Leali received a bachelor of arts degree in music education from the University of North Texas in 1989, where he played with the world-renowned One O’Clock Lab Band. Upon graduating, the Harry Connick, Jr. Orchestra immediately recruited him. In his tenure with the orchestra (1989-1994), Brad was the lead alto saxophonist and the musical director. During this time, they toured the world and the orchestra recorded two highly acclaimed CDs (Blue Light, Red Light , When My Heart Finds Christmas ).
Dr. Hill was a Professor in Music Education, and the Assistant Dean at the College of Music at the University of Colorado-Boulder for eleven years; and, Director of Education for the Thelonious Monk Institute in Los Angeles, California. Prior to his tenure at the University of Colorado, Hill taught instrumental music for 16 years and served as instrumental music supervisor for four years in the Denver Public Schools (DPS).
Art Ruangtip is the Director of Bands at Rowlett High School in Rowlett, Texas. Previously he was the Director of Bands at Creekview High School in Carrollton, Texas for three years where he directed the Marching Band, Wind Symphony and Jazz Band.
Mario Casanova is the Director of Bands at Trinity High School. Mr. Casanova received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas where he studied trumpet with Dr. Leonard Candelaria. He then attended the world famous Juilliard School of Music where he earned a Masters of Music degree in trumpet performance. While at Juilliard, Mr. Casanova studied trumpet with Mr. William Vacchiano and Vincent Penzarella.
Chris Beaty is Associate Professor of Saxophone at Texas A&M University-Commerce, teaching applied saxophone lessons, coaching quartets and conducting the saxophone choir. Additionally, he directs Jazz Ensemble I and teaches courses in jazz improvisation, pedagogy and history. He holds degrees from the University of Memphis (DMA-saxophone performance),
Alex Parker is the Director of The Wayne Fisher Jazz Program at Baylor University. He directs the Baylor Jazz Ensembles and teaches many jazz disciplines. Mr. Parker holds the MM from the University of Miami and a BM from the Eastman School of Music. His background is in jazz writing, performance and pedagogy, as well as trumpet performance and instrumental teaching.
Lisa Hittle is currently in her 30th year at Friends University where she is the Director of Jazz Programs. She is an alumnus of the Stan Kenton Orchestra and an active jazz musician, adjudicator and clinician throughout the midwest. Honors include the 2006 “Wichita Arts Educator of the Year” and recipient of the 2012 “Homer Osborne” award for outstanding contributions to jazz education.
Bill earned a BA in Jazz Performance at Howard University and a Master of Science Degree in Computer Information Systems from Regis University. He has performed with The Louie Bellson Big Band, the Lionel Hampton Big Band, Tony Bennett, Eguardo Cintron, The New York Voices, Randy Brecker and many others. Bill also was the Lead Alto / Musical Director of the Air Force’s Premier Jazz Ensemble for 23 years. Bill plays a Cannonball tenor with a custom RPC tenor mouthpiece. He also plays flute, clarinet and piccolo.