Staff

Matthew K. Howe – Cathedral City Director of Bands                                             

Matthew Howe is the Director of Bands for Cathedral City High School and is in his third year of teaching at the school. He is also an adjunct instructor of Percussion Studies at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, CA. When not teaching, Mr. Howe also plays music professionally with several orchestras and jazz groups throughout Southern California. Mr. Howe received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Drum Set Performance from Berklee College of Music (’95) in Boston, where he graduated cum laude. He earned his Masters of Music Education from Boston University (’12), where he also graduated with honors. He is a member of The Southern California Band and Orchestra Association, the California Band Directors Association, the Percussive Arts Society, WASBE, WBA, and NAFME. He currently resides in Palm Desert, CA with his wife and 2 daughters.

 


Abel Santos – Horn/Low Brass Instruction

Abel Santos has been involved with the Cathedral City High School program since 2004, where he coaches the French Horn and Low Brass sections of the music program and guest conducts with the Symphonic Band. Abel’s musical experience started when he was taking piano lessons at the age of 5. His public music training started when he was in the 5th grade with percussion and gradually started learning how to play brass instruments. His first brass instrument was the Euphonium, where he won several honor band and solo & ensemble honors. In high school is when he picked up the horn, and stuck with it ever since, playing it throughout his present day life with many professional groups, college ensembles, and several studio ensembles. His current and past teachers have included Jim Atkinson, Paul Klintworth, and Lisa Cherry. Some movie, TV, and cartoon credits include feature film Igor, the TV ABC family series Greek, and the Nickelodeon cartoon The Fairly Oddparents. His musical marching experience includes performing, coaching, and judging throughout the country. Abel was involved with the Palm Desert HS marching band as a student, Riverside City College as a student, and several drum corps throughout the summer. His teaching experiences have included several high schools, drum corps and private lesson students throughout the country, with groups such as Carolina Crown D&BC, Jersey Surf D&BC, Upland HS, and Palm Desert HS. His judging experience was with the Southern California Band & Orchestra Association, where he judged marching ensembles for two years before dedicating most of his life to his education. Abel judged both the visual & music captions in that circuit. Abel currently resides in Long Beach, where he is a part time student at CSU-Long Beach.

 


Jennifer Dean-Knapp  - Flute Instruction

Jennifer Dean-Knapp began her musical studies at the age of nine while she attended band classes at Palm Desert Middle School with Mrs. Karen Dorn.  She was drum major of both her middle school (PDMS) and high school (PDHS) marching bands as well as sectional leader of the flute section.  As a student, she performed frequently at both solo and ensemble festivals as well as band festivals with the Southern California Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA).  Ms. Dean-Knapp also had the opportunity to perform with the SCSBOA Junior High and High School honor bands on both flute and oboe (twice on oboe and once of flute) while she was in high school.

Ms. Dean-Knapp is currently in her ninth year as the Director of Instrumental Music at James Workman Middle School in Palm Springs, California. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Flute Performance and Music Education from the University of California, Los Angeles where she studied Flute with Sheridon Stokes (famous LA studio musician) and David Shostak (Principal Flute of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra). While at UCLA she performed with the UCLA Philharmonia Orchestra, UCLA Bruin Marching Band, UCLA Wind Ensemble and the UCLA Gluck Woodwind Quintet. In 2004 Ms. Dean-Knapp received her Master’s Degree in Flute Performance from the University of Redlands where she was a Teaching Assistant for the Flute Professor, Sara Andon (Principal Flute of the Redlands Symphony and LA studio musician) and the Director of Bands, Dr. Eddie Smith. Ms Dean-Knapp recently finished her Administrative Services Credential at the University of Redlands and serves as the Secretary for the School Site Council at James Workman Middle School.

In addition to teaching her middle school students, Ms. Dean-Knapp also enjoys teaching her private flute students in the Palm Springs and Indio area, as well as providing clinician work for various schools in the Palm Springs and Riverside area.

 


Nicholas Casillas – Saxophone Instruction

Nicholas Casillas holds bachelors and masters degrees in music from UCLA. He currently teaches at Paul Revere Middle School, Cathedral City High School and The Claremont Community School of Music. In addition he maintains a small private students with students ages 10 to 65.
As a performer he is comfortable in various musicals setting. Currently he performs with the 210 Saxophone Quartet, The Allan Wasserman Jazz Ensemble, The Cucamonga Collective,The Westside Collective, The Swing Riots, and Whats Next Ensemble. All of these groups work closely with local composers. They encourage the programming of new music in performance situations.
Future performance engagements include such diverse venues as Pizza Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Wedding Ceremonies, LA Valley College’s Recital Series, and the Sherman Oaks Street Fair.

 


Joyce Lawrence – Oboe/Flute Instruction

Joyce Kelley Washburn began her musical training on piano at the age of two and represents the fourth generation of professional musicians in her family.  She has taught and played music professionally for over 20 years with a focus on flute and oboe.

Joyce is a graduate of UCLA where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree with a specialty in performance on oboe and flute studying with Sheridan Stokes, Jim Walker, Earl Dumler and Barbara Northcutt.  While in college she had the honor of being both principal flute and then principal oboe of the prestigious American Youth Symphony under the direction of Mehli Mehta and was honored by winning awards in both flute and oboe, including the Pasadena Competition.  After taking a year to study with different professionals across the country, she went on to work on her Artist’s Diploma at USC with the Dean’s Scholarship and played with the USC Scholarship Woodwind Quintet.  While attending USC her professional performing career began to flourish.

Joyce has performed professionally all over Southern California.  She was a member of the Opera Pacific and performed regularly with the Pacific Symphony, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, American Ballet Theater, Santa Barbara Symphony, Royal Ballet as well as many other orchestras and shows.  She has freelanced in the recording studios for major motion pictures, records and television.  Some of these credits include Godzilla, Quest for Camelot, Final Destination as well as the TV shows Superman and Batman.

Prior to, and while raising three children, Joyce developed a private teaching studio.  Over her professional career this has been the most rewarding experience for Joyce.  She has taught students from the age of three to adult and enjoys watching the growth of her students both musically and individually.  Joyce’s success is driven by her vibrant love of music and the desire to pass this on to others.

 

Miranda Bretz – Colorguard Instructor

Miranda Bretz has been involved with color guard since 2005 with both marching and teaching experience. Ms. Bretz began marching in the 7th grade at Palm Desert Middle School and continued at Palm Desert High School (Palm Desert, California). While marching with PDHS in 2008, the team qualified for the semi-finals of the Winterguard International (WGI) world championships in Dayton, Ohio. After graduating High school in 2011, Ms. Bretz began attending College of the Desert to begin working towards a nursing degree. In the fall of 2012, Bretz marched with the Riverside Community College Color Guard and performed in the 2013 Rose  Bowl Parade with RCC. In addition to teaching responsibilities with the CCHS Guard, Ms. Bretz is teaching at Palm Desert Charter Middle School and La Quinta High School.



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