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Scott Coulson - Class of 2023

Stanley Scott Coulson was born on July 1, 1958, in Dallas, Texas. His parents were Stanley and Dorothy Coulson of Mesquite, Texas. He was raised in Mesquite and lived and worked there his entire career. Stan and Dorothy were Scott’s biggest fans, attending every performance of his they could until they were no longer able. His cousin Debbie came to live with them when Scott was eleven years old. Scott came to love her like a sister.

In middle school, Scott’s best friend, John, who was one year older, played the trumpet. Scott really wanted to play the trumpet like his friend, but when he went to the instrument sign-up night, it was decided that he had a good ear and was assigned to play the french horn. His heart just wasn’t totally into it - he wanted to play the trumpet! At the end of his eighth grade year, Scott asked if he could switch to trumpet. He was told to take trumpet lessons over the summer, and he would be auditioned at summer band - no guarantees though! So, Scott’s parents bought him a used Olds Ambassador cornet. At Big Town Mall, there was a music store upstairs across from Montgomery Ward. You could take music lessons there! Scott’s mom loved shopping at Big Town, so… win-win! Teaching trumpet there was Al Sincermontye - retired from the Ft. Worth Symphony. Scott began his trumpet playing career playing along with Al from the Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Songbook. Scott auditioned at summer band and he was now a trumpet player!

Scott attended Mesquite High School, where the band was under the direction of Alton Polk. During his junior year, a new director joined the MHS Band Staff - John Kline. Scott was in the jazz ensemble directed by John. Their paths would cross again. During his senior year, several things happened that changed life dramatically for him. The first was meeting Rosemary Heffley, the choir director at Mesquite High, who had been keeping an eye on Scott. Unknown to him, Ms. Heffley was a renowned choir director who was a leader in the vocal world and helped shape the Texas Choral Directors Association. She cornered Scott early in the year and said she needed a trumpet player in the show choir, but to be in the show choir, it was a requirement to be in the A capella Choir. So, Scott joined the A capella choir. Ms. Heffley opened a whole new world of music to him. She was very demanding, a master teacher and musician. Scott had never had this experience in music. She knew he was hooked and began pushing him to study music in college. Throughout Scott’s career, Ms. Heffley served as a mentor and sounding board.
The second was meeting James Keene. Mr. Keene was the new director of bands at East Texas State University. He was visiting MHS on a recruiting visit and was asked to clinic the top band. It didn’t take Mr. Keene long to see that the band needed help! He was somewhat gracious in his approach to helping the band improve. Scott was struck by the force of his personality and his command on the podium. And last, but most important, there was a cute freshman majorette named Sandra Tucker in the freshman band. Through several interactions - always with friends, even with Scott being a senior and Sandra a freshman, it was apparent that Scott was not mature enough to date her. However, they would meet again… He graduated from Mesquite High School in 1976.

Scott attended Eastfield College the next year. Again, fortune played a role in Scott’s life as he studied Music Theory and played in the Jazz Ensemble under Pete Lengyel. Pete was a brilliant teacher of theory and jazz ensemble director. This led to a long friendship and affiliation as Pete would become the Poteet Pirate Band’s marching music arranger for most of Scott’s tenure there.

In 1977, Scott transferred to East Texas State University, and… Mr. Keene! Scott was placed in a dorm room with Bobby Francis, and somehow, they stayed friends and roomed together the rest of their college careers. Mr. Keene had brought drum corps style with him to Texas. This was life changing for Scott. He fell in love with the concepts and the excitement that corps style offered. The Wind Ensemble was world class. With Mr. Keene, intense rehearsals gave way to some legendary, unforgettable performances and musical experiences - TMEA, rehearsals and a concert with Dr. William D. Revelli, and Wind Ensemble spring tour performances that were played to packed houses wherever they went. What a tremendous experience!

Scott embraced many of the concepts in both marching band and concert band from Mr. Keene. They were a guiding influence throughout this career. He was infatuated with corps style show design and learned the basics during his college years - attending summer show design workshops taught by Mike Moxley, Pete Emmons, Steve Brubaker, and Bob Buckner, which turned into a passion of his that continued throughout his teaching career and into retirement. Scott has designed over 200 marching shows for high schools all over Texas and several shows for Oklahoma University and Southern Methodist University. Many of those were for UIL State Champions, Area Champions, festival winners, and nationally broadcast performances.

Scott graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education in the fall of 1980. During that fall, Scott was assigned to student teach at North Mesquite High School with Tony Anderson, the Texas Bandmaster of the Year and Oklahoma and Texas Bandmasters Hall of Famer, who was in his last year of teaching. Scott loved every minute of it! This was for him.

Scott served as the Trumpet Graduate Assistant at ETSU the Spring of 1981. It was at this time that he and Sandra reconnected. Sandra was attending ETSU as well. Finally, Scott was mature enough to date her! He fell head over heels in love with her and they were married in July of 1982. Of course, they cut the honeymoon a bit short so Scott could get home in time for - you guessed it - Freshman Marching Camp!

In 1981, Scott was hired as an assistant band director at North Mesquite. John Kline, his former jazz band director, was the new Director of Bands. Scott is so thankful to John for giving him his first band directing job. He spent seven years at NMHS working with John, Rick Davis, Rob Towell, and Mike Myers. Scott assisted with the marching band, designed the shows, taught beginner brass classes at the middle schools, and conducted the Concert Band.

