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Sentinel has a rich tradition of band excellence that started in 1957 and continues today. Sentinel's band program currently has over 200 students signed up for band and is growing.   We are also excited to have recently moved into a new state-of-the-art band room, which is beautiful as well as functional.  If you play an instrument, it's an exiting time to be in band!  



The main goal of Sentinel’s Band Program is to offer a variety of opportunities to make you a better player, performer, listener and person. Sentinel offers three high school concert bands, a jazz ensemble, percussion ensemble, marching band, drum-line and pep band.  There will also be opportunities for students to audition for the Montana All-State Band, All-Northwest Band, perform at District Solo and Ensemble festivals, State Solo and Ensemble festivals and other festivals listed in the handbook.


Please make note of all required performances and rehearsals. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.   Clear communication is the answer to 99% of all problems.  

If you have any questions after perusing this website and reading the handbook, please feel free to email.  


Thank you,

Lewis Nelson 

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Lewis Nelson  Director of Bands

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.

Director and Instructor

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