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Region Honor Band

June 2, 2009

Click on a classification to view results (PDF)




2007-2008 State Honor Band

Congratulations to all the Valley bands that were State Finalists!

Congratulations to Harlingen Coakley MS on being the State 2C Honor Band!

Valley Schools are in red

1-Union Grove JH – Honor Band
2-Anahuac MS
3-Shallowater ISD
4-Mauriceville MS
5-Ballinger MS
6-Howe  MS
7-O. H. Herman MS
8-Crane MS
9-Comfort MS
10-Krum MS
11-George West JH

1-Harlingen Coakley MS – Honor Band
2-Grisham MS
3-Bailey MS
4-North Ridge MS
5-Clear Lake Intermediate
6-Cross Timbers MS
7-Jackson MS
8-Hill Country MS
9-North Richland MS
10-Fowler MS
11-Haggard MS
12-Harlingen Memorial MS
13-McMillan JH
14-C. O. Wilson MS

1-Byrd MS – Honor Band
2-Hildebrandt Intermediate
3-Fort Settlement MS
4-Cinco Ranch JH
5-Howard MS
6-Rice MS
7-Bleyl MS
8-Indian Springs MS
9-Roma MS
10-Bailey MS
11-League City Intermediate
12-Perry MS
13-Murphy MS
14-Aledo MS

1-Argyle HS – Honor Band
2-Wakeland HS
3-Dawson HS
4-Giddings HS
5-Port Isabel HS
6-Spring Hill HS
7-Athens HS
8-Hidalgo HS
9-Liberty HS
10-Monahans HS
11-Bellville HS
12-Greenwood HS
13-Marion HS

1-Duncanville HS – Honor Band
2-Marcus HS
3-Coppell HS
4-Flower Mound HS
5-Rowlett HS
6-Haltom HS
7-Richland HS
8-Westlake HS
9-Brazoswod HS
10-Plano East HS
11-Brownsville Lopez HS
12-Dulles HS
13-Jersey Village HS
14-Cinco Ranch HS

Class of 2013-2014


All the many good things in Darrell J. Anderson’s life he credits as gifts from God.  His father, Floyd J. Anderson, a chemical engineer by profession, played French horn and encouraged his son in music.  His mother, Mildred Anderson, who made a joyful noise as she sang in church, called Darrell in from playing sandlot baseball to be met by the piano teacher.  After beginning band with private percussion lessons in Pittsburgh, PA, he and his family moved to Houston where he became a fine percussionist at Memorial High School.

As a result of his percussion expertise, Dr. Charles A. Wiley recruited him to play in his band at Lamar University where Darrell planned to major in engineering.  Every music course he took, he loved.  This inspired him as a sophomore to declare his major in music, not realizing that this would probably mean he would become a band director.  He also enjoyed playing every intramural sport offered: football, softball, basketball and tennis. His junior year in the band he met a freshman flute player, Ann Wiley, who happened to be the band director’s daughter.  After his graduation they married and went to Sam Houston State University where Darrell became a Teaching Assistant under Dr. Ralph Mills.  Teaching music theory and directing the second band, Darrell worked on his thesis, the transcription of Prokofieff’s “Lieutenant Kije” under the tutelage of Dr. Fisher Tull.

Darrell’s career as a Texas band director spanned 32 years, 4 at Baytown Jr. High feeding Charles Forque’s fine Robert E. Lee High School band, 7 as an assistant and then head high school director at Victoria Stroman, and 21 years at McAllen High School (5A) as the head band director.  Under his direction at Stroman, the band received its first Sweepstakes in the history of the school.  There he also taught percussion at the University of Houston/Victoria.  He and Ann performed in the Victoria Symphony.  During this time he won the first TBA tennis tournament in 1974 in a final match with Dr. Tom Lee, wind ensemble conductor at the University of Texas.

At McAllen High School Darrell’s bands and the full orchestras he conducted received many years of Sweepstakes awards.  From the beginning he loved directing his ensembles, and he loved his students.  An added blessing was the opportunity to have all three of his sons, Chris, Peter and Matthew, in his wind ensemble.  His wife, who taught flute and English, later became one of his assistants.  In McAllen Darrell served as Chairman of the City of Palms Band Festival, Chairman for 21 years of the Region XV Pigskin Jubilee Marching Contest, and Region XV Chairman.  He also served as the hand bell choir director and interim choir director at his church.  A long-standing member of TBA and TMEA, he is an associate member of the American Bandmasters Association.

In 2002, upon retirement from band directing, Darrell and Ann moved to the mountains of New Mexico to join Jim Wiley, Charles Wiley’s son, to work full-time at TRN Music Publisher, Inc.  Darrell’s many varied musical experiences prepared him perfectly for this role.  Now, as President and CEO of TRN, Darrell edits the band/orchestra/ensemble compositions chosen for publication and oversees production management.  Having been a band director for 32 years, he understands directors’ musical needs.  Ann assists him as vice president.  Sons Peter and Matthew work at TRN, and Chris is a band director in Texas.  Blessed additions to the family are Peter’s wife Melissa and children, Joshua, Hannah, and Sarah, and Matthew’s wife Rachel and son Ethan.  Intended and blessed to be a family business founded by Dr. and Mrs. Wiley, TRN continues to have the objective of making a contribution, hopefully significant, to the literature of the band/wind ensemble and orchestra with music “That’s Really Nice.”  Darrell thanks the Lord for blessing him throughout his career as a band director and now as a music publisher.


Allan Brumley was born January 13, 1947, in San Antonio, Texas.  Although his parents were not musicians they had a love of music and saw to it that Allan took piano lessons during his elementary school years.  During his 6th grade year, Mr. Alton Jung came to sign students up for band/orchestra at Longfellow Junior High School.  It was then that Allan began his love affair with music and band in particular.  After 3-years at Longfellow under the guidance of Mr. Jung, Allan moved on to Thomas Jefferson High School where the excellent band program was headed by Richard Kole.  It was there Allan increased his love of band and began seeing that a life of music education was the direction in which he wanted to go.  Richard Kole encouraged him, allowed him the honor of serving as “student conductor” for two years, and instilled in him what was required to achieve excellence.  At that time, the Thomas Jefferson band in San Antonio was the benchmark for other bands in the area.  That experience was one of the most significant of Allan’s early life in music and Mr. Kole remained a long time mentor.

In the Fall of 1964 Allan entered Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University).  Under the direction of Douglas “Fessor” Fry he continued to develop and hone his musical skills and his desire to become a music educator. His senior year in college marked the arrival of Dr. Charles Trayler as Associate Director of Bands at ACC.  Dr. Trayler provided more encouragement for Allan to pursue his teaching dream.   In May of 1968 Allan graduated from ACC and accepted his first band directing position at Rio Hondo High School in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  In that setting Allan says he learned far more than he taught.  The Rio Hondo students, however, responded to Allan’s style of teaching and the band improved.  During the summers Allan was able to complete his Master’s Degree in Educational Supervision.  In the meantime new Valley band experiences were in the offing.

Pat McNallen, Head  Band Director at Edinburg High School, hired Allan to come be a part of an excellent band staff.  Allan assisted Pat with the marching band, the top concert band, and founded & directed the first EHS Jazz Band.  It was under Pat McNallen that Allan learned the level one had to achieve with their students to be successful in the very competitive Valley band arena.  During those years not only did Allan learn from Pat McNallen, but also had the opportunity to know and learn from notables like L.M. Snavely, W.R. Snavely, Bob Vezetti, Gary Zook, Art Ratley, Ralph Boles, Bert Reposh, Dick Bass, Joe Edmonson and many others too numerous to name. 

After three years in Edinburg Allan had the opportunity to accept his first 5A head director position at San Marcos High School.  At the time, Allan was 26-years old and was said to be the youngest 5A head director in the State.  At San Marcos Allan began to experience success with what had been an underachieving  group by bringing a knowledgeable staff and dynamic approach to the program.  With Southwest Texas State University in the same town, Allan believed the university was an excellent resource for improvement in the San Marcos Band program.  Director of Bands at SWT that year was Douglas Wiehe, followed by James Sudduth the second year.  With the help of these experienced and extremely talented director/mentors the San Marcos band began to thrive and grow by leaps and bounds.

In the Spring of 1975 Allan received a call from then Harlingen CISD School Board President, Tom Mason. Mr. Mason asked if Allan would consider a move back to the Valley as head director at Harlingen High School.  Harlingen had always been attractive to Allan as a town that could have an exemplary band program.  Outstanding work was being done in the junior highs, particularly by Roger Harms at the school then known as Gay-Vernon Junior High.  Allan accepted the Harlingen position and brought with him Charles Casillas to take the reigns at Coakley Junior High, which was the other feeder school.  Over the next 6-years the band grew into one of the largest programs in South Texas.  Excellent staff members, including Roger Harms and Charles Casillas, as well as Don McDaniel, Kirk  Woolery, Tommy Sullivan, Michael Rowden, Rick Burgess, Rene Cortez, and many others helped shape the band program that became known, and is still known, as the “Big Red Cardinal Band”. On New Years Day 1979, the Cardinal band was the “Featured Band” in the Cotton Bowl Classic & Parade in Dallas.  In 1979/80 the band was be named by the National Band Association as a “Top Ten Marching Band in the USA”. During that same year the top concert band was Region XV’s candidate for Honor Band of Texas.  In 1980/81 the Big Red Cardinal Band was chosen to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.  They were the first band from South Texas to be involved in that most famous of parades.

At the end of the 1980/81 school year, Allan left band directing to enter the business world, going to work for what was then May & Associates Insurance.  Even though Allan left the ranks of band directing he did not leave the ranks of those who advocated for music education.  As Allan rose in the ranks of the top property and casualty agents in the area, he never lost sight of the importance of the fine arts programs in our schools and lives.    In 1994 Allan ran for and won a seat on the Harlingen CISD School Board of Trustees, a position he held for 9-years.  In that position Allan was able to advocate in an effective manner for his true love, music.  He was instrumental in the formation of the position of Director of Music Education, a position first held by former student and staff member, Roger Harms.  Expansion of the elementary music program in the Harlingen School District became the next focus and success, going from 5-full time teachers to 17-full time teachers.  As the years marched on Allan was instrumental in the formation and funding of an orchestra program for the district and was a constant advocate for the band and choir programs.  Many other projects, both musical and non-musical, marked Allan’s 9-year tenure as a board member.

After leaving the board Allan continued to work tirelessly to see that students and staff of the fine arts programs in Harlingen were recognized and had the things required for success.  One of the biggest undertakings, however, began with a visit to a regularly scheduled board meeting where Mr. Brumley spoke passionately to the school board regarding the pressing need to provide a performance venue for the students of the various Harlingen school fine arts programs.   This appearance sparked the conversation and subsequently led to a successful bond issue that has effected every campus in the Harlingen School District with almost $100,000,000 of improvements.  Among those improvements is the new 950-seat Harlingen CISD Performing Arts Center, a state-of-the-art performance venue for use by every student of the Harlingen Public Schools.  Allan states “…with the exception of my family and former students, this new performing arts center is a legacy the excitement for which I could never express in words.  It is beautiful, it is acoustically excellent, and will serve the Harlingen students and the community for years and years to come.  Seeing the project come to reality is possibly one of my proudest moments.”

Of greater significance to Allan than all the honors and recognitions through the years in both music and  business is his family.  He has been known to say “…as it happens the real musicians in the family turned out to be my wife and son”.  Dianne Brumley was extremely successful as the Director of Choral Music Studies at the University of Texas—Brownsville, and has just been named by UTB and the UT-System as “Director Emeritus”.  Reagan Brumley, Allan’s son, is the Director of Bands at Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas.  While working in the Richardson schools and now in Highland Park, Reagan’s bands have excelled in both the concert hall and on the marching field having never made anything less than straight Division-I ratings.  Reagan was named “Teacher of the Year” in the Highland Park School District in only his second year with the district.  Reagan’s wife, Cayce, is the daughter of long time band director and Hall of Fame member, Joe Harness, and excelled as an accomplished pianist and All State french hornist.  She is now a physician specializing in Pulmonary & Critical Care with the Parkland Hospital System in Dallas.  Reagan and Cayce have a daughter, Scarlett, that is not quite 3-years old.  She is the “apple of Allan’s eye” and is likely the next generation of musicians that will carry on the legacy of music making that has for so many years defined the Brumley family.


Juan Jose Meave was born in Harlingen, Texas on January 2, 1945.  The family moved to Weslaco on December 1947.  His parents, Guadalupe Martinez Meave and Jose Meave, Sr., made it possible for JJ to achieve his education and go on to work on his music degree.  It was difficult for them being that there were 10 in the family, yet all siblings were given the opportunity to get their schooling.

JJ married Julia Lozano on June 1, 1972.  There are the proud parents of Esmeralda Meave (Luis), Ernesto Meave (Monica), and Margo Meave (Dan); and the proud grandparents of Jorge (Esmeralda’s son), Dylan (Ernesto’s son), and Leah Jordyn (Margot’s daughter).

JJ started his musical career in the fifth grade band, choosing the Bb clarinet.  His directors were Manuel Garza+, and Marion Busby+.  It was during his seventh grade year when he made the decision to study music and become a Band Director.  It was Marion Busby that influenced him towards that direction and Perry Suggs that gave him the inspiration by appointing him student director of the band.

During his junior year in high school, JJ joined the Naval Reserve.  The Weslaco Superintendent of Schools, Jack Frost, was the commanding officer.  Commander Frost got JJ a determent for him to attend college after high school graduation, but JJ denied the deferment and went active duty.

