Special to the PRESS
The Point Isabel Independent School District continues to provide a premier music opportunity for students in today’s Texas Public School System. Establishing a strong music curriculum from the elementary campuses through high school has yielded a consistent outcome in students’ musical achievements.
On April 11 and 12, the Port Isabel Junior High Band competed at the University Interscholastic League Concert and Sight Reading Contest at Lopez High School in Brownsville. The Concert Band (sub non-varsity), under the direction Diana Peña, received a Division 1 Superior Rating on stage and an Excellent Rating in sight reading. The Symphonic Band (non-varsity), under the direction of Cassandra Tackett, received a Division 1 Superior Rating on stage and in sight reading, capturing the UIL Sweepstakes Award. The Honors Band (varsity), under the direction of Savas Ramirez, received a Division 1 Superior Rating on stage and an Excellent Rating in sight reading. The Honors Band was recently named as the Association of Texas Small School Bands State Champion for their performance for the Outstanding Performance Series Contest, while also placing fourth in the state finals for the marching category. The Symphonic Band placed seventh in the state finals at the same contest. The band over the years has now accumulated five state titles, along with numerous students placing in the Texas Music Educators Association and Association of Texas Small School Bands All-Valley Bands. The total enrollment in the junior high band program is 275 students.
On April 17, the Port Isabel High School Band competed at the University Interscholastic League Concert and Sight Reading Contest at the University of Texas at Brownsville Performing Arts Center. The Symphonic Band (non-varsity), under the direction of Lee Cotham, received a Division 1 Superior Rating on stage and in sight reading, capturing the UIL Sweepstakes Award. The Wind Ensemble (varsity), under the direction of Scott Hartsfield, received a Division 1 Superior Rating on stage and in sight reading, also capturing the UIL Sweepstakes award. The Wind Ensemble was recently named third runner-up at the state finals for the Texas Music Educators Association “State Honor Band” Contest. The band has been a TMEA State Finalist now seven times, while accumulating four state titles for the ATSSB “Outstanding Performance Series” Competition along the way. PIHS continues to hold the state record for the most musicians to place in the Texas All-State Bands. This is the third consecutive year that students have advanced to the UIL State Solo and Ensemble Contest. The enrollment in the high school music program is over 150 students.
On April 13, the Port Isabel High School Mariachi Plata competed at the San Diego Mariachi Festival, placing third overall in their classification. The Mariachi band continues to place students in the TMEA All-Valley Mariachi, competing against 4A and 5A schools. Being a relatively young program, the Mariachi Plata aleady has one State appearance.
The Port Isabel High School “Silver Tarpon” Marching Band has consistently received Division 1 Superior Ratings at the UIL Pigskin Marching Contest and advanced to the Area Marching Contest. This year marks the seventh consecutive time for the band to advance to the UIL State Marching Contest.
These accomplishments are attributed to dedicated students and from a strong support foundation combining the community, parents, Band Boosters, campus administrations, central office administration, and the PIISD Board of Trustees.
PIISD Director of Bands is Scott Hartsfield. Junior High Band Director is Savas Ramirez. Associate Directors are Cassandra Tackett, Lee Cotham, Diana Peña, and Obed Salas. Colorguard Consultant is Julian Howard. Mariachi Consultant is Maria Isabel Salazar. Instrument Repair Technician is Andrew Minkler. PIJH Principal is Nancy Gonzalez. High School Principal is Dr. William Roach. Superintendent of Schools is Dr. Lisa Garcia.