About Our Program

Dakota Ridge High School is a comprehensive four-year technologically advanced high school that opened its doors on August 20, 1996 – we celebrated our 20th school year in 2015-2016. It is one of seventeen traditional high schools in Jefferson County Public Schools, one of Colorado’s largest school districts, serving nearly 86,000 students. Dakota Ridge High School is located in southwest suburban Denver with a total enrollment of 1500+ students.

Dakota Ridge High School aspires to help all members of its community develop a sense of balance and synergy from the four basic human needs: the need to live, the need to love, the need to learn, and the need to leave a legacy.

Click here to visit the Dakota Ridge High School Website


The Dakota Ridge High School Instrumental Music Program serves over 150 students annually through many band and orchestra ensembles. Our program is comprised of:

  • Curricular Options
      • Symphonic Band
      • Percussion Class
      • Jazz Band
      • String Orchestra
    • Chamber Orchestra
  • Extracurricular Options
      • Screamin’ Eagles Marching Band
      • Winter Percussion
      • Winter Guard
      • Musical Pit Orchestra
      • Students selected to local and state honor ensembles
    • Chamber Ensembles/Solo and Ensemble opportunities

Instrumental Music Program Staff

Dylan Ford – Director of Instrumental Music (Band & Orchestra)

    • E-mail: Dylan.Ford@jeffco.k12.co.us
  • Phone: 303-982-1970

conducting

Mr. Dylan Ford is the director of instrumental music at Dakota Ridge High School where he oversees all aspects of the DRHS band and orchestra program. This is Mr. Ford’s third year at Dakota Ridge High School. Previously, Mr. Ford was the Director of Bands at Central High School in Grand Junction, CO for four years.

Mr. Ford is a Colorado native, and an alumnus of the University of Northern Colorado (Greeley, CO) where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. While at UNC, Mr. Ford was a versatile student and musician, and performed as a trombonist in many ensembles, including: symphonic band, wind ensemble, symphony orchestra, lab II jazz ensemble, trombone choir, and the undergraduate brass quintet. He also played in the pit orchestra for numerous UNC productions as well as the professional theatre company “The Little Theatre of the Rockies”. In addition to these performing responsibilities, Mr. Ford was the drum major for the “Pride of the Rockies” marching band for three years. Mr. Ford was also a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard, a world class drum and bugle corps from Santa Clara, CA.

Mr. Ford also served the School of Performing/Visual Arts as the UNC CNAFME President, a member of the Student Advisory Board for the School of Performing/Visual Arts, and was the student representative to the UNC/Greeley Arts Advisory Board.

Professionally, Mr. Ford has attended and conducted at the UNC Conducting Symposium, and has been on staff with the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps and Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps. Mr. Ford is a member of the Colorado Bandmasters Association (CBA Board Member: Vice President, CBA Marching Committee Member, CBA Concert Band Committee Member), Colorado Music Educators’ Association, American School Band Director’s Association, Phi Beta Mu (International School Bandmaster Fraternity), American String Teacher Association, and the National Association for Music Education.

Percussion

Peter Hirschhorn
Jose Campuzano

Color Guard

Marissa Keating
Marisa Wagner
Joe Keating
Shelby Fisher

Orchestra Sectional Coaches

Angie Dombrowski (violin/viola)
Susan Crisfield (cello/bass)
Michelle Ewer (orchestra consultant)

Michelle Ewer has been a professional educator for 39 years. She began her career in Westminster District 50 teaching elementary and middle school strings. Michelle taught band in Jefferson County Public Schools for five years and was a strings specialist for 27 years. During her career she has had three groups perform for the Colorado Music Educators Clinic/Conference. Her groups have also performed at numerous state and local festivals receiving high ratings.

Michelle retired in 2016 but has continued to teach part time for the past three years. She currently helps at several schools in Jefferson County on a weekly basis. She is both the State and Southwest Division Chair for TRI M Music Honor Society. She also coordinates the TRI M sessions at CMEA, which include over 450 students from across the state of Colorado. Mrs. Ewer became a part time faculty member at The University of Colorado Boulder School of Music in the fall of 2017. She helps to coordinate placements for student teachers, and is support staff to both mentors and mentees.

Michelle earned her Bachelor of Music Education from The University of Northern Colorado, and her Masters in Educational Administration from The University of Phoenix.

Mrs. Ewer has presented numerous topics at CMEA and CASTA during her career. Her most recent presentation was “Find Your Marigold and Leadership Style “She is a member of the Colorado Department of Education Content Collaborative, helping to rewrite State Standards and Assessments. In addition, she also hosted the Colorado High School Activities Association Solo and Small Ensemble Festival for 18 years. Michelle is a member of CMEA and ASTA.

Michelle was inducted into the Colorado Music Educators Hall of Fame in 2014, and has served as President for both the Colorado Music Educators Association and the Colorado American String Teachers Association. She currently serves as a mentor teacher for all secondary music teachers in Jefferson County.

Marching Band Staff

Matt Burchard (woodwinds)
Steve Wixom (brass)
Nick O’Hara (visual)


DRHS Articulation area instrumental music staff

Katrina Cavaliere – Summit Ridge Middle School / Elementary Area Band

  • E-mail: kcavalie@jeffco.k12.co.us
  • Phone: 303-982-3918

Mrs. Cavaliere is in her fourteent year of teaching instrumental music at Summit Ridge Middle School. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Music from the University of Northern Colorado and (thirteen years and two kids later) received her Bachelors in Music Education from Metro State College of Denver. Over the past 15 years, Mrs. Cavaliere has worked with drumlines/pits, was an assistant director for marching band, instructed percussion ensembles, and taught music at the preschool level. She has published two of her original percussion ensemble works. Mrs. Cavaliere lives in South Jeffco with her husband (also a middle school instrumental teacher in Jeffco) and her two children.

Carrie Welch – Summit Ridge Middle School / Elementary Area Orchestras

  • E-mail: carrie.welch@jeffco.k12.co.us
  • Phone: 303-982-2786

Mrs. Welch has taught elementary band and orchestra in the Dakota Ridge Area since 2013. She grew up in Jeffco and has been teaching in the district since 2010. She graduated from the IB program at Lakewood High School, where she discovered her passion for teaching music as the drum major. She received her Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Colorado State University and graduated with honors. Mrs. Welch has worked with several elementary, middle, and high school bands and orchestras in the district as a musical director, marching band assistant, and private lesson teacher.  She currently lives in northwest Denver with her husband and two dogs.

Elementary School Information

Blue Heron Elementary
5987 W Dorado DrLittleton, CO 80123
Phone: 303-982-2770
Blue Heron Elementary School Web Site

Colorow Elementary
6317 S Estes St
Littleton, Colorado 80123
Phone: 303-982-5480
Colorow Elementary School Web Site

Mount Carbon Elementary
12776 W Cross Ave
Littleton, CO 80123
Phone: 303-982-7900
Mount Carbon Elementary School Web Site

Powderhorn Elementary
12109 W Coal Mine Ave
Littleton, Colorado 80127
Phone: 303-982-0074
Powderhorn Elementary School Web Site

Westridge Elementary
10785 W Alamo Pl
Littleton, CO 80127
Phone: 303-982-3975
Westridge Elementary School  Web Site