He was ordered to San Diego, California to wait for his permanent orders.  After two weeks, he was ordered to Long Beach, California where he received his assignment to the USS Canberra CAG-2.  This cruiser saw two tours of Vietnam where it was hit by Viet Cong fire.  JJ was awarded several medals while in active duty which include the National Defense Medal, Viet Nam Service Medal and the Viet Nam Campaign Medal.

After his tour of active duty, he returned to Weslaco and started his college career at the University of Pan American where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education.  He worked at Weslaco as a band “college tutor” while attending college.  After graduating from college, the family moved to Mathis where he began his career as Junior High band director.

The Orange Grove ISD offered him the band director’s position where his head band director’s experience began.  On his first year at OG, the band earned a 2nd division in Marching and Concert/Sight-reading Contests.  The second year, it earned another 2nd division in Marching and a 1st division in UIL Concert/Sight-Reading Contest.  The following year, Orange Grove earned their first Sweepstakes in many years.  JJ submitted his tape for honor band, which advanced to the state hearings placing 7th.  The best news, though, was the third addition to the family, Margot.  As a member of Region 14, JJ chaired several UIL events and region tryouts at Orange Grove and served as vice chairman for the Region.

 In 1983, he received a call from the Edcouch-Elsa ISD, offering him the district’s Band Director’s position.  He accepted the offer and the family moved back to the Valley. With the help of several band director friends that agreed to work along side with him, the band program began to earn several awards. Among these were several UIL State Wind Ensemble Contest 1st divisions with two outstanding 4A Band trophies.

  While at Edcouch-Elsa, JJ served as the Pigskin Jubilee chairman. He and the band staff organized various junior high solo/ensemble contests, junior high all-valley tryouts, marching festivals, Pigskin Jubilee for the 4A and below bands and other such events. All was made possible with the great support of EE Band Boosters, EE ISD administration, the high school Drill Team and Cheerleaders, ROTC, the coaching staff and Athletic Department, several high school faculty members, the Elsa Police Department, both Edcouch and Elsa Fire Departments, Band Staff and many other supporters made it possible to host these events at Edcouch-Elsa High School and Carlos Truan Middle School. During his tenure at Edcouch-Elsa, JJ started working on his master’s degree at the University of Texas Pan American.

He retired from Edcouch-Elsa after twenty years with the district with a total of 30 years of teaching. Still feeling strong, he accepted the job at Progreso ISD where Linda Guzman worked along side with him. While at Progreso, he served as chairman of the Region 28th ATSSB. After his third year in Progreso, he retired for the second time. Progreso called him back for one more year.

During his fourth year at Progreso, the band was invited to Veracruz, Mexico; one of his quintets earned a 1st division at Sate solo/ensemble Contest, being the first in the history of the school. The Progreso High School band also earned the first 1st division in UIL Sight Reading Contest. JJ was selected the secondary faculty Outstanding Teacher of the Year at the end of his fourth year at Progreso.

After his third retirement, he did consulting work at Valley View, San Benito, Mercedes, Tuloso-Midway, La Villa, and Weslaco.   JJ earned his Master of Music degree from the University of Texas Pan American being the first to receive this degree in the history of the school.

 The following directors guided JJ with his career: Marlon Busby+, Perry Suggs, Apolonio Lopez. Dr. Tom Anderson, Dr. Dean Canty, Harold Worman, Dr. William O’Neal, and Dr. Peter Dabrowski.

 Helping along side of him were the following hard working friends: Sam Montelongo, Juan Gomez+, Tom Kesselring, Gualberto Besinaiz+, Linda Guzman, Erika Martinez, Marivel Rivas, Charles Cabrera, Jr, Stacy Smith, Monica Rios, Roel Flores, Roy Gonzalez, Emeterio Moya, Libby Gonzalez, Gloria Hernandez, Joe Ayala, Pablo Mariscal, Yvette Luna, Maritza Rodriguez, Sister Rosa Ortiz, Larry Silcox, Randy Alejandro, Roxanne Valdez, and Amado Rodriguez.

JJ, after retiring for the fourth and final time, spends much of him time serving at the St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus Catholic Church in Edcouch where he is a Eucharistic Minister, belongs to the ACTS movement, teaches RCIA, teaches 2nd year confirmation class, is a couples sponsor, does the Quincienera services, does Eucharistic Services, is working to be ordained a Deacon, and prepares retreats and talks.  He also does Leadership workshops, clinics, and is called to judge marching festivals, concert contests, and UIL solo/ensemble contests.  He is also active with the Knights of Columbus and Veterans of Foreign Wars and also served as a member of the following organizations:  LULAC, Lions Clubs, Woodsmen of the World, ATSSB, TBA, TMAA, and TMEA.

Class of 2012-2013

Rene Guzman

Rene’ Guzman was born in Laredo,Texas, the third child of Jesus and Marina Laurel Guzman. His father, an independent trucker for HEB moved the family to Brownsville in 1954.

Rene’ started playing cornet during 4th grade in Brownsville with band director Joy Humphries. He was often 1st chair except for the times he would get busted to last chair for talking too much. During 5th grade, Miss Humphries brought her French Horn to class and announced that there were school Horns available, so Rene volunteered to switch. While at Stell JH taught by Don Curtis, Rene’ got to march with the Brownsville High School Golden Eagle Band under the direction of Robert Vezzetti. One of Rene’s best memories was performing West Point Symphony on the Brownsville HS Band tape which was chosen TMEA Honor Band in 1964. Rene’ has always been proud of the music instruction and inspiration he received while growing up in Brownsville.

In 1964, the family moved back to Laredo and Rene’s band directors were Elmo Lopez and Edgardo Bueno at Nixon High School, and Elpidio Lizcano and Victor Lozano at Martin High School. In 1967, Mr. Lozano arranged for Dr.Joe Bellamah of Texas A&I Kingsville to audition Rene’ for a music scholarship. At A&I he studied Horn with Dr. Merton Johnson, and was selected to“Men and Women of Music” during his sophomore and junior year. He was also in the first pledge class of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

At that time the Vietnam War was raging and Rene’ received his draft notice after his junior year in Kingsville. He was sent to basic training in New Jersey and Maryland, and was finally assigned to a unit of the Army Reserve in Laredo. Upon returning to Kingsville Rene’ student taught with Bryce Taylor in Alice and graduated the summer of 1972. It was also during this time that he met Linda LaForce, a fellow Horn player who was to become his wife.

Bryce Taylor advised Rene’ to interview for a position at Eagle Pass High School with Head Director Joe Silva. He worked there until his father passed away in 1974. Then he went home to Laredo to be with his mother and accepted an assistant director position at Martin HS with Roberto Botello and Francisco Sosa. In 1977 Rene’ accepted an assistant director position at Mercedes HS and soon became Head Director. He taught at Mercedes ISD for 24 years.

The Mercedes bands directed by Rene’ Guzman earned many UIL 1st divisions and sweepstakes awards, and placed numerous students in the TMEA All-Region, Area, and All-State bands. He produced an award-winning Jazz Band which provided entertainment for the Mercedes Community and many Winter Texan Parks and never refused an invitation to perform. The Mercedes High School Band earned many awards at marching festivals, including first place at Eagle Pass, San Antonio Rough Rider, and Austin Westlake. In 1982,The Mercedes Tiger Band was ranked 4th in Class AAAA at the Texas State Marching Contest and ranked 8th again in 1988. And of course the Tiger Band marched Concert French Horns.

Although Rene’ taught band students grades 6-12, he does not claim sole success of the Mercedes Band Program. Much credit goes to Mercedes Junior High School director Linda Guzman as well as great associate directors/private instructors Sharon Pena, Vidal Flores, Celeste Canant, Willie Perez, Trish Templin, Rene’ Villarreal, Belinda Rosa and Cory Bell.
Rene’s philosophy is simple: the kids must have fun while they are learning to perform. Students and their band directors should demonstrate respect and courtesy to each other. The students must believe that their director sincerely cares about them. Also, Rene’ traveled with his bands throughout Texas, Florida and California so that his students could see more of the world. He remembered the places his directors took him and Rene’ wanted to provide this for his students.

During his career in the Valley, Rene’ served as TMEA Region 15 Band Vice-Chairman and Chairman. He also hosted many TMEA auditions and UIL Solo & Ensemble Contests. He is very proud of his time in Mercedes and of the musicians who came from the Tiger Band. Many of his kids have gone on to become performers and music teachers. To this day, Rene’ enjoys keeping in touch with his former students.

At retirement, in 2003, Rene’ completed 31 years as a Texas Band Director in Eagle Pass, Laredo, Mercedes, and Weslaco. He also completed 16 years in the Texas National Guard “Governor’s Band” based at Camp Mabry Austin, and received an Honorable Discharge from the US Army. He continues to work at Valley school districts as a private consultant and helps Melhart Music Center with instrument drives. Rene’ still plays Horn as a member of the McAllen Symphonic Band. One of his favorite activities is riding his motorcycle around Texas. He has become alpha to his collie pack Mac & Molly, and enjoys traveling to dog shows/herding tests with them and his wife, Linda. Lastly,whether it’s Grand Funk, Tower of Power, Zepplin, Hendrix, The Beatles, Metheny or John Rutter – Rene’ is always listening to music. He’s has sound systems at home in the living room, patio, garage, and office. Rene’ loves music and hopes that he has passed his love of music on to his students.


Santos Lujan

Born and raised in Big Spring, Texas, Santos Lujan is the oldest of three children born to Santos and Erlinda Lujan.    He and Mary Lou have been married for 40 years and have two children:  Santos III, 27 and Adrianna, 26.  They also have two beautiful granddaughters, Amorie, 3 and AnnaLee, 2.   Santos and Mary Lou, an RN with 33 years’ experience as a school nurse, retired from public education in February, 2010.

As a child, Santos was fascinated by his Uncle Frank Marin’s orchestra.  An outstanding saxophone player, his orchestra was extremely popular during the 1940s, 50’s and early 1960’s, with a fan base from El Paso to Dallas. When Santos entered 7th grade in 1961, he begged his parents to allow him to join the Runnels Junior High band.  Somehow, his father managed the $10 down payment and $10 monthly payment for a $200 King alto sax.  His high school years under Mr. Doug Wiehe were a beautiful experience.  The Big Spring High School Band was one of the most outstanding bands of the era, with many years of sweepstakes and honors.  All Steer Band alumni can certainly recall Mr. Wiehe’s calm and quiet manner of demanding the best in performance and behavior ….his students loved and respected him so much they could never disappoint him.  In 1964, the Steer Band came in second in honor band competition to none other than Bob Vezzetti’s outstanding Brownsville High Band.

Graduation in 1967 gave Santos the opportunity to earn a music scholarship and focus on a music education degree.  After two years at Howard County Junior College, he transferred to West Texas State University with a music scholarship and completed his degree in December of 1971.  In January, 1972, he began his career as an assistant to Mike Barry at Reagan County ISD in Big Lake, Texas and after a year and a half, was promoted to head director.  One of the most interesting points of his hiring in Big Lake is the fact that Santos was the first Hispanic teacher to be hired by the school district.   Santos is grateful to Big Lake, TX for allowing him to grow and develop as a band director and for making his 5 plus years there very memorable and pleasant.

During the summer of 1977, Santos was recommended for the Raymondville band director position by Dr. Gary Garner at WTSU and at his urging, decided to accept the position. The RISD administration and Board instructed him to build an excellent band program that would involve as many children as possible and would incorporate high discipline and performance standards.  The 1977 enrollment included the following:  6 grade – 30 students; Jr. High – 35 students; High School – 70 students.  Over the next few years, the Bearkat Band grew at an incredible rate, eventually totaling 520 students in grades 6-12.   During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Bearkat Band had an enrollment of 220 students.  The Bearkat Band earned many first division ratings in all areas of UIL and festival competition.  Membership of the band included the majority of the following organizations:  National Honor Society, Academic Top Ten%, Student Council, Class Officers, FFA, and athletics.   The band program consisted of the marching band, two concert bands, a jazz band and a mariachi combo.  The Bearkat Band became a huge source of community pride and was honored various times in resolution by the RISD Board and Mayor and City Council.  A special thank you to the band staff who contributed so much to the success of the Bearkat Band over the years.

In 1993, Santos was promoted to assistant superintendent for business and operations and was made superintendent of Raymondville ISD in January, 1997.  In 2001, Santos was selected superintendent of Kermit ISD in West Texas, retiring in 2010, after 40 years in education.


Audrey Patterson

Audrey Ann Paterson and her husband Chaplain George Paterson came to Brownsville in 1975 at the request of Bob Vezzetti, then Supervisor of Music for the Brownsville Public Schools.  Pace High School had just opened and with personnel adjustments Stell Junior High School had a position to be filled.  Audrey was without a job, but found work as a woodwind instructor at the college in Brownsville.

Three years later she was hired as woodwind instructor for the Brownsville School System.  She taught at Hanna, Pace, Porter, and the four junior high schools in those days – Central, Cummings, Stell, and Faulk.

In 1988, when her youngest child graduated from Los Fresnos High School, together with her husband George, moved onboard their 35 foot Coronado Sailboat for a year and a half cruise of the Caribbean.  They returned to Texas in 1990 with Audrey teaching in Houston at La Porte High School and George at Channelview.

After the round robin came into effect, Audrey’s job was eliminated in the middle of the year and they spent a half year teaching in Donna until the following year when they went to Los Fresnos.  George was the Junior High School director and Audrey taught all woodwinds at the junior high and high school.  They both retired from the Texas Education System in 1998, but Audrey wasn’t through yet.  She went on to be a woodwind instructor with the Los Fresnos and Harlingen School District for the next 11 years.

