Welcome to the Band Department of Vandegrift High School.  The Instrumental Music Department at Vandegrift High School enrolls over 300 students from the 9th through 12th grades who study with a dedicated teaching faculty as well as private lesson instructors.

Our Philosophy of Education : Music is a fundamental piece of the human experience.  Music Education is therefore a necessary endeavor to ensure that the whole child is being educated. This includes skill development, cognitive understanding, and aesthetic appreciation for many forms of music.

The primary objective of the Vandegrift High School Instrumental Music Department is to develop the performance, rehearsal, and personal practice skills of each student. The vision for the program is to “Define the Standard” in all we do.

Mike Howard

Director of Bands: Director of the Marching Band, Director of the Wind Ensemble, Director of the Jazz Band, Program Administration

512-570-2366     Mike.Howard@leanderisd.org

Mr. Howard is in currently in his 8th year at Vandegrift High School and in his 14th year of teaching high school band. He was one of the founding directors of the band when VHS opened in 2009 and became Head Band Director in the Fall of 2014. While at Vandegrift, Mr. Howard’s bands have been consistent UIL Concert Competition Sweepstakes Award Winners. He has also been instrumental in several marching band high honors such as BOA Regional Champion, BOA Super Regional Finalist, BOA Super Regional Class Champion, multiple innovational marching contest championships, UIL State Marching Contest Finalist, 5A UIL State Marching Contest Silver Medalist and 4A UIL State Marching Contest Champion. At Vandegrift, Mr. Howard is the director of the Viper Marching Band, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band.

Aside from being the Director of Bands at VHS, Mr. Howard is an active Leadership Consultant and Workshop Presenter. He has been a facilitator and marching instructor for SASI for the last 11 years. In this time, Mr. Howard has had the opportunity to work with thousands of students and directors from around the United States. As a lead facilitator for SASI, he is heavily involved with the operations of all Drum Major camps as well as teaching several site-based workshops throughout the summer. This summer alone, Mr. Howard presented workshops around Texas, Missouri, Illinois and Connecticut.

Before coming to Vandegrift, Mr. Howard taught at James E. Taylor High School in Katy, Texas. As Associate Director of the JE Taylor HS Band his responsibilities included directing the Marching and Jazz Programs, conducting the Concert Band, and coordinating and teaching the drumline. Mr. Howard, a native of Hondo, TX, started his teaching career at Morton Ranch High School, where he was a band director and helped open the school in 2004. At Morton Ranch, he taught the Concert Band, Jazz Band, assisted with the marching band. Before teaching at Morton Ranch, Mr. Howard was an instructor for the Cedar Park High School Band in Cedar Park, Texas and an instructor for the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps from Madison, Wisconsin. As a performer, Mr. Howard has performed with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Austin Lyric Opera and several bands around the Austin/San Antonio area. Mr. Howard graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos, Suma Cum Laude, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. He lives in Cedar Park with his wife Amber, his daughter, Madison and his son, Justin.

Stephanie Grote

Associate Director of Bands: Director of the Symphonic Winds, Co-Director of Concert Band 2, Inventory Coordinator, Solo Competition Coordinator

512-570-2365     Stephanie.Grote@leanderisd.org

Mrs. Grote is beginning her fifth year as Associate Director of Bands at Vandegrift High School. At Vandegrift, Mrs. Grote enjoys teaching the Symphonic Winds and Concert Band 2. Mrs. Grote is responsible for coordinating the Inventory, as well as organizing the annual Vandegrift High School Solo Competition. Mrs. Grote previously taught at Canyon Ridge Middle School for two years, within the Vandegrift cluster. Mrs. Grote’s concert bands at both the middle school and high school level have consistently received Superior ratings at the UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest.

Mrs. Grote graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of North Texas in 2010. While at North Texas, Mrs. Grote served as Drum Major of the Green Brigade Marching Band for 3 years, and performed in the Wind Symphony under Eugene Migliaro Corporon. Mrs. Grote studied trumpet with John Holt, principal trumpet of the Dallas Opera Orchestra. An active participant in Drum Corps International, Mrs. Grote marched from 2007-2009 with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps, of Santa Clara, California. Mrs. Grote served as Drum Major during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. She was the first female Head Drum Major in the 49 year history of the Santa Clara Vanguard. In 2009, she was the recipient of the Jim Jones Leadership Award, which is given annually to one world class drum major by the DCI Hall of Fame.

Mrs. Grote lives in Austin with her husband Rob, and their two dogs, Belle and Dusty.

 

Joe Hobbs

Director of Percussion: Director of All Percussion Activities-Grades 6-12, Travel Coordinator, Program Graphic Design Coordinator 

512-570-2360     Joe.Hobbs@leanderisd.org

Joe Hobbs is currently the Director of Percussion at Vandegrift High school in Austin, TX. 2016 this will be Joe’s first year with Vandegrift. Joe was previously the director of percussion at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, TX. Under his direction the Newman Smith drum line was recognized as one of DFW’s strongest drum lines having won both the Plano Drum Line Contest as well as the Lone Star Drum Line Contest. Joe previously held the same position at Harpeth High School in Nashville, Tennessee where under his direction Harpeth was a Scholastic Open finalist at WGI Championships in 2009 and 2010, placing 4th in 2010. Harpeth also won the Indianapolis (2009) and Nashville Regionals (2009, 2010) as well as the SCGC championships (2009).

