Skip to main content





High School Band


Conductor Thumb

Mike Howard

Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

The Vandegrift High School Wind Ensemble, from Austin, TX, is one of four performing concert bands within the Vandegrift High School Viper Band Program. The VHS Wind Ensemble was the 2019 TMEA 6A State Honor Band and has received consistent first division ratings since the school's opening in 2009. The Vandegrift High School Band has a current enrollment of 386 members with performing ensembles that include four concert bands, the Viper Marching Band, jazz band, percussion ensemble and multiple chamber ensembles. The Viper Marching Band was recently awarded the 2019 Sudler Shield Award and was named the 2019 Bands of America Grand National Champion. Students within the Vandegrift Band are active individual musicians and participate heavily in the TMEA Region, Area and All-State audition process as well as participation in the VHS Concerto Competition. The band program proudly receives musicians from two middle schools within the VHS cluster - Four Points Middle School and Canyon Ridge Middle School. Vandegrift High School was established in 2009 and was named after a fallen Marine, Lt. Matthew Ryan Vandegrift. Lt. Vandegrift was a 1999 graduate of Leander ISD and was a member of what is now the Viper Community. Vandegrift High School is located in the Northwest area Austin, Texas and is part of the Four Points and Steiner Ranch communities.

Vandegrift High School Wind Ensemble

Conductor's Bio

Mike Howard is currently in his 12th year at Vandegrift High School and in his 17th year of teaching high school band. He was one of the founding directors when VHS opened in 2009 and became Head Band Director in the Fall of 2014. Mr. Howard conducts the Vandegrift Wind Ensemble, which was selected as the 2019 TMEA 6A State Honor Band and performed at the 2019 TMEA Convention. Mr. Howard’s concert bands are consistent UIL Sweepstakes Award winners, TMEA Honor Band State Finalists and Mark of Excellence Wind Band Honors National Award Winners. As the Vandegrift Marching Band Director, Mr. Howard’s bands have been recognized with several high honors such as 2019 BOA Grand National Champion, BOA Regional Champion, BOA Super Regional Finalist, BOA Super Regional Class Champion, UIL State Marching Contest Finalist, 6A UIL State Marching Contest Bronze Medalist, 5A UIL State Marching Contest Silver Medalist and 4A UIL State Marching Contest Champion. The Viper Marching Band was also recently awarded the 2019 Sudler Shield Award by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. Aside from being the Director of Bands at VHS, Mr. Howard is an active Leadership Consultant and Workshop Presenter. He has been a facilitator for SASI, the Leadership People for the last 16 years. In this time, Mr. Howard has had the opportunity to work with thousands of students and directors from around the United States. Before coming to Vandegrift, Mr. Howard taught at James E. Taylor High School and Morton Ranch High School in Katy, Texas. Prior to becoming a band director, Mr. Howard was an instructor for the Cedar Park High School Band in Cedar Park, Texas and an instructor for the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps from Madison, Wisconsin. Mr. Howard serves the band directing profession as the TMEA Region 32 Band Division Chair, TMEA Area E Band Chair and is a proud member the Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Mu. Mr. Howard is a native of Hondo, Texas and graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos, Suma Cum Laude, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. He lives in Leander, Texas with his wife Amber, his daughter, Madison and his son, Justin.

Additional Directors

Additional Conductor Image

Katie VanDoren

Additional Conductor Image

Dustin Tharp

Additional Conductor Image

Joe Hobbs