Chris Mell has been part of MYSO since 2008, starting as a drum set technique instructor and in 2012, he became the Jazz Studies Director. Chris has been performing and teaching drums for more than three decades and has taught students ranging in age from 3 to 70 in a wide variety of percussion and drum set styles. He has taught bucket drumming and West African drumming classes for the Boys and Girls Clubs, and for many years taught drum line for Cudahy Middle/High School and Franklin High School. Chris most recently started working for the Milwaukee Public Schools as a traveling music teacher. He teaches private lessons and drum line for six MPS schools including Bradley Tech, Humboldt Park, MacDowell Montessori, Milwaukee School of Languages, Obama, and Washington High School.
Chris graduated from UW-Whitewater with a Bachelor’s degree in music with a jazz emphasis. Over his career he has studied and toured with John Becker, Steve Wiest, Ed Shaughnessy, Brad Leahi, Dave Pietro, Michael Spiro, Billy Cobham, the Maynard Ferguson Big Band, Joan Rivers among many more. Chris was also a founding member of the UW-Whitewater Jazz Symposium that did two tours of Europe playing the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival and several club dates in Germany, London, and Paris. The Jazz Symposium was so successful that it became part of the UW-W Jazz curriculum. Chris Mell currently lives in Milwaukee and is a freelance artist for various groups throughout the greater Milwaukee area and Wisconsin.