Contact Mr. Nelson

Sentinel High School

901 South W. Ave

Missoula, MT 59801

Tel: 728-2400, ext 7041

Lewis Nelson

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 4th year at Sentinel High School Fall 2019.  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.

Jonathan Woods - Sentinel Percussion Coach and Private Instructor

Jonathan Woods is currently studying percussion performance at the University of Montana. He has been involved in the UM Grizzly Marching Band, UM Jazz Program, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, UM Symphony Orchestra, and UM Percussion Ensemble. Jonathan has also played as a section percussionist in the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Butte Symphony, and has played percussion with the Missoula Community Theater. Jonathan currently holds an Associate of Music degree from Shoreline Community College and will earn a Bachelor of Music in Performance from UM in 2019. His primary teachers include Dr. Bob Ledbetter and Don Dieterich.

If you’re interested in taking lessons with Jonathan, please email him at He teaches all concert percussion instruments, and drum set.

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Please note that the Sentinel Band Boosters are a 501 c3 nonprofit organization: EIN 81-0395839. Your gift may qualify as a charitable deduction for federal tax purposes.  Contributions valued over $250 will be acknowledged by a tax receipt.