Thursday, May 28, 2020
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20180907 MarcPareaFor Marc Perea, the band instructors he interacted with as a student were the people responsible for pushing him to explore his talents as a musician.

“I had band directors that were encouraging and even took me to college auditions,” Perea, 38, recalled. “Band directors pushed me to explore my strengths and talents as a musician and I fell in love with it from day one. I always knew from a young age this would be something I’d see myself doing as an adult.”

Now, Perea hopes to return the favor to his students as the new band director at Sharyland High School.

Perea, formerly a band director at Brownsville’s Pace Early College High School and San Benito High School, was hired as the new director at Sharyland earlier this summer after Band Director Neil Nelson retired from the district. Nelson had been with the district for more than two decades.

Perea, who had worked with Nelson in the past, said he received Nelson’s blessing to apply to the job.

“He’s been very helpful in terms of helping with my transition and worked hard in a disciplined, structured program and that has been successful in the past,” Perea said. “I hope to continue with that kind of consistent success.”

Perea, who resides in Edinburg with his family, said he applied to the band director position at Sharyland to be closer to his home. As a director, he has approached his job with a positive attitude to increase productivity among his students, he said.

“We focus on what we can do better so students can feel rewarded and focus on cultivating a better understanding of what we’re doing,” Perea explained. “That way when they’re done with the morning practice and go to class, they feel rewarded with what they’ve done and pleased with themselves. Our show has been progressing and blossoming like a plant, within the next three weeks the program will take an even bigger boom because we’d have finished our show and polished it up. It’s ever evolving.”

Currently, the Sharyland marching band is preparing for their marching band season with “Claire de Lunatique,” a four-movement piece that riffs on the classic piano suite “Claire de Lune” by Claude Debussy.

“Claire de Lunatique” is roughly eight minutes long and focuses on the effects the moon has on individuals, Perea explained.

The show features piano solos by “virtuoso” piano players and takes audiences to a journey of the different moods the moon invokes. It begins with an ominous movement to invoke the mysterious dark part of the moon before transitioning to a fun movement representing the active nightlight. The show concludes to a spirited and joyous movement that invokes the sheer beauty of the moon, Perea said.

Students have been practicing the show since late July, Perea said. Marching band students practiced on the field on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. through 11 a.m. followed by indoor music rehearsals in the afternoon.

For the school year, students practiced in the field from 7:30 a.m. through 9:15 a.m. followed by after school practice.

Perea is having the students go through this rigorous schedule to prepare them for life outside high school, he said.

“Yeah we teach music and have fun, but we also work hard,” Perea explained. “Knowing what the value of hard work is the key of being successful in the future and that’s what we push to our students. We get them to learn attributes of life, discipline, commitment, time management, emotional management, qualities people need to survive in the regular workforce and we equate what they learn here to what they will have to use outside of band and high school so they can be successful at work and college.”

Perea also said he is in discussion to revive the school’s jazz band program, which was disbanded four years ago after the jazz band director left the district.
Perea is hoping to have the show ready to perform this week to be able to polish it off for the Bands of America competition scheduled for Saturday, September 22 at McAllen Memorial High School.

This will be the first marching band competition Sharyland High School will compete in. They will perform the whole show tonight at McAllen Memorial High School during the halftime show as the Sharyland Rattlers battle the McAllen Memorial Mustangs.

“It’s very promising, we’re ahead of schedule in practicing for this show,” Perea said of Friday’s performance. “It doesn’t feel like I’m following in anyone’s shadow as the new director, it just feels like I’m continuing what’s already in place.”