Dr. Ann Valle, Director
Dr. Ann Valle joined the band faculty at LaVilla School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida in the Spring of 2014. At LaVilla, she directs the Wind Ensemble and co-directs the Concert Band and Symphonic Band. In addition, she is on the music faculty at the University of North Florida where she teaches applied oboe and has been the conductor of the University Concert Band. She received the Doctor of Music in Oboe Performance, the Master of Music in Oboe Performance and the Master of Music Education degrees from Florida State University and the Bachelor of Music degree in Oboe Performance from Western Michigan University.
Dr. Valle started her teaching career as Director of Bands at DeLand Middle School in DeLand, Florida, where she built a successful band program to over 300 students. Concurrently, she was a Visiting Professor for Oboe and Music Education at Stetson University from 1989-2014. She has extensive experience as a college professor teaching oboe, chamber music, and music education. Dr. Valle is regularly asked to adjudicate oboe and chamber music for the FBA State Solo and Ensemble Assessment and to present in-service clinics throughout the region. As Director of Bands at LaVilla School of the Arts, bands under her direction have consistently received superior ratings at the Florida Bandmasters Association Music Performance Assessment.
Dr. Valle has a passion and enthusiasm for music and teaching young students to develop independent musicianship, individual performance skills, ensemble performance concepts, individual creativity, and the discipline required for the serious study of music. She has been an active member of the Florida Bandmasters association since 1990, presenting master classes and clinics for All-County Bands, the Florida Bandmasters Association, and the Florida Music Educators Association. Dr. Valle is an active recitalist and clinician. She is a frequent performer with various orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout Florida. She is an active member of the International Double Reed Society, the College Music Society, the National Association for Music Education, the Florida Music Educators Association, the National Band Association, and the Florida Bandmasters Association.
Mr. Chris Banks, Director
Originally from the Atlanta area, Mr. Banks attended Georgia State University with an early interest in Music Education as well as Applied Performance. After extensive study with members of the Atlanta Symphony and the Chicago Symphony, Mr. Banks attended the prestigious Juilliard School in New York as a Gluck fellowship recipient and earned a Performance Certificate in Bass Trombone under the tutelage of Mr. Joseph Alessi, Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic. While in New York Mr. Banks studied with more than a dozen Artists from The New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Empire Brass Quintet, and American Brass Quintet.
Performances include recordings and live engagements with the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, St. Luke’s Orchestra, American Brass Quintet, Meridian Arts Ensemble, Brooklyn Symphony, and many others including being a member of the Equali Trombone Quartet and the Avalon Brass Quintet that won the 1990 New York Brass Conference Chamber Music Competition. Mr. Banks has also performed extended engagements with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Burning River Brass Ensemble. Upon graduation, Mr. Banks won an appointment as Principle Bass Trombone with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina, performed and recorded with the Orchestra Brass Quintet, and gave featured solo performances as part of the renowned Spoleto Music Festival.
After four years with the CSO, Mr. Banks won the Bass Trombone position with the Jacksonville Symphony, which he held until 2002.
Mr. Banks has held adjunct Trombone Faculty positions at several Universities including University of South Carolina and The Juilliard School Pre-College. While completing a degree in Philosophy at the University of North Florida, Mr. Banks began teaching at LaVilla School of the Arts, in Jacksonville, Florida and accepted a full time position in 2004. At LaVilla, Mr. Banks is fortunate to be one of the three instrumental music faculty, and works collaboratively with Dr. Ann Adams and Mr. Thomas Flynn in every aspect of the program with special responsibility for the two Jazz Bands, Chamber music, and Percussion programs. Mr. Banks is an active member of FMEA, FBA, and NAfME, notably serving as the Florida All-State Middle School Jazz Band coordinator 2013-2016, and has served in numerous roles for FBA District 17.
Mr. Thomas Flynn, Director
Mr. Thomas Flynn joined LaVilla School of the Arts in 2016. At LaVilla, he directs the Symphonic Band and co-directs the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. Prior to coming to Jacksonville, he taught band and choir in grades 5-12 in Poplar Grove, Illinois. As the band and choir director at North Boone High School, he directed all music ensembles and served as music director of the musical. Previously, Mr. Flynn taught elementary band in Barrington, Illinois and directed the pep band at Barrington Middle School - Station Campus. He has taught beginning band students during every year of his career and has a particular interest in teaching pulse and rhythmic concepts. Mr. Flynn graduated cum laude from Illinois State University with the Bachelor of Music Education degree. As a trombonist, he has performed in Florida with the First Coast Wind Symphony and University of North Florida Concert Band, and in Illinois with the Rockford Wind Ensemble and Kishwaukee Valley Concert Band. He also enjoys playing piano and learning the works of Scott Joplin. Mr. Flynn is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the Florida Music Education Association, the Florida Bandmasters Association, the International Trombone Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
Mr. Ulysses Owens Jr., Artist in Residence
Mr. Ulysses Owens Jr. visits LaVilla regularly to work with the Davis Street Jazz Band. Owens’s steadfast belief that “music is a universal language with the ability to heal the soul,” coupled with his commitment to disseminating art, is encapsulated no greater than in his lifelong career educating music’s next generation of leaders. Owen’s C.V. includes positions at music schools across New York City and countless speaking engagements hosted domestically and abroad. In 2016, Owens was invited by Wynton Marsalis and Aaron Flagg of the Juilliard School’s Jazz Studies Program, Owens’s alma mater, to join the institution’s esteemed faculty as an instructor for small ensembles.
Despite spending the greater part of his calendar year on the road, Owens also remains tightly connected to his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida where his family founded Don’t Miss a Beat, Inc., a non-profit organization empowering young people to dream big and give back to their communities through a blend of musical, artistic, academic, and civic engagement programming. As DMAB Artistic Director, Owens has created programs for over 200 children and teens annually, including a cross- cultural exchange that gives students the opportunity to experience art and culture abroad. Having had the fortune of dedicated mentors throughout his career, Owens’s interest in investing in young people’s education and self-esteem is a deeply personal cause and one essential to his vision of pushing art forward.