ABC-7 has confirmed that the El Paso Independent School District has hired a new band director for Andress High School.
Alex Contreras, 25, accepted the position and started this week. He sat down with ABC-7 days after taking the helm, and talked about his background and what he hopes to bring to the field.
"It's just an honor for me to be a part of (the Andress band)," he said.
Contreras said he grew up in Northeast El Paso, playing for the Parkland High School band. He said he can relate to the kids at Andress, also in the northeast part of town.
He recalled when Andress band students were his competition.
"When I was growing up at Parkland, we would be (at) morning rehearsals. We'd hear the drums and the music coming from Andress, and we were like, 'Man, that's Andress. We've got to get better," Contreras said.
Now, the focus shifts to making the Andress band better. The school started the new year without a band director, frustrating parents and students who were unable to perform at halftime games this football season.
An EPISD spokesperson ABC-7 that the school's previous band director had left for a job in the Socorro district during the summer. The position was then offered to someone just before the start of the school year, but that person declined.
Contreras told ABC-7 that he knows he's behind, but that he's already digging in and off to a great start, and he knows there's no time to waste.
"I have to attack what needs to be done," he said. "We have contest coming up. I need to put a show on the field. We need to (teach the) music ... so that's what I've been focusing on.
Contreras is a former member of the UTEP band. He told ABC-7 that he plans to bring that same kind of energy to the Eagles marching band.
"I get here about 6:45-6:50 in the morning, and I'm leaving around 8 o'clock, 8:30 at night," Contreras said. "We're just making things happen and making sure the kids are taken care of in the right way."
Contreras was the assistant band director at Slider Middle School in the Socorro ISD for a year. When he heard Andress needed a band director, he said he immediately applied for the job.
Contreras said his message to the kids is one of passion, quality and respect, and that the band should provide a showcase of spirit and pride for the entire school.
"There's so much history here and I'm glad to be a part of it," Contreras said.
The Andress football team has a bye this week, which gives Contreras and the band another week to prepare a halftime performance.