Director of Bands

Jesse Dochnahl is deeply honored to begin his first year as the Director of Bands for Hellgate High School and his 14th year of teaching music.

An active chamber musician, clinician, and conductor, Mr. Dochnahl has worked with young musicians across Montana, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Prior to his appointment at Hellgate, he taught the wind band, percussion, jazz, and music technology at Big Sky High School for six years, where he led students in performance tours and volunteer services in Honolulu, New Orleans, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He taught instrumental music at C.S. Porter Middle School for three years and Sheboygan Falls High School (WI) (2007-2010). He served on the faculty at the University of Montana teaching saxophone in 2018. In the 2012-13 academic year, he served as Instructor of Saxophone and Freshman Studies at Lawrence University.

Mr. Dochnahl was awarded First Prize in the MTNA Woodwind Young Artist (2005) and Chamber Music (2012) National Competitions, and was the winner of the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. He has performed as concert soloist with the Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra and the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra and in recitals at the NASA 2012 National Conference, SEAMUS 2012 National Conference, 13th World Saxophone Congress, the 2005 & 2012 MTNA National Conferences, and the U.S. Navy International Saxophone Symposium. Dochnahl has performed with Sinfonia da Camera Chamber Orchestra, Eugene Symphony, Green Bay Civic Orchestra, Sheboygan Symphony, Missoula Symphony, and Helena Symphony. A staunch advocate of new music, especially by underrepresented artists, Dochnahl has presented world premieres of music by Javier Arau, Ming-Ching Chiu, Andrew Seager Cole, Joanne Metcalf, Asha Srinivasan, Scott Unrein, Stephen Wood, Naomi Siegel, and Carl Wittrock, among many others. He serves on the board of directors for the Montana Area Music Association, as well as the University of Montana Jazz Advisory Board.

Mr. Dochnahl holds a Master of Music from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he studied with Debra Richtmeyer. He graduated magna cum laude from Lawrence University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music Education and Music Performance, and studied saxophone with Steven Jordheim. Doc paid for college working ten seasons as a trails technician with the Forest Service near Ennis, MT, his hometown. He resides in Missoula with his wife, Caitlin Cisler, their cat Finn, and a garage full of bikes and skis.
More info and noise can be found at
"I passionately believe that music education is important to all people. Band students learn the skills needed to perform an instrument, learn about life through music (knowledge) and their feelings/ideas/concepts about it (affect). My goal is to help every student become self-directed, self-assessing, life-long learners and leaders, AND to find out how much joy there is in making music with others.
If you have any questions, please email. I'd love to hear from you! Thank you!"    – Mr. Dochnahl, your band teacher-conductor

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