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​"...some of the best saxophone playing I have ever heard." -Maestro Edward Polochik

Dr. Wade Howles was born in Greenville, Mississippi and raised in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Originally hoping to play the flute, his 6th grade band director crushed his dreams by placing a saxophone in his hands. The rest, as they say, is history. Howles was soon playing in district and regional honor bands, as well as local rock and ska bands.

Wade graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Education. While at Northwest, he studied saxophone and clarinet with Dr. Christopher Gibson. He was also a member of the Wind Symphony, Jazz Ensemble, Bearcat Marching Band, University Chorale, and Tower Choir. With these groups he toured throughout the United States as well as internationally, playing at the 2008 New Year’s Day Parade and Concert Series in London, England. He was a founding member of the Sharp Five Quintet and is a Past-President of the Upsilon Chi chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity.


Wade went on to pursue Master of Music (2010) and Doctor of Musical Arts (2017) degrees at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studied under the guidance of acclaimed saxophonist Dr. Paul Haar. While at Nebraska, he was a member of the Jazz Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Westbrook Saxophone Quartet. Dr. Howles’ dissertation focuses on the use of jazz elements in Don Freund’s Sky Scrapings for alto saxophone and piano and the performance practice of jazz elements within traditional concert saxophone repertoire.

As an active classical saxophonist, Wade is a regular performer with the Omaha and Lincoln (NE) Symphony Orchestras, and is a founding member of the TCBSQ saxophone quartet, The Room 9 Duo, and Binary. He has performed in venues throughout the United States and Europe having been “praised for his excellence” as a soloist by the Lincoln Journal Star. He has also performed and presented scholarly research at regional and biennial conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance (2011, 2017, 2018), U.S. Navy Band Saxophone Symposiums (2011, 2012, 2013), and Nebraska Music Education Association (2019). Wade is also active in commissioning new works and has most recently premiered pieces by Daniel Baldwin (Vortex, 2017), Garrett Hope (Letters to Loved Ones, 2018), and Christina Ensign (For in my dreams there returns a terrible silence, 2019).


As a jazz musician, Wade has been featured with groups from across the United States and plays regularly with several groups in and around the Lincoln/Omaha area. He has backed notable performers such as The Temptations, The Four Tops, Gary Foster, Ray Anderson, Ingrid and Christine Jensen, Matt Wilson, and Stefon Harris, Bill Watrous, Antonio Hart, Matt Penman, Avishai Cohen, Greg Abate, Scott Wendholt, Clay Jenkins, Andy Claussen, Kathy Kosins, and Hans Sturm. In 2011 Wade won a Downbeat award as a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Jazz Orchestra and he appears on their 2011 release, Homegrown.


Wade maintains a private saxophone studio and instructs some of the most promising young saxophonists from Columbus, Omaha, and Lincoln, NE. His students have set a consistent standard of excellence with multiple All-State Band selections and Outstanding Performance awards at District Music Contest. He has also served as an adjudicator and clinician throughout the Midwest. He was the clinician for the inaugural Columbus (NE) Middle School Honor Band and is a frequent


Wade currently directs 7th, 8th, Jazz Ensemble, and Big Band at Pound Middle School in Lincoln, NE. Prior to his current position, he spent six years as the Director of Bands for Lakeview Community Schools in Columbus, NE. Under his leadership the instrumental music programs at Lakeview saw substantial increases in enrollment at all levels, obtained Superior ratings at the district and state levels, and sent multiple members to the Nebraska All-State Band. For his efforts he was awarded the 2019 NSBA Jack R. Snyder Outstanding Young Director Award. In addition to his public-school teaching. Dr. Howles also serves as Adjunct Professor of Saxophone for Doane and Midland Universities, and previously directed the Doane Jazz Ensemble (2011-2014).


Wade currently resides in Lincoln, NE with his wife (Janet), sons (Jackson & Hunter), dog (Toby), leopard gecko (Lightning), and painted turtle (Callaway). Outside of music he enjoys golfing, competing as a natural bodybuilder, and being overly organized. He can be found on Instagram (@rippedreeds), as well as Twitter and Facebook (@jwhmusic).

Wade is proud to represent Eastman Winds, Rovner Products, and Key Leaves as a Performing Artist and Educator.

Wade is an Eastman Winds and Rovner Products Performing Artist and plays exclusively on Eastman 52nd Street saxophones and Rovner ligatures.
  • Classical - Selmer Concept/Rovner Platinum 24k plated
  • Jazz - Retro Revival "Shorty" E facing/Rovner Dark
  • Classical - Selmer Concept/Rovner Platinum 24k plated
  • Jazz - RPC .85 Rollover Custom/Vintage Harrison ligature
  • Classical - Selmer S80 C*/Rovner Platinum 24k plated
  • Jazz - 10MFan Robusto 7** Ultem/Rovner Platinum


  • Classical - YANY 200/Rovner Platinum 24k plated
  • Jazz - RPC Custom .105 Ultem/Rovner Dark
Wade proudly endorses Key Leaves Key Props and the Vent Vine.


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