About the Sandra Day O’Connor High School Band
Welcome to Northside ISD’s and San Antonio’s largest 6A band program. The “Panther” Band offers a comprehensive music education in marching, concert, jazz, full orchestra and musical theater.
In just nineteen years the O’Connor “Panther” Band has established a reputation of high musical standards in individual and group performance.
The OHS Band Program offers a wide variety of musical experiences including our amazing Symphonic Winds, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Freshman Band, Jazz Ensemble I, Jazz Ensemble II, Jazz Combo, Full Orchestra, Musical Pit Ensemble, PASIC Percussion, Winter Guard I & II and the award winning OHS Marching Band! As an individual our students have the opportunity to audition for the TMEA All Region, All Area, & All State Bands & Jazz Ensemble as well as perform a solo or small ensemble at UIL sponsored Solo & Ensemble Contest.
The “Panther” Marching Band has earned nineteen consecutive FIRST DIVISION ratings at Texas UIL Marching Contest, advanced to Texas UIL Area Marching Contest each year eligible, and earned OUTSTANDING Winds, Marching, Music, Percussion, Color Guard, and Drum Major Caption Awards at various marching festivals throughout Texas. These include the Bands of America Regionals, Hill Country Marching Festival, Duncanville Invitational, Newman Smith Tournament of Champions, Drums Along the Medina, and the Westlake Marching Festival. The OHS Marching Band has also won the Battle of Flowers Band Festival Parade of Bands Competition in class 6A in 2013 & 2016, and was selected as the 2005, 2009 & 2014 FEATURE BAND for the annual Fiesta San Antonio event. They have also won Outstanding Drum Majors at this same event two times and 1st place in class 5A in 2011. The Panther Marching Band has been a UIL Texas Area Finalist in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 & 2016. In 2014 the band was the Texas UIL Area G Champion! In 2008, 2010, 2012 & 2014 the O’Connor Band qualified to the UIL Texas State Marching Championships in class 5A & 6A representing the BEST in Texas.
Our Varsity & Non-Varsity concert band programs perform music from Bach to Sousa, and have earned eighteen CONSECUTIVE UIL SWEEPSTAKES HONORS by earning first divisions at UIL Concert & Sight Reading Competition. This consistency in performance is represented in all four of our concert bands. They were the 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 & 2015 TMEA Region 11 HONOR BAND winner—selected to advance to Area.
Our jazz ensembles represent the best in the state of Texas. Our jazz classes offer a challenging curriculum in all styles of jazz and improvisation. They have been selected as the OUTSTANDING 5A & 6A Jazz Ensemble at various festivals throughout South Texas and our students have earned more chairs in the TMEA All Region Jazz Ensemble than any other school since O’ Connor opened. We have placed nine students in the TMEA ALL STATE JAZZ ENSEMBLE. In 2003 the jazz ensemble was selected to perform as the centerpiece of the 4th annual Arts Education Day at the Texas Capital in Austin. OHS jazz soloists have earned numerous OUTSTANDING SOLOISTS, MUSICIAN, & ALL STAR BAND honors at every jazz festival they’ve attended. In 2006 the OHS Jazz Ensemble I was undefeated! In 2007 and 2009 the O’Connor Jazz I & Combo were invited to perform at the North Texas Jazz Festival. This by invitation only performance featured the top high school and collegiate jazz ensembles from throughout the United States. They were named “Outstanding” at the 2008 Temple College Jazz Festival. In 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 they were named for Outstanding Performance at the Texas State University, South Texas and Palo Alto College Jazz Festivals. They have also been featured at the Jazzin Along the River Festival performing at the historic Arneson River Theater. In 2012 they were featured at JazzSALive and in 2013 at Fiesta’s Taste of New Orleans. In 2013 they also performed a joint concert with the UIW Jazz Ensemble featuring jazz legend Bill Watrous. In 2017 the bands return to Fiesta’s Taste of New Orleans and will present a workshop with TCU’s Joe Eckert at the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention.
