High School Directors
Mikala Mortensen grew up in Saratoga Springs, Utah and is a proud alumnus of Westlake High School. She then went on to earn an Honors Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Utah (Go Utes!). While at the University, she performed with several performing ensembles, including, Pride of Utah Marching Band, Utah Wind Ensemble, Runnin’ Fl’utes, and Jazz band(s). As well as performance, Mikala conducted a great deal of research including, a 150-page thesis paper about flute pedagogy for the University of Utah Honors College.
Outside the University, Mikala also spent two seasons touring with The Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps (2014, 2015) playing Tuba. Through DCI, she also competed in the Individual & Ensemble Competition and became a and became a two-time solo champion. She was also on staff with Westlake High School’s Marching Band and traveled with them to Bands of America Grand Nationals competition in Indianapolis.
Mikala was mentored by Brad Toth, Jed Weeks, and Michael Moore while she worked with Byron Nelson Bands in Trophy Club, Texas and then Dan Chaston with the Viewmont Bands in Bountiful, Utah. She is now the Director of Bands at Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. Since arriving at Brighton she has led her ensembles to score well at State Festivals, added four additional performing ensembles and gained traction in the Brighton community. Outside of music, Mikala loves to hike, ski and rock climb. She now resides in Taylorsville with her husband, Richard and two dogs: Denali and Katmai.
Alia Gonzales is a native of Salt Lake City, UT where she studied violin with John Thompson, David Park and Gerald Elias. In 1995 Mrs. Gonzales had the privilege of traveling to Japan where she met Dr. Suzuki personally. Upon graduating from High school she moved to Texas where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance from Southern Methodist University and her Master’s Degree in Violin Performance from Sam Houston State University. As a graduate student, she taught conducting classes, directed the chamber ensemble and worked with the full University Orchestra.
After completing her Master’s Degree she became an avid educator, clinician, performer and studio musician in the Houston area. Some highlights include playing for Kany Garcia (Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Album) at the 2008 Latin Grammy Awards. The following year, one of her performing groups from the school in which she taught was selected to perform at the 2009 Texas Music Educator’s Association Convention. That same year she and her co-worker presented a clinic at TMEA showcasing the latest Novelty percussion ensemble (Rowloff Productions) for elementary and middle school performing groups. More recently she performed as a violin soloist for a live recording of the album “La Carta Perfecta,” which received a Grammy Award for best Christian album of 2014. All of her experiences have given Mrs. Gonzales a love for music from every genre: from Classical to Romantic, Baroque to Modern, Country to Rap and everything in between, and she loves getting her students excited about the connection between them all!
In 2016, Mrs. Gonzales moved with her husband - also an educator and band and orchestra director - and three children back to Salt Lake City to be back near her family, have a slower pace of life, and to enjoy the mountains. In her spare time, Mrs. Gonzales can be found helping her husband with his Non-Profit, Stone of Hope Youth, which was founded to help at-risk youth in the West Valley community. She also likes to hike, read, run and spend time with her cool kids.
Middle School Directors
Enrique Tellez began his professional career in 2012 at Utah State University, studying under Dr. Todd Fallis; professor of Low Brass. While in attendance at USU, Mr. Tellez held the position of Vice President and subsequently President of the Collegiate Chapter of the National Association for Music Educators. Immediately following his first year of college, Mr. Tellez became the Principal Tuba player for the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre Company, The American Festival Orchestra, the Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, and the Utah State University Wind and Symphony Orchestras. After graduating in 2016 as a Caine Scholar of Excellence with a Bachelor’s in Music Education, Mr. Tellez moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to pursue a career in Music Education. Mr. Tellez is currently the Director of Bands and Orchestras at Butler Middle School in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, while also maintaining his Principal tuba positions. A highlight of Mr. Tellez’s education career thus far was his nomination for Teacher of the Year 17-18. In addition to his work at Butler Middle and multiple orchestra, Mr. Tellez teaches a private studio and frequently performs with the Utah Wind Symphony and the Salt Lake Symphonic Winds.
Jenni Perkins is in her 13 th year teaching middle school music at Albion Middle School in
Canyons School District. During her 13 years at Albion, Jenni has had the opportunity to teach
band, orchestra, percussion ensemble, jazz band, guitar, with a 4 year stint of teaching choir
that just came to an end. In her time at Albion, each of her advanced performing ensembles
have received Superior ratings at district performance assessment festivals. In 2013, Jenni was
recognized as Albion’s Teacher of the Year. She has also had the privilege of being the New
Teacher Coach at Albion for 7 years. Currently, Jenni is serving on the UMEA Mentoring
committee. She is one of 3 directors for the Canyons Youth Symphony Orchestra, which has
students in grades 5-9 performing throughout the school year. In 2008, Jenni served as a
member of the Praxis Music National Advisory Committee in Princeton, New Jersey, and is
currently the K-12 Educator in Residence on the Praxis Music Committee.
Raised in Kearns, Utah, Jenni was an active member in all things music through her
school years. She attended the University of Utah where she performed with the marching
band, pep band, symphonic band, flute choir, and concert chorale. While at the U, Jenni had
the opportunity to serve as band librarian for 3 years. She had the privilege of student teaching
with the late Heather Christensen at Riverton High School. Following student
teaching/graduation in December of 2004, Jenni was a substitute in Jordan School District,
which concluded with a long term subbing position at Joel P. Jensen Middle School teaching
Band, Orchestra, and General Music. While at the U, Jenni met her husband Eric (also a middle
school band and orchestra teacher). They, along with their three children (Micah, Hyrum, and
Alyce) live in Kearns, 9 houses away from Jenni’s childhood home.
FLUTE- Tia Jaynes
DOUBLE REEDS- Jessica
CLARINET- Lea Nelson
SAXOPHONE- David Hall
TRUMPETS- Bronson Pascaul
HORNS- Dan Omer
LOW BRASS-Evan Silloway
PERCUSSION- Troy Irish
VIOLIN- Alia Gonzales
VIOLA- Alia Gonzales
CELLO- Marty McMillan
BASS- Kayleigh Dahl