Joe currently serves as the percussion caption head for The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps from Rosemont, IL. Before joining The Cavaliers, Joe served on the percussion staff for the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps from Rockford, IL and The Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps from Atlanta, GA, where he was the battery caption head. He held this title from 2008-2010. Joe was also involved with Music City Mystique as a battery instructor from 2009-2011. He was a member of Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps from 2001-2003. During his time at Southwind he was named the 2003 DCI I&E Snare drum champion. From 2004-2006 Joe was a member of the Cavaliers snare line. During his time with the Cavaliers, Joe won 2 DCI world championships, 2006 DCI I&E mixed ensemble championship, “Cavalier of the year” and the “Zildjian award” in 2006. Joe received his Music Education degree from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. Other teaching experience includes: George Rogers Clark High School, Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps, Murray State University, Austin Peay State University, Mt. Juliet High School, Marshall County High School, and Murray High School.

Joe is endorsed by Pearl Drums, Innovative Percussion, and Evans Drumheads. Joe and his wife Kara and their Great Dane “Truman” are looking forward to living in Austin Texas.

Katie VanDoren

Associate Director of Bands:  Visual Director of the Marching Band, Director of Concert Band 1, Co-Director of Concert Band 2, Private Lesson Coordinator, Region Band Coordinator

512-570-2371     Katherine.VanDoren@leanderisd.org

Mrs. VanDoren joins us from Round Rock High School where she served as an Assistant Director of Bands, teaching both the third and the fourth concert bands. Originally from the Austin area, Mrs. VanDoren went to Cedar Park High School and student-taught at Vandegrift High School and Four Points Middle School. Prior to teaching at Round Rock High School, Mrs. VanDoren lived in the Denton, Texas where she attended college and was a marching instructor for the Marcus High School band for four years. Mrs. VanDoren graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education.

During her time at North Texas, Mrs. VanDoren performed in a number of ensembles, including the Wind Symphony under the direction of Eugene Migliaro Corporon, and the Green Brigade Marching Band, where she both performed and was a field instructor during her three years with the band. Mrs. VanDoren is an active educator in Drum Corps International. After marching with Carolina Crown from 2008-2012, Mrs. VanDoren joined the brass staff in 2013 and is currently teaching the mellophone section. Mrs. VanDoren is very excited to be a Vandegrift Viper!

Learn About the Ensembles (The Different Bands)

Marching Band

The Marching Band at Vandegrift High School is one of the largest student organization on campus with 250 students involved. The Marching Band consists of students from all concert bands, as well as the Vision Dance Company. Marching Band begins with a mini-camp in May, followed by summer band during the month of August, which all participants are require to attend. Once school starts the Marching Band rehearses three times a week and performs at pregame and halftime of all football games. The Marching Band competes in 6-8 competitions on Saturdays during the fall in the University Interscholastic League (UIL) and Bands of America (BOA) circuits.

Concert Bands: Consist of Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Winds, Concert Band I, and Concert Band II

Conductor: Mike Howard

The Wind Ensemble features the finest musicians in the Vandegrift band program. The Wind Ensemble begins meeting during the 3rd Six Weeks and is made up of students from all grade levels. The Wind Ensemble performs the finest wind literature and continues the development of refined, professional skills. The Wind Ensemble will perform many concerts throughout the school year and during the month of April is a participant in the TMEA UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest. This select group will also participate in outside musical opportunities when they present themselves. Members of this ensemble are highly encouraged to study privately with our adjunct faculty. Additionally, these students are required to provide professional concert critiques, and participate in UIL solo and ensemble and TMEA region band events.

Conductor: Stephanie Grote

The Symphonic Winds is one of four concert bands in the Vandegrift High School band program. The Symphonic Winds begins meeting during the 3rd Six Weeks and is made up of students from all grade levels. The Symphonic Winds focuses on refining instrument playing skills and performing quality music literature of a higher difficulty level. The Symphonic Winds will perform many concerts throughout the school year and during the month of April is a participant in the TMEA UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest. Members of this ensemble are highly encouraged to study privately with our adjunct faculty. Additionally, these students are required to provide professional concert critiques, and participate in UIL solo and ensemble and TMEA region band events. Conductor: Stephanie Grote The Concert Band I is one of four concert bands in the Vandegrift High School band program. The Concert Band begins meeting during the 3rd Six Weeks and is made up of students from all grade levels. The Concert Band focuses on developing and refining instrument playing skills and performing quality music literature. The Concert Band will perform many concerts throughout the school year and during the month of April is a participant in the TMEA UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest.

Conductor: Katie Rozacky

The Concert Band I is one of four concert bands in the Vandegrift High School band program.  The Concert Band begins meeting during the 3rd Six Weeks and is made up of students from all grade levels.  The Concert Band focuses on developing and refining instrument playing skills and performing quality music literature.  The Concert Band will perform many concerts throughout the school year and during the month of April is a participant in the TMEA UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest.

Conductor: Mike Howard

The Concert Band II is one of four concert bands in the Vandegrift High School band program. The Concert Band begins meeting during the 3rd Six Weeks and is made up of students from all grade levels. The Concert Band focuses on developing and refining instrument playing skills and performing quality music literature. The Concert Band will perform many concerts throughout the school year and during the month of April is a participant in the TMEA UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest.

Conductor: Stephanie Grote

Jazz Band  The Vandegrift High School Jazz Band is an extension of the band program that meets during the Spring Semester.  The ensemble consists of students who are members of the band program.  Entrance into the Jazz Band requires an audition and is made up of traditional jazz instruments including: saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, piano, bass, drum set and other instruments as needed.  The Jazz Band performs numerous concerts throughout the year and participates at festivals across the state of Texas.