bandBand at UPark is for fourth and fifth grade students and is provided as an enrichment program through Big As Life Music. Students meet twice a week before school (beginning band M-W 8:00 – 8:55 and intermediate band T-Th 8:00 – 8:55) with the band director, Christmas Gainsbrugh and numerous sectional leaders from the University of Denver and Metropolitan State University.

Through a grant to the school about 9 years ago, the school obtained a large number of instruments available for UPark students to use throughout the school year for a low-cost rental fee. Since that time, the number of instruments available to students has increased to close to 60 via donations and additional purchases by the PTA. The instruments are distributed at the beginning of the school year on a lottery basis. Additional instrument rentals, as well as instruction books, can be found at Kolacny Music.p735837710-3In addition to weekly practice, students participate in a winter and a spring concert held at Merrill Middle School, play at the school Fun Run, take a field trip to Metro with Professor Mark Harris, play at Barnes & Noble in December, perform on stage at Red Rocks and any other wonderful and wacky things that Christmas & Joni think up during the school year.

Because band is provided as an enrichment program at UPark and paid for by the families that participate, the community comes together to help raise money to provide scholarships. Once a month UPark organizes a Restaurant Night at a restaurant near the school and 100% of the proceeds from these events is used to help students in need pay half of their band tuition.

p922799599-4To find out more about band at UPark, please contact band director Christmas Gainsbrugh at If you know of a restaurant in the UPark area that would like to host one of our 9 Restaurant Night events during the school year, please contact the PTA at

Band Instructor Bios

band_Christmas_GainsbrughChristmas Gainsbrugh, Band Director
Big As Life website

What year did you begin teaching?
I began teaching in 1998 in Sacramento, California. I am honored to have been the band director at UPark for six years.

Where did you go to college?
I went to California State University Sacramento (CSUS) for my undergraduate degree and University of Colorado at Boulder (CU Boulder) for my master’s degree.

What is your favorite thing about University Park Elementary?
Does there have to be one? I love our principal who supports the art with all her heart. I love our students who are fun-loving and eager learners. I love our teachers who equip our band students with everything they need to be successful and I love our parents who support and recognize that their child’s musical journey is important.

If a school day suddenly got canceled, how would you spend the day?
If school were suddenly canceled, I would spend the morning with my children, make waffles, undertake an outrageous art project, listen to my favorite music (too many to name), bake pumpkin pie and perhaps, paint a wall in my house a deep Chagall blue, and make it to a hot springs. And if I could rent a bunny for the day, I would enjoy having her hop around my house all day!

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Spinach lasagna, it’s fantastic cold with coffee in the morning, but then again, so is Indian food….

If you weren’t a teacher, what do you think your job would be?
If I wasn’t a teacher, I imagine I would be a student of music and culture; traveling the world over and learning about how music truly is a universal language, i.e. a musicologist.