The Eagle Angle

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Philip Obado to be Allen High School Director of Bands

Bryn Chambers, Sr. managing editor

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Five months after Blane Hinton, the previous head band director, suddenly resigned, Dr. Philip Obado was chosen to be the next Director of Bands in Allen.

“I was elated,” Obado said. “Everybody in the country knows about the Allen band. You’ve got talent, resources and facilities that are better than any place in the planet. You couldn’t be anything but excited. Plus, everyone’s so nice.”

On April 20, the Escadrille had the opportunity to welcome Obado to the community at a meet-and-greet held at the AHS Performing Arts Center.

“At the meet and greet, I met some great parents already that are really, really ready to help out, and I’ve learned a lot already.” Obado said. “I know that there’s former directors that I can talk to and people to communicate with, so I feel that there’s a lot of resources available to me to help.”

Obado has worked around the country both in collegiate and public school bands. He received his bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College, his master’s at Florida State and then taught in Florida for 12 years. Obado also received his doctorate at Michigan State and accepted a position at Baylor, where he heard the news about the job opening in Allen.

“We probably have a larger range of students than any band around, so for him to have that background, he’s gonna be able to help get us a little bit better education from top to bottom around here,” Associate Band Director Joel May said.

The interview process consisted of three different interview committees and a chance to conduct Symphonic Band IV, followed by an interview with principal Jason Johnston, who called him a few days later with the news.

“It was a very difficult decision because I love my job at Baylor, I love the kids at Baylor, but this is a really amazing opportunity,” Obado said. “The Allen area and the community is a really attractive place to live. My wife and I are really excited about that, and just to be a part of a fixture of what Texas band is all about.”

Obado and May have been in contact recently, creating a new process for band placement in the 2017-2018 year. Band members auditioned to be sorted into concert, symphonic or wind groups. Each level is divided into two equal skill-level groups, blue and white.

“Regardless of what ensemble you’re in, you’re going to be proud of that group, and we’re going to be making music together,” Obado said. “I’m just hoping that the enthusiasm I have right now is going to be something that everyone has.”

In the spring semester, band members will be sorted again into Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Symphonic I, Symphonic II, Concert I or Concert II.

“That sort of competition will make people practice more hopefully,” Obado said. “Not everyone’s gonna do it, but some people will like ‘Oh, I want to get into another band.’”

Previously, the band was sorted in the fall into three skill level groups, Red, Blue and White. The new process was drafted to allow more specialization for students and an opportunity for students to improve in the fall for the re-audition for the spring.

“One of the things that we want to set up, and that aligns with Dr. Johnston’s philosophies of how he sees Allen High School, is that every student can learn and can progress,” May said. “So what we need to do in the band program and what we’re really trying to set up well is [a way] to meet every student’s needs.”

The fall 2017 semester will not be a state UIL year for marching season. With the spare time, Obado hopes to incorporate a new high school band tradition.

“I know that Allen’s never necessarily done Christmas concerts, and I think that’s something that might be doable,” Obado said. “I think this is the perfect time to see if this is something that we could incorporate.”

Other than that, Obado does not plan on making many changes.

“You know, you’re not going to make everyone happy, especially when there’s some change,” Obado said. “Some of the things like getting on busses, getting into stadiums, and those kind of things kind of work [themselves] out because you guys now how to do that. And I think that obviously if there’s anything worth changing, but to me, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Obado’s first day was May 15. Both directors look forward to the upcoming year.

“I think [Obado’s] passion for public education really made him stand out,” May said. “The views that he has on how we’re going to do teach everybody and what the goals should be I think is really something that is valued already in Allen, and he just kind of fits into that mold.”

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