DHS Band under new direction

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By Heather Russell Wilson

The DeKalb High School Band is marching to the tune of a different director this year.  Former DeKalb Middle School and assistant high school band director Michael White has accepted the head director position for the high school and has already kicked off what he calls a very promising year.
White had a career change that led him into education.  Having played in the band in high school at Daingerfield, and in college at Ouachita Baptist, he felt music was his only choice when it came to what he wanted to teach.  “I’ve always loved music,” he explained.  “I worked hard through the program, and prayed a job would come open, and one came open here in DeKalb.” 
After two years as assistant director at DeKalb, the head director position became available, and White felt his time with the program and the kids in it made it logical for him to throw his hat in for the promotion.  “I felt like because I had been with the kids here in DeKalb for two years that I do have the best interests of the program in mind,” he said.  “I told my administration when the job came open to try and find someone, but if need be I know I can step up and do my best to grow and care for the program.”
Apparently that’s what the powers-that-be wanted to hear.  Michael White was hired, and John Paul Castro, former director at Maud High School, was hired as assistant and middle school director, and the two are already making strides.  The band has grown from about 38 students at the end of last year to 53 and White says they are already putting out a tremendous effort.  “The kids are excited and they are working hard for me,” said White.  “They are busting their tails, running back to their spots.  We have some great leadership within this group, and that helps quite a bit.”
Looking toward the future, White says he wants to continue to build the program, and feels like that will be the key to success for the DeKalb High School Band.  “This first year our focus is going to be building the program back up,” he said.  “We have not had the ratings we would like to have in the past few years, so my focus is going to be building the program from the ground up to work on retaining more students - that will come as we become more and more successful - more kids will stay in.  I’m also focusing on building relationships and a rapport with the students too, because I love these kids - love working with them - so hopefully we will get them to stay in the program and build the program to what it needs to be.”

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