DIRECTORS

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DaJuan E. Brooks

Director of Bands

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Jay Lopez

Assistant Director of Bands

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Jason Russell

Director of Percussion

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Alejandro Garcia

Color Guard 

Director

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Erika Agrait

Emerald Dance Co. Director

DIRECTOR BIOS

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DaJuan E. Brooks

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Award winning soloist, chamber musician, film studio artist, teacher, and conductor; DaJuan Brooks is creating his own mark in various musical avenues around the United States. Mr. Brooks is from Rancho Cucamonga, California, where he attended Los Osos High School and The University of Redlands Pre-College. After his time there, Mr. Brooks went on to receive his Bachelor's of Music from The University of Arizona, studying clarinet performance under Jerry Kirkbride.

 

DaJuan Brooks serves as the Director of Bands in the Fine Arts Department at John B. Connally High School. Before coming to Pfisd, Mr. Brooks was the DOB at Downers Grove South High School and Director of Orchestras at Niles West High School. Brooks' responsibilities included the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, Marching Mustangs, Mustang Pep Band, Jazz Workshop, Rock Band and the conductor of the musicals at DGS. Mr. Brooks was also a member of the Northshore Concert Band, and plays in studios and orchestras around the Chicago-land area. During his tenure at DGS, the Marching Mustangs were awarded the Illinois State Governor’s Trophy and named Grand Champion at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2019. The DGS Wind Ensemble was accepted as a IL SuperState participant and placed at the Midwest Music Festival and won “Best Woodwinds, Best Brass, and Best Percussion”. In the winter of 2019 his Jazz Workshop took first place and won best soloist in the room at the prestigious Purdue Jazz Festival.  

 

Mr. Brooks graduated from Northwestern University earning a Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance and Music Education studying under Steve Cohen, Laurie Bloom, Leslie Grimm, Maud Hickey, and Sarah Bartolome. He has performed in the Northwestern Symphonic Wind Ensemble as clarinetist and principal bass clarinet, principal clarinetist of the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra and has received one of the Bienen School of Music's high honors; The John P. Paynter Fellowship. Mr. Brooks has been the principal clarinetist of the University of Arizona Wind Ensemble and has performed as principal bass clarinetist of the Arizona Symphony, E- flat clarinetist of the UA Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band, and principal clarinetist, bass clarinetist, and saxophonist in the orchestra for the UA Theatre and Film department. Mr. Brooks was a finalist of the UA Presidentʼs Competition in 2010, 2012, and 2013, won the SBCMEA Solo competition is 2010, and has been featured as a repeat performer on KUAT since 2011 as a chamber ensemble artist with strings and other wind instrumentalist. Mr. Brooks has also been selected as a conductor in the Nation Band Association’s Young Conductor and Composer Mentor Project where he worked with Anthony Maiello, Dr. Paula Crider, Colonel Larry H. Lang, and The United States Air Force Band in Washington D.C. Soon thereafter, Mr. Brooks was selected to conduct The United States Pershing’s Own Army Band in Washington D.C. with Gary Green and Andrew J. Esch. Mr. Brooks was the head drum major for Drum Corps International Open Class Champions, the Blue Devils ‘B’ Drum and Bugle Corps in 2011 and 2012. Mr. Brooks was the recipient of the Jim Jones Drum Major of the Year Leadership Award in 2011 and is a avid teacher and clinician in the marching arts.  He also is on music staff and is the lead woodwind technician at Chromium Winds, the three time WGI Independent Open Champions.

Jay Lopez

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ay Lopez is currently an Assistant Band Director at John B. Connally High School in Austin, TX. 

 

Mr. Lopez grew up in Laredo, TX and graduated from the University of North Texas with honors with his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Mr. Lopez’s collegiate mentors include Dr. Nicholas Williams, Dennis Fisher, Dr. Andrew Traschel, Dr. Donna Emmanuel, Dr. Crystal Gerrard, and Kathleen Reynolds. Mr. Lopez studied bassoon with Kathleen Reynolds, principal bassoonist of the Dallas Opera and frequent member of the Dallas Symphony. In the Fall of 2020, Mr. Lopez completed his student teaching at Coppell HS and Coppell MS West under the mentorship of Gerry Miller and Greg McCutcheon.   

 

Mr. Lopez was a member of UNT’s Green Brigade Marching Band, where he participated as a field instructor where his responsibilities included teaching visual/movement to over 450 members of the UNT Green Brigade. During his time at UNT, Mr. Lopez was the 2018 and 2019 President of UNT’s Marching Arts Forum, which brought out world-renowned designers, instructors, and creatives in the marching arts to present a topic to the UNT student body. Lopez performed as a bassoonist in the UNT Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Wind Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, and many chamber ensembles.    

 

Mr. Lopez has developed a passion for the marching arts throughout his years of experience. He has worked as a technician for Fossil Ridge HS, Coppell HS, and Hebron HS (where he was able to contribute to a 3rd place finish at UIL Texas State Marching Contest / 4th place finish at BOA San Antonio in 2018 and a 3rd place finish at BOA Grand Nationals in 2019).

