Jessika Brust (Vocalist)
Jessika Brust has been charming audiences around the world, by land and by sea, for nearly three decades. She landed her first regular gig singing in a band at the tender age of seven and has been on stage nonstop ever since. Her study of classical music began when she picked up the violin and worked her way through the Suzuki curriculum by high school graduation.
Jessika attended Elon University, majoring in Environmental Studies, and minoring in music and theatre. It was during this time that she first became addicted to singing opera, while studying under Jessica Van Ord, Pamela Henderson, Lisbeth Brittian Carter; and workshopping the roles of Rosalinda from Die Fledermaus and Liu from Turandot under Dr. Hallie Hogan.
Also, while at Elon, Jessika was fortunate enough to be taken under the wing of the jazz great, vibraphonist Jon Metzger. While in his classes, she coordinated jazz combos, studied jazz theory, began to improvise, and fronted the big band. All the common sense and street smarts she ever needed to survive as a musician, she learned from the jazz department.
Upon graduation, Jessika attended the American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, where she concentrated on opera performance with the instruction of Alison Acord and the coaching of John Kolody and Wayne Wyman.
Professionally, Jessika toured the U.S. fronting a show band for many years and began playing with other ensembles of several branches of music. Simultaneously she picked up roles like Mrs. Cratchit in Ira David Wood III’s musical rendition of A Christmas Carol, Alma in The Music Man with
the North Carolina Symphony, Diana in Next to Normal, and Joan Fletcher in Gershwin’s Strike Up the Band with the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra. She made her professional opera debut with Verdi’s Aida, produced by North Carolina Opera, understudying for the world-renowned Angela Brown in the role of Aida, and singing in the chorus.
Jessika then left the U.S. to work at sea as an acclaimed performer and producer of shows, which included repertoire from opera to Appalachian to funk, and everything in between.
Jessika now lives and works in the Southwest, El Paso/Las Cruces. She is a Sargent in the U.S. Army, stationed at Ft. Bliss.
Ruben Galvan (Drums)
Drummer/Percussionist Ruben C. Galvan was born and raised in Las Cruces, NM and has been performing for over 35 years in a variety of musical situations. Ruben was a founding member of the award-winning variety group “Caliente” and also performed with local artists such as “Steve Smith”, “Remember Then”, “Billy Townes”, “Noteworks”, the Border Jazz Orchestra and was part of the opening act for “Run-D-MC”.
While studying music at New Mexico State University Ruben was part of the NMSU Jazz Ensembles and the NMSU Percussion Ensemble as well as the Las Cruces Symphony. As a member of “Remember Then” the group was not only the opening act but also served as rhythm section for artists such as “The Coasters”, “A Salute to The Platters”, “The Crystals”, and “Charlie Thomas’ The Drifters”.
One of the philosophies that Ruben follows is that to be a drummer/percussionist, one must be versatile and be able to adapt to any and all musical situations. This is evident in Ruben’s musical history and experience in playing Country, Funk, Smooth and Traditional Jazz formats as well as Rock, Latin and Orchestral environments.
Pancho Romero (Trumpet/Flugelhorn)
A native of Las Vegas, New Mexico, Pancho Romero comes from a family of music educators, with a grandfather, father, brother, two uncles and seven cousins having been involved in music education within the state of New Mexico.
He received a bachelor’s degree in music education at New Mexico State University, Masters of Music Education at the University of North Texas, and a Doctorate in Trumpet Performance from the University of Oklahoma.
Dr. Romero maintains a national and international reputation as a performer and clinician. During his tenure at university, his jazz ensembles recorded four big band albums and participated in several national festivals including the Reno and University of Northern Colorado Jazz Festivals. International appearances include performances in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Colombia, Guatemala, Germany, Italy, and France. His NMSU jazz and trumpet ensembles recently completed a tour of Spain where they performed at the Festival International in Massanassa, Spain. His students can be found teaching and performing on Broadway, in premier DC military bands, university campus' and in public and private schools across the country. They have participated and won national and international trumpet performance competitions over the years. Pancho has performed with Richy Cole, Bill Watrus, Chris Vadala, Gordon Goodwin, Tia Fuller, and many other know jazz artists and entertainers.
He was principal trumpet with the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra 2001-2023, and also performs with the El Paso Symphony, NMSU Faculty Quintet, Tres Metales Trio. Pancho directs the Border Jazz Orchestra, Footprints Jazz Quintet and Capones Swing Band.
Miguel Torres (piano)
Miguel Torres has been a musician in Las Cruces since 1999 playing all genres of music. Miguel currently plays with UnLyshed (family variety band), Footprints, Lush Life Quintet, Color Quorum (hip hop and R&B), Border Jazz Orchestra, Soledad Canyon Quintet, among many other combos. He is the husband to a wonderful teacher and saxophonist, and father to 3 kids: a talented artist/vocalist, an up-and-coming drummer, and a blossoming dancer. He currently works as a Computer Scientist and is the Worship Pastor at Sierra Vista Community Church.
Josh Carter (saxophone)
Josh is a tenor saxophonist from Alamogordo NM. He studied music at New Mexico State University and graduated in 2016. He finished his master’s degree in jazz performance at SUNY Purchase College in New York in 2021 where he studied with the great baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan. Josh’s musical experience extends to jazz, classical, new music, and bebop. Josh has performed with Dave Pietro, Tanya Darby, Pete McGuinness, and Clay Jenkins. His is a highly sought after jazz musician in the Las Cruces, El Paso area.
Christian Chesanek (Bass) (not pictured)
Dr. Christian Chesanek is a bassist, composer, arranger, educator, freelance musician, and luthier in the El Paso, Texas region. Dr. Chesanek’s previous education consists of a Commercial music degree from the University of Texas at El Paso under Erik Unsworth, a MM in Double bass performance from Ithaca College under Nicholas Walker, and a DMA in Jazz studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under Dr. Hans Sturm. He has worked with internationally acclaimed artists such as Francois Rabbath, Mark Dresser, Michael League (Snarky Puppy), Hakon Thelin, Victor Lewis, Donny McCaslin, Joel Quarrington, and Lynn Seaton. Dr. Chesanek is currently an educator in the El Paso Independent School district as a 5th grade orchestra instructor.