On June 6, 2009 Audrey contracted a brain tumor and passed away December 20, 2010.  She has had a teaching career that spanned 46 years and left joy in all the students and directors she ever worked with.

Class of 2011-2012

Susan Diaz

Janie Susan Dollins, known by all as Susan Diaz, was born in 1955 in Fairfax, South Carolina.  In 1958, the Dollins family, including older sister Christy, and younger brother Sam, moved to Edinburg, TX.

Susan joined band at Edinburg Middle School in Edinburg, TX as a clarinet player.  In seventh grade she switched to bassoon, and found her true passion.  She continued with the bassoon at Edinburg High School under the direction of Richard Bass and Joe Edmondson, becoming a three-year Texas All State musician from 1971-1973.  Even at a young age she was dedicated to music and during summer breaks, Susan and five of her best friends, Becky Booth, Margaret Wallace, Sarah Florence, Delanette Bates, and Caroline Minx, collectively known as the big six, participated in multiple band camps throughout Texas and the Midwest, including a month long camp at the University of Kansas where she performed under such conductors as Frederick Fennel, Colonel Arnald G. Gabriel, and William Revelli.

Upon graduating Edinburg High School in 1973, Susan continued her musical studies at Pan American University where she studied with Dr. Carl Seale and was a member of Mu Phi Epsilon.  While at Pan America, Susan was an active member of the Valley Symphony Orchestra, winning the concerto competition and performing Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto with the symphony.  She graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. Susan continued her studies by pursuing a masters degree at the University of North Texas and later at Sam Houston State University before moving to California to begin her teaching career.

In 1980, Susan returned to the Rio Grande Valley and became the assistant band director at Berta Cabaza Middle School in San Benito. Later that year she was appointed to head band director.  Under Susan, the band program was very successful, consistently earning Sweepstakes ratings at U.I.L., and her students always placed well in the All Valley Band competitions, including one year where she had the most number of students win chairs.  Susan also enjoyed taking her students to compete in marching parades.  She would travel all over the valley to give her students a chance to perform and showcase their musical talents.  While working at Berta Cabaza Jr. High, Susan met her husband, Rodolfo Diaz.

Susan left the middle school and became an assistant director in 1991 at San Benito High School.  The next year she joined the staff at Harlingen High School where she was given the opportunity to conduct the top band.  Together with head director James Keltner, and assistants Nora Rush and Dale LeMarr, they challenged their students to perform top band literature.  Susan cherished the success they shared together.

In 1996, Susan returned to the middle school level and started the band program at the newly built George G. Gutierrez, Jr. Middle School in Harlingen, TX.  Susan once again continued her students’ successes with U.I.L. Sweepstakes and placing at All Region band competitions.  Under Susan’s direction, the Gutierrez band was the only middle school invited to perform at the 1999 Texas Gubernatorial Inaugural Parade for George W. Bush.

In 1996 and 1999 Susan was named to the Who’s Who Among American Teachers.  She was an active member of the Texas Adjudicators Association, the Texas Band Masters Association, and the Texas Musical Educators Association. She was also a clinician throughout the state of Texas.

On September 3, 2003 while on her way to school Susan was involved in a one-car accident and passed away. Susan Diaz’s legacy continues in the faculty, staff, and students she inspired over the 24 years as an educator, mentor, and friend.

On behalf of the Diaz and Dollin’s family, we would like to thank you for this honor.

Joe Menchaca

After graduation from Falfurrias High School in 1966, Joe Menchaca enrolled at Del Mar College where he studied with Dick Cole.  After receiving his Associates Degree he transferred to Texas A & I University where he earned his Bachelors Degree in Music Education in 1970.  In 1974, Joe completed his Master’s Degree in Educational Supervision, also at A & I.

Joe’s teaching career began in 1970 as band director at South Park Junior High School in Corpus Christi.  In 1971, he moved to Falfurrias where he worked with Solomon Banda to develop a state renowned band program.  Joe also taught in Premont, Point Isabel, La Joya, and McAllen.  He started the band program at Nikki Rowe High School in 1990 and continued there until his retirement in 2004.  Joe came out of retirement in 2005 to start the Sharyland North Junior High School band program.

In his thirty seven year teaching career, Joe’s bands earned thirty UIL Sweepstakes Awards, twelve UIL 1st Division Marching Band Trophies, and a 5th place ranking at the Area Marching Band Contest in 2002.  He has been recognized for his many achievements with the high honor of being inducted into the International Band Directors Fraternity, Phi Beta Mu.  During his career Joe has taught Head Start, elementary music, band, and orchestra and served as a clinician as well as an adjudicator at UIL Marching Contests, UIL Band and Orchestra Concert and Sightreading Contests, and UIL Solo & Ensemble Contests, and, yes, he was even the President of the McAllen High School Football Quarterback Club in 1989-90.

Today, Joe enjoys doing consulting work with several districts, playing in the McAllen Symphonic Band (where he is the assistant director), and working at his pride and joy, El Montecito Ranch, where he raises cattle and enjoys country living.

Joe is married to his lovely bride of forty one years, Irene.  They have three sons, Joe Jr. (Michelle), Ramey (Aracely), and Javier (Kelly), and seven grandkids.


High School Jazz Audition, September 24, 2011

La Joya Coyote Marching Festival, October 8, 2011

City of Palms Marching Festival, October 15, 2011

All-Region Orchestra Winds/Percussion Audition, November 12, 2011

High School All-Region Audition, November 19, 2011

4A & 5A Pre-Area, November 29, 2011

Middle School All-Region Audition, December 10, 2011

Area G Audition, January 7, 2012, Alice, TX

Middle School All-Region Jazz Audition, January 26, 2012

Valley View Festival, Feb. 28-March1, 2012

5A Region Honor Band, June 13, 2012

Area G Honor Band, June 26, 2012

Class of 2010-2011

Allen Clark

Allen Clark, a native of Dayton, Texas, has participated in the meteoric rise of the Texas band movement as a student, conductor, performer and educator. He currently serves as Director of Instrumental Activities and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and the Rio Bravo Brass Consort; he teaches applied low brass and undergraduate and graduate music courses. He was instrumental in the design of UTB/TSC’s new $26 million Arts Center.

Clark presently serves as a member of the TBA College Advisory Board. He is an active member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, and Phi Beta Mu Music fraternity. He is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator and has served in various leadership roles in TMEA Regions 15 and 28, where he is presently the UIL Music Executive Secretary.

Allen Clark served in several fine arts administrative positions for the Brownsville Independent School District from 1990 to 2004. During his tenure in administration the district witnessed tremendous growth in the music programs, including the opening of one high school, three additional middle schools and two elementary schools. Clark came to the Rio Grande Valley in 1975 and began his public school career in the Brownsville ISD band program as an assistant director at Homer Hanna High School. In 1982 he became head band director at BISD’s Gladys Porter High School where his bands won numerous sweepstakes awards, and his 1984 symphonic band placed in the top ten bands in the TMEA state honor band competition.
Many of his students have become musicians in military and professional groups, and music educators in various areas across the United States.

With his colleague Jim Knox, Rio Grande Valley Band Directors Hall of Fame Class of 2006-2007, Clark is co-owner of K.C. Recording Company and his hobbies include hunting and relaxing in the Texas hill country. Blessed in their marriage of 37 years, Allen and Kay’s family includes twin sons, Ryan and his wife, Amie, son Andrew and his wife, Keri; youngest son David and his wife, Amanda, and eldest daughter Lauren, her husband Brad and their daughters Tirzah and Keziah.

Cesar Eduardo Garcia Hernandez

Cesar was born Sept. 2nd. 1948, in the border town of Matamoros, Tamp. Mex. to Miguel Leon Garcia and Maria Petra Hernandez de Garcia. Cesar attended elementary school in Matamoros and attended St. Joseph Academy in Brownsville, Tx for middle school and high school. While at St. Joseph Academy, he was introduced to the trumpet and joined the band program.

After graduation, he moved to Guadalajara, Mexico and attended the School of Music of the University of Guadalajara. He played with different music groups and through a friend was hired by the Symphony Orchestra of the Universidad Autonoma of Guadalajara.

After two years he decided to come back to the U.S. and transferred to Texas A&I University in Kingsville where he received his Bachelors Degree in music in 1973. While in Kingsville he met Miss Rosa Vela whom he later married in 1976. He began his band directing career at La Grulla Jr. High in Rio Grande City and then later moved to Zapata, TX where he became the High School Band director.

The Zapata High School Band had numerous awards and achievements under his tenure. The marching band would eventually end up going nine times to the State Marching Contest and would advance seven times as an Honor Band Finalist. In 1994 Mr. Garcia united with Alfredo Cortinas, Rudy Barrera and seven other directors to begin the Roma music program that would later become one of the best in the 4A classification. After two years in Roma, he returned to Zapata and retired in 2002.

Cesar currently resides in Zapata with his wife Rosa. Cesar and Rosa have a daughter and two sons who are all educators. Rosalinda Garcia teaches English at Kingsville ISD, Cesar Garcia is a Criminal Justice teacher at PSJA ISD, and Carlos Garcia is a Band Director at Donna ISD.

Harold J. Rademacher

Harold Rademacher’s teaching career began in 1955 as assistant band director to Mr. Roque Guerra, Rio Grande City, who is also a member of the Band Director’s  Hall of Fame.  Harold was in Rio Grande City from September 1955 to January 1957, at which time was drafted into the United States Army.  After completing basic training ,he served in the Fort Chaffee,  Fort Polk and Fort Sam Houston army bands.  Harold received an honorable discharge from the army in 1959.

Shortly after his discharge, Harold was hired as band director at  San Isidro School in San Isidro, Texas and remained there until 1995 when he retired.  During his tenure in San Isidro,  his bands participated in the following
events:  in U.I.L. received 5 Sweepstakes trophies, 7 first divisions, 3 second divisions, and 1 third division.

His bands played for 350 football games, 120 parades, 35 graduations;
were recognized with special plaques at the Mission Citrus Fiesta Parades and Mercedes Livestock Show Parades for having atttended more than 30 years each!

His bands also received awards for Best Band at parades in Mission, Rio Grande City, Laredo and were voted Best in Parade at
Texas A & I Band Day in Kingsville, Texas.

In 2000 he was asked to return to San Isidro School to teach the San Isidro Junior High Music Program.  He did this for the next 5 years then retired once again.  During this time, he also taught part time at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in McAllen, a band program of 5th through 8th grade students.

Harold attended the University of Texas in Austin where he was a member of the Symphonic Band, ROTC Band, Jazz Band and a proud member of the Texas Longhorn Band.  He received an All Level Music Degree from the University of Pan American in Edinburg.

His pride and joy, besides music, is his family.  Harold and his wife Celia have been married for 47 years.  They have 3 children: Gary Rademacher from Hurst, Texas; Sheri Coggins from Pharr, Texas; and Cathy Rademacher from Edinburg, Texas. They have 5 grandchildren: Jessica Renee 19, Christyn Leigh 12,  David Kyle 12,  Kaylee Rebecca  9, and  Ryleigh Noelle 10 months old.

“Rads”, as Harold is known, is very well known throughout the valley for his musical talents and showmanship.  He has played professionally for 64 years and is still very active.  Harold plays at many night spots and for Winter Texan friends.

2008-2009 All-Region High School Clinicians

(L-R): James Marioneaux (9th Grade Band), Phillip Alvarado (Symphonic Band), and
Colonel Lowell Graham (Honors Band)


Jazz Audition, September 19, 2009

Donna Tournament of Bands Marching Festival, October 10, 2009

City of Palms Marching Festival, October 10, 2009

Orchestra Wind/Percussion Audition, Nov. 7, 2009

Euphoniums at Orchestra Audition, November 7, 2009

High School All-Region Audition, November 21, 2009

High School Pre-Area Audition, December 5, 2009

9th Grade Audition, December 12, 2009

Area G Audition, January 9, 2010

Middle School All-Region Audition, January 23, 2010

Coyote Festival Results, March 9-11, 2010

Valley View Festival Results, March 26, 2010

Region 15 Honor Band

Area G Honor Band

Class of 2005-2006

Joseph Bellamah

Joseph Bellamah

Joseph Bellamah

Joe’s parents came to the United States in 1910 from Lebanon. His father was a lawyer and an interpreter, but had to work in a factory in the states. Joseph L. Bellamah was born March 1, 1917 in Utica, New York. Joe was fluent in French and Arabic before he ever entered school, and says he has tried to hold onto the latter language by reciting his morning and evening prayers in that tongue.

Joe Bellamah’s musical odyssey began in Amsterdam, New York when he was assigned a flute in the junior high school band. After a couple of weeks of disliking the flute, he took it back to the director and said, “I want to play the trumpet”. Play he did! He was a member of the All-State Band and Orchestra, and he played professionally in New York City as a free-lance musician. While in New York he lived in the Sloane House YMCA for $.75 a night while playing dance jobs at the Waldorf Astoria, the Hotel Pierre, and the Hotel Pennsylvania as well as at the Wurlitzer Academy of Music where he also taught trumpet in the mornings.

This phase of Joe’s musical life came to an abrupt end after developing a serious case of sinus. He was told to move to a place like San Antonio and to quit playing the trumpet. Joe moved to San Antonio in 1943. Six months later his musical life was reborn. He was determined to play again, so by invitation from the conductor; he joined the San Antonio Symphony. With his health and musical prowess restored, Joe began packing to return to New York City when he received a phone call from a very persistent Weslaco school superintendent seeking a high school band director. Joe began his school teaching career at Weslaco High School where his bands consistently won Sweepstakes awards. He was one of the founders of the “Pigskin Jubilee” which is still held annually. Joe also met his wife in Weslaco and all thoughts of returning to New York ceased.

