• 2015 Hellgate Wind Ensemble at Carnegie Hall

    Pictured:  The 2015 Hellgate Wind Ensemble on stage at Carnegie Hall (New York Wind Band Festival) 
    Mr. Slater
    Leon Slater
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    Leon Slater is in his 9th year as the Director of Bands for Hellgate High School. Mr. Slater earned his Bachelors in Trumpet Performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. While at Northwestern he performed in the Brass Choir under the direction of Rex Martin, the Wind Ensemble under the direction of John Paynter and the Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Victor Yampolsky.

    In 1993 Mr.Slater moved to Missoula to study music education at the University of Montana where he received his Masters in Music and his teaching certification.  In the Fall of 1996 he student taught at Hellgate High School and learned how to rehearse effectively and passionately from Mr. John Combs.  In 1997 he took a job as Director of Bands at Florence Carlton Schools in Florence, MT. In five years the HS band grew from 13 to 118 members. In 2002 Mr. Slater took the helm of the Big Sky Band program and within a few short years had auditioned their groups into All-Northwest, the New York Wind Band Festival and the Australian Music Festival.   When Steve Bolstad left the University of Montana Mr. Slater was asked to step in and become an interim Assistant Director of Bands and trumpet teacher at the University of Montana.   At UM Slater taught methods and materials for music education majors, brass methods, trumpet studio, jazz combos, supervised student teachers and directed the University Concert Band. In 2008 Mr. Slater was accepted into the Center for Jazz Composition program at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL.  He studied jazz composition with Chuck Owen, assisted with the trumpet studio and directed the "Jazz II" Big Band. 
    He is currently an active trumpet performer with Salsa Loca, the Big Sky Mudflaps and the Soul City Brass Band.  He lives in Missoula with his wife Liz, their two children Ethan (age 17) and Emi (age 14) and their two dogs "Bebop" and "Rock-Steady". 


  • Period 1 - Prep

    Period 2 - Advanced Band (Symphonic)

    Period 3 - Intermediate Band (Concert)

    Period 4 - Wind Ensemble

    Lunch - Leadership Council, Testing or Working with Students

    Period 5 - Prep

    Period 6 - PLC / Inventory and Library Duty / Independent Study

    Period 7 - Jazz Band

2017-18 Information

  • The entire Hellgate Bands Handbook can be found here.

    PARENTS: 2017-18 school year - Here is a quick reference guide for you :-)

    1. Help your student complete the HANDBOOK survey (located at the bottom of this document) for their class (i need acurate phone #'s for the remind text system).
    2. We have a $30.00 white fee to assist with our uniforms. Please make checks payable to "HELLGATE BANDS".  Percussionists also have a fee to maintain our percussion equipment (total of $60.00 for all percussionists).
    3. Please get signed up for my email - BAND NEWS (by clicking this link and adding your address on the page).  I will be communicating about our events, class projects and needs for parent involvement via email link to the Band News on our website.
    4. Please get our performance dates on your home calendar - they are all listed here -  HELLGATE BAND EVENTS
    5. Please let me know what you need to help your time with the Hellgate Bands even better.  MY EMAIL is:   I appreciate you!
    Welcome to the 2017-18 school year!  Let me just start by saying - I am super excited to work with each and every one of you as a student!!  I know that what we do together is powerful and I am looking forward to instructing you and working together with you!!
    It is my hope that you will grow every day during your HS career at Hellgate.  You are among an elite group of incredibly talented people that get to call themselves musicians - take pride and know that what you are doing will expand your mind and spirit for years to come.  Thank you for being involved, working hard and enjoying the rewards that music can bring into your lives.
    Since we are a PERFORMANCE based learning ensemble, please be sure to click on the EVENTS tab and visit the calendar.   All band students will begin the year by combining to create our marching band.  It is a busy 5 weeks here at the beginning of the school year, but after marching season you will see that we typically do about 1 performance per quarter (except Wind Ensemble and Jazz).  It is really important that ALL of our performances are a part of your home master calendar - we are all depending on each other to have 100% attendance at all of our performances! It is also an awesome thing to have the entire Hellgate Band family in attendance at concerts that you aren't performing on (plus we need your help with the CONCERT TECH. CREW).  Please come join us and support our student musicians!! 
    It is also VERY important that all Hellgate Band families are signed up to receive the HELLGATE BAND NEWS emails. This is my main form of communication and it will help us all be in the right place at the right time!  You can sign up right now by visiting the Band Grams link on the menu to the left.  The link to add your email is at the very top of the page.  I will also be sending you an opportunity to receive the band grams and other band reminders via text.
    Please take a few minutes and become familiar with each section of the handbook posted below. If you have questions regarding any portion, please feel free to email me at or stop by my office with your questions.  In order to achieve the highest standards of excellence in the Hellgate High School Band, it is necessary for the new student to become acquainted with the regulations, procedures and past traditions of this incredible organization.  
    Please remember that I am here to  help you grow as a musician AND get to know you as a person!  I welcome you to stop by and visit anytime!
    THANKS and see you soon! - SLATER
    Leon Slater
    Director of Bands 
    Hellgate High School
    Missoula, MT 59801

    HELLGATE BAND HISTORY - A Tradition of Excellence

    The Hellgate Bands have consistently set the bar for band performance in the state of Montana. Under the direction of John Combs for 28 years the Hellgate Bands achieved unparalleled success.  The Hellgate Bands have commissioned works from both David Maslanka (UFO Dreams and Hells Gate) and John O'Reilly (Montana Visions). The Hellgate Marching Knights have marched the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1978, 1984, 1987, 1990 and 2005; performed in the Cotton Bowl Parade in 1981 and the Fiesta Bowl Parade in 1992, 1995 and 1999; and also performed in the Holiday Bowl Parade of 2001 where they were selected at the Holiday Bowl Festival Sweepstakes winner taking 1st Place in Concert Band and Jazz Band performances.  The Hellgate Bands participated in the 2011 Honolulu Festival (an International Cultural Arts Festival). They received superior ratings in the Wind Band festival and placed 2nd in the Festival Parade (which took place in downtown Honolulu).  The Hellgate Wind Ensemble performed on the Chicago Symphony Hall stage and won the "Gold Award" in the 2013 Chicago International Music Festival.  They have most recently received the "Gold Award" at the 2015 New York Wind Band Festival for their performance in Carnegie Hall!
    The Hellgate Bands have consistently received Superior ratings at District Music Festivals. The Marching Band has performed half-time shows at football games for the University of Montana and Montana State University. The band has performed in Disneyland and San Diego’s Sea World. The Jazz Band program consistently receives Superior ratings at the State Music Festival and was selected to perform at the MENC All-Northwest Convention in 2001 in Spokane, Washington and 2013 in Portland, Oregon. An overwhelming majority of the Hellgate band students take part in the District II Music Festival as soloists and members of small ensembles.