A new beginning

Director takes over Battlin’ Bear Band


Camille Kelly

Band director Israel Castaneda has taken over leadership of the Battin’ Bear Band.

Camille Kelly, Managing Editor

A new chapter in the award-winning Battlin’ Bear Band history marks the start of this school year. New band director Israel Castaneda has great expectations to meet and a legendary reputation to uphold as he takes over his position as the current band director.  

I feel blessed to be able to serve the band in a higher capacity than I have before,” Castaneda said. “The kids have been wonderful through the transition, and it’s felt seamless so far.” 

Castaneda stepped up to fill the position after the previous director, Jose Ochoa, moved out of the area this past year. He hopes that he can continue giving the band members an experience that they can fondly look back on.  

 “There are values that students learn that they would not learn in a regular classroom,” Castaneda said. “I also love that so many different types of students can be in an environment where they might not have learned this way.”  

Castaneda was the assistant band director for the past two years and worked between two campuses, which contributed to him getting to know many of the students. 

“It’s a great environment to be in,” Castaneda said. “It’s great seeing the development that kids have from their freshman year to them becoming seniors and leaders in the program. I think being a part of high school band teaches young students so many values outside of just walking in time while playing an instrument. Kids can translate these skills to their life after high school and become functioning members of society.” 

Castaneda loves being director because it provides him with the chance to introduce kids to new avenues of interacting with music. 

“There’s a real sense that everyone cares for each other,” Castaneda said. “I think people that want to be here are here for the people around them, so it is much easier to work hard for a common goal when everyone is contributing.”