"...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.
Dr. Howles 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. During his time at Northwest, Howles was 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, performing 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.
Howles then pursued 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.
As an active classical and orchestral saxophonist, Howles is a regular performer with the Omaha and Lincoln (NE) Symphony Orchestras. He is a founding member and current tenor saxophonist of TCBSQ, a new saxophone quartet that uses their blend of resonant tone and virtuosic technique to bring new appreciation to the saxophone, as well as the Room 9 Duo and Binary. Howles has performed in venues throughout the United States and Europe and was “praised for his excellence” as a soloist by the Lincoln Journal Star. Howles has also performed and presented scholarly research at regional and biennial conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance (2011, 2017-2021) and U.S. Navy Band Saxophone Symposiums (2011-2013). Howles is also active in commissioning new works and has premiered pieces by David Von Kampen (“Saxophone Quartet” 2010), Christine Jensen (“Treelines” 2011), Kye Ryung Park (“Fantasy for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble” 2011), Kara Baxter (“On This Journey: Suite for Big Band and Five Voices” 2014), and Daniel Baldwin (“Vortex” 2017) and Garrett Hope ("Letters to Loved Ones" 2018).
As a jazz musician, Howles has been featured with groups from across the United States and plays regularly with several groups in and around the Lincoln/Omaha area including Lead Tenor with the Northeast Area Jazz Ensemble. He has shared the stage with jazz greats such as 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 Howles won a Downbeat award as a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Jazz Orchestra and he appears on their 2011 release, Homegrown.
Dr. Howles is currently the Director of Bands for Lakeview Community Schools (Columbus, NE) and was recognized in 2019 with the Outstanding Young Band Director Award from the Nerbraska State Bandmasters Association. He also serves as Adjunct Professor of Woodwinds at Midland University (Fremont, NE). He has previously held positions at Doane University as Adjunct Instructor of Saxophone and Instrumental Jazz (2010-2014) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (2009-2013). Ensembles under his direction have toured throughout the Midwest and have been recognized multiple times with the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association’s Academic Achievement Award.
Howles resides in Columbus, NE with his wife Janet, sons Jackson and Hunter, and dog Toby. Outside of music he enjoys golfing, competing as a natural bodybuilder, and being overly organized.
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 - MACSAX Castilleja Prototype .065/Rovner Platinum 24k plated
Jazz - RPC .85 Rollover Custom/Vintage Harrison ligature
Classical - YANY 180/Rovner Platinum 24k plated
Jazz - 10MFan Robusto 7** Ultem/Rovner Platinum
Classical - Selmer Soloist/Rovner Platinum 24k plated
Jazz - RPC Custom .105 Ultem/Rovner Dark