Denver East High School counts both Judy Collins and three long-time members of super soul group Earth, Wind & Fire among it’s noted graduates (links will take you to their respective discography pages). But the hits don’t stop there. Jazz Band leader Paul Whiteman is an East High graduate and a Denver native.
Whiteman played in both the Denver Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony prior to World War I. At the end of the war Whiteman formed his own jazz big band. They were the dominate band in the U.S over a period from the 1920’s and well into the 1930’s. They enjoyed more than 200 charting singles during that time and scored an incredible 29 #1 records. He gave Bing Crosby his professional debut opportunity as a singer in Whiteman’s Rhythm Boys. He also composed music for six motion pictures.
Some of his major hits included “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”, “Wagon Wheels”, “My Mammy”, “Bright Eyes”, “My Blue Heaven” and Ol’ Man River” just to name a few.
Other musical notable Angels include Donette Thayer – 80’s/90’s composer and performer. She performed in groups The X-Men, The Veil and No Matter What; Michael Reese Roper from Ska band Five Iron Frenzy; Dianne Reeves who briefly attended East before moving over to George Washington High, James Laurie (Johnny 5) from the group the Flobots; and Jazz Trumpeter Ron Miles.
Other East High Alumni:
Astronaut Jack Swigert, actor Ward Bond, actor Don Cheadle, beat generation icon Neal Cassady, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, actor Douglas Fairbanks, NBA Center Joe Barry Carroll, actor Sidney Sheldon, Colorado Governor Steve McNichols, silent film actor Harold Lloyd