Michael Friedman is currently in his 2nd year as the Director of JP Taravella Band. Prior to that appointment, Mr. Friedman taught high school for 25 years. His most recent appointments have been at Sawgrass Springs Middle School and Cypress Bay High School. Under his direction, Mr. Friedman’s bands have earned dozens of Superior Ratings at both District and State Music Performance Assessments in the areas of Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Marching Band. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Florida State University, and is currently completing a Doctorate at Boston University. Mr. Friedman is active as an adjudicator and guest clinician for many events throughout Florida.
Mr. Ecklund began his teaching career in 2002 as band director at Bair Middle School in Sunrise, Florida. In the fall of 2006, Mr. Ecklund was selected a "Broward County Arts Teacher of the Year" Semi-Finalist. In the fall of 2010, Mr. Ecklund was honored as Bair Middle School's "Teacher of the Year" and was awarded the City of Sunrise's "Teacher of the Month" award in November.
Mr. Ecklund was chosen to receive the "Tom Bishop Memorial Award" from the Florida Bandmaster's Association in 2011. This award is given to a Florida band director who has significantly improved the quality and size of a school's band program.
From 2011 - 2017, Mr. Ecklund served as Band Director at Westglades Middle School in Parkland, Florida. During his tenure, the band program nearly doubled in size to 300 students and was awarded "Best Middle School Marching Band" at the 2015 Coral Springs Holiday Parade. In the spring of 2017, Mr. Ecklund received the "Five Year Superior Award" from the Florida Bandmaster's Association for consistently achieving "Superior" ratings at FBA Concert Music Performance Assessment.
Even though he loves teaching music, Mr. Ecklund's favorite "gig" is spending time with his wife Meredith and his children Rachel, Cole, and Ava.
Ms. Elizabeth Jimenez, or ‘Eli’ as she is known by, is a Florida native. She attended Florida International University, Majoring in Health Sciences and Administration. Eli first began her Color Guard journey in high school joining Braddock Independent the year after graduation. Eli has spent 5 years with Braddock Independent working herself up to captain. She also spent a year with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps. Eli has joined the JP Taravella Band family in 2016, directing our Marching Band Color Guard and Winter Guard.