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High School Jazz Ensemble

Conductor

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John Converse

Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

The La Cueva High School Band Program from Albuquerque, New Mexico was established when the school first opened its doors in 1986 under band director, Keith Jordan and has been a great source of pride to the La Cueva school community since its inception. There are 137 students currently enrolled in the band program. The success of the program is a product of great support from our school administration, parent volunteers, the wonderful teaching that goes on in our middle school band programs and students who are self-driven to do their best. The Jazz program started with a combo class in 1993 and in 1998, a full big band class was established. The Jazz program expanded to 2 big bands in 2001 and in 2018, added a third big band. All 3 Jazz bands at La Cueva meet during the school day. The La Cueva Jazz Bands earned consistent superior ratings at local and regional festivals and Jazz Band 1 has been named the New Mexico Music Educators Association (NMMEA) Honor Jazz Band in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016 and 2020. The La Cueva concert band program consists of 2 bands, the Symphonic Band and the Wind Symphony. Both bands earn consistent superior ratings at our annual district music performance assessment and at festivals throughout the country. The Wind Symphony has earned the 5A State Championship at the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) State Band Contest in 2010, 2011, 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2017, the Wind Symphony was named the NMMEA Honor Band. The La Cueva Big Bad Bear Marching Band is a consistent finalist and frequent class champion at marching band competitions throughout the region. In 2009, 2017 and 2018, the marching band was a finalist at the Bands of America - St. George, UT Regional and in 2019, was a finalist and class champion at the Bands of America - Flagstaff Regional. La Cueva High School Jazz Band 1 is excited, grateful and humbled to be the 2nd ensemble from our school (La Cueva String Orchestra in 1994) and 3rd ensemble from the great State of New Mexico (Clovis High School Band in 1969) to be selected to perform at The Midwest Clinic.

La Cueva High School Jazz Band 1

Conductor's Bio

John Converse is in his 10th year as the Director of Bands at La Cueva High School and 17th year of teaching music at the secondary level in the Albuquerque Public Schools. Mr. Converse began his career as the Associate Director of Bands at La Cueva and the Director of Bands at Eisenhower Middle School. In his 6 years at Eisenhower, Mr. Converse established a parent volunteer program and a Jazz program. The Jazz program at Eisenhower now consists of 2 bands that meet as a class during the school day. The Eisenhower Symphonic Band was named the 2010 New Mexico Music Educators Association (NMMEA) Honor Band and was awarded 1st place in the middle school division at the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) State Band Contest. Since taking over instruction for the La Cueva Big Bad Bear Marching Band in 2009, the band has been a consistent finalist and frequent class champion at local, state and regional competitions. The marching band is a 3-time finalist at the Bands of America - St. George, UT Regional and was a finalist and class champion at the 2019 Bands of America - Flagstaff, AZ Regional. The La Cueva Wind Symphony is the current and 3-time defending 5A State Champion at the NMAA State Band Contest and was named the 2017 NMMEA Honor Band. Under Mr. Converse's guidance, the La Cueva Jazz program has grown from two big bands to three big bands that meet during the school day. The Jazz bands have received consistent superior ratings at local and regional festivals and Jazz Band 1 was named the NMMEA Honor Jazz Band in 2014, 2016 and 2020. Mr. Converse earned his Bachelor of Music with a specialty in tuba performance from New Mexico State University in 2003 and his Master of Music with a specialty in music education from the University of New Mexico in 2017. Mr. Converse is an active guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator throughout the region. On the rare occasions when he is not engaged in music education, Mr. Converse enjoys mountain biking, running, camping, and spending time with his wife Karen and his two children Alex and Lily.

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