Thomas Burke is a Montana native born and raised in Billings. He began playing saxophone at age 11 and studied with Erin Grummett, Brian Phillips, and Ralph Sappington. As a young player, Thomas performed multiple times with the Montana All-State Band and the Eastern Montana Jazz Ensemble, and he was the winner of the Louis Armstrong Jazz and John Phillip Sousa Band awards for notable dedication to music at Skyview High School.
At the University of Northern Colorado, Thomas had the opportunity to student under Roger Greenberg and Dr. Andrew Dahlke. He performed and toured with the UNC Wind Ensemble, the UNC Jazz Lab II, the Fort Jazz Big Band, the Rocky Mountain Saxophone Quartet, and the Estes Park Big Band.
After graduating with a bachelor's of music in saxophone performance, Thomas worked as a performer for Carnival Cruise Lines, which included tours of the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Central America, Alaska, and Hawaii.
Thomas currently holds a private woodwind studio, is a faculty member for the Salvation Army Fine Arts program, and is an adjunct professor of saxophone at Rocky Mountain College. He has recently performed with BattleStar Kramden, the Billings Symphony, Venture Theatre, Billings Studio Theater, and the Yellowstone Chamber Players.
In 2013, Thomas will be completing a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Montana State University-Billings.
Luke Kestner is the instructor of percussion studies at MSU-Billings and also serves as the principal percussionist for the Billings Symphony Orchestra. He completed his bachelor's of music from MSU-Billings and received his master's of music from UNLV. He as performed with numerous ensembles including the Las Vegas Philharmonic , Henderson Civic Symphony, Rimrock Opera, Billings Studio Theatre, and Venture Theatre. Luke has also been a clinician and adjudicator for many music festivals throughout Montana. He was a national finalist in the collegiate division of the 2005 MTNA competition, received outstanding soloist awards for festivals in Los Angeles and New Orleans, and has been a featured soloist with the Billings Symphony Orchestra. Luke as performed throughout the United States and Australia.
Laurel received her bachelor's of music in clarinet performance from the University of Montana where she studied with Bill Manning. She then received her master's of music in clarinet performance from Northwestern University where she studied with Russell Dagon and Clark Brody.
Laurel is an adjunct faculty member at Rocky Mountain College where she teaches clarinet. She is also a clinician with Arts Without Boundaries and adjudicates in the Billings area. Laurel is principal clarinet in the Billings Symphony Orchestra and the Rimrock Opera Orchestra, and she also performs with the Yellowstone Chamber Players, the Borgh Trio, and the Magic City Jazz Society. Laurel is the president of Yellowstone Chamber Players and is on the board of directors for the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale.
Sal holds a bachelor's degree in music from New York State University-College at Potsdam and a master's degree in wind instruments from Syracuse University. He has taught as a general music teacher and a band/choir director since 1996 in public and charter schools in both New York and Montana. In addition to teaching at RMC, he is also currently on the faculty of Hysham public school.
Sal plays freelance trumpet with local Billings groups such as the Magic City Jazz Society and the Billings Symphony.
Randy Tracy holds a music degree from Colorado State University, where he studied conducting and violin with Will Schwartz. In New York he studied under Ora Shiran, was in Itzhak Perlman's class, and played in the National Orchestral Association at the Juilliard School. He was a member of the Denver Symphony, served as concertmaster and assistant conductor of the Casper Symphony, and is currently the concertmaster of the Billings Symphony, having played with them since 1986. He joined the faculty of the Red Lodge Music Festival in 1989, and he also performs with the Red Lodge Chamber Players and the Yellowstone Chamber Players. Starting in 2010, Randy was the conductor and music director of the Billings Youth Repertory Orchestra for two seasons. His traditional Celtic band, Glynfiddle, released their first CD in 2002; Randy also teaches privately, with many of his students winning awards and competitions.
Jeff holds music degrees from Berklee College of Music and the University of Southern California. He as taught guitar at USC, the University of Laverne, and several music camps. In addition to teaching at Rocky Mountain College, he is also on the faculty of Central Wyoming College and Northwest College.
Jeff is a roster artist for Arts Across Wyoming, a columnist for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, and an author for Mel Bay Publications. Jeff has won state flatpicking championships in Wyoming and Utah and is the 2003 national champion. He as also won two music fellowships in composition from the Wyoming Arts Council. He performs at concerts and festivals across the country. Learn more about Jeff at his website.