44th Army Band Specialist Nathaniel Clayton Ashbaugh has been a music educator since before graduating from New Mexico State University with his bachelors in Instrumental Music Education. He was born in Santa Fe, NM into a home surrounded by music. His mother began a music degree at the University of New Mexico, and both parents were leaders of the praise band at church. His Grandfather Leslie Leach is a long time music educator in the NMMEA Hall of Fame. His late great Uncle Frederick Leach was one of the original members of the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra, and the original set drummer for the local Dixieland group “Jazz a la Carte”. Ashbaugh’s namesake (middle name) and father of the Leach brothers was Clayton Leach, a banjo and brass expert who was a long time member of the Ted Olson Orchestra, and played around Albuquerque most notably at Shakys Pub for over 30 years.
Among the wonderful faculty Ashbaugh studied with at New Mexico State University are Dr. Allan Kaplan and Dr. Frank “Pancho” Romero. While in the Las Cruces area, Ashbaugh performed in shows with the likes of Doc Severinson, the Harry James Orchestra, Byron Stripling, Steve Houghton, John Fedchock, Bobby Shew, Pat Rhoads, Chris Ishee, and many others. Ashbaugh was named to the New Mexico State University Honors Recital for 3 consecutive semesters. As the Jazz ensemble traveled to Reno, NV for the UNR Jazz Festival, Ashbaugh was awarded an Outstanding Musicianship Certificate at the festival. His lead trombone playing can be heard on the album “Home Grown” by NMSU Jazz Ensemble I released in 2008 and produced by Bobby Shew. Just before graduating from NMSU, Ashbaugh did his student-teaching with Mr. Chris Villa at Gadsden High School.
Upon graduation, Dr. Allan Kaplan convinced Ashbaugh to audition for graduate school. Ashbaugh received a full assistantship to the University of Utah, where he was an assistant to the Athletic Bands, conducted the marching band and pep bands, played in the top orchestra, top wind ensemble, and top jazz band which included tours to and from Las Vegas and Reno NV, Greeley CO, and Beijing and Shanghai China where the Jazz Ensemble represented the United States at the World Expo Music Festival.
After finishing his Master of Musical Arts in Trombone Performance, Ashbaugh has been employed in the school districts of Los Alamos, Raton, and Santa Rosa, NM. Prior to steady employment, he has worked summer marching band camps with many schools around the state. He has been teaching trombone, euphonium, and tuba lessons privately for 7 years, and has begun taking beginning students in percussion, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, and French horn. Currently, He teaches at the 21st Century Public Academy charter school in Albuquerque. Ashbaugh can also be found 1 weekend a month touring with the 44th Army Band, and at many local jazz jam sessions. Ashbaugh performs on an early 1900’s model Martin Imperial Sousaphone, a 1920s model Elkhart trombone for jazz work, and now on a Shires Custom Trombone with the 44th Army band.