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December, 19, 2024
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM




Small School High School Concert Band


Conductor Thumb
Brian Sours

Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

Tenaha is a very small and rural community of less than a 1,000 citizens located near the Louisiana border in East Texas and is approximately 45 minutes north of Nacogdoches, TX. The Tenaha ISD band program consists of approximately 185 students in grades 5-12 (65% of the 283 total school enrollment in grades 5-12). The Tenaha band program has received several accolades including the high school band being named: a “State Winner” in the Association of Texas Small School Bands (ATSSB) Outstanding Performance Series State Contest in 2010, 2011, & 2015; 3rd Runner-Up in the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Honor Band State Finals in 2022; a “National Winner” in the Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Contest in 2022; and was also named a “National Winner” in the Medal of Distinction National Wind Band Contest in 2022 and 2023. The high school band has also advanced to the UIL State Marching Band Contest in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2020, 2021, 2022, & 2023 and won 1st place at the UIL Class 2A State Marching Band Contest in 2021. In addition to having success in various competitive contests, the high school band has been invited to participate in several statewide conventions. The high school band was invited to demonstrate marching fundamentals at the 75th Annual Texas Bandmasters Association (TBA) Convention in 2022 (among the smallest school districts to ever be invited to TBA). The high school band was also just recently invited to the 2024 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Convention as a demonstration group as part of the newly created “Invited Program Spotlight” (once again, among the smallest school districts to ever be invited by TMEA). The Tenaha middle school band is also known for its own achievements. The middle school band (7th & 8th grades) was named “State Winner” in the ATSSB Outstanding Performance Series State Contest in 2019 & 2022 and was named an TMEA Honor Band State Semi-Finalist in 2022. Both the high school and middle school ensembles have consistently received straight ones and UIL Sweepstakes since the 2018-2019 school year. With this said, the Tenaha Independent School District is not one that many people would historically expect to produce a successful band program. 91% of the students attending Tenaha ISD are economically disadvantaged, 66% are at-risk, and 21% of students are Bilingual/ESL (info from the 2021-2022 Texas Academic Performance Report). Due to the financial hardships that our families face, no band students take private lessons. However, Tenaha ISD does provide every student in band with an instrument, instrumental supplies, and any other resource needed to make certain that no student is denied a chance to participate in instrumental music education at Tenaha ISD, regardless of their family’s financial standing. Despite what many consider to be challenges, the Tenaha band program is thriving and retention is high!

Tenaha High School Band

Conductor's Bio

Brian Sours is entering his 10th year as the Director of Bands at Tenaha ISD and 15th year teaching overall. Mr. Sours graduated high school in 2004 from Wills Point High School in Wills Point, Texas. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Arkansas and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. Mr. Sours is currently serving as the Tenaha ISD Director of Bands and is beginning his third term as The Association of Texas Small School Bands (ATSSB) 2A State Representative. Previously, Sours served a 3 year term as an ATSSB All-State Band Organizer Mr. Sours began his teaching career as Director of Bands in San Saba ISD in 2009. While in San Saba, he led the Golden Armadillo middle school and high school bands to their first UIL Sweepstakes Awards in school history. He also led the high school band to a 5th place finish at the 2013 UIL State Marching Band Contest Finals, and to several superior ratings, sweepstakes, and ATSSB Outstanding Performance Series OPS State Final placements. In 2014, Sours left San Saba for Tenaha with the difficult task of transitioning the Tenaha Roarin’ Band from Tigerland from military style to corps style marching. Under his direction, the high school band has been named an ATSSB OPS State Winner in 2015 and ATSSB OPS State Runner-up in two categories in 2016, made several trips to area marching contest finals, named a National Winner in both the Medal of Distinction and the Mark of Excellence national wind band contests, made four trips to the UIL State Marching Band Finals, and won the gold medal in the 2A classification at the 2021 UIL State Marching Band Contest. The middle school band has also earned 7 consecutive sweepstakes and been named an ATSSB OPS State Winner in 2019 & 2022. Mr. Sours is also a member of ATSSB, TMEA, TBA, & TMAA.

Additional Directors

Shannon Rios