Our Drum line has done a fantastic job these last nineteen years. In 2000, they placed first in their division at the Churchill Drum line Invitational and brought home every caption award. The drum line also has been named OUTSTANDING 5A & 6A percussion at the Drums Along the Medina Marching Festival every year since 2002. Additionally, the drum line has participated in the International Percussive Arts Society Convention (PASIC) Marching Drum line Competition in Dallas TX (01), Nashville TN (02), Louisville KY (03), Nashville TN (04), Columbus OH (05), & Austin TX (06). In 2004 they finished 3rd and in 2005 they were named the PASIC NATIONAL CHAMPIONS in the marching percussion category. They brought home OUTSTANDING Snare Line, Tenor Line, Bass Line, & Cymbal Line as well! In 2006 they were named GRAND CHAMPIONS at the 1st Annual South Texas Drum Line Invitational. They achieved the same in 2010! In 2011 the National Champion Small Ensemble at PASIC in Indiana are from our O’Connor HS Tenor section. In 2016 OC Percussion won the Black Swamp Percussion Ensemble Showcase National Championship.
The “Panther” Color guard adds the visual interpretation of the music in the fall and has an extensive Spring competition schedule called WINTERGUARD. They travel to Houston, Austin, Tulsa, and San Marcos to compete. They have brought home many honors and in 2006 Guard I won 5th Place and Guard II won the National Marching Auxiliary Championships held here in San Antonio. This is a wonderful art form that uses a combination of dance, flags, rifles, sabers, & gymnastics. In 2007 both JV and Varsity Panther Guards were named the NATIONAL CHAMPIONS at this same event. They were also a WGI Regional Finalist in 2007. In 2010 they were the TCGC silver medalists! In 2011 & 2013 JV won the TCGC silver medal. In 2015 the guard placed at TCGC Regionals in both JV and Varsity events. The Varsity were the 2015 TCGC STATE CHAMPION in their division and the JV won the silver medal! In 2017 the OC Varsity Guard returned to the medal round winning the silver medal at the TCGC State Championship.
Our students also excel in individual events. “Panther” Band members have earned the largest % of students earning chairs in the TMEA All Region Band than any other school in the region since O’ Connor opened. We have placed students in the TMEA ALL STATE BAND & JAZZ ENSEMBLE. All State musicians include Liv Pederson, Brad Schaefer, Melinda Willmann, James Matthews, Justin Crow, Ray Chacon, Matthew Moran, two time member Michael Skutt, three time member Adam Carrillo, Taylor Gonzales and in 2017 Brendan Frederick and Alyssa Estrada. Band members have earned literally thousands of medals at UIL Solo & Ensemble since the school opened. Many students also have advanced and performed with great success at the Texas State Solo & Ensemble Contest held annually at the University of Texas at Austin.
The “Panther” Band has performed at football games, pep rallies, Christmas & Spring concerts, Battle of Flowers Parade, Fiesta Battle of Bands, Helotes Cornyval Parade, Elf Louise Christmas Parade and takes yearly Spring trips. The band has marched in the Walt Disney World Magic Music Days Parade five times in 2007, 2011, 2014 & 2017. They have also traveled to New York City to perform three times. In 2001 the Symphonic Winds performed with the San Antonio Symphony and a joint concert with the UTSA Wind Ensemble. In 2017 they were invited to the 1st Annual Tobin Center for the Performing Arts Showcase.
We are proud of our band family environment and the fact that our students are active throughout the school. We have band members involved in Athletics (including Varsity), AG, Honor Society, Academic Decathlon, Class Offices, Journalism, Dance Team, Pep Squad, and every club on campus. You name the organization and our students are involved!
Our students excel in the classroom as well. We always have students finish in the top ten of their class and a huge % of the National Honor Society. We are also proud that of the eighteen graduating classes the band has had sixteen Valedictorians and Salutatorians from the band program. They are James Blair, Tom Schwartz, Sam McDonald, Shanna Harris, Shane McNamee, Neal Gandhi, Joey McDonald, Katie Bridges, Susan Zhang, Marcel Polanco, Jaaron Botello, Michael Dong & Garrett Scott. The 2016 Valedictorian was our drum major Irene Chu.
In 2017 Angel Shi and Michael Perce were Valedictorian and Salutatorian respectively.
The directors are Roland Sandoval, George G. Garza, Wesley Perkins & Jaime Ramos. Darryl Pemberton is the Color Guard Director and Choreographer. They bring many years of teaching experience and dedication to music education.