Eight years later, the Bellamahs moved to Alpine where Joe directed the Sul Ross State University Band for eight years and completed a Masters degree in Music. In 1961, Joe began a 19 year stint as band director at Texas A & I University where he ascended to the rank of full professor. Throughout the years, he continued to conduct clinics and adjudicate throughout the country, to teach privately, to travel with high school jazz groups to Europe and Asia, and to perform. He was the first President of the Texas Chapter, Catholic Band Directors National Association, and served on the National Board. He established the San Antonio Jazz Festival, and he was also a trumpet clinician for the Selmer Company.

Dr. Bellamah was honored by Texas A & I University when they named the music building “The Joseph L. Bellamah Music Building”. TBA honored Joe as Bandmaster of the Year in 1991. His honorary affiliations include: Alpha Chi, Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Beta Mu, International Association of Jazz Educators, CBDNA, TBA, TMEA, and the prestigious ABA. He is listed in “Who’s Who in the South and Southwest”, “Band Bibliography”, “Who’s Who in Music”, and “The World’s Who’s Who of Musicians’. He is also on the Leblanc Music Educators Advisory Board.

Dr. Bellamah’s proudest accomplishments and greatest pride are his former students.

Gene Braught

Gene Braught

Gene Braught

One of the important facets to remember about the founding of the Oklahoma Bandmasters Association is that Gene Braught was an insufferable Texan. Those of us that were Oklahoma born, Oklahoma bred, Oklahoma educated and, most of all, proud to be band directors in the best state in America, didn’t customarily listen with approval to Dr. Braught’s stories of “things that were better in Texas.”

A significant change in the Pride’s performing style came in 1962, when Gene Graught took over the marching band. He changed the style from pagentry to precision marching, although at times he combined the two styles. The 1960’s saw increasing criticism of marching bands both from the professional world and from college sports fans. Braught increased the number of contemporary works played by the concert band and experimented with different styles in his halftime shows. During this time the Pride performed its most intricate marching routines, creating geometric shapes and lines for dazzling kaleidoscopic visual effects.

From the Oklahoma Bandmasters Hall of Fame

Ralph Burford

Ralph Burford

Ralph Burford

Ralph Burford was born April 30, 1915 in Milton, Kansas. At age 12, he began his band career when he took his first trombone lesson from H. C. Patton. His lesson was the B-flat scale which was drawn out on the back of a postcard, and his teacher told him not to return until he could play it. He learned the lesson and ended up playing in the Milton High School Band and the Conway Springs Municipal Band.

Ralph received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wichita in 1938 and he accepted the job teaching music at Clearwater, Kansas where he taught for three years. In 1941 he accepted a music position with the public schools in Indianapolis, Indiana as supervisor of 17 high school and junior high school orchestras. On December 8, 1941, Ralph was called into service as a second lieutenant and served in the Pacific theatre and was the recipient of the Bronze Star. In 1946, he was separated from the service with the rank of Major. He returned to the teaching field as band and choir director at Mexia High School in Texas. In 1947-48, the Junior Chamber of Commerce named Ralph the “Outstanding Man of the Year” award. After one year, he had shown outstanding teaching to the music students on the community.

In 1948, Ralph accepted the high school band job in Edinburg where he developed an outstanding instrumental program in both band and orchestra. In 1958, the band was selected what has become known as the honor band and they played their concert for the TMEA convention in Galveston. From 1948 to 1965, the Edinburg band compiled a record of 57 first divisions at UIL, Buccaneer, and Tri-State in Enid, Oklahoma. The marching bands received top ratings for seventeen consecutive years. In 1959, Ralph was honored by The School Musician as one of the top ten directors in their series “They Are Making America Musical”. During these years in Edinburg, Ralph found a balance between service to the profession and service to the community. In 1962-63, he was President of the Kiwanis club and in 1964-65, Ralph served as President of the Texas Bandmasters Association.

In 1966, the Burfords moved to Pasadena, where Ralph became the Director of Music Education. Under his direction, the music department, with its faculty of 81 teachers, developed an outstanding program. Ralph continued his community service as a member of the Kiwanis club, serving on the board of directors and was an active member of the First United Methodist church. In 1972, he was named “TBA Bandmaster of the Year.”

Texas and the band world lost a valued member on May 18, 1992. Many former friends and colleagues stand in tribute to a great teacher and friend, Ralph Burford.

Marion Busby

Marion Busby

Marion Busby

Marion Busby was born in Spur, Texas in 1919. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Baylor University, and his Master of Music degree from Texas A & I University.

His teaching career started at Lockhart, Texas in 1940. He then moved to San Benito where he directed the high school band for three years. While there he founded and organized the Pigskin Jubilee Marching Contest for the Valley bands.

He served in the United States Navy from 1944-1945.
He spent one year with Southern Music Co. of San Antonio, and then returned to teaching.

In 1946 he became Director of Bands at Taft High School in Taft, Texas and remained there for 10 years. During his tenure, his bands received consistent First Divisions in every category. It has been said that when the Taft High School band traveled, schools had to be closed, because virtually every person in school was in the band.

In 1956 he moved to Weslaco, Texas. His Weslaco High School bands were twice named Honor Band by TMEA, and on four different occasions at the Buccaneer Days Music Festival they were named Outstanding 3A Band.

Marion Busby was Director of Bands at Del Mar College from 1963 to 1967. In 1967, he became the Supervisor of Music for the Corpus Christi schools until his death in 1970.

Marion Busby was President of TBA in 1953-54. He was posthumously awarded Bandmaster of the Year in 1977. His picture with his baritone appeared in the original Victor Band Method Book as an example for correct posture.

Pete Cisneros

Pete Cisneros

Pete Cisneros

Mr. Pedro “Pete” Cisneros was born in Ozona, Texas on January 28, 1934.  His parents were Mr. Reyes Cisneros and Mrs. Chita Cisneros, owners of a local grocery store.  Mr. Cisneros attended elementary through high school in this community and excelled as a musician and as an athlete.  Pete, as he prefers to be called, became an All-State saxophone player, as well as an All-State football player.   This was a remarkable feat, as times were difficult, especially for a young Hispanic male.  Mr. Cisneros never allowed this to get in his way, as he would constantly be challenged, and was always trying to be the best that he could be.

Upon graduating from Ozona High School, he proceeded to enter Sol Ross University in Alpine, Texas and pursue a career in music education.  Mr. Cisneros played clarinet while attending Sol Ross, and received his bachelor of music education degree.  Once he attained his degree, he entered into the United States Army and became a member of the fifth Army Band in San Antonio, Texas.  After completing his tour of duty, he accepted a teaching position in the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District in the Rio Grande Valley.

Mr. Cisneros moved to the P.S.J.A. School District and became an assistant band director during the 1959-1960 school year.  The following year he became the high school band director and devoted a lot of his time in the development of a very strong music program.  He was single during these years, and could devote countless hours to his profession, becoming extremely influential to many young musicians.  The P.S.J.A. bands earned countless 1st divisions and sweepstakes, as well as placing numerous students in the All-Region, Area, and All-State bands.  His bands also represented Region XV as the Region Honor Band in the State Honor Band competitions.  Mr. Cisneros became Music Supervisor for P.S.J.A. School District and served in this capacity until his retirement.

Pete was a member of the Rotary Club, TBA, TMEA, and Phi Beta Mu. He served as Region XV band chairman, hosted countless competitions at his school, and continued on to become the President of the Texas Bandmasters Association. These accomplishments demonstrated his professionalism, persistence for excellence, and his quest for always doing his best at all he attempted.  These qualities he instilled in his students, staff, and peers.

Today, there are many band directors who were his students and they continue to provide the best possible musical education to their students, just as they received the best at P.S.J.A. High School under Mr. Pete Cisneros.  Among these students that are working as educators are Mr. Wilfredo Perez from Edinburg North High School, Mr. Ruben Adame from La Joya High School, and Mr. George Trevino of Lopez High School in Brownsville, Texas.  These three gentlemen are consistent representatives of Region XV at the state level in marching and concert competitions.

Other alumni of P.S.J.A. High School who are teaching include Mr. Eddie Echeverria from P.S.J.A. North High School, Mr. Javier Cantu from Nellie Schunior Middle School in La Joya, Texas, Mr. Rudy Salazar from Crowley High School, Ms. Iris Gonzalez from Hodges Bend, and Mr. Scott Myers from La Joya ISD.  Numerous other students went on to become professionals and serve their communities.  They all remember Mr. Pete Cisneros with love and respect.

Mr. Cisneros married his wife Armandina and they still reside in the Rio Grande Valley.  Pete is and always will be remembered as one of the “Great Valley Band Directors,” who has earned the respect and admiration of all his students, former staff members, and music educators of the “Great State of Texas.”

Don Fleuriet

Don Fleuriet

Don Fleuriet

Through the years, Don Fleuriet was often asked why such a gifted musician, with so many opportunities for greatness, stayed in a small town, in a public school district, teaching young people. His reply was always; “I wanted to bring the beauty of music to those who, otherwise, may not have had the opportunity to be a part of that world.” This statement truly encompasses the character and passion of this man who was dedicated to his work, his family, his church, and his community.

He was born March 12, 1922 in New Orleans, Louisiana and moved to Donna, Texas in 1926 with his parents, one brother and one sister. He graduated from Donna High School in 1939 and attended Edinburg Junior College. He later transferred to Baylor University where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He initially thought he wanted to be an attorney so he attended one quarter of Baylor Law School. His studies at Baylor were interrupted first by World War II and then the Korean Conflict. He was a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After he finished his service to his country, he returned to Baylor, and decided to pursue an education reflecting his true love—music. He received his Master of Arts degree in music in 1950. While at Baylor, he was the student conductor of the Baylor University Symphony Orchestra.

Don was associated with the band program in the La Feria Independent School District from 1952 until his retirement in 1986. The majority of those years (1952 – 1979) he was the only band director for the entire school district. He taught beginners (fifth and sixth grade), junior high, high school, marching band, concert band and provided individual lessons.

During his tenure, the La Feria High School Band was named the top concert band (Honor Band) in the state in Class AA four times by the Texas Music Educators Association. In fact, his bands finished in the top five every year they were eligible to enter the Honor Band Contest. No other public school band program in the state has ever had that kind of success. The band received a first division rating at region marching contest year. The band also received a first division rating at region concert contest every year—almost unheard of in public school competition. The band received a first division rating at region sight-reading contest every year except one. He worked with interested students after school and on weekends, with no additional compensation, to help them achieve their musical goals. As a result, he also had numerous students selected for membership in the All-State Bands. This is an incredible record of achievement when considering he was the only director for the entire school district.

Though his passion was music, Don understood that the students he taught were interested in other aspects of extracurricular education as well. Instead of trying to “compete” with athletics or theatre programs, he would work with student schedules and be flexible with his time teaching them music, so that they could pursue their other interests. This is the mark of a person who is not just dedicated to his own discipline, but to all around student success.

He was committed to the town and the school district. At the First United Methodist Church, where he was a member throughout his time in La Feria, he volunteered to direct the church choir every Sunday for over 30 years. He taught Sunday school to young people and adults. As stated earlier, through the years, he had many offers to move to larger high schools or colleges. However, he wanted to stay in public school music at La Feria ‘to bring music to those who otherwise might not have it.’

His impact stretched beyond the boundaries of the La Feria Independent School District. One of his early students was Dr. Carl Seale who later was the director of the music department at Pan American University. He was a mentor for new band directors in the Valley. One of them was Mr. Perry Suggs who also won an Honor Band award in 1961 at Edcouch-Elsa High School. He also spent countless hours as a guest clinician for other bands working on their concert contest music.

His peers and colleagues have honored his achievements in the music profession. In 2006, he was selected for membership in the Rio Grande Valley Band Directors Hall of Fame. However, his most important honor has been the remembrance of people he touched throughout his life.

Don Fleuriet passed away on August 17, 1990. He was committed to excellence during his 34 years of employment with the La Feria Independent School District. His work brought unprecedented recognition to the district and the community. Public school education has always been about the growth of the individual student. Don Fleuriet’s impact on the lives of thousands of students is immeasurable.

Joe Frank

Joe Frank

Joe Frank

Joseph Frank, son of Frank Frank, a career bandmaster in the United States Army, was born November 11, 1924 in Burlington, Vermont. He started his teaching career as a junior high school band director in Harlingen, Texas in the fall of 1949. He has served music education in Texas and the southwest for over forty-one years as a teacher, conductor, and music administrator.

Joe’s instrumental teaching experience encompasses instruction on all instruments with students starting from elementary through university levels. His high school bands at Harlingen and later at Richardson, Texas never received less than a First Division rating in UIL concert performance.

While at Harlingen, his band received “the Outstanding Band Award” on three occasions at the Buccaneer Days Music Festival in Corpus Christi. The Richardson High School Band gained a national reputation for excellence under the direction of Mr. Frank. They were selected by tape auditions to perform at the prestigious Mid-West National Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.

As a music administrator for the Richardson ISD, Joe developed an organizational format, including teaching methods, which enabled the many fine directors associated with that school system to build their organizations to superb levels of performance.

While serving the Texas Music Educators Association as State Band Chairman, Mr. Frank inaugurated both the state honor band program (which remains essentially in its original format to this date), and the area tryout system for all-state band students.

Since retiring from the public schools, Joe has enjoyed a busy schedule as consultant, clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor.

