Getting Jazzy With Mr. Denke


New band teacher brings music-filled energy to ELHS as he takes on new role of director


Earnest, efficient, and encouraging- his name is Christopher Denke. Mr. Denke is an exciting switch up for the ELHS music department. He has been here since mid-October and has already made a positive impact.

“[Mr. Denke] manages time very well… and he plays many instruments so he knows how to help out everybody,” junior and trombone player Carter Bonura said. His students describe him as a versatile teacher. After teaching music in Naugatuck, coming to East Lyme was a change of pace. Mr. Denke learned about East Lyme through his colleagues’ high praise of the town. The marching band and jazz band caught his eye.

“A lot of my students are very enthusiastic about music, which I was hoping for,” Mr. Denke said. It’s not just Mr. Denke who is a huge contributor to the music world, the students are also key to its success. It is a team effort and they are working together towards perfection.

“In my piano class, there’s a student who plays the drum set and another student who previously took jazz piano and it helped connect them and now they are jamming together. It was cool to see that I facilitated that,” Mr. Denke said.

“By learning different styles of music you learn different skills which help you become a better musician,” said Bonura. Jazz, concert, and marching band are completely different, but they help students grow as musicians.

“It was a difficult transition from one director to the next,” sophomore percussionist Dylan Rodgers said. It’s always going to be strange changing teachers, directors, coaches etc.

Mr. Denke is working to make the switch easy for his students. Even though he has only been here for a short period of time, he plans on making an impact and looking towards the future under his new leadership.