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Evan Dixon

Mr. Evan Dixon had his first music performance in the elementary school talent show. He performed alongside his father a rendition of Johnny B. Goode on guitar in kindergarten. Mr. Dixon played guitar until he joined the school band in 5th grade where he fell in love with percussion. Mr. Dixon continued to perform percussion through into adulthood. He performed with the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps in 2002 where the drum line scored their highest score in 10 years. Between the work ethic and drive the drum corps experience gave Mr. Dixon and the wonderful teaching of Dr. Eric Hollenbeck, Mr. Dixon continued to perfect his performance skills. He started playing professionally for the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, Opera Fort Collins, The Longmont Philharmonic, and the Colorado Springs Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Dixon now plays percussion with the Tempe Symphonic Wind Ensemble in Tempe, Arizona.

Mr. Dixon began his music education career in 2002 following his drum corps experience. He started teaching drum line at several different high schools in the Northern Colorado area in 2002. After earning his Bachelor’s in Music Education from Colorado State University in 2004, Mr. Dixon became the assistant Band Director at Thompson Valley High School. He served this position for 3 years before moving to Colorado Springs to open a brand new school, Vista Ridge High School. At Vista Ridge, Mr. Dixon helped design the layout of the band room, order all the instruments, and start the Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Drum Line, and Color Guard.

In 2009, Mr. Dixon relocated to the Phoenix, Arizona area and has taught at several different schools.  Mr. Dixon is now the instrumental music teacher at Deer Valley High School.


Jesse Mitchell

Jesse Mitchell has been an active percussion educator, composer and clinician in Arizona for over a decade. He is currently the Deer Valley High School Marching Band director and teaches band and general music at Mountain Shadows Elementary School. At Deer Valley, Mr. Mitchell has developed an award-winning indoor marching percussion group having received a WGAZ Percussion Scholastic A Class Bronze Medal in 2012 and a WGAZ Percussion Concert Open Class Gold Medal in 2015. As the DVHS Marching Band director, Mr. Mitchell led the ensemble to their first State Championship and Fiesta Bowl Parade Grand Champion title in 2014. In the percussion community, Mr. Mitchell served as Front Ensemble Caption Head for Breakthrough Indoor Percussion in 2013. That same year, the ensemble earned a WGAZ Percussion Independent Open Class Gold medal and made their first appearance at the WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio.

 Mr. Mitchell has been playing music locally for his entire life and has been featured in local ensembles as well as solo performances. Demonstrating his versatility as a percussionist, he has performed with local band Move Forward and also the Tempe Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Mr. Mitchell studied with Dr. Doug Nottingham, Dr. Steven Hemphill, Dr. Bill Sallak and Diane Moser.

 Mr. Mitchell is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Composition from Vermont College of Fine Arts and continues to compose and arrange for many local high school programs.

Ryan Rockey

 Mr. Rockey is one of three music specialists at the Highland Lakes Renaissance Music Academy. He is a graduate of Northern Arizona University. Mr. Rockey has been teaching and assisting with music programs in Arizona and California since 1998. Currently, in the Fall semester Mr. Rockey assists with the Deer Valley High School Marching Band as the assistant marching band director, and in the Spring he is a performing member in the Tempe Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

Mr. Rockey is married with two daughters Sierra and Emma. The Rockey family also has a loving Golden Retriever named Roxy Heart.

Ruben Miranda

 Mr. Miranda is an active music educator in Arizona. He is the band, choir and general music teacher at Constitution Elementary School. Mr. Miranda graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Mr. Miranda is the low brass tech and visual instructor for the marching band at Deer Valley.

Anthony Vargas

Mr. Anthony Vargas was born and raised in Yuma, AZ. Has been involved with music for over 18 years and started with piano lessons at the age of 8. First ensemble was 5th grade beginning band held at Woodard Middle School, Yuma, AZ. He attended Becker Middle School and Palo Verde Marching Band (Las Vegas, NV) under the direction of Lorne Reid, which competed at the BOA Regional, UNLV Sam Boyd Stadium. Mr. Vargas returned to Arizona and resumed his high school career with Kofa High School, Yuma, AZ. After he competed in many competitions in Division II, the percussion ensemble achieved its first caption award in over 10 years and the success continued throughout each season with a total of 6 outstanding percussion performance awards by the end of his senior year. He later attended University of Arizona studying Music Education and Music Performance along with various schools of music: Arizona Western College and Paradise Valley Community College. During that time, he performed with Jester Drum and Bugle Corps in Phoenix, AZ and Paragon Competitive Arts, for WGAZ and WGI in Gilbert, AZ.

His first opportunity as an educator was for Kofa High School as Percussion Caption Head and arranger in 2007. Mr. Vargas continued teaching various ensembles throughout the state of Arizona earning awards and achievements in the ABODA and WGAZ circuits with Paradise Valley HS as a Battery Technician and co-arranger with Chris Lucier, Thunderbird HS as Percussion Caption Head with Justin Boordbalash. Today he is the Percussion Ensemble Coordinator for the Deer Valley High School Marching Band


Haley McGrath







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