Art Guajardo

Art Guajardo

Art Guajardo

Arcadio “Art” Guajardo, Jr., was born in Pharr, Texas, on March 10, 1934.  He attended Buell Elementary School in Pharr and joined the band program in the sixth grade.  His first instrument was a one-piece metal clarinet, which had a tendency to turn green if it wasn’t cleaned periodically.   In junior high, the 7th and 8th grades were housed in the same building as the high school.  So, the band director, Mr. Edwin Holt, would use the 7th and 8th grades in the high school band for added numbers.  The band hall was an old wooden barracks.

Art graduated from Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School in 1954.  His band director Mr. Walter Whitlow, and the assistant Mr. David Gamboa, encouraged him to attend VanderCook College of Music in Chicago.  So, Art packed all his worldly possessions in an old cardboard suitcase 7 inches by 15 by 26 (which he still has stored in the garage).  He hitched a ride with a migrant family who was going to Indiana to work in the fields during the summer.  This family of five and Art piled into an old beat-up, two-door 1936 Chevrolet, which would barely make it over the hills.  From Indianapolis he took a Greyhound bus into Chicago.  This was the first time Art had ever been out of the state of Texas.

When Art arrived at the Randolph Street Station, he caught a cab and the driver gruffly asked “Where to, Mack?” Art said “3219 South Michigan,…Mack!”  He looked at Art kind of puzzled and asked, “Are you sure?”  Art told him that was where he wanted to go.  Art wasn’t quite sure why the driver had asked, but he began to get a better picture when the cab stopped in a very rough neighborhood.  When Art paid him his fare, he remembered that in the big cities you tip the driver.  So, he fished in his pocket and took out a fifty- cent piece.  The driver looked at it and rudely hollered “What!  Is this all I get?”  Art yelled back “Well, that’s all I can afford.  If you don’t want it I’ll take it back.”  The driver kept it!

Four years later in 1958, Art graduated from VanderCook and was hired by the Brownsville ISD to be a junior high school band director.  Art was also Bob Vezzetti’s assistant at the high school, instructing all the woodwinds.  He was very instrumental in the high school band’s three performances at the Mid-West Convention in Chicago, Illinois, under the leadership of Bob Vezzetti.  The level of excellence of the Brownsville High School bands, of that early era, was directly attributed to Art’s great teaching of the woodwind sections.

In 1974, Bob Vezzetti became Supervisor of Music, and Art was promoted to head director at the old Brownsville High School, which was re-named Hanna High School, continuing the tradition of excellence at this school.

Under his leadership of forty years, the Hanna High School “Golden Eagle Band” was a consistent Sweepstakes winner, produced many All-State students, and numerous winners of the Outstanding Musicians at the Texas State Solo and Ensemble competitions.  The Hanna “Golden Eagle Band” won competitions in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Chicago, and Florida.   For several years, Art wrote his own drills and arranged the performance music for the marching band. His arrangements and outstanding drill concepts and execution were cutting edge in their day.

Art’s band represented Region XV in the honor band process numerous times, and was a tremendous example for others to follow.  Whenever the band performed at concerts and UIL performances, many directors would attend to experience the beauty and mastery of the performance.  Many directors still remember the great performances at Buccaneer Days Music Festival in Corpus Christi, and the Six Flags competitions in Dallas.

Art was always very methodical and insistent that his band was consistent in all facets of his program.  Many of his students have followed in his footsteps as band directors, and many more continue to be supporters of band and music in Brownsville, because of their experiences in this organization.  Art Guajardo has been instrumental in the development of the band programs in the Rio Grande Valley, and continues to be a strong influence as he travels across the Valley as an adjudicator, clinician, arranger of band music and orchestral transcriptions, and as a friend.  His bands and community bands have performed his arrangements, and the Texas A & M University Band performed one of his arrangements at their TMEA concert.

Art retired in July of 1998.  He and Mary, his wife of twenty-six years, enjoy gardening and traveling.  One of their favorite places is still the city of Chicago where Mary attended high school, although, she is originally from the Rio Grande Valley.  Mary still enjoys teaching business courses at Hanna High School, and Art still enjoys doing clinics, judging, arranging, and helping students with their region and area materials.

Roque Guerra

Roque Guerra

Roque Guerra

In 1932, Roque Guerra, at the age of twenty, was called by the superintendent of Rio Grande City Independent School District to start the music program. Mr. Guerra accepted the job, and thus began his long career as a public educator.

His first teaching assignment resulted in the beginning of the first string orchestra for the district. Mr. Guerra was excited to begin his teaching career in Rio Grande City and was even more excited by his wonderful salary of $35.00 a month! His first classroom was in the basement of the main school building. This was his music room for several years. Little did he know that some forty years later, this school, now rebuilt into a very large and modern structure, would be renamed in his honor.

During World War II, because of the lack of teachers, Mr. Guerra was given additional assignments. He taught choir, coached soccer, baseball and basketball. He was also band director at the same time. His involvement with his students was very influential. This is evident in that fifteen of his ex-students are now band directors.

He never stopped being a “second father” to all students, and this has made him unforgettable to a generation of music lovers who came from this small community in south Texas. While he met all of his responsibilities to the district, he also kept within his budget by copying and arranging music for the band. He also repaired band instruments and personally supplied some of the materials which were not available.

The Rio Grande City High School Band was always involved in activities that took them to various Valley cities and even into Mexico. The activities included parades, competitions, ceremonies and concerts.

Mr. Guerra has been honored by the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus; the Rio Grande City Lions Club; Texas Bandmasters Association for twenty years of continuous membership; Life membership by the Texas Congress of Parents and Teachers; Texas Bandmasters Association Bandmaster of the Year 1967; and Life membership in the Rattler Booster Club of Rio Grande City.

Rio Grande City ISD honored him by naming an elementary school after him. He has also been honored with community banquets, halftime football show performances by various high school bands, and a presentation at the UIL Marching Competition Grand Finale “Pigskin Jubilee.” The mayor of Monterrey, Mexico, gave a banquet in his honor in appreciation for a concert given by the Rattler Band in that city.

His services as a public educator lasted forty years. He is well known in the community and still keeps in touch with present band directors. After his retirement in 1972, Mr. Guerra was elected Starr County Commissioner from 1973-1977, and served as Superintendent for Public Instruction from 1978-1980.

Mr. Guerra and his wife, Ninfa, have been married for 58 years and have two children. His son is retired from the Air Force and lives in Nebraska. His daughter is a teacher in the Katy Independent School District.

His love of music and his dedication to education and public service will always be appreciated by the community. Mr. Guerra is very grateful to all the wonderful people who have helped in his career and have supported him through these many years. He has said on many occasions, that if given a choice, he would do everything the same way, because working with children and guiding them is the most fulfilling job there is.

Pat McNallen

Pat McNallen

Pat McNallen

Pat McNallen was born in Logan, Ohio on December 2, 1924. His family moved to Breckenridge, Texas when Pat was eleven. He finished high school there and entered Southwestern University in Georgetown. His education was interrupted when he enlisted in the service during World War II. He was discharged in 1945 and returned to college in Georgetown where he finished his Bachelor of Music degree in 1949. He received his Master of Music degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1951.

Pat began his career while still a student at Southwestern University by teaching band part-time in the small community of Thrall, Texas. His first full-time teaching position was that of Director of Bands in Cross Plains, Texas. His next job was in Childress where he was the director of the Childress bands and choirs. In 1957, he moved to Mission, Texas to become Director of Bands. He was a loved and respected teacher there for eleven years. Pat became band director in Edinburg in 1968. Later, he was named Director of Instrumental Music and finally, Supervisor of Music for the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District.

Pat was an innovator. In the days when 80-100 piece bands were thought to be large, Pat had the personnel, school, and community support to field a 200 piece band.

Pat died in a tragic auto-motorcycle accident on February 13, 1984. A proverb recalled by the minister giving the eulogy at the service for Pat best describes Pat’s life: “If you sing to a person a song, you provide that person with a few moments of enjoyment……. if you teach a person to sing, you provide a song for life.”

James Murphy

James Murphy

James Murphy

Jim Murphy’s influence transcended the city limits of Brownsville, then a sleepy border town, the Rio Grande Valley, and even the state of Texas. He had the ability to take the children of “common folk” and make great music which placed him in the position of musical and teaching leadership.

James Murphy was born on February 16, 1918 in Logansport, Indiana. He was a graduate of Central Methodist College in Fayette, Missouri, the U.S. Army School of Music, and VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. From 1946 to 1957, he was director of the famed Brownsville Golden Eagle Band, winner of 11 Sweepstakes, two appearances at the Midwest Band Clinic, and three times winning every award in sight at the Tri-State Music Festival in Enid, Oklahoma. For 12 years, Jim served as a guest clinician and adjudicator, throughout the state of Texas. He was elected and officiated as Band Chairman for TMEA. In 1958, he accepted a position at the Duluth campus of the University of Minnesota where he remained until 1980. He then became an instrumental consultant in the Edgewood ISD, until he retired in 1982.

Jim’s dedication to music as a profound art exacted every ounce of his energies, and he demanded one’s all regardless of whether one was having a studio lesson, learning to conduct, preparing to teach, or playing in one of his ensembles.

Jim was a member of the American Bandmasters Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Texas Bandmasters Association, Phi Beta Mu, Music Educators National Conference, and Texas Music Educators Association.

Jim passed away on June 17, 1983 in San Antonio.

Murphy may not be in heaven yet, he may be doing penance. Oh, he arrived at the pearly gates all right, but just as St. Peter was greeting him, Gabriel started playing his trumpet. And we can all hear Murphy as he said, “Gabriel, with all that practice you have had, you still can’t play worth a damn!”

L. M. Snavely

L. M. Snavely

L. M. Snavely

L. M. Snavely, Jr. graduated from high school in Brownsville, then earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Baylor and Master of Music Degree from Vandercook. He also earned the Doctor of Philosophy Degree from the University of Texas. While in the service, Dr. Snavely played first horn in the Fourth Army Band.

Dr. Snavely’s first teaching job was in Harlingen where he was assistant to Joe Frank for one year and director of the junior high band for two years. Under his direction, the junior high school band entered seven music contests winning division I ratings at each event. The highlight was winning the Buccaneer Music Festival entered as a high school band and competing against 32 high school bands.

Dr. Snavely taught for eleven years as Director of Bands at McAllen High School. The McAllen band was awarded Sweepstakes honors for ten consecutive years and led the Rio Grande Valley many years in number of students selected as All-Region and All-State members. During this time the McAllen Band placed second, fourth, and first in the TMEA Honor Band competition. A highlight of those years was two or three concerts each year featuring nationally known performers such as Meredith Willson, Doc Severson, Alfred Reed, and Karl King. The band also took annual tours of central Mexico for several years. The McAllen Band was selected by the Suddler Foundation and John Phillip Sousa Committee as one of the premier American school bands for the decade 1960-1970.

After finishing his doctorate at the University of Texas, Dr. Snavely served for sixteen years as Director of Bands and Professor of Music at the University of Mississippi. He was selected as the Outstanding Teacher of the Music Department for 1976. At one time Dr. Snavely had over one hundred fifty former students serving as band directors at all levels and in many states.

Dr. Snavely took the position of Director of Bands and Professor of Music at the University of Notre Dame in 1987. Under his direction the band doubled in size and was recognized as one of the outstanding college band programs. Dr. Snavely was selected as the recipient of the Special Presidential Award for outstanding contribution to the University of Notre Dame in 1996. He was the first person from the Music Department to be selected for this award and at this time is still the only one.

Over the years, Dr. Snavely has belonged to countless musical organizations and has served as clinician, conductor, and adjudicator in various parts of the country. While a Texas band director he served in all capacities at the regional level of TMEA, as well as having served as an organizer of all-state bands and State Band chairman of that organization. He also served for six years as Chairman of the Music Selection Committee of UIL.

Dr. Snavely was inducted into membership of the American Bandmasters Association in 1987.

Robert Vezzetti

Robert Vezzetti

Robert Vezzetti

Robert Vezzetti was born on March 25, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest son of Joseph and Catherine Vezzetti. He attended schools in Chicago and graduated from Fenger High School in 1950. He was attracted into the music field and started school at the famed VanderCook College of Music. It is reported that Bob was something of an accordion whiz; he did perform on that instrument to help defray expenses of education. He received a B.M.E. from VanderCook in 1954 and accepted a job in the Brownsville ISD as band director at Cummings Junior High School until Uncle Sam accepted his services as a tuba player in the 384th Army Band. He graduated from the U. S. Army Band School in 1956. Following that musical experience, Bob returned to Brownsville as the assistant high school director, working with Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame member, Jim Murphy, until he succeeded him as Director of Bands in 1958.

Bob held that position for sixteen years, and his bands were awarded the UIL sweepstakes each year as well as appearing twice at the Midwest National Band Clinic in Chicago and twice at the Mideast National Band Clinic in Pittsburgh. His band was twice named the Outstanding Band at the Buccaneer Festival and the 1965 band was selected as the Honor Band of TMEA. The band performed a brilliant concert in Dallas at the TMEA Clinic-Convention.

During his tenure, the Brownsville High School Band had 43 members selected as All-State members, over 200 as All-Region bandsmen, and they compiled an impressive record of over 1,000 medals in UIL Solo and Ensemble competition. The Brownsville Golden Eagle Band made numerous concert tours in Mexico as well as presenting radio and TV programs in our neighbor to the south. A highlight of those sixteen years was a concert tour in Europe. Bob also found time to serve as a clinician in Texas, Mississippi and Illinois.

Bob married Isabel Garcia, daughter of a longtime Brownsville family, and they have three sons, Robertino, Michael and Joseph. Following being named as Teacher of the Year in 1969, Bob was selected for the Brownsville and Texas Knights of Columbus Outstanding Educator award in 1972. He served on many TMEA and UIL committees, and in 1974, Bob became the Director of Music Activities for the Brownsville ISD. His administrative skills were like his podium skills and in 1978, he was named Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, a position he held until his retirement in 1990.