 

Mr. Lopez has also taught as a private bassoon instructor for both Denton ISD and Keller ISD. Mr. Lopez has previously been involved in working at the Cadets Drum and Bugles Corps and most recently with the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugles Corps. Mr. Lopez’s professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and the National Association for Music Education. Mr. Lopez currently resides in Austin, TX where he enjoys hiking, spending time with his friends, and cheering for the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks!

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Jason Russell

Jason Scott Russell is the director of percussion for Connally High School and Westview Middle School Bands. In addition,  he assists with the Connally Jazz and concert bands. 

 

 Under Mr. Russell’s direction, both the CHS Symphonic Band and Jazz Band have received numerous first division ratings and awards. Additionally, the Connally Marching Percussion Ensemble has won two TCGC (Percussion Scholastic A) silver medals and six TCGC (Percussion Scholastic A) championships. 

 

This is Jason's 23th year teaching, all of which have been at CHS. He is a graduate of Texas State University in San Marcos, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Music Education and a Master’s of Music Education. He is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Band Masters Association, and Who’s Who of American Teachers.

 

 In addition to his teaching, Mr. Russell is in constant demand as professional musician.  He has performed with many orchestras, jazz, latin, funk, blues, country, and pop musical groups in the Austin area.   

 

Mr. Russell resides with his wife Tricia (a choir director at Stony Point HS), his daughter Mary, and his sons Luke and Christian.  He enjoys movies, Books, and is a diehard Green Bay Packers fan.

Alejandro Garcia

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Mr Alejandro Garcia is currently the Director of Colorguards at John B. Connally High School in Austin, TX.  

Mr Garcia is a California native coming from the city of El Monte. He has been involved with the colorguard arts since 1997.  He attended El Monte High School in El Monte , CA and then moved to Tucson, AZ in 2001 to finish his high school career at Desert View High School in Tucson, AZ.  He attended Pima Community College working towards his degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Dance Studies.  He then transferred to the University of Arizona education component.

Mr Garcia worked very hard to continue furthering his education in the colorguard arts, aging out with the Mandarins in 2005.  He has also performed with many winterguards in the state of Arizona over his career.  He is one of the original founding members of the independent world guard, Fenix Independent World. 

Mr Garcia resided in the city of Phoenix, AZ where his career took him into the restaurant scene in management.  Mr Garcia then moved into the casino industry being a part of the opening team to the Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale, AZ.  At the casino he managed their food & beverage dept and then was promoted manager of their retail department.    

Mr Garcia has over 10 years of performance/teaching experience in the colorguard arts.  He started teaching colorguard right after his drum corps age out year.  He has always had a thirst for knowledge which has pushed him to learn from the best.  Even after 10 years of teaching he continues to develop more of these relationships with the community to make him an even stronger educator in the arts.  With his hard work and dedication he has earned championship titles in the state of Arizona with WGAZ and ABODA.  With these titles Mr Garcia then became an ABODA judge including a judge in the WGAZ circuit.

Mr Garcia continues to strive for greatness in everything he does. He teaches his students to value themselves as individuals and how to be proud of their accomplishments.  His students are pushed to know the value of teamwork and dedication.  Mr Garcia is very excited to be a part of this amazing community and looks forward to making the Connally Band shine with greatness.

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Erika Agrait

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Mrs. Erika Agrait was born in Houston, Texas and grew up in Round Rock, where she found her love of dance & drill team.  Mrs. Agrait was the Captain of her middle school dance team, the C.D. Fulkes Steppers and Major of her high school dance team, the Round Rock High School Dragonettes.  As a high school senior, she was selected as 1 of 20 dancers to perform with the band in their Dance Guard.  She also served as the middle school mentor & choreographer for the CDF Steppers.

 

After high school, Mrs. Agrait attended Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Dance.  She performed 4 years as a Texas State Strutter and led the team as  Lieutenant for her Junior & Senior years.  Mrs. Agrait performed in the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade as a sophomore Strutter.  She earned academic athletic scholarships throughout her college career and was awarded several Strutter scholarships.  Mrs. Agrait was a Phenoix-founder of the Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority and also earned Who's Who Among Colleges & Universities.  

 

Over the past decade, Mrs. Agrait directed many award-winning & nationally recognized dance teams in Texas including the North Shore Senior High Scarlets in Houston, the Holmes High School Goldenbelles in San Antonio and the Tigerettes at East Austin College Prep.   Her teams have won many various awards for choreography, technique, precision & performance.  Many of her former dancers have become successful of the world of dance. 

 

Currently, Mrs. Agrait directs the Connally High School Stars dance team.  This is her 2nd year with the team and she is eager to watch them progress as competitive dancers.  The Stars earned the "Most Spirited Team" of season from HTE Dance Co. this summer and 2nd Runner Up Dance Team last competition.  Mrs. Agrait also teaches all of the Dance I-IV classes at Connally High School and has over 100 students in her program.

 

Mrs. Agrait is a proud Army wife and mother of 2.  Her husband is a Captain in the US Army and her two children attend schools in Georgetown, Texas where they reside.  She is excited to be a part of the CHS band family this year and looks forward to an awesome performance season!