Contact Mr. Nelson
Sentinel High School
901 South W. Ave
Missoula, MT 59801
Tel: 728-2400, ext 7041
Mr. Nelson was born and raised in Missoula Montana, where his love for music was shaped. Mr. Nelson attended the University of Montana where he earned a BM in Saxophone Performance and a BM in Music Education with honors. After graduating from the University of Montana, Mr. Nelson attended Arizona State University where he earned a MM in Jazz Education. Following his time at ASU, Mr. Nelson began his teaching career at Highland High School in Gilbert Arizona for 8 years. While at Highland Mr. Nelson co-created the Highland/ASU jazz festival, helped win the first ABODA state Marching Championship, and his ensembles consistently earned Superior ratings in Arizona and California.
After teaching in Arizona, Mr. Nelson taught Band, Music Theory, and Music History at the John F. Kennedy School in Berlin, Germany for 2 years. While at the John F. Kennedy School, Mr. Nelson was influenced greatly by the culture and appreciation Europeans have for art and music specifically. While in Berlin, Mr. Nelson was able to travel the world due to work and leisure.
Mr. Nelson is going into his 5th year at Sentinel High School Fall 2020. Mr. Nelson is excited to be back in Montana with his wife Teresa and two children Amelia and Lewis (Lewie) Jr. He is excited for what the future holds and is excited to watch the Sentinel Band program grow and flourish!
Dr. Benedict Kirby - Sentinel Brass Coach and Private Instructor
Dr. Benedict Kirby is the Instructor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of Montana School of Music and director of UM’s Tuba and Euphonium Choir. He is also the principal tubist of the Missoula and Great Falls Symphony Orchestras and freelances with other regional orchestras and ensembles. He is also a conductor, composer and arranger with several works in publication for band, orchestra & chamber ensembles. He was born and raised in Minnesota and now resides in Missoula, MT with his family.
If you are interested in taking lessons with Dr. Kirby, please email him at He teaches all low brass instruments.
Brooke Florence - Sentinel Woodwind Coach and Private Instructor
Brooke Florence has been teaching saxophone in the Missoula area as a private instructor for over 25
years. She received her Bachelor's degree in Saxophone Performance from the University of Montana
in 1988 and subsequently earned a Master's Degree in Performance from Northwestern University,
where she studied with Dr. Fred Hemke.
Brooke was invited to compete in the 1st Adolphe Sax International Saxophone Competition, held in
Dinant, Belgium in 1994 and has also performed throughout the United States and Canada. She was
the recipient of a Montana Arts Council Fellowship Award in 1994. Brooke currently maintains a
private music studio, along with her husband Chuck, that allows students to develop as strong, versatile
musicians by offering opportunities for the study of both classical and jazz styles in a fun and
challenging setting. Their students regularly receive high ratings at State music festivals for their
Brooke and Chuck also perform in the Ed Norton Big Band. They spend their spare time with their
friendly, music-loving German Shepherd, Zar.
If you are interested in taking lessons with Mrs. or Mr. Florence, please email them at They teach saxophone, clarinet, and jazz.
Loren Lauridson - Sentinel Percussion Coach and Private Instructor
Loren Lauridson has been doing percussion throughout his entire life. After he graduated from Sentinel High School in 2018 he decided to pursue a degree in music education at the University of Montana in Missoula. He has been a part of the Grizzly Marching Band, Jazz, and Symphonic Wind Ensemble throughout the years at UM. Loren's primary teachers are Dr. Bob Ledbetter and Dr. Michael Ruybalid. He also teaches lessons in his free time. If you are interested in lessons please contact him at LLauridson@gmail.com.