Meet the Band

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N P R S T U W

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Photo of Dr. Ed Cannava
Dr. Ed Cannava
Director Director, Denver Jazz Club / Director, Regis University Jazz Ensemble

A retired public school music educator, Ed was the 22 year Director of Arapahoe High School’s three time Downbeat award-winning Dry Creek Dixie Dawgs. He is currently Regis University’s Jazz Ensemble Director. You can read “The Doc’s” full resume on his website.


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N P R S T U W

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Photo of Spencer Hauck
Spencer Hauck
Tenor Sax / Vocals Fairview HS

Spencer, a junior, joined the DJC Youth All-Stars in April, 2016. He started playing saxophone in 4th grade. Now Spencer is playing in 7 different groups on the Tenor, Alto, and Soprano saxes, as well as Bass Clarinet. He has attended the Stanford Jazz Workshop for 5 years and studied with Ravi Coletrane, Dann Zinn, and Anat Cohen, among others. Spencer has played in the CCJA combos for 4 years, and in 2015 he played in the CCJA big band. Not only has he won various awards for musicianship and skill, but Spencer has personally received compliments on his playing by the great sax players Dayna Stephens, Donny McCaslin, and Jimmy Heath.

Photo of Ben Husted
Ben Husted
Bass Chatfield HS

Ben is a sophomore at Chatfield High School. He started playing piano in kindergarten and switched to upright bass in 4th grade. He’s taken private lessons in bass for nearly the whole time. He plays bass in Chatfield’s concert and jazz bands, and the baritone in marching band.  He is frequently performing in various small ensembles throughout our community, from bluegrass to Handel. Ben currently studies with Ron Bland.

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Photo of Ellington Jenkins
Ellington Jenkins
Clarinet / Vocals Denver Public Schools Online HS

Ellington, a junior, joined the All-Stars in May, 2015. He started playing clarinet in the 4th grade, in a Douglas County school band, led by Joe Anderies. That same year Ellington enrolled in the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts, which he continues to participate in to the present day. In middle school, Ellington was accepted into the Denver School of the Arts as a band major. He has played the clarinet for eight years, and the tenor saxophone for three years. Ellington studies with Chuck Schneider.

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Photo of Jojo Rita
Jojo Rita
Piano / Vocals Denver School of the Arts

Jojo, a junior, is a creative writing major. She joined the Denver Jazz Club Youth All Stars in May 2016. Jojo has been a classical pianist for 9 years with recent focus in traditional jazz. She also plays piano and synth in various contemporary ensembles with local musicians around the Denver area. Jojo is currently studying with Hank Troy.

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Photo of Mika Smith
Mika Smith
Banjo / Vocals Chaparral HS

Mika, a senior, joined the DJC Youth All-Stars in June of 2014, and quickly learned how to play the plectrum banjo. He moved from Castle View HS, and is now in his third year as the upright bassist for the Chaparral High School Jazz Band and Orchestra. Mika has performed in jazz festivals and clubs at Sacramento, New Orleans, Switzerland and Italy. His favorite jazz artists are Eddie Erickson, Rory Thomas, Wende Harston and Louis Armstrong. Mika plans to study music after he graduates from high school.

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Photo of Jon Uchida
Jon Uchida
Trumpet Centaurus HS

Jon, a junior, joined the All-Stars in April of 2016. He has participated in many diverse musical ensembles in his career, and currently performs in the Centaurus HS concert, jazz and marching bands. Jon is in his sixth year of playing the trumpet, and has studied privately for the last five years.

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Photo of Braeden Werdel
Braeden Werdel
Trombone Bear Creek HS

Braeden, a senior, joined the All-Stars in April of 2016. He is in his fifth year of playing the trombone, and has been studying privately for the last year. Braeden also plays euphonium and bass trombone. He performs in the Bear Creek HS Concert, Marching (brass captain) and Jazz Bands.

Photo of Mike Winter
Mike Winter
Drummer Chaparral HS

Mike, a senior, joined the All-Stars in May, 2016. He started playing drums in 5th grade. Michael has continued to grow as an all around percussionist having twice won the Colorado State Percussion Championships as a member of Chaparral’s Winter Percussion Ensemble in Scholastic World Class. He has been selected twice to the Continental League’s Honor Band. Currently, he performs with the Chaparral HS Jazz Band, Winter Percussion Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Wolverine Orchestra, and is Drum Line Captain and Center Snare for the Marching Band.

2016 band portraits by Sgt. Peppers Photo Studio