Take a look at these wonderful testimonials from former SJ band members and parents:

AJ Hernandez

The sensational buzz of sound waves on my lips upon cold metal. My fingertips slowly digging themselves into the valves, forever eroding my movements into the keys and imprinting the memory into my brain. The silent yet distinct ticking of the tempo being embedded into my conscience forever: when I sleep, when i’m in a math testing room, slapping my feet to the beat, my fingers positioning along to the tune in my head on the pencil. The feelings somehow lure me into the band hall everyday, and I never complain. The commitment is welcome to me, and I welcome it as well. Some people can’t handle it, but that’s ok. It’s like it was made for me. I think about these lingering feelings as I walk into my house. As I enter my home everyday, I miss my real one. The one with a green carpet.

Sydney Smith

I love band because I get to play music by myself and that’s something I have always wanted to do with band I can. Band is probably like my closest thing to a fantasy because I have met many amazing friends in band and I have trouble keeping friends from other classes. When I was younger I wanted to be singer, but my audition wasn’t good enough. I still wanted to do music and when I found the band program here, I was excited to get to play! I love band a lot and I would never turn back from it!

Andrew Lopez

Well, I’ve been playing in a band for four years now and it has been a long journey. Through those years there have been challenging courses that I fought through, and competitions we won, and places we went. I will never forget those moments. Then coming to SJ, it really did change me and my playing skill because this year I’ve been dedicated to playing on the trumpet more than I’ve ever been. Everyday I practiced and doodled on my trumpet. Now my improvement in sound is a lot better and I can play excerpts I couldn’t play before when I was starting to play trumpet. This band for Jazz Band is great and fun and being friends with the other kids has been a blast. I enjoy band so much and I’m thinking of pursuing a musician career. POINT MAKING: Playing with this band has been a blast and my journey throughout my musical career have been amazing.

Noah Aguilar

I joined band because of my family members that joined. All I want to do is follow in their footsteps. My dad marched DCI (Drum Corps International) and my sister played in the Lee High School Band. My favorite moment with all of the band is when we all come together and run our pieces and we are ready for competition.

Addison Collins

I’ve been in band for two years, although I’m a 3-year player. I’ve been playing clarinet ever since the sixth grade and find it enjoyable. Music is a way to find your passion, and that’s how I found mine in clarinet (and piano). Band is a good way to express yourself through music for others. It’s how you can learn to succeed.

Daniel Villegas

My experience in band has been amazing because we get to go to elementary schools and get more kids to join band. I love to be in a band because playing the trombone is fun. Another reason I love band is because the music is really fun to learn and play. I love band because we get to compete. I also love band because my sister also plays the trombone!


Peyton Wood

I love band because it is a place where I can be myself. I can be my normal self land joke around. I love band because I can be appreciated for playing my instrument and be good at it. I love band because there are a variety of instruments and fun things to do In band. Lastly, I love band because of the great people in it.


Ethan Mata

From last year, band was a very awesome experience. I am grateful that I’m in band and that I play the coolest part in it (I’m a percussionist!). My favorite part about band is when we travel and my favorite feeling is when we finish a song that sounds good. I hope the fun will continue. 🙂


Lillian Magee

My name is Lillian Magee and the reason why I like the band so much is that It feels like a way to express myself and show others that I love music. I have loved music my entire life, and band is a way that I am able to express my love for music. Band is a way to express who you are and a way to show what you are capable of.


Michael Denison-Kneisley

My experience in band has benefited me in so many ways! I love the band so much that I will stay in the band until I graduate from college. I insist on joining band when you get into junior high! It has helped me deal with my stress and playing the the trombone is the best thing in the world for. The rest of the instruments are awesome also, but just remember that it takes practice in order to get better.

Marco Cardozo

My experience in Band is that the songs that the whole band plays when the audience are paying attention to us will love it. I have a lot of fun with the other band members helping one another and getting better in the music. I cannot believe I haved played with the band for 3 years. I have been with the band family. Thanks to the band directors that have been teaching me since beginner band, thank you. I loved band so much because this is my last year to see Ms. Monclova and Ms. Taylor. Later on in life, I plan on joining the military and continue being a musician when I grow up.

Virginia Diaz

I’ve had the best experience in band. My experience in band has been amazing. Band is amazing because you get to meet lots of new people and make new friends. In band you learn lots of fun. I love band because I have amazing teachers and friends. I also love band because it’s fun to play music. I also love to play my instrument.

Renee Caldwell

My experience in band is being a part of a fun, hard-working group. I love band because it sounds really nice when you’ve all been working hard and you get to play it all the way through to the end. Learning new songs is a challenging, but fulfilling process. It takes hours of work, so everyone is very dedicated. Band helps with teamwork and it helps me get better at communicating, both with myself and others. 

