Band student Obediah Oakley tells why music is central to his life on the DPS Foundation videohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Yh9O8U5-kE&feature=youtu.be

DSA Band student Rico Jones performs in the Grammy Band: http://blogs.denverpost.com/theden/2015/02/07/denver-school-arts-rico-jones-grammys/