His civic contributions to Brownsville are many. He served twice as President of Charro Days International Festival, he held a position on the City Planning and Zoning Commission, and was two times President of the Historical Society. He published a book on local history that is now in its third printing and continues to write articles on local history. Bob currently manages his ranch in Kenedy County, fishes in his spare time and travels for business and pleasure. With his typical humor, he says that with the current drought, he may sell the cattle and buy camels.

Brownsville, Texas and the band world are proud that Bob Vezzetti came our way.

Class of 2006-2007

Vernon Denman

Vernon Denman

Vernon Denman

Vernon (Vern) Denman was born near Childress, Texas on a Farm/Ranch on November 10, 1926. The family moved to San Antonio, Texas when he was very young, and this is where he attended school. He graduated from Burbank High School in 1945. He and his wife, Valera, were school mates and were married in 1947 when Vern returned from military service. He served in the infantry and later in the 748th AAF Band before being discharged.

Vern attended Trinity University and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and Vandercook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois, where he received his Bachelor of Music Education degree. He did advanced studies later at West Texas State University in Canyon, Texas.

Vern began his teaching career in Harlingen in 1950 as Junior High Band Director and assistant to Joe Frank. He taught in Raymondville in the late 50′s. Under his direction, the Raymondville band won the Outstanding Band Award at Buccaneer Music Festival in Corpus Christi, Texas and was also Region AA Honor Band that year. He was assistant to Ralph Burford in the early 1960s.

He moved to North Texas where he taught band in several schools for a number of years before returning to the Valley via Rockport, Texas, where he spent 3 years as low brass teacher and director of the concert band.

While in North Texas his Boswell High School Band was a Region Honor Band and a consistent 1st Division winner in both marching and concert contests. Moving to 5A, to O.D. Wyatt in Fort Worth, his band received numerous awards in both concert and stage band.

Vern retired from P.S.J.A. as an assistant to Pete Cisneros in 1986. He is still active in music education, having tutored with the Edinburg I.S.D. and playing in various groups around the Valley. He played in the Valley Symphony under Dr. Williams in the late 50′s and then again under Dr. Carl Seale in the late 80′s.

His three children played in his band, and son Paul Denman recently retired from P.S.J.A. as head director at Memorial High School. He and Val have five grandsons, two granddaughters and one great-granddaughter.

Vern and Val live in McAllen with dog Ginger.

Joe Harness

Joe Harness

Throughout his life and his 41-year career as a musician and educator, Joe Fred Harness has exhibited a fierce dedication to music. Joe taught his students about music, but many also remember Joe as a father figure who also taught them about life and character. He always has words of wisdom and humor to share with his bands and friends.

Joe was born to Guy and Audrey Harness in Frederick, Okla. Joe and his older brother, Jim, spent their childhood in the small Oklahoma town helping their parents run their grocery store. From an early age, Joe was extremely social and was on first-name basis with most everyone in town.

Jim played cornet, and at the age of five, Joe expressed interest in learning to play the instrument, too. Joe’s father, a skilled craftsman and welder, found a very used cornet and got it into working condition. Joe watched his brother practice and then would figure out how to reproduce what his brother played, eventually learning to read music. As a child, when he was asked what he liked to do, Joe would quickly reply, “play my horn – that’s it.”

While in junior high, Frederick High School Band Director Mel Clark quickly took note of Joe’s exceptional talent and asked him to perform as a member of the high school band. Mr. Clark maintained his interest in Joe’s musical development, playing duets with him every day after school and encouraging him to attend solo competitions at various high schools and universities throughout Oklahoma. Joe attributes his desire to become a teacher to Mr. Clark and considers him one of the truly important influences in his life.

Acclaimed North Texas State Trumpet Professor John Haynie also became a recurring figure in Joe’s life, through his participation in many solo competitions in which he competed. Mr. Haynie was always impressed with Joe’s natural ability, yet was always brutally honest in his criticism of the young cornetist. Professor Haynie eventually recruited Joe to North Texas State.

At North Texas, Joe worked hard to become an outstanding player, eventually earning the principal chair in Maurice McAdow’s Symphonic Band. At the conclusion of his studies and with his bachelor’s degree awarded in 1964, Joe accepted a position as the band director at Brownsville Cummings Junior High and assistant director at Brownsville High School.

As part of one of the most exemplary band programs of that time, Joe learned from the many fine teachers in Brownsville and developed the Cummings Band into a consistent Sweepstakes band. He then spent one year as band director at Bowman Junior High in Plano, Texas, where he was heavily influenced by many of the fine directors in the Dallas area.

After his year in Plano, Joe returned for one more year as an assistant at Brownsville High, then became the first director of bands at James Pace High School in Brownsville. It was during the beginning of his tenure at Pace that Joe met and fell in love with Alma Rivera, marrying her in spring 1977. Joe describes his time at Pace as a “labor of love,” where he poured his all into the program for 23 years. While he was at Pace, the band placed in the top ten in class 4A State Honor Band Competition five times – finishing third in the state in 1985, took part in two concert tours of Europe, qualified for the Texas State Marching Contest, and never received less than 1st Division rating in Concert.

Joe is most proud of his family, including his wife Alma, his daughters JoAnn and Cayce, and his son Christopher. Those lucky enough to call Joe a friend are very blessed, as are the thousands of students influenced by this fine musician and teacher.

Jimmy Knox

Jimmy Knox

Jimmy Knox

Jimmy was born April 6, 1947 to Bobby and Loraine Knox in Burkburnett, Texas. He attended school in Wichita Falls, Electra, and Olney, Texas. Jimmy graduated Valedictorian in 1965 from Olney High School. While in high school, he was named the Outstanding Performer on trombone at State Solo and Ensemble Contest as well as being awarded a place in the Texas All-State Band.

Jimmy went on to attend East Texas State University where he graduated with honors, receiving his bachelors and masters degree in music education. In 1970, Jimmy married Illana Kay Cathey. After 16 years of marriage, Illana succumbed to cancer.

After teaching for four years in Plano, Jimmy moved to the Valley where he became head director at Central Middle School. Jimmy held that position at Central for 29 years.

Under his direction, Central would earn consistent 1st Division ratings as well as numerous awards. Mr. Knox would also place the highest number of band members in the All-Valley band for many years.

The Central Band went on to place in the top 10 in the Honor Band process on three separate occasions under Jimmy’s direction.

During his teaching career, Jimmy played a huge part in the quality of musicians, which were to make up some of Brownsville’s top bands.

Since retiring, Mr. Knox has kept busy with KC Recording Company, working at home, and feeding stray animals.

Rudy Martinez

Rudy Martinez

Rudy Martinez

Rudolph “Rudy” Martinez, Jr. was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and graduated from Roy Miller High School. He graduated from Del Mar Junior College with a Certificate in Music. He later attended the University of Oklahoma, and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the University of Corpus Christi. He later earned his Masters Degree in Music from Texas A & I – Kingsville.

After serving as Head Band Director from 1969-1979 in the Woodsboro Independent School District, Mr. Martinez became Head Band Director at Grulla Middle School in 1979, where he worked until his retirement in 2003. He also served as an assistant director to Al Cortinas at Rio Grande City High School.

Now retired, Mr. Martinez and his wife Cristina continue to live in Rio Grande City where they are very active in the community and in the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

Meme MirelesMeme Mireles

Manuel (Meme) Mireles was born on September 25, 1938, in Mason City, Iowa. In 1944, his father decided to make Brownsville the Mireles family permanent residence.

Mr. Mireles is a current member of TBA, TMEA, and Phi Beta Mu. He started his music career at age 11 playing trumpet under James R. Murphy in Brownsville, Texas. The following year, at age 12, Mr. Murphy placed him in the High School Golden Eagle Band. He performed with the famed Golden Eagle Band at the prestigious Mid-West National Band Clinic in Chicago.

Mr. Mireles started his teaching career in 1961, at Trinidad, a small Class B School near Waco, Texas. The following year he joined Mr. Bryce Taylor and his staff in Alice, Texas. He taught at Memorial Junior High, a Class 3C Band, and helped with brass classes at Alice High School for six years. His junior high band was a consistent 1st division winner in all events entered.

In 1969, Mr. Mireles took over the Point Isabel Band Program at Port Isabel, Texas. Over the years, the Point Isabel Band had been consistently awarded 5th divisions in U.I.L. competitions. Within a year, Mr. Mireles and his staff were able to bring the band up to 2nd divisions in all competitions entered. The band consistently earned 1st division in all areas over the next nine years. During that time, the program grew and produced the highest number of All—Valley Band students in their classification. The students in the program were consistently earning top ratings in Solo & Ensemble competitions.

In 1973, the band was ranked among the top ten bands in its class in the State. In 1977, the band earned the distinction of being the AA Honor Band in the State of Texas. Much credit needs to be attributed to Lois Lindemann, from Los Fresnos, Gilbert Saenz, from San Antonio, and the Brownsville Band Staff who were instrumental in helping develop the program.

In 1979, Mr. Mireles joined and worked with Mr. Scott Taylor and his staff at the outstanding Richardson Band Program in Richardson, Texas. In 1980, Mr. Mireles returned to the valley to join High School Music Service to become a partner and music consultant with the firm. He became instrumental in helping implement and develop the music and band program in various points in Mexico. The band program in Matamoros, Mexico continues to grow and develop young musicians due to the leadership that was provided by Mr. Mireles.

In 1984, Mr. Mireles decided to return to education and was offered a position as a brass instructor and consultant at Brownsville I.S.D.

Mr. Mireles retired as a full—time band director in 1994. Since his retirement he still continues pursuing his career in real estate property. This is a career in which he has always been involved in and loves. Most of his time and energy is spent on managing and maintaining his real estate business in Brownsville as well as in South Padre Island.

For relaxation, he enjoys golfing, fishing, and running long distance. Over the past fifteen (15) years he has competed in four marathons and is currently training to run five and ten runs throughout the State.

Art Ratley

Art Ratley

Art Ratley

Artis (Art) Ratley was born in Carthage, Texas on April 21, 1933. He graduated from Carthage HS in 1950, and received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogodoches, Texas. He also attended Vandercook College of Music in Chicago for graduate work in 1958.

He served in the military as a Euphonium player with the United States Fourth Army Band at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas from 1955-1957. After separation from the Army in 1957, Art moved to Harlingen and was assistant director to Joe Frank and L.M. Snavely. The next year L.M. Snavely moved to McAllen and Art was selected as the Junior High director for the next four years. During that time the bands continued the tradition of First Division ratings and the Junior High band received the Outstanding Band Award at the Buccanneer Music Festival in 1961.

In 1962 Art moved to San Antonio and taught at McCollum High School in the Harlandale School District. After two years, he returned to the Valley and was hired by L.M. Snavely as an assistant director at McAllen High School in 1964.

Art has been band director at Travis, Lamar, and Brown Middle Schools in McAllen, as well as assistant director to L. M. Snavely, Ronnie Smith, Ray Guzman, Gary Zook, Paul Mann, and Darrell Anderson. He was director of the Second Group at McAllen High School for eleven years.

After retirement, Art taught for eight years part time at Rowe High School and McAllen High School as assistant to Joe Menchaca and Jim Egger.

Art resides in McAllen with his wife Mary, who is from Brownsville. They have four daughters, Laura, Kim, Linda, and Michelle. They enjoy traveling and spending time with the family and their grandchildren.

Some of the best memories Art has of the years spent teaching in the Rio Grande Valley are those of the camaraderie of the directors and the wonderful and talented students that he has had the priviledge to teach.

Lloyd Reitz

Lloyd Reitz

Lloyd Reitz

Lloyd P. Reitz was born May 14, 1902 in Cherokee, Oklahoma.

He became the band director of Weslaco High School in 1930. Lloyd married Helen M. Scheideman in 1929. Helen was a clarinet player in the McCraken, Kansas municipal band that Lloyd conducted.

Prior to becoming the band director at Weslaco, Lloyd directed municipal bands in Los Fresnos and Harlingen along with a dance band, all of which were needed to make a living during the Great Depression.

Lloyd atttended Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, studying music. He had a very solid background in piano and cornet.

The development of the Weslaco band program began in 1930. Lloyd was solely responsible for the beginner program, jr. high band, and the high school band. Over the years, the band program was successful and the accomplishments were many. The band won 1st place in the Regional competition and 1st place at the State level, which took place in Abilene. The competition in Abilene involved bands from Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. It lasted three days and included solos, ensembles, concert, and marching. The band won seven consecutive 1st place awards at the Regional level.

Students in the Weslaco band who eventually became band directors were Marion Busby, baritone, and Sam Guthridge, bassoon. Marion’s future wife, Madine, was the solo oboist in the band.

Lloyd was known as “Mister” to his students and that’s the way they addressed him.

He became the 10th President of TMEA, from 1936-1938. At the end of 1938 he ended his teaching at Weslaco and moved to San Antonio where he began selling instruments. He started his selling career in the basement of Southern Loan and Jewelry before it was to become Southern Music Company.

W. R. Snavely

W. R. Snavely

W. R. Snavely

Mr. Snavely began playing in the band in the 6th grade in Brownsville under the direction of James Murphy. The Golden Eagle Band was known and widely respected in the State of Texas as well as nationally. From Brownsville, W.R. went on to Baylor and was enrolled in the Music Education program. While at Baylor, he was a member of the Baylor Golden Wave Band, Acapella Choir, the Baylor Symphony Orchestra, and the Opera Orchestra.

