NHS Band Director

NHS Band Director
Posted on 07/26/2018
NHS Band Director

For the better part of 20 years, Jacob Weems has been involved with the Nacogdoches ISD band program, stretching all that way back to sixth-grade. Now the 2005 Nacogdoches High School graduate is the head band director.

Weems was named director earlier this month following the retirement of longtime director Glynn Wells. In fact, Wells was Weems’ band instructor in middle school before Wells moved on to the high school in 2000.

“I’m excited about what Mr. Weems brings to our band program,” said NHS principal Dr. Rom Crespo. “Because of Mr. Weems’ longtime association with our band program – dating all the way back to when he attended middle school here – he truly understands the importance of the Dragon band to the school and community.”

After signing his contract July 16, Weems already had students coming to the band hall to work on preparations for the upcoming school year. That includes things such as organizing uniform checkout, copying music, and checking out instruments Weems said, and was an immense help during an already busy time of the summer.

“The students have done all of that,” he said. “They took the burden off me.”

The band’s student leaders have taken time from their summer break to help prepare for the upcoming season. The 15 band officers were on hand to get ready for the start of practice; the following week, section leaders will be on hand to start working with incoming freshmen.

“These kids put in a ton of hours,” Weems said.

Weems, who’s been the director the last five years at Mike Moses Middle School, takes over the NHS band during a long-running period of success. Last fall, the NHS Golden Dragon Marching Band earned a Division I rating at the UIL Region 21 marching contest for the 37th time since 1980. During the spring, NHS earned its 34th UIL Band Sweepstakes Award since 1980. (A band must earn Division I ratings at all three competitions to qualify for the sweepstakes award.)

“They have set the bar so high, it’s a huge responsibility to take it over,” Weems said. “It’s daunting.”

Weems is a 2009 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University where he received a Bachelor of Music Education degree. After graduating from SFA, Weems was an assistant band director for one year at Bullard ISD before becoming middle school director there for two years.

Weems returned to Nacogdoches in 2012 as the high school assistant director. He took over as Mike Moses Middle School head director in 2013.

While at SFA and Bullard, Weems still came back to NHS to offer private lessons for band students. During that time he also served as a percussion advisor during band camp in Nacogdoches.

Weems continues a trend of the NISD band program keeping employees around. Wells was at NISD since 1990 and replaced Jim Hagood as director in 2000. It was under Hagood’s direction the NHS band program began its current streak of earning Division I ratings.

“People who come here, stay,” Weems said. And it’s not just head band directors. Weems mentioned the contributions of assistant directors, like Leigh Ann Dixon, who retired from NISD after 33 years with the district, John Jordan, who was also a middle school band director when Weems got his start in the program, and current McMichael Middle School Director, John Kennon, who will be starting his 10th year at NISD this year.

The success of the high school program relies on what takes place at the middle schools, he said. “It’s all about the beginners. Here, at the high school, we’re all able to reap the benefits of the work that we've put in at the middle schools.”

That’s why high school band directors spend time in the middle school grades, with the youngest band members.

“I want to protect the legacy of what this band has been,” Weems said.

There’ll be plenty of company this fall. Weems said 215 students at the high school are on roll for band ahead of the start of school next month. The high school band will initially begin its marching program with 192 students on the field before paring back to 160 as contest time draws nearer.

The latest incoming class of freshmen numbers around 70, and Weems will have 40 seniors on hand this fall.

“[The students’] work ethic is just off the charts,” said Weems. “They thrive on that.”

The marching season begins Aug. 31 in Kilgore when the Dragons varsity football team kicks off the 2018 campaign. The UIL marching contest will be Oct. 20 at Stephen F. Austin State University.

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