Cuevas and Wharton leave a leagacy for the band

After an extremely influential few years, assistant band director Daniel Cuevas and percussion director Josh Wharton have announced their departure from the program.

Wharton will be leaving to teach elsewhere due to an impractical commute time. While Cuevas currently holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, he is leaving Clear Creek to pursue his life-long dream of having a Master’s degree in music education. He will be attending Michigan University in the fall. Upon completing his degree, Cuevas plans on returning to high school to teach and then to advance onto teaching at a university.

“Teaching, without a doubt, is what I should be doing,” Cuevas said.

He began teaching at Harrison High School, located in Kennesaw, Georgia, where he conducted the Concert band, Jazz Band 2, and led the color guard and winter guard program. Prior to teaching, Cuevas was a member of the extremely popular drum and bugle corps, Phantom Regiment. While at Clear Creek, Cuevas has conducted the Symphonic Band, written the band’s 2014 marching show, Both Sides Now, and their 2013 show, Jacob’s Ladder and has assisted in the direction of the Cadettes.

Josh Wharton holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky, Cum Laude, in Percussion Performance. He has also performed with the United Kingdom percussion at the PASIC, the symphonic orchestra in Carnegie Hall and toured China with the Wind Ensemble. Wharton also has a Master’s degree of Music in Music Theory from UH. Wharton also performed as a soloist for Aura, the UH music ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Rob Smith.

During their years at Creek, Cuevas and Wharton have had a monumental impact on the band program, especially with the students.

“ My favorite part of teaching is seeing how the kids grow and mature by the end of the year,” Cuevas said. “I am always so proud to see the kids become their own people and it is always exciting when the kids move up an ensemble.”

For Wharton, summer band is a staple in the teaching process.

“In our June camp, which is the week after school lets out for the summer, the new leadership team gets to lead the new freshmen for the first time, and that is always interesting to see. Its fun to watch the leadership members grow as individuals and leaders,” Wharton said.

For most people, teaching correlates directly with the students learning the lessons. However, Cuevas has learned some lessons from the kids.

“I learned that while my passion may not be the same as all of my students’, there is still a way to share that with someone else and have them be able to enjoy and gain something from it. I learned how to help the kids develop a love of music that will stick with them even if they stop playing their instrument,” Cuevas said.

Wharton has also learned some valuable lessons throughout his teaching career at Creek.

“I learned that you should never underestimate the talent of the kids. If you don’t tell them their music is hard, then they will not hesitate to play it and most of the time, they end up playing it really well,” Wharton said.

Being a band director at Creek comes with many memorable moments throughout the years. Some of the best ones come at homecoming.

“As much as I am always nervous for it, Fish Friday is always fun. I’m happy to see the freshman feel a part of something. Before they are fished, some of them tend to feel like they aren’t really a part of the band, and Fish Friday really helps them feel included,” Cuevas said.

The band has achieved many successes under the direction of Cuevas and Wharton.

“My proudest moment was when we won the Best Visual Performance caption at this year’s Bands of America, or BOA. It was so cute to watch the kid’s reactions.” Cuevas said. “Another great memory of mine occurred at the Midwest clinic with the 2013 wind ensemble. During our piece with Michael and Chris Martin, I walked to the audience to truly enjoy the piece and I saw people crammed in the back of the theater, standing just to hear the kids play. It was so amazing.”

Josh Wharton added, “It is amazing to see all of the kids step up and play super hard music. It was incredible to hear them on stage.”

For the past four years, Creek’s band has improved almost exponentially, both in marching band and concert band. However, the band is also known for its ability to have an insane amount of fun.

“I hope that Creek’s band maintains it’s awesome traditions like fish Friday,” Cuevas said.

Cuevas and Wharton agreed that, “without a doubt the hardest part of leaving will be saying goodbye to the kids.” Daniel Cuevas and Josh Wharton have helped the band program grow an incredible amount in a few short years.

“After Mr. Cuevas and I leave, I really hope the band keeps on pushing the standards like we have for the past couple of years. Lately, we’ve been sounding different from other bands in Texas, in a good way, which is really cool. I hope Clear Creek continues on this upward path that we’ve been traveling on the past four years,” Wharton said.