Upon graduation from Baylor, his first job was in San Benito as Jr. High Director under the supervision of Don Watkins. The following year, W.R. was invited to go to Richardson with Joe Frank. The assignment was Jr. High Band Director and High School Choir Director. The Richardson Band, another Golden Eagle Band, was also known throughout the state and nation for its excellence. One memorable performance was at the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago in 1964.

In 1965 he moved to Lampasas, Texas. This was a one-man program requiring W.R. to teach beginners as well as direct the jr. high band and high school band. Outstanding progress was made as the band went from a 4th division band to a 1st division band during W.R.’s tenure.

In 1967, he moved to the Rio Grande Valley to become head director at Harlingen High School. He then moved to Lyford, to teach from 1969 to 1979, and then taught in La Feria until his retirement in 1994. He then spent the next six years working part-time for the Raymondville ISD.

Mr. Snavely’s career spanned 44 years. Aside from five years in Richardson and two years in Lampasas, the other 37 were spent teaching band students in the Rio Grande Valley.

W.R. is married to Shirley Miller of McAllen. They have been married for forty-three years. They have two children, Sherilyn Ann Durham, married to Butch Durham (former La Feria band student) and William R. Snavely, Jr. married to Stacey Mays (former Harlingen band student). The Snavely’s are blessed with four grandchildren, Kathryn & Michelle Durham and W. R. III (Tre) & Dustyn Snavely. In 2006, the third generation of Snavelys marched in the Pigskin Jubilee.

W.R. is a charter member of the South Texas Chorale and also enjoys playing tuba in a group called “Celebration Brass”. He spends his spare time working in his wood shop, volunteering at a local food pantry and at the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Class of 2007-2008

Paul Brazauskas

Paul Brazauskas

Paul grew up in Chicago, Illinois where his love for music started early.  While in elementary school, he carried drums on the city street cars to take lessons from Herman Wiegman and Haskell Harr.  He received a music scholarship to Mt. Carmel High School.  After high school, he attended VanderCook College of Music in Chicago wherehe received a Bchelor of Music Education degree in 1953.  After graduation, Paul completed a three year enlistment in the 5th Army Band at Fort Sheridan, Illinois.

In September 1956, Paul began his teaching career as assistant band director in Harvey, Illinois with Haskell Harr.  When Haskell retired, Paul took over as head band director. He directed this band to first division ratings at state competitions multiple years.  He also judged solo and ensemble contests in Illinois and Indiana during this time.

Paul and his wife, Shirley, were married in January 1957. Four summers were spent going back to VanderCook College of Music where he received his Master of Music Education the summer of 1962.

VanderCook was also where Paul and Bob Vezzetti became friends.  In 1967, this friendship became the reason Paul, along with Shirley (seven months pregnant at the time) and two small children, packed up and moved to Brownsville, Texas.

Over the next 25 years, Paul taught young percussion players in the Brownville school system.  During this time, Brownsville was always well represented in the percussion sections of the All-Valley, Area and All-State percussion try-outs.

Paul had many published articles in the Instrumentalist and Percussive Arts Newsletter along with a number of published percussion solo and ensemble pieces (Neil Kjos Music Company).

He was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Honorary Lifetime Illinois Congress of Parent and Teachers, Percussive Arts Society (President Texas Chapter 1977), The Society of Rudimental Drummers, TBA and TMEA.

Paul and Shirley retired from BISD in June 1991 and moved to Beaver Lake just outside Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  They have thee grown children, Carrie, Mike and Susan and three grandsons, Roy, Kevin and Tanner.  Paul’s retirement was cut short in August 1997 when he passed away due to a massive heart attack.

After his passing, he was honored at a Night of Percussion in Brownsville, Texas where some of Paul’s former students paid tribute to him by performing.  Shirley also received many cards and letters from former students letting her know how important Paul had been to them – not only during their band days but also in the life lessons he had taught them.

Henry Rodriguez

Henry Rodriguez

Henry Rodriguez

Enrique (Henry) Rodriguez was born on February 11, 1942, in Weslaco, Texas, to Carlos and Hortencia Rodriguez. He attended St. Joan of Arc Catholic School with his other seven brothers and sisters. In the 8th grade he was first introduced to music by being offered the opportunity to participate in an after-school band program provided by the Weslaco School District for students in parochial schools. One of his fondest memories of this time was walking to the band hall and playing the trombone, his instrument of choice.

Henry attended Weslaco High School and played in the band under the direction of Marion Busby. As a student he earned recognition for his playing ability and was selected to the All-Valley Band trombone section several years running, and as a high school senior he was selected to the Texas All-State Band. Mr. Busby played a key role in influencing Henry’s decision to pursue a musical career.

In 1965, after graduating with a degree in music from Pan American College in Edinburg, Texas, Henry was hired by then Weslaco High School band director Kenneth Caldwell. He directed the Mary Hoge Jr. High Band and assisted at the high school until 1969. During the four years in Weslaco, his Junior High Band received numerous 1st Division Ratings, including honors in the Texas Honor Band competition.

After leaving Weslaco, Henry went on to serve as head director of the High School Band in Rio Grande City, Texas. Under his direction and the assistance of Junior High School Director David Silva, this band also received several 1st Division Ratings in Marching and Concert competitions.  After three fruitful years, Henry made the tough decision to move his family to McAllen, Texas.

In 1972 Henry received and accepted a job offer from Gary Zook, Director of Bands for the McAllen Independent School District. From 1972-1976, he directed the Lamar Junior High Band, Lincoln Junior High Band, and Brown 9th Grade Band, respectively. During this tenure, a strong friendship was formed that still exists with the Zook family. It was at the end of 1976 that Henry’s musical career as a teacher would take a different turn.

Henry joined the staff at Melhart Music Center in the summer of 1976 and worked for Jim Melhart as manager of the Band Department. During this time, Henry continued to enjoy his love of music by performing with and directing the McAllen Town Band. After 17 hard-working and enjoyable years at Melhart’s, Henry ventured out once again in the music field in a different direction.

Since 1992 until the present, he has been district manager of sales for Conn-Selmer Inc., first in Northern California and Hawaii, and now Texas and New Mexico. In this position Henry communicates daily with the music store dealers, promoting not only his product, but music as a whole. Apart from this, he calls on educators in the music department of universities and public schools. His love of music has been very fulfilling and has come full-circle.

Henry and his wife Luci reside in San Antonio, Texas. They are the parents of two sons: Rick, a band director in Spring, Texas, and Rob, sales representative for a publishing company out of San Antonio, Texas. In his spare time, Henry golfs and enjoys visiting with family and friends.

Nancy Shepard

Nancy Shepard

Nancy Shepard

Nancy was born in Olney, Illinois, to Myra and Gilbert Nadler in 1945.  After her father died when she was three years old, she lived with her mother and grandmother on a farm in southern Illinois.

Nancy began her elementary education in a one-room school in Denver Township, Illinois.   That school was consolidated with the West Richland School District in Noble, Illinois.  She graduated from Noble High School in 1963.

Nancy began her college education at the formerly named Evansville College, Evansville, Indiana.  Her first declared major was in elementary education.  By the end of her sophomore year she was unhappy with that choice and transferred to a major in music.  She was awarded scholarships but had to work several jobs in order to complete her undergraduate degree, due to the family financial situation.  In 1968, she received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Evansville.

Nancy’s first employment after graduation was as orchestra director in grades 4 through 8 in Lyons District #103, Cook County, Illinois.  This included seven schools in five suburbs:  Berwyn, Stickney, Lyons, Brookfield and Riverside.  All students were bussed to a central location before school for the full orchestra rehearsal, and then the rest of the day was spent going from school to school giving class lessons.

In April of 1969, she married Wesley Shepard, who was also a music teacher.  At the end of the school year she moved back to Evansville, Indiana and started pursuing her Masters of Arts degree, which she finished in 1971.  Upon finishing that degree she was employed in Huntingburg, Indiana, teaching General Music, grades K-6,  Middle School Band Director and Assistant High School Band Director.

The following two years she and her husband, Wes, traveled the USA.  That was a great education in itself.  Eventually these travels brought them to McAllen, Texas.  When they joined the McAllen Town Band it was soon apparent to others that they were proficient in music.  Henry Rodriguez hired both Wes and Nancy to teach solos and ensembles at Lincoln Junior High School.  During the second year, a director resigned at Lamar Junior High School at the end of the first semester.  Gary Zook approached Nancy to take this job.  After much urging, Nancy took the job with the stipulation that she would not teach summer band camp, and she would not be back the following year.  Well, thirty years later Nancy retired from the McAllen ISD.

During these thirty years, Nancy was the Lamar Junior High School band director for 12 years, first assistant at Memorial High School for 5 years, and head director at Travis Middle School for 13 years.

A major challenge presented itself at Lamar when Nancy agreed to take over after the director resigned, because the band had only two months to prepare for UIL as a Class CC group.  Nancy discovered that the clarinets had never crossed the “break” and the cornets had not yet played third spaced “c”.  There was much teaching to be done and in an extremely short time.  Nancy met the challenges many times, and the program grew from 22 students to 317 band students. Before the end of her tenure at Lamar she had won several UIL Sweepstakes Awards with her bands.

In the summer of 1985 Nancy attended the Vandercook School of Music for postgraduate study.

While she was teaching at Memorial High School Nancy’s band won the first UIL sweepstakes for a second band in the history of the high school.  Her band placed in the Great Southern Contest of Champions in Orlando, Florida and Carlsbad Music Festival at Carlsbad, New Mexico.

In 1990 Nancy moved to Travis Middle School where she had several Sweepstakes bands.  Throughout the years many of her students qualified for the All-Valley Band, and her students did extremely well at solo and ensemble competitions.  She worked under head directors Gary Zook, Ray Guzman, Paul Mann, Robert Jackson, Bryan Herring, Charles Casillas, Darrell Anderson and Jim Egger.

Related activities of Nancy’s career are: Member of the Tri-State concert Band (professional band), Olney Cummins Municipal Band, Member and Director of McAllen Town Band, Adjudicator for many contests, Student teacher supervisor for UTPanAm and Texas A & M at Kingsville, and teacher advisor for the ACT program at UTPanAm.  Professional memberships included Sigma Alpha Iota, MENC, IMEA, ATPE, TMEA, TBA, International Clarinet Society, and Women Band Directors National Association.  She was elected to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 1998 and 2002.  Nancy was Teacher of the Year in McAllen in 2003.  Upon her retirement, the band hall at Travis was named after her—Shepard Hall.  Her great passion was to help middle school students.

Nancy’s competitive spirit is apparent in every activity she does.  She is an avid golfer and sailor.  She made her first “hole in one” last year.  Nancy races sailboats on Walloon Lake, Michigan, in the summer.  She has won several medals and pennants, as well as the Curtis Sailing Cup in 1979, 1986, and 1988.  She won the Commodore’s Trophy in 1980 and 1985.  She was “Sailor of the Year” in 1982 and 1985.  In 1978 she competed in the Highlander National Regatta finals.  She also loves photography, fishing, jet skiing, boating, and swimming at her summer cottage, named “Rallentando” on Walloon Lake.

Nancy is honored to be the first woman elected to the Rio Grande Valley Band Directors Hall of Fame.

Avie Teltschik

Avie Teltschik

Avie Teltschik

Avie Teltschik was born in Floresville, Texas, into a very musical family on February 13, 1935. His own music training began at the age of three with his father, Fritz Teltschik, who taught him to play the tonette.

Avie grew up to become an accomplished trumpet player. He performed many First Class solos at a very early age when other students his age were joining the beginning band program. With a father who was his band director as well as a strict disciplinarian, the incentive to practice was strong. While still in high school, Avie taught at the Texas Lutheran College Music Camp.

Upon graduation from high school, he attended one semester at Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos, and then transferred to The University of Texas in Austin where he completed the requirements for his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 1957. While attending the university he continued to teach at the Texas Lutheran College Band Camp which enabled him to acquire credit towards his Master of Music Education degree from VanderCook School of Music in Chicago. He received his Master’s degree from VanderCook in the summer of 1959. While attending the university, Avie was a member of the University Symphonic Band and the Austin Symphony.

1957 was a banner year for Avie. He graduated from The University of Texas, received his first teaching position and married Judy Carson. His first teaching assignment was in public school music at Port O’Connor as well as junior high band in Seadrift. Being an instrumentalist and having to sing in class all day led to months of hoarseness, but he managed to survive by using a little sign language.

From 1958-1960, Avie taught the Travis Junior High Band in Port Lavaca, Texas. From there he moved to Mercedes High School where he was band director from 1960 to 1969. The family often thought of Mercedes as being the ham in the sandwich. To the east of Mercedes was La Feria, under the direction of Don Fleuriet. La Feria was a consistent winner in Honor Band competition. To the west was Weslaco, under the direction of Marion Busby, another Honor Band winner. Thus began the challenge to mold Mercedes into Sweepstakes honors.

Many extra rehearsals, sectionals, sign up sheets for private help and even Saturday morning practices were necessary, but Mercedes became a Sweepstakes band and continued so for the next eight years. The Band also entered in Honor Band competition and placed in the top five, and one year came in second in the AAA class. Mercedes could and did compete.

In 1969, Avie moved his family to Kerrville in the Hill Country where he was band director there  until retirement in 1992. As always, with Avie being the perfectionist that he was, the rehearsals and sectionals became routine. For the next twenty-two years, Kerrville Tivy band was a Sweepstakes winner.

During his 35 year career of public school teaching, Avie’s bands received thirty Sweepstakes awards. He constantly strived for perfection which is exemplified in his UIL record. Avie was also a qualified UIL adjudicator in all areas: marching, concert, sight-reading and solo and ensemble. He was a member of the TBA board and served as President of the Texas Bandmasters Association in 1972.

