Don Hood was born November 15, 1933, in Houston, Texas, to Walton Donnie Hood, Jr. and his wife, Josephine Marchbanks Hood. His mother was an accomplished pianist. He and his family lived in numerous communities in Texas until they settled in San Benito when Don was in the sixth grade. In 1946 a new band director arrived, Nelson G. Patrick. He recruited most of the seventh graders for band and Don selected the French horn. The next year the “San Benito French Horn Quartet” was formed. These four players gained state and national recognition, culminating with three of them holding top chairs at TMEA All-State Band and giving a concert there in 1952.
While attending The University of Texas at Austin, Don was principal horn with the Symphonic Band, the University Orchestra, and became principal with the Austin Symphony. He studied horn at UT with Clifton Williams and Bernard Fitzgerald. He also served as personnel director and librarian for the Austin Symphony. For four years he was tenor soloist with All Saints’ Episcopal Church. He was president of the Symphonic Band and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity. After his bachelor’s degree, he completed his master’s degree while teaching elementary school band for two years in the Austin Public Schools.
Mr. Hood’s next position was with the Lake Jackson Jr. High Band in the Brazosport Independent School District in 1957. Mr. Hood said that although he had a fine résumé, he felt totally unprepared to teach the group. He credits Bryan Cooney, the music supervisor, Fred McDonald, the high school band director, and Ernest Clark, the Freeport Jr. High band director with saving his life. Their tutorship assisted him in developing an outstanding organization. By the end of his seven years there, the band was performing selections from the AAAA (now AAAAA) UIL list, and was recognized as one of the finest in the state. With the exception of one marching contest, the band was awarded straight first division ratings for the seven years he was there.
Mr. Hood was selected to lead the Angleton High School band in 1965. In the eleven years he was there, he built the band from approximately 90 students to over 350 students, over 25% of the high school student body. He credits much of the success to Don West, who was employed several years later as an assistant, and other assistants,Wayne Hummel, Karl Hickfang, Donnie Supak, Tom Shine and Dwight Satterwhite. The band was awarded straight first divisions in marching and was a consistent first division winner in concert and sight-reading. The Angleton High School band was selected as Best in Class at both Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags Over Georgia competitions. The Angleton band performed for national television numerous times at Houston Oiler games and at the Cotton Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys. In 1972 the band was selected by the Angleton Chamber of Commerce as “Citizen of the Year.” The band was the winner of the nationally televised Tournament of Roses marching contest in 1973, the last year the competition was held. The band was selected to perform at the first game held in the New Orleans Super Dome. The Angleton band, a “military style” marching group that included up to 350 members, often spread end zone to end zone.
In this twenty year career as a band director, he received a total of 50 UIL first division ratings, three second division ratings, and one third division rating. He conducted numerous clinics on the French horn, band techniques and organization at TMEA, TBA and other meetings. He served as a clinician and UIL adjudicator throughout the state. He served as state chairman of the UIL Advisory Committee, and was on the UIL Music Selection Committee numerous times. He served as region band chairman, and was an organizer for the TMEA All-State Band. During this time he was initiated into the Phi Beta Mu Bandmasters’ Fraternity.
In 1976, Mr. Hood became principal of Angleton’s Northside Elementary School where he served for twenty years. While he was there, he was selected as an Outstanding Administrator for the State of Texas by the Classroom Teachers Association. In 1996 he became principal of the Early Childhood Campus and served as Director of Fine Arts. While there he received the Mirabreau B. Lamar Award of Excellence from the local Masons of Texas. Upon his retirement in 2002, the City of Angleton issued a proclamation designating, Friday, September 27, 2002, as “Don Hood Day.”
During his career he participated in and often took leadership roles in many community organizations. Some of them include the Brazosport Community Band, Brazosport Summer Musicals, Brazosport Community Concerts, Lions Club, Angleton Chamber of Commerce, Head Start, Goodfellows and Holy Comforter Episcopal Church.
Since the formation of the Angleton Alumni Band in 2006, he has served as the marching coordinator/instructor for the band. The alumni band combines with the Angleton High School band to present a half-time performance of “military style” marching at a late season football game. Band exes from the community, state and nation have returned to participate in the event.
Don is married to his college sweetheart, the then Lola Kay Palmer, who was an outstanding clarinetist at UT in Austin. She was a highly successful school music teacher, elementary and middle school teacher. She later headed the Adult Life & Learning Program at Brazosport College and was a supervisor of student teachers for Texas A & M University. They have one son, Walton. Although musically talented, he chose a successful career in investments. They have one grandson, Royce, who is active in music, politics, real estate, and community organizations.