Ryan Diefenderfer

Mr. Ryan Diefenderfer is in his sixth year as Director of Bands and Orchestras at Paradise Valley High School. Mr. Diefenderfer graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 2013, where he studied music education, music composition, trombone, and jazz studies.

Mr. Diefenderfer grew up in the Mundelein, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago, but moved to Bloomington, Indiana in 2009 to pursue his Bachelors degree at Indiana University. Mr. Diefenderfer completed his student teaching at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana under the tutelage of renown music educators Richard Saucedo and Soo Han.

Mr. Diefenderfer is the recipient of several honors as both a composer and trombonist, including: First Runner-Up in the 2015 National Band Association Young Composer Mentor Project, winner of the 2013 National Association for Music Education (NAfME) National Student Composition Contest, winner of the 2012 Eastern Trombone Workshop National Composition Competition, finalist for the Tyler Youth Orchestra New Music Project, runner-up for the 2012 NAfME National Student Composition Competition, and receiving second prize at the 2010 S.E. Shires National Trombone Solo Competition. In addition, Mr. Diefenderfer publishes music through Cherry Classics Music, one of the leading brass music publishing companies, and receives regular commission work as a professional composer.

As a trombonist, Mr. Diefenderfer has performed as an international soloist, giving concerts in Denmark, Poland and Germany with the 2014 Blue Lake International Northern Wind Ensemble. Currently, Mr. Diefenderfer is serving as principal trombonist in the North Valley Symphony Orchestra in Phoenix, Arizona.

For more info on Mr. Diefenderfer, please visit his website at:

Julianne Layton

Ms. Julianne Layton directs the Pride of Paradise Front Ensemble. She is currently the Director of Choir and Guitar at Greenway Middle School as well as Director of Instrumental Music at Desert Shadows Middle School. Ms. Layton graduated from Northern Arizona University where she studied music performance, percussion, and ethnomusicology.

A native to Arizona, Ms. Layton was born in Flagstaff and began her musical studies as a child. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance and a Graduate Certificate with an emphasis in Ethnomusicology under the direction of Dr. Steven Hemphill and Dr. Nicholas Tochka. During this time, Ms. Layton served as president of the NAU Percussion Society and President of the Delta Eta chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota. She also served on the NAU Student Music Advisory Council. Ms. Layton founded and co-instructed the community outreach program Percussion Discovery through the NAU Community Music and Dance Academy. She served as section member and principle percussionist for the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. Furthermore, she co-formed and performed in the percussion duo Avenue Deux and the NAU Panorama Steel Pan Ensemble.

Ms. Layton is an active educator, adjudicator and performer. In addition to her instruction for Paradise Valley Unified School District, Ms. Layton teaches private percussion lessons and is currently pursuing her Masters in Secondary Education at Grand Canyon University. She is a member of NAFME, AMEA, The Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Percussive Arts Society. Furthermore, she performs with the traditional celtic band, The Knockabouts.