Avie was a long time member of Phi Beta Mu and the Texas Music Educators Association. He was also active in several dance bands, one of which was the Sentimental Journey Orchestra of Kerrville, which specialized in the Big Band sound.

Avie was a very active member of Zion Lutheran Church where he served on the Church Council, the Board of Education, and sang in the church choir. He and his wife had four children, Deanna, Jim, John and Laura.

Avie Teltschik was a man of impeccable character and integrity and had the highest of morals. He was also there for his students when they needed someone to talk to or to just listen. His students knew they were treated on an even level regardless of who they were. For this he was greatly respected. He set an outstanding example for his students as well as fellow band directors.

Avie Teltschik left this world on July 10, 1997. He will always be remembered as a wonderful husband, father, and friend to everyone.


Jazz Audition, September 20, 2008

USSBA South Texas Regional Marching Contest, October 4, 2008

Orchestra Wind/Percussion Audition, November 8, 2008

High School All-Region Audition, November 22, 2008

High School Pre-Area Audition, December 6, 2008

9th Grade Audition, December 13, 2008

Area G Band Audition, January 10, 2009

Middle School All-Region Audition, January 24, 2009

La Joya Coyote Festival Results, March 26-27, 2009

Region Honor Band, June 2, 2009

Area G Honor Band, June 16, 2009

Class of 2008-2009

Ramon Aguilar

Ramon Aguilar

Ramon Aguilar, III

Rio Grande City, Mercedes, McAllen, and Melhart Music Center

Ramon Aguilar, III was born January 3, 1938 in Laredo, Texas, to Ramon Aguilar, Jr. and Concepcion Fuentes Aguilar.  He was born into a musical family.  He attended St. Joseph Academy in Laredo for his elementary and junior high years.  During this time, he began piano lessons at the age of 9, with his father being his first teacher.

Ramon attended Martin High School from 1952-54 and played in the Tiger Band under the direction of Ed Holt.  He learned to play the clarinet as a freshman at Martin High School.  He was given a clarinet book and sent to a practice room by Charles Hayes, the assistant band director.  In the spring semester, he was moved to the performing band and sat last chair in the clarinet section.  By his sophomore year, he was challenging for 1st chair.

In 1954 his family moved to Brownsville.  His father became the band director at St. Joseph Academy.  Ramon went to Brownsville High School and became a member of the Golden Eagle Band under the direction of James Murphy.  Sectionals were held every day before band, and band rehearsal would last long after the student body had gone home.  Roy Norton was the assistant band director.  The two years that he was in the BHS Golden Eagle band were a great musical experience.  Ramon graduated from high school in 1956.

Upon graduation from high school, he received a scholarship to the University of Texas and was a member of the Longhorn Band, the “Showband of the Southwest” as well as the University’s Symphonic Band.  Joe Frank Elsas was the director of the Symphonic Band and Vincernt R. DiNino was the director of the Longhorn Band.  In January of 1961, Ramon marched with the Longhorn Band in John F. Kennedy’s inaugural parade in Washington, D. C.  While in the Longhorn Band, he went to all the football games and bowls that UT participated in.

In 1961-63, he got his first teaching job in Rio Grande City, Texas.  Roque Guerra was the head band director then.  Marion Busby had recommended Ramon for the job.  Also teaching there was Victor Lozano, a high school friend from Laredo and a graduate of the University of Texas.

Ramon taught in Mercedes with Avie Teltschik from 1963-68, as an assistant band director in high school and director of the junior high school band.  From 1968-76 he was the high school band director.  His bands earned several Sweepstakes during his stay in Mercedes.

He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Texas in 1965.  In 1967, he went to North Texas State University in Denton, Texas and earned his Masters of Music Education Degree in 1971.

In 1976 Ramon was hired by Gary Zook, then director of the McAllen High School Band, to be the director of the Lincoln Junior High School Band.  While at Lincoln, his bands received several Sweepstakes.  Also, two of his bands were selected Best in Class AA, at the McAllen City of Palms Band Festival.  In the 1983-84 school year, the top band advanced to the Texas Music Educators Association Honor Band contest as a Finalist, and earned fourth place in the state.

In 1980 he married Marcy Landez, and they had a son, Ramon Aguilar IV.  In 1985 Ramon moved to Morris Junior High, which later became Morris Middle School and worked there for the next ten years.  Under his direction the Morris Symphonic Band earned nine Sweepstakes.  In June 1986 his wife, Marcy, passed away.  Ramon retired from teaching band in June 1995, after an enjoyable 34 year career.

From 1996 to 1998 Ramon tutored clarinets at Edinburg North HS, Memorial MS, and South MS.  During the 1997-98 school year, he and Art Ratley started a beginner band at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in McAllen, teaching there for a year and a half.  To stay active in his music career, he started teaching private lessons on flute, clarinet and saxophone at Melhart Music Center, which he is still doing today.

Ramon is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, the University of Texas Longhorn Alumni Band, Texas Bandmasters Association and Texas Music Educators Association.

Al Cortinas

Al Cortinas

Alfredo “Al” Cortinas

Corpus Christi, Crystal City, Rio Grande City, Roma, La Joya

Alfredo Cortinas is the son of Mr. & Mrs. Selso and Beatriz Cortinas from Taft, Texas.  He comes from a family of 4 Sisters and 2 Brothers.  Al was educated in the town’s school system where he graduated from Taft High School.  Mr. Cortinas received his Bachelor of Music and Masters in Music Degrees from Texas A & I University in Kingsville, Texas.

Mr. Cortinas’ band directing career began in 1970 when he was first employed at Sterling B. Martin Junior High, in Corpus Christi Texas. In 1972, he went on to be Assistant Band Director for Crystal City ISD which was then under the direction of  Mr. Roberto Botello. Al moved to Rio Grande City in 1973 and became the band director at Ft. Ringgold Middle School for three (3) years.  In 1976,  Mr. Cortinas became the High School Band Director of Rio Grande City High School and remained until 1994.  Former Superintendent, Walter Watson, hired Mr. Cortinas in 1994 to serve as Director of Bands for the Roma ISD and retired in June of 2000.    Upon “retirement” he worked for the  La Joya ISD and Mr. Ruben Adame for three years where he taught the Concert Band for one year and assisted the middle schools of the district.  Mr. Cortinas returned to Roma ISD in 2004 as an Assistant Band Director, with Mr. Rudy Barrera, teaching Euphonium for three (3) years.  Al returned to Rio Grande City and works with Mr. Roger Olivarez teaching flute and directs the Rio Grande City Symphonic Band at Rio Grande City High School.

With 38 years of teaching experience, Mr. Cortinas is a well respected Band Director in the profession.  He is an active member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Phi Beta Mu International Band Fraternity, and is a founding member of the Rio Grande Valley Band Director Hall of Fame.  He has also served on the Board of Phi Beta Mu and is a current member of the Texas Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame Committee.  Mr. Cortinas has been an Adjudicator and Clinician in various parts of the State.  Al has resided in Rio Grande City, Texas for the past 35 years where he has been very active within his community. He presently serves both Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and Immaculate Conception Catholic School as a Eucharistic Minister and head of the school council.

Mr. Cortinas’ biggest pride and joy is his family.  He is married to Sonja M. Smith-Cortinas and they have two daughters, Abbygail Nicole (10), a 5th grade student at Immaculate Conception Catholic School, and Ella Renee (1).

“Being selected to be a part of the class of 2009 is indeed a humbling honor for me.  I have truly been blessed, by God, for all he has allowed me to have; this is indeed one of those great gifts.  I thank the committee for having selected me, and I also thank the countless people who have had a part in making my career possible.  I fear that if I start naming people I will leave someone out, but there have been many who have impacted my life and many that still continue to do so.  I truly do need to Honor my Mother and Father for having provided me with the guidance and encouragement to always work hard, respect others, be happy, and above all to be kind but firm.”

Gary Zook

Gary Zook

Gary Zook

Albany, Olney, Canyon, McAllen

Gary Zook was born April 4, 1933, on a small farm in Wilson County, Texas, five miles south of Floresville.  He attended Floresville public schools and played in the band under the direction of “Uncle” Fritz Teltschik.

After graduation from Floresville High School in 1950, Gary enrolled at McMurry College in Abilene, Texas, as a music education major under the guidance of Dr. Raymond T. “Prof” Bynum.  He received his B.S. in music education from McMurry in 1954, and returned o McMurry in 1959, to complete his M. Ed. in secondary administration in 1959.

In 1954, the Korean War and the specter of he military draft seemed to stand in the way of a permanent teaching position, so Gary auditioned and was accepted into the Fourth Army Band at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. After completing Army basic training at Ft. Bliss, Texas, and Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, Gary was assigned briefly o the Fourth Army Band before being sent returned to the Fourth Army Band where he served the remainder of his military service playing saxophone and flute. It was while Gary was stationed in San Antonio that he met and married his lifelong partner, Virginia, who, among other things ensured that he would never want for a great oboe player in his bands by providing him with two All-Staters, son, Keith, and daughter, Jan.

Gary’s teaching career finally began in 1957, as band director in Albany, Texas. In 1958, he moved to Olney, Texas, as high school band and choir director. In, 1964, Gary left Olney to accept a position as director of bands in Canyon, Texas. One of the highlights in his band directing career came in 1969, when his Canyon High School Band was selected TMEA AAA Honor Band. In 1970, Gary moved to McAllen, Texas, as director of bands with the McAllen Independent School District.

Two of the most important annual events for the McAllen High School Band were the Winter Texan Concert and the International Spring Fiesta Concert. Appearing with the McHi Band during these events were guest conductors, which included the late Col. Harold Bachman and CDR. Donald W. Stauffer, director of the U.S. Navy Band, as well as numerous soloists such as Alfred Gallodoro, Don Jacoby, Bobby Herriot, and Harvey Pittel. Gary also was instrumental in establishing the City of Palms Band Festival which was held in conjunction with the International Spring Fiesta. The McAllen High School Band was honored in 1973, with an invitation to perform in Texas Stadium for the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagle halftime.

Gary left band directing in 1978, to become assistant principal at McAllen High School, but during his twenty-one year band directing career his bands received more than fifty Superior ratings in UIL competition including fourteen Sweepstakes awards, as well as First Division ratings at Buccaneer Days, Six Flags Over Texas, and Six Flags Over Georgia band festivals. He served as adjudicator in UIL and other band competitions throughout Texas and Oklahoma and taught summer band camps at McMurry, West Texas State University, Midwestern University, and TCU.

Gary became principal of McAllen High School in 1981, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1989. In 1989, he and Virginia moved back to the farm in Floresville where they enjoy raising cattle and country living.


All-Region Jazz Audition, September 1997

Orchestra Wind/Percussion Audition, November 1997

High School District Audition, East Zone, West Zone, November 1997

High School Region Audition, November 1997

9th Grade Audition, December 1997

Area G Audition, January 10, 1998

Middle School Audition, East Zone, West Zone, January 1998

State Honor Band Contest, July 1998


Jazz Audition, September 1998

Orchestra Wind/Percussion Audition, November 1998

High School District Audition, East Zone, West Zone, November 1998

High School Region Audition, 4A, 5A, November 1998

9th Grade Audition, December 1998

Area G Audition, 4A, 5A, January 1999 (4A is not available for this year)

Middle School Audition, East Zone, West Zone, January 1999

All-State Students, 4A, 5A, February 1999

Area Honor Band Contest, June 1999


Region Jazz Audition, September, 1999

Orchestra Wind/Percussion Audition, November 1999

High School District Audition, East Zone, West Zone, November 20, 1999

High School Region Audition, 4A, 5A, December 4, 1999

9th Grade Audition, December 11, 1999

Area G Audition, 4A, 5A, January 8, 2000

Middle School Audition, East Zone, West Zone, January 22, 2000

Region & Area Honor Band Results


Jazz Audition, September 2001

Orchestra Wind/Percussion, November 2001

High School District Audition, East Zone, West Zone, November 2001

High School Region Audition, 4A, 5A, December 1, 2001

9th Grade Audition, East Zone, West Zone, December 2001

Area G Audition, 4A, 5A, January 12, 2002

Middle School Audition, East Zone, West Zone, January 19, 2002

Region Honor Band Contest

Area G Honor Band Contest

State Honor Band Contest


Region Jazz Audition, September 2002

La Joya Pre-Pigskin, October 5, 2002

Donna Pre-Pigskin, October 12, 2002

Orchestra Wind/Percussion Audition, November 2, 2002

High School District, East Zone, West Zone, November 16, 2002

High School Pre-Area, 4A, 5A, November 23, 2002

9th Grade Audition, East Zone, West Zone, December 7, 2002

Area G Audition, 4A, 5A, January 11, 2003

Middle School Audition, East Zone, West Zone, January 18, 2003

Rio Fest Jazz Festival, April 12, 2003

4A Area Honor Band Contest

4A State Honor Band Contest


Region Jazz Audition, September 27, 2003

Donna Marching Festival, October 11, 2003

La Joya Coyote Marching Festival, October 4, 2003

Orchestra Wind/Percussion Audition, November 8, 2003

High School District Audition, East Zone, West Zone, November 15, 2003

Pre-Area Audition, 4A, 5A, November 22, 2003

9th Grade Audition, East Zone, West Zone, December 6, 2003

Area G Audition, 4A, 5A, January 10, 2004

Middle School Audition, East Zone, West Zone, January 17, 2004

Rio Fest Jazz Festival, April 17, 2004

Region 15 & Area G Honor Band Contest

State Honor Band Contest