Director of Bands - Music Department Chair
Leon Slater is in his 8th year as the Director of Bands for Hellgate High School.
Mr. Slater earned his Bachelors in Trumpet Performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. While at Northwestern he performed in the Brass Choir under the direction of Rex Martin, the Wind Ensemble under the direction of John Paynter and the Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Victor Yampolsky.
In 1993 Mr.Slater moved to Missoula to study music education at the University of Montana where he received his Masters in Music and his teaching certification. In the Fall of 1996 he student taught at Hellgate High School and learned how to rehearse effectively and passionately from Mr. John Combs.
In 1997 he took a job as Director of Bands at Florence Carlton Schools in Florence, MT. In five years the HS band grew from 13 to 118 members. In 2002 Mr. Slater took the helm of the Big Sky Band program and within a few short years had auditioned their groups into All-Northwest, the New York Wind Band Festival and the Australian Music Festival.
When Steve Bolstad left the University of Montana Mr. Slater was asked to step in and become an interim Assistant Director of Bands and trumpet teacher at the University of Montana. At UM Slater taught methods and materials for music education majors, brass methods, trumpet studio, jazz combos, supervised student teachers and directed the University Concert Band.
In 2008 Mr. Slater was accepted into the Center for Jazz Composition program at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. He studied jazz composition with Chuck Owen, assisted with the trumpet studio and directed the "Jazz II" Big Band. He is currently an active trumpet performer with Salsa Loca, the Big Sky Mudflaps and the Soul City Brass Band. He lives in Missoula with his wife Liz, their two children Ethan (age 15) and Emi (age 13) and their two dogs "Bebop" and "Rock-Steady".