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Jose R. Cadena - Class of 2018

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Jose was born in Falfurrias, Texas in 1946. He attended the Brooks County ISD Schools in Falfurrias, Texas. He started band in the fifth grade and decided to play the trumpet. He was a member of the junior school and high school band. While in high school, he played with Arnold Barrera Orchestra and also had his own orchestra made up of members of the high school. He graduated from high school in 1964. After high school, he auditioned at Del Mar College and received a music scholarship. He attended Del Mar College from 1964- 1966 and played with the Del Mar College Symphonic Band and Brass Choir. While attending Texas A&I University from 1967 – 1969, he worked during the summers and weekends at Lack’s Furniture, Falfurrias Walgreens and also worked as a shoe salesman at Family Shoe Center. He also played at dances with the Wally Almendarez Orchestra and got to play with the founder of tejano music Beto Villa and his orchestra. These were hard times, and he had to find ways to earn money to continue in college.

In May 1969, he graduated from Texas A&I University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music and signed a contract with Brooks County ISD, however; he was soon drafted into the U.S. Army. He auditioned for the military band and was accepted into the Fifth United States Army Band at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. During his time of service, he ranked Specialist E 5. After two and a half years at Fort Sam Houston, he received a notice of an early release from the military. In January 1972, he applied for a band director position at Kingsborough Middle School with the Harlandale ISD, in San Antonio, Texas, and organized the band program at that school. The following year he took the middle school band to UIL Concert Contest for the first time in the history of the school, and the band received straight first divisions in concert and sight reading. The next year 1974-75, again the band received straight first divisions in concert and sight reading. The band was selected to advance to the T.M.E.A. Honor Band Contest and placed third in the state. In 1975, he moved to Premont Texas, where he was hired as the head high school band director. The band received first division in the UIL Marching Contest and in Concert. In 1976, he was offered the Falfurrias Junior School Band Director position and under his direction, the junior school band earned first division ratings at UIL Concert Contest for ten years. During this time, he was attending Texas A&I University and received a master’s degree in guidance and counseling. In 1987, the superintendent of schools at Brooks County ISD promoted him to Falfurrias High School Head Band Director and Director of Music. He was there for eleven years and under his direction the high school band earned UIL Sweepstakes awards for eleven consecutive years. In 1994, the band represented Region XIV at the state marching contest. His bands also received first division ratings and Best in Class at Six Flags over Texas in Dallas Invitational Contests. His stage band was a UIL state competitor for eleven straight years. He also was the founder of the Falfurrias High School mariachi program. He was selected to be the clinician for the first A.T.S.S.B. All-Region Band. In 2000, the Falfurrias High School year book, El Azahar, was dedicated to him for all his contributions to the students of Falfurrias High School. During his last fourteen years in education, he was selected to be the Career/ Advance Studies Counselor for Falfurrias High School, where he continued to help students further their education. During his employment at Brooks County ISD, he was awarded the Superintendent’s Award twice, as a head band director and again as a high school counselor.

In 2011, he retired, but remained active with bands, serving as a clinician for local junior and high school bands and serves as a judge at U.I.L. Marching Contest, Concert Contests and Solo and Ensemble Contest. In December 12, 2015, he was inducted to Region XIV Band Directors Hall of Fame. Currently he is working part time at La Gloria ISD, where he started a beginning band program, the first band program in the history of that school. Jose is married to Maria G. Cadena, a retired teacher. They have one son, Dr. Jose R. Cadena Jr, daughter-in-law Dr. Sandra Almendarez Cadena, and one granddaughter Ava Lynn Cadena.

Jose feels very honored to have been selected to the Phi Beta Mu Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame. He feels very blessed and thanks God for his family, friends and the many accomplishments throughout his gratifying career as a band director. He extends his gratitude and thanks to all the band directors who have assisted him in his career, as well as band parents and former students. He would also like to thank the Phi Beta Mu Committee and Mr. Alfredo Cortinas for this great honor.

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