Coordinator of jazz and saxophone, faculty member Pete Mills has been at Denison since 1999. In that time, he has become involved with all sides of the vibrant Columbus jazz scene. Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Mills started playing the saxophone in middle school. He has since gone on to become a successful and multifaceted musician.

Mills has become a central figure in the local scene, helping coordinate a concert series at the Lincoln Theatre with Jazz Arts Group, where he is the program director. As the director, Mills brings the nation’s best jazz musicians to Columbus and through his work with the Jazz Arts Group, he helps educate local middle and high school musicians through their Jazz Academy program.

Through teaching opportunities provided by both, this program and Denison, Mills can see the next generation of jazz musicians discover their passion for the music he loves. “It’s so rewarding to see the progress of students and every now and then one comes along that really excels,” he said. His Denison students often join him to sit in with various bands and showcase their skills.

This fall Mills is preparing for several exciting events and concerts both on and off campus, including a return to play in his native Toronto. He is also working on his fifth studio record while continuing to perform regularly in the Columbus area.

September 21, 2023