N. Taylor

Nathan Taylor

Started his career on trombone as part of the San Jacinto band and attended Midland High School under the direction of Gary Doherty. After graduating high school, he received a full scholarship to attend Baylor University to study music. He is now currently a band director in the Dallas area.

A. King MHS Band

Ashleigh King

Ashleigh began her journey on tuba. She started in 7th grade in the San Jacinto Band and attended Midland High School under the direction of Brian Collins. After graduation, she received a great scholarship from Abilene Christian that pays approximately $17,000 a year geared towards her college tuition. Ashleigh is still in the process of receiving her college degree.


Trazi Wihebrink

“After 13 years of attending public schools, 4 years spent between 2 different Universities, and going onto 5 years of teaching in MISD, Carissa Hamilton has been the single most influential educator in my life. It is so hard to explain the impact someone has made on your life that lead you to the educational world. Carissa took this scared little preteen who was so worried about sticking out and created this girl who had so much pride and determination to participate and belong to the music community. (I might even go as far to say she is the culprit for my addiction for wanting to belong to something greater than myself!)

After a semester in beginning band, I was transferred to the advanced band as a 7th grader. I spend a year and a half in a large band setting with 2 entirely different groups of students. Even to a (then) 7th grader, Carissa’s focus on teamwork and personal accountability through music brought together hundreds of 12-14 years olds from all walks of life.  She prepares a new band every year to perform award-winning pieces of music at UIL performances, solo and ensemble performances, summer/winter concerts, and marching festivals. But what was the most most daunting task of all? Mrs. Hamilton successfully encouraged TEENAGERS to march in 100+ degree Texas summers while carrying, or wearing, 10-30 pound instruments and asked that they play music from memorization and like it! Her great sense of humor might have helped a bit! How she did it, does it, and will continue to do it is so inspirational.”


Jesus Triana

“Joining band is definitely one of the best decisions I made and it started when I joined SJ band. I was probably one if the most shy kids you would have met, and being part of the band helped me open up out of my bubble. Not only did I learn to express myself, I learned what it meant to be part of a community that helps each other and grows together. I will always treasure the memories we made and hope the memories you make by joining are just as amazing.”

Lillian Cranford

My experience in band has not only affected my life, it has greatly impacted my life.  Over the past six years, being in band has taught me how to manage time in handling a busy schedule, how critical it is to stay organized and keep good study habits, and the importance of realizing the benefits of thorough planning. I have learned how to manage my time in a way that will maximize my efficiency and performance both in the classroom and in life. My experience has also taught how to maintain my senses under high stress.  My time in the band has helped me learn how to cooperate with people from every walk of life, and work to deal with people on their worst days, as well as trying to cooperate as a team and overcome personality clashes. Over the years, I have also participated in many concerts and competitions.  This has taught me how to stay calm and work well under pressure. I have picked up many skills over the years, such as how to handle discrepancies of all sorts, and how to deal with negative people. Another important aspect of my time with the band has been the incredible feeling of being a part of something larger than myself. One of the most important lessons the band has taught me over the past six years is how to work on overcoming my mild case of autism. I look forward to taking these lessons, and the amazing memories, with me as I move on to college, and work towards my career.


Nick Cooper

“The SJ Band was the start of some of the best things in my life. First, that is where my love for music started and continued. It was lead by two directors, Mrs. Doherty and Ms. Hamilton, who put everything they could into their students. The band also created some of the best friendships I could wish for. Some of them I see almost everyday. They are even in my wedding because they are such huge parts in my life. I can thank the SJ Band for all of that.”


Whitney Taylor

“I loved being in Mrs. Hamilton’s band at SJ!  I met some of my best friends in her band and we have stayed friends through junior high,  high school, college and beyond. Because I was in Mrs. Hamilton’ band, doors opened for me! I had many great scholarship opportunities for college, and travel opportunities I wouldn’t have been able to experience if I hadn’t of been in band. Some of the best trips I have ever taken were for band! Band camp in the summertime was something I always looked forward to with my friends and one of my favorite memories in junior high band was being able to work with my peers in a leadership role as Band Captain in my eighth grade year. Learning how to be a leader in junior high helped prepare me to be a drum major at Midland High School my senior year. If you’re on the fence about being in band, you should try it out- not only will you meet so many cool people in band, and have the chance for trips and learning to play an instrument but you will have one of the funniest and talented band directors at the head of your program (trust me you need and want a director who can laugh). If you want to find a program where you are important and you can learn something new, and where you can belong- join band. I would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t been in band!”