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
Mr. Banks is a native of Atlanta Georgia and enjoyed early formative experiences in Drum Corps, formal study in music education, and a promising freelance career. Mr. Banks moved to New York and attended The Juilliard School as a Gluck fellowship recipient where he earned a Performance Certificate in Bass Trombone under the tutelage of Mr. Joseph Alessi, Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic. 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, to name a few. As a chamber musician, Mr. Banks was a member of the Equali Trombone Quartet and the Avalon Brass Quintet that won First Prize at the New York Brass Conference Chamber Music Competition. His professional career as a bass trombonist includes extended engagements with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Burning River Brass Ensemble.
Mr. Banks won an appointment with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina, where he performed and recorded with the Orchestra, including an acclaimed National Tour of “Porgy and Bess”, the CSO Brass Quintet, and gave featured solo performances as part of the renowned Spoleto Music Festival, USA. From 1994 to 2002 Mr. Banks held the Bass Trombone chair with the Jacksonville Symphony. During this time Mr. Banks served as an Applied Trombone Faculty member at the University of South Carolina for 4 years with a large applied studio, Trombone Ensemble, annual recitals, and studio class responsibilities.
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 Valle’ (Adams) and Mr. Thomas Flynn in every aspect of the program with specific responsibility for the Jazz, Chamber music, and Percussion programs. During his tenure Mr. Banks has established a full-time percussion ensemble class and a chamber music performance class. LaVilla host regular guest artist from the Jacksonville Symphony, various Universities including the University of North Florida, Florida State University, the Juilliard School, and an innovative partnership with Jacksonville University. LaVilla has also developed an on-going relationship with “Don’t Miss a Beat” a local organization that provides arts and academic instruction for students that might not otherwise have the opportunity. Some of the noteworthy recent LaVilla accomplishments include, being named a Florida model school for music 2016-2018, Numerous awards from the Arts School Network for innovation and excellence, a 2020 National Magnet School of Distinction by Magnet Schools of America, the Ashley Street Jazz Band performed at the famed 73rd Annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, and LaVilla was named a 2020 Blue Ribbon “Program of Excellence” by National Band Association (1 of only 4 Middle Schools ever to be so recognized)
Mr. Banks served as the Florida All-State Middle School Jazz Band coordinator from 2013-2016, and in numerous roles for FBA District 17. Mr. Banks is an active member of JEN, FBA, NafMe, FMEA and is a nationally ranked masters division Olympic Recurve Archer.
Mr. Thomas Flynn, Director
Mr. Thomas Flynn joined the band faculty at LaVilla School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida in 2016. At LaVilla, he directs the Symphonic Band, co-directs the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band, teaches Music Theory, and specializes in brass instruction. He also serves on the school’s Design Team, where he helps create and improve school policies and procedures. Under Mr. Flynn and co-directors Dr. Ann Adams Valle and Mr. Chris Banks, LaVilla Bands have achieved widespread recognition. The National Band Association awarded LaVilla the National Programs of Excellence Blue Ribbon Award in 2020, and the Florida Alliance for Arts Education named LaVilla a Model School for Music in 2018.
Prior to coming to Jacksonville, Flynn taught band and choir in North Boone CUSD 200 in Poplar Grove, Illinois. As the band and choir director at North Boone High School, he directed all ensembles and served as music director of the musical. He also previously taught elementary band in the Barrington 220 School District in Barrington, Illinois. He has taught beginning band students during every year of his career.
Flynn graduated cum laude from Illinois State University with the Bachelor of Music Education degree. He has been recognized as an Emerging Leader by the Florida Music Education Association and awarded the Citation of Excellence by the National Band Association. As a trombonist, he has performed in Florida with the First Coast Wind Symphony and in Illinois with the Rockford Wind Ensemble. He also enjoys playing piano and learning the works of Scott Joplin. Flynn is an Apple Teacher and a member of the National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, 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.