High Brass Coach
Swing Band Conductor
John Diaz is the director of bands at Lawrence Junior High School in Las Vegas Nevada, where he teaches 4 ensembles, 3 beginning, 2 intermediate, 1 advanced and 1 jazz band in a program of 300 students. Mr. Diaz has been teaching since 1987 and has been with the CCSD for 28 years. He currently has an active private studio since 1992- 2020 teaching trumpet, French horn, baritone, trombone and tuba. Since 2008, his concert and jazz bands have achieved “Superior” ratings in Nevada and California music festivals. He plays the trumpet for the Pedagogical Brass quintet and he has performed in many concerts in Las Vegas.
Mr. Diaz performed the trumpet for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles California and performed his trumpet at the Statue of Liberty 100th year Celebration in 1986 in New York, New York, where he performed the fanfare trumpet with the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of John Williams on national television.
Mr. Diaz earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music education from the University of Arizona in 1987. He taught for the Nogales School District from 1987-1990. Mr. Diaz holds a M.M. degree in Music Education from University of Nevada, Las Vegas in1990 and has been teaching in the Clark County School District and taught at Robison Middle School, Clark High School, Roy Martin Middle School and Lawrence Junior High School. His professional organizations include National Association of Music Education, Nevada Music of Music Education, Southern Nevada Band Association, and the Las Vegas Youth Orchestra where he has been the high brass coach since 2014.
Lisa Ratigan is the Director of Orchestras at K.O. Knudson Middle School Academy of Creative Arts and Technology.
Growing up in Las Vegas, she has witnessed the growth of music programs throughout the community, from the time of no orchestras in the schools, to present day programming. Lisa graduated from the Arizona State University (on full scholarship) with a Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance. She moved back to Las Vegas and worked for Mirage Resorts Inc. for the next 15 years where she met and married her husband. They have two beautiful grown daughters who were also heavily involved in music when they were in school.
Both her Mom and Grandfather were both professional Violinists. Her mom played in show bands on the strip while Lisa was growing up and would often times bring her to work to watch from the Lighting Booth. Lisa’s mom owned and ran a successful music studio and just recently retired.
Lisa is a contract violinist with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, a position she has held for 20 years; as well as the Upper Strings Coach at Clark High School for 12 of those years. During this time, she went back to school to pursue her Master’s Degree in Music Education. She is licensed to teach in the school district and is currently starting my fifth year as the Director of Orchestras at K.O. Knudson Middle School Academy of Creative Arts and Technology.
Lisa teaches Violin and Viola privately and has many students who participate in the Las Vegas Youth Orchestras. She has been coaching for the Las Vegas Youth Orchestra for several years. She encourages all her students to attend the American String Teachers Association Instrument Days - Violin Day, Viola Fest, Cello Day, and Bass Workshop, as well as Solo & Ensemble Festivals. Many of her students have gone on to have music careers of their own.
Lisa a member of the National Association of Music Educators (NAfME), Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), the Las Vegas Music Teachers Association (LVMTA), the American Viola Society (AVS) and the American String Teachers Association (ASTA).
Paul Firak, who is originally from Chicago, has been a member of the Las Vegas Philharmonic since 2000. Paul is also an active freelance musician whose credits include Barbara Streisand, Earth, Wind and Fire, Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera and a Canadian tour of Miss Saigon.
In addition to performing, Paul is also a low strings coach for the Clark County School District, The Las Vegas Youth Orchestra and maintains a private teaching studio at Violin Outlet.
Paul received a Bachelor Music degree in Performance at The University of Northern Colorado where he studied Double Bass with James Vaughn. Other teachers include Christopher Hanulik, (Los Angeles Philharmonic), Thomas Lederer (Dallas Symphony) and Kenneth Harper.
Paul lives in Kingman, Arizona and enjoys hiking as well as other outdoor activities.