Learn more about our wonderful judges for this years event.


Joe Janes is originally from Wisconsin earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. Mr. Janes and his wife moved to New Mexico and lived in Albuquerque for 10 years where he taught middle and high school bands in Albuquerque and Los Lunas. He also taught for the New Mexico Jazz Workshop and played professionally in a wide variety of bands and ensembles ranging from symphony orchestras to jazz groups to salsa bands. During this time, Mr. Janes also had the opportunity to study with world renown clarinet and saxophone player, Eddie Daniels.

Since 2003, Mr. Janes has lived in Texas. In 2008, Mr. Janes received his Master Degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas in Denton and has been adjunct faculty at the University of North Texas and at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Since 2013, Mr. Janes has been teaching at DeLay Middle School in Lewisville. His bands consistently earn Sweepstakes in the UIL Concert and Sightreading contest and top ratings at other festivals.

When he’s not teaching, Mr. Janes enjoys performing professionally in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with a wide variety of ensembles and performs regularly in the saxophone section of the Dallas-based Rebel Alliance Jazz Ensemble. His latest favorite pastime is practicing with his 6th grade daughter who just started playing saxophone in her school band this year! 

 Mr. Janes lives in Denton, TX with his wife, daughter, and dogs.


Kent Erickson taught middle school band and jazz band in Albuquerque, New Mexico for 30 years.  His jazz bands consistently demonstrated a high level of performance, and always showcased many young improvisers.  Mr. Erickson has been the guest conductor for the New Mexico All State Jazz III four times and has worked  as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the state of New Mexico.  He is currently retired from public education and resides in Timnath, Colorado.

Mr. Erickson received a Bachelor of Music Education from Montana State University in 1979 and a Masters of Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1982.  Kent is a freelance trumpet player and has performed with a wide variety of artists including:  Donna Summer, Wayne Newton, Natalie Cole, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bobby Vinton, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The O’Jays, Don Rickles, and Regis Philbin.  While living in Albuquerque, Mr. Erickson was a member of the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra, the dixieland band “Jazz Ala Carte”, and the pop band “Tapestry”.


Mr. Sanks was the Director of Bands at Eldorado High School for 13 years and retired in 2013.  Mr. Sanks is an active clinician, adjudicator, directs the Albuquerque Concert Band, an 80 plus member adult community band that performs all year long.  He is an active trombonist that performs in a brass quintet, a rock band, and has played trombone in the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra for 38 years.  Mr. Sanks was the KOAT Teacher of the year in 1993 & 2002, the National Federation Interscholastic Music Association Teacher of the Year in 1999 & 2004, the New Mexico Music Educator Association Music Educator of the Year in 2OO4, New Mexico Jazz Workshop Hall of Fame in 2011, the New Mexico Music Educators Association Hall of Fame in 2013, and Emeritus Teacher of the Year in 2022.


Winston “Paul” Blakey, a New Mexico native and product of the Albuquerque Public School Music Program, graduated from Eldorado High School, received his Bachelors in Music Education from the University of New Mexico in 1996 and a Master’s degree in music education from UNM in 2007. He has been a high school band director for 26 years, local jazz musician and currently serves as music instrumental resource teacher for the Albuquerque Public schools.

Paul began his teaching career in Albuquerque at Highland High School where he taught marching band, concert band and jazz band for 16 years. While at Highland the jazz band was named honor band at the 2000 University of New Mexico Jazz Festival as well as being named honor band at the 2005 New Mexico State jazz festival.  The biggest honor for the jazz band was receiving a national jazz award being named as one of  “America's Best” in 2001. In 2008, The Highland Marching Band was the Zia New Mexico state champion. 

In 2012, Paul became the director of bands at Volcano Vista High School until 2020. From 2012-2019 The Volcano Vista jazz program received continuous superior ratings at festivals while the marching band was a many time Class AAAA winner at The NM Pageant of bands, as well as a finalist band consistently at the Zia State Competition. The Volcano Vista Symphonic band has placed 2nd and 3rd in recent years at the NMAA State Band Contest.

Mr. Blakey has had a professional performance background in the Albuquerque community playing saxophone several times with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and as a member of the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra for 30 years.  In his career Paul has played with world renowned jazz and pop artists in the state of New Mexico. A versatile musician, Mr. Blakey played in the popular local ska/reggae band known as “Giant Steps” for six years. Paul is frequently utilized as a clinician at local and statewide music events in jazz band, marching band and concert band.