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San Elijo Band Coaching Staff

ZACHARY ELLIOTT

PERCUSSION COACH,

RESIDENT COMPOSER

Zachary Elliott is a highly experienced percussionist and currently performs with and teaches a variety of ensembles all over San Diego County. He took part in the Music for All National Percussion Festival in Indianapolis in 2012 and 2014, performed as principal percussionist for the Palomar Symphony Orchestra, and now is an active pit orchestra musician and performs frequently with an array of small ensembles. He teaches percussion privately, and coaches percussion across the San Marcos Unified School District. For the past three years, he has taken groups to represent SEMS at the San Diego Percussion Festival.

Mr. Elliott has been a prolific composer throughout his musical career, and has premiered pieces for wind ensembles, soloists, and chamber ensembles. He composes a large piece for the San Elijo Wind Symphony annually, and arranges a significant portion of the solo/ensemble program literature that SEMS students perform each year.

JUAN JASSO

HOUSE JAZZ DIRECTOR,

JAZZ COACH

Juan Jasso is the current House Jazz Band Director. His past experience in conducting, jazz, and woodwind pedagogy influenced him to pursue a degree towards Music Education at California State University Fullerton. An aspiring musician, he performs different styles of music in multiple settings all over Southern California. Juan is currently a Saxophone Major in which he is a part of the Symphonic Winds at CSUF, as well as a part of multiple jazz combos, saxophone quartets and small ensembles. 

CHIARA SUTTON

BEGINNING JAZZ DIRECTOR, BRASS COACH

Chiara Sutton has played horn for 12 years, and is a recent graduate in Horn Performance from the University of San Diego. She has been principal horn of the USD Wind Ensemble since its founding in 2015, and is a student conductor of the Torero Pep Band (of which she is the co-founder). She performs frequently with USD Brass ensembles, and participates in concerts as a soloist every semester. Although horn is Ms. Sutton’s primary instrument, she can also play trumpet and trombone. She works with brass and multiple solo/ensemble groups at SEMS, and teaches several horn students privately.

MELANIE CRUZ

FLUTE COACH/FLUTE ENSEMBLE

Melanie Cruz was raised in Northern Illinois and has been playing the flute for over 12 years. She has been the principal flautist in the University of San Diego Wind Ensemble for 2 years and continues to serve as the president of the athletic bands. While majoring in Biochemistry at USD, she has always had a love for music and continues to study it as a minor and is very excited for her continued involvement with the SEMS Music Program!

TERENCE COOPER 

BRASS COACH 

Terence has been a local Horn player/ Singer/Composer/Arranger/Teacher/Coach in the San Diego area for the last 27 years. He is a former principle horn in the La Jolla Symphony, has performed and written for performing groups at Sea World, Lego Land and most recently, The San Diego Zoo. He has also been a music minister at North Coast Church in Vista for the last 13 years,where he plays piano and sings each weekend in the "Soul Gospel" venue."  Mr. Cooper is on a leave for the 2019-2020 year due to other scheduling conflicts.  We are hoping to see him again in the 2020-2021 school year!