Drew Kilpela

photo of Drew Kilpela


  • Visiting Instructor of Music, Visual and Performing Arts
  • BM, Michigan State University
  • MM, University of North Texas


Drew Kilpela is a trombonist hailing from Okemos, Michigan. Active in performing arts throughout his youth, Kilpela attended Michigan State University to pursue a degree in jazz trombone, studying primarily under Michael Dease. He continued his studies in higher education at the University of North Texas, where he was a member of the famed One O'clock Lab Band. Kilpela's burgeoning career as a freelance trombonist was interrupted in 2019 after suffering an embouchure injury while working in the Dallas-Fort Worth area; he did not continue to pursue music until the spring of 2022. In September of that year he joined the Glenn Miller Orchestra as its third trombonist, leaving after six months and over one hundred performances. An opportunity arose in the spring of 2023 to join the faculty of Michigan Technological University as an adjunct instructor of music, where Kilpela gladly finds himself today. A passionate educator, he has taught private lessons on multiple instruments in both the Okemos, Michigan and Denton, Texas areas to students of many ages - he looks forward to continuing his work in music education at Michigan Tech.