Ukazu welcomed into the CCHS band program

Emily Ruthven, Around Creek Editor

A new marching season always comes with its own twists and turns but this year the Clear Creek Band welcomed their new head band director, Ogechi Ukazu, with open arms and open minds. The band’s former director, Stephen Meyer, introduced Ukazu before the end of the 2013-2014 school year so that the students could meet their new leader before the marching season kick-off.

“I am so grateful to Mr. Meyer for his introducing me to the students early. Because he stood by my side and supported me in front of the students, I think this really helped the kids trust and support me earlier than they would have without Mr. Meyer’s introduction. I owe that to him,” Ukazu said.

Ukazu played the trombone primarily during her years a high school and as an undergraduate. After her time as an undergraduate, Ukazu attended Sam Houston State University and studied as a full time conductor to earn her Master’s degree.

When asked why she chose to teach at creek, Ukazu said, “Clear Creek really stood out to me for many reasons. One of them was the legacy that Dr. Peterson left behind and all of the wonderful history that he has had with the kids.” Dr. Peterson was Clear Creek’s head director for thirty years.

Another reason was Ukazu saw Creek as an attractive option was the fact that the Wind Ensemble performed at the Midwest Clinic located in Chicago last year. The Midwest Clinic is a convention that selects the top bands from all of the world to perform in Chicago. Only four high schools in the world were selected to perform this year.

“Not many bands are presented with that opportunity, and the fact that the Clear Creek band performed there and mastered that extremely difficult music is really awesome. I am so excited to work with these amazingly gifted students,” Ukazu said.

Ukazu also loved the energy of Clear Creek High School.

“Creek is known for their massive amount of spirit and passion. All of the students at this school have such pride for their school; it’s so amazing to see. It feels great to work at a school where the kids really care.” Ukazu said.

With Ukazu’s coming, new things are coming to the band program as well, such as a Jazz Band. This band will perform contemporary and pop jazz pieces and will hopefully be able to perform at the spring concert. Ukazu and Daniel Cuevas, the assistant band director, have also decided to take a different approach to the band’s marching technique. Joe Falcon was brought in to help teach the kids a new, more effective way to march. Before his time at Creek, Falcon taught marching technique for the Woodlands marching band, who won the 2013 Grand National Championships at Bands of America. Falcon hopes to help lead the band to the finals at this season’s competitions.

Amongst all of the positive changes that are being made to the band program, Ukazu still holds the very important concept of the family aspect of band close to her heart. The Clear Creek Band is known for welcoming in freshmen, and all members, as family and have upheld this reputation for several years now.

“I was so impressed with how the Leadership members handled the freshmen. I was slightly worried that power might be abused, but I have been pleasantly surprised. The section leaders, captains, and drum majors have treated everyone with respect and kindness. Creek’s kids impress me so much and continue to do so everyday.” Ukazu said.