John Simms is a Language Arts teacher at Harrison Middle School and the founder and long-time host of the after-school South Valley Band Project. As well as having been an instructor in the program, John has been instrumental in keeping music alive at Harrison. John plays trumpet with local Salsa group, Café Mocha.
A professional performer, studio musician, clinician, and music educator for thirty years, Ken received his bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. He went on to teach in various public and private schools in Wisconsin for sixteen years, seven of them as Director of the celebrated CYO Emerald Knights Marching Band and Guard in Kenosha. During that time he served as a WSMA (Wisconsin State Music Association) clinician and adjudicator while continuing to study saxophone and jazz improvisation at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. After a short run of playing the club scene in St. Pete, Florida, Ken returned to Milwaukee to play and record with various artists and in numerous venues. Currently a resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ken taught music for ten years with Albuquerque Public Schools and is a year-round clinician and summer staff teacher at the Hummingbird Music Camp in Jemez Springs. He teaches privately, writes, records, and performs regularly with a variety of New Mexico artists, among them Darren Cordova y Calor, Tanya Griego, Kady Bow, Jimmy Haynes, and as a frequent guest with Rudy Jaramillo and the Rudy Boy Experiment. Ken has recently completed his master’s degree in Humanities from California State University at Dominguez Hills.