The Bear Facts

Familiar face steps in as new band director

Jose+Ochoa+conducts+the+band+at+their+first+performance+of+the+season.+
Jose Ochoa conducts the band at their first performance of the season.

Jose Ochoa conducts the band at their first performance of the season.

LCM Band Boosters

LCM Band Boosters

Jose Ochoa conducts the band at their first performance of the season.

Autumn Rendall, Writer

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The key to surviving high school is finding one’s niche and getting involved; for some students, that place would be the band program and for the past couple of months, the Battlin’ Bear Band has been led by someone who has served as a mentor and teacher to them for many years now – Jose Ochoa. 

Ochoa was appointed the new Director of Bands in July and said he felt a mixture of excitement and fear when he learned he had gotten the position.

“I was excited because I wanted to take over the program and I feel like I could do good things with it, but obviously with anything you do there’s going to be the fear of being good enough for it,” he said. 

Though fear is natural, Ochoa has been working with the band students for many weeks already and said the transition from assistant to head director has felt surprisingly normal. 

“The weirdest part was leading up to summer band, but once the kids came back it felt like just a normal year,” Ochoa said. “It’s been an easy transition so far.”

Ochoa has worked with both the high school Symphonic band and the junior high bands since 2010. Even though he will still be going over to work with the Little Cypress Junior High students for one period every day, Ochoa said he will miss being in that environment and looks forward to when those students get to high school. 

According to the new director, his love for music first starting growing during his own high school experience.

“I was really passionate about music and I always enjoyed being in band,” he said. “Then I got to college and I got even more into it. About a year or so after I started teaching and I really enjoyed it. Before I was just doing it because it was something that I was good at. Once I started working with kids, I realized I was way more passionate about it.”

Even though band is a big commitment with all of the long practices, competitions and extra hours, Ochoa said he still enjoys being social when he’s not working – whether it’s going out to eat, spending time at Top Golf, or just hanging out with friends. 

Along with the band’s goal to get to the State marching contest this year, Ochoa said he also has plenty of other visions for this year’s group.

“I just want us to be the very best,” Ochoa said. “There’s so much potential here because the kids work so hard. Yes it would be nice to be at State marching contest or be in the running for Honor Band, but as long as I know that we are being the best that we can, we’re playing competitive music, and that kids are gaining a lot from the program – that’s amazing.”

During his time at LCM, Ochoa has gotten a reputation for wanting the best for his students in all aspects of life. Sophomore trumpet player Julian Purgahn has been a student of his since his sixth grade year and said Ochoa has always been a great band director during that time.

“He has always had impeccable leadership skills, just as well as knowledge, and has continued to improve each year,” Purgahn said. “He has taken the time to get to know me and recognized my abilities and talents. Ever since junior high, he has had high intensity with everything. Even when playing volleyball outside of school and messing around and making friendships with his students, he still expects to be given the highest respect, which with no doubt I would give him any day. Mr. Ochoa is not only a great friend but a role model and a mentor to many students. I love Ochoa dearly and I have been overwhelmed with him being our new band director.”

According to senior drumline co-captain Bob Boaz, Ochoa has lifted the band’s standards in a great way and brought so many new ideas and ways of handling certain situations.

“Personally, I think it’s already made us better,” Boaz said. “Yeah he’s a lot stricter on us than directors we’ve had in the past, but it’s bringing out the best in us with each run-through we make. I’m super excited to see where this year takes us and to look back at the band after I graduate and be honored that I was a part of it.” 

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1 Comment

One Response to “Familiar face steps in as new band director”

  1. Janice and Nelson Nolden on September 3rd, 2016 10:51 am

    Incredible article! We are so happy that you kids are anxious to work really hard to help make the Battling Beat Band be the best they can be.
    To Mr. Ochoa, Directors, Students, Boosters, and everyone else involved..
    YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!

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Familiar face steps in as new band director