Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Azle welcomes new band directors

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AZLE — Azle High School’s and Forte Junior High School’s band programs are rocking and rolling as they welcome three new band directors. Matt Assis will be AHS assistant band director. Zach Woolhouse takes the reins as at FJH where Sebastian Marin will be assistant band director.

This will be Assis’ first year as a band director. He graduated from Texas Christian University this year. Assis plays bassoon, saxophone and euphonium.

In 2023, Assis played in the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, 21-time Drum Corps International champions. DCI is a prestigious and highly sought after organization by band members from across the country.

Assis chose to be a band director for his passion for music and desire to impact the world around him.

“I really love music and I wanted to make some sort of a difference,” Assis said. “I kept looking around and didn’t like what I saw from the world, from society … and I was like, ‘I want to make a difference somehow.’”

Assis chose AHS because he heard it was a tight-knit community, like a family, which aligned with what he cared about and was looking for in a school.

Woolhouse has been a band director for the past nine years at Hillwood Middle School in Keller ISD. He graduated from Richland High School, then from college at the University of Houston where he specialized in saxophone.

Woolhouse shared how the educators in his life motivated him to become a band director. In his freshman year, he was unsure if he wanted to continue playing in band until RHS band director Bill Watson pulled him aside and told him how valuable he was to the band.

Woolhouse has many stories of students he has taught over the years becoming very successful. One story he shared was about a seventh-grade trombone student who started out in the lowest performing band and throughout her career, moved to the highest performing band in middle school. She then played in the highest performing band in high school, attended the famed Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan, and is now a student at The Juilliard School in New York City.

Woolhouse believes learning to play an instrument is good for kids because it teaches delayed gratification. He says kids are used to figuring things out too quickly, like video games, but learning to play an instrument takes time and effort.

“Music demands upper-level thinking,” Woolhouse said.

Woolhouse runs a saxophone camp called the Young Saxophonist Institute for middle and high school students in the Fort Worth, Dallas and Houston areas.

Woolhouse married his wife, Sarah Woolhouse, at The Orchard Event Venue & Retreat in Azle in 2018. His wife will work at Silver Creek Elementary School next school year as a teacher. The couple has two children and are excited to raise their family in the city where their family started.