Scott struggled as a young band director, and it was not until he began attending summer band director workshops at ETSU - led by Eddie Green and Marion West - that he began to formulate strategies and concepts for success that he would incorporate into what he had learned at ETSU. Scott, at Sandra’s insistence (and some assistance), went back to graduate school at ETSU during summer breaks and received a Master of Music Education in 1985.

In 1986, Dr. Ralph H. Poteet High School was built and was opened as a freshman campus that would feed into NMHS the first two years. Scott did double duty at North Mesquite and Poteet, still assisting with the NMHS marching band and attending afternoon rehearsals, as well as running the PHS band program. Those were two long years! Sandra served as Scott's de facto assistant at times, helping him paint dots on the practice field before summer band and helping him at football games. She also became his most trusted critic and confidant. Throughout his career, after every performance, students would ask Scott if Mrs. Coulson got good chills or bad chills! He considers himself so very lucky to have had his best friend and love of his life by his side to share this wonderful experience. In the Spring of 1988, Scott was named Director of Bands at Dr. Ralph H. Poteet High School. Even more importantly, their son, Matthew was born that May.

Thus began a 23-year tenure as Director of Bands at Poteet High School. Scott is so very grateful to his principals in those early years - particularly Lanny Frasier - for sharing his vision of a successful band program. In 1989, Rick Davis joined Scott at Poteet as his assistant. This began a long and successful partnership. With his assistance, they developed one of the most successful band programs in the state of Texas. Other assistants would join the PHS team: Mike Myers, Christy Carlisle, Jeffrey D Jones, Steve Kath (former student and first ever PHS All-Stater), and Cody Newman. Cody would eventually succeed Scott upon his retirement in 2011.

Kimbrough Middle School served as Poteet's only feeder. Nancy Schlegelmilch, then Saundra Shurtleff, and eventually Chris Brown served as directors during Scott’s career. Chris took over in 1995 and is still teaching there. He became part of the Poteet team, and Scott appreciates his friendship and is grateful to him for sending great band kids. It should be mentioned that at that time, MISD band students began in the seventh grade in two-year schools. Lots of fast and furious team teaching went on at Kimbrough! Scott is also so very proud of the many student teachers he has mentored as well as his former students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in music. Leticia Downs, former All-Stater and PHS Class of 2003, is now the Director of Bands at Poteet High School.

Under Scott’s direction, the Poteet High School bands were awarded the UIL “Sweepstakes” Award for twenty-three consecutive years. The Poteet Honors Band won Best in Class and Best in Contest awards at music festivals across the United States. The Poteet Honors Band excelled in the TMEA’s State Honor Concert Band competition, placing as State Finalists six times. In 2007, the Poteet Honors Band was named the TMEA State 4A (now 5A) Honor Band. In 2009, the Poteet Band Program was awarded the “Sudler Flag of Honor” by the John Philip Sousa Foundation and was named Exemplary High School Band Program in Texas by the Texas Bandmasters Association. The Poteet band has been awarded the Outstanding Band Program Award by the American School Band Directors Association. The Poteet High School Honors Band has two reference recordings for composers John Mackey and Michael Markowski.

The Pirate Marching Band also excelled, winning Best in Class and Best in Contest awards at marching festivals in the North Texas area. The Pirate Band participated in the Texas UIL 4A (now 5A) State Marching Contest eleven times and was selected as state finalists eight times, were medalists six times and won the Texas UIL 4A (now 5A) State Marching Championship three times during Mr. Coulson’s tenure - 1997, 2005, and 2007. Matthew, Scott’s son, a Texas All-State Band oboist, was a featured soloist in the 2005 State Championship band. Having Matthew in band was definitely the highlight of Scott’s career. Upon his retirement, the staff of the Pirate Band commissioned Michael Markowski to compose a piece in honor of Scott’s career. Elixir was premiered in May of 2012 by the Poteet HS Honors band and was conducted by Scott.

Scott currently serves as Executive Secretary for UIL Region 20 Music. He is involved with marching and concert bands in Texas as a show designer and as a clinician/consultant. He is also an active adjudicator throughout the Southwestern United States. His affiliations include: Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, past Concert Band Vice-President and Marching Band Vice-President of the Texas Music Adjudicators Association, Festival Administrator for Peak Music Festivals, and past President and current Secretary-Treasurer of Phi Beta Mu International Bandmaster Fraternity - Alpha Chapter. He has also served on the UIL Band PML Selection Committee and several TMEA State Honor Band revision committees. In 2002, Scott was charged with writing the UIL’s first ever Adjudication Rubrics for Marching Band.

Scott has been inducted into the Mesquite ISD “Apple Corps” and has been named an Outstanding Alumnus for Texas A&M University, Commerce. He has been awarded the Leadership and Achievement Award by the Texas Music Educators Association and has received the National Band Association’s Certificate of Merit for Marching Excellence. Scott was inducted into the John Philip Sousa Foundation's Legion of Honor in 2005 and the American Bandmasters Association in 2011. In 2020, he was recognized by the Texas Bandmasters Association with the Meritorious Achievement Award.

In retirement, Scott continues to be involved with music, juggling several of the above stated “part time” endeavors - these help to feed his golf habit! Sandra serves as Assistant Executive Secretary for UIL Region 20 and works part time as an educational consultant. They are so proud of their son, Matthew, who is with the State Department currently serving abroad as a Diplomatic Officer in the United States Foreign Service. Their passion is travel, and they enjoy chasing Matthew and Casey all over the world where they are posted.

Scott is very humbled and appreciative to Phi Beta Mu Alpha Chapter for his selection to the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame. This is truly an honor of a lifetime!

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