Focus is the key to the success of the Ronald Reagan High School band program. Director of Bands Greg White says that keeping students focused comes primarily from the preparation he and his team put into rehearsals. “We hold that time sacred and never want to waste even a second,” he explains. “That means getting information from all the stakeholders in our program and creating a plan that fits all our needs. That plan then must be communicated to and then executed by our amazing team of teachers.”
This same focus and attention to detail goes into creating innovative shows. Last year’s “In Plain Sight” explored the idea of seen vs. unseen, misdirection or subtlety. “The music was based on the incredibly well-known ‘Adagio for Strings,’ but it was adapted in ways that were unique and unpredictable,” White says. “Additionally, we used visual effects such as costuming to create misdirection that drew the audience’s focus in ways that were surprising!”
White prefers to limit the use of props on the field because “we believe the biggest assets we have are our students! The more we can feature our incredible performers and their skills, the better,” he says. “We also believe that this gives us a unique ‘look’ that is clean and flexible to fit our needs.”
The students at Reagan have a variety of musical experiences available to them. The program includes a marching band, four concert bands, two full orchestras, steel pan ensemble, musical pit orchestra, jazz band, low brass ensemble, saxophone choir, chamber music program and three winterguards.
White is open to adding new groups, too. When student leaders approached him about forming a sax quartet, he worked with them to make it happen. The ensemble, called Quid Nunc, has grown over the years with meaningful performances and success in the competition realm. “My goal for the group is to spread the awareness of and participation in high-level chamber music,” White says. “Quid Nunc has toured across Texas and the Midwest throughout the years giving outreach concerts to students ranging from kindergarten through college.”
Outside of Reagan, White is involved with SASi, a group dedicated to developing student leaders in all areas, including student councils, athletic teams and marching bands. “I love having the opportunity to impact a large number of students — and directors! — throughout the country in my work with SASi,” he exclaims. “I strongly believe in the lessons and skills taught through the SASi curriculum and how they shape young leaders to be the best versions of themselves in order to serve the programs they work with.”