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Amanda Stevenson, Director of Bands

Amanda Stevenson
Amanda Stevenson is the Director of Bands at William H. Taft High School in San Antonio, TX. Throughout her career she has instructed various students in music ranging from beginners to collegiate members.  Her instructional experience extends throughout Texas including Texas State University, Georgetown High School, Winston Churchill High School, Bowie High School and Harlingen High School.  Mrs. Stevenson has been with the Taft High School music program as Conductor of the Wind Ensemble, Director of Jazz Studies, Director of the Raider Marching Band and instructor of Instrumental Ensembles since Fall 2015.  Prior to her time at Taft, Amanda was the Associate Band Director at Georgetown High School since 2007.


Amanda has a strong affiliation with Drum Corps International (DCI).  She recently finished her second summer on Brass Staff for the World Class Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps.  She has also served on Brass Staff for the Phantom Regiment and Visual Staff with Revolution Drum and Bugle Corps.  Though her primary instrument is Saxophone, Mrs. Stevenson played Euphonium with Capital Regiment and started her corps career on Baritone with Revolution Drum and Bugle Corps.  Through these experiences, she has worked with many top educators throughout the country.


Mrs. Stevenson received her Bachelor Degree in All-Level Music Education from Texas State University in 2007.  She studied Wind Conducting with John Stansberry, Howard Hudiburg and Dr. Rod Schueller.  Amanda has continued a close relationship with the School of Music as the Texas State Summer Band Camp Coordinator for about a decade.


Since her time at Texas State, Mrs. Stevenson has had continued success with Superior Ratings at the University Interscholastic League Concert, Sightreading and Marching Contests.  She has been a Texas Music Educator Association Clinician, has been the recipient on numerous grants for her programs and has achieved the Mark of Excellence in National Jazz Honors Award.


Mrs. Stevenson is an active clinician, performer and adjudicator in the United States.  Her professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Jazz Educators Association, and Sigma Alpha Iota.  Amanda currently lives in San Antonio, Texas where she continues to educate and instruct students of all levels.

Greg Mills, Associate Director of Bands

Greg Mills
Mr. Mills is currently the Associate Director of Bands at Taft High School. A native of Arizona, he began his musical study in 1996 on the piano. Shortly after, he picked up the saxophone and left all other interests behind. Following high school, Mills studied saxophone performance and music education at Arizona State University under the musical tutelage of Dr. Timothy McAllister who currently teaches as the professor of saxophone at the University of  Michigan School of Music. 

During his time at ASU, Mills served for three years as the drum major for the 400 member, Sudler Trophy winning Sun Devil Marching Band under the direction of Mr. James Hudson. Mills also composed and arranged selections for the band while taking composition lessons from breathing gym creator Samuel Pilafian (tuba chair of the Boston Brass). In addition to his time with the Athletic Band program, Mills was a member and officer of the Beta Omicron chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, the national honorary band fraternity, the principle saxophonist of the ASU wind ensemble, a low brass member of the Academy Drum and Bugle Corps, and the soprano saxophone chair of the nationally competitive Paradigm Shift Saxophone Quartet.

Since his relocation to Texas, Mills was hired as the associate director of bands of Taft High School in Northside Independent School District. As a woodwind specialist, his primary responsibilities include the instruction of the woodwind program at Taft. He conducts the Taft Symphonic Band and assists with the marching band, wind ensemble and concert band programs, and co-teaches the jazz ensemble with director Amanda Stevenson in addition to instructing the music theory program. Mills also actively teaches saxophone privately. His students have gone on to be accepted into region bands, area bands, and national programs such as the Interlochen Summer Arts Academy in Michigan. He is a member of the Texas Bandmaster's Association, the Texas Music Educators Association, and a lifetime member of Kappa Kappa Psi- National Honorary Band Fraternity.

Greg and his wife Leslie both live and teach band in San Antonio. They enjoy hiking on the weekends and are frequent movie-goers. 

Rick Astorga, Associate Director of Bands

As a San Antonio native, Rick Astorga attended and graduated from Earl Warren HS in 2005. He then attended Texas State University where he received his bachelor
s degree in Music Education, studying percussion with Genaro Gonzalez and drum set with jazz legend Butch Miles. Mr. Astorga has many years of experience in the diverse aspect of percussion. In 2005 and 2006 he marched with Revolution Drum and Bugle Corps which received 2nd place in the Drum Corps International World Championships, and was selected to be a member of the DCI Honor Corps in 2005 where he marched in the Walt Disney Day Parade which aired on NBC. He served as principal percussionist for the Texas State Chamber Orchestra during their 2009 Italy Tour, and has also performed with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Symphony Orchestra. As a drumline instructor, Astorga has had the privilege of teaching with many award winning groups including Texas State University Drumline and WGI World Class Indoor Drumline Imperial Percussion Theatre.

Mr. Astorga taught for two years at Jefferson Middle School in San Antonio Texas. There he directed Jeffersons Night of Percussion, the Jazz Band and the Concert Band which received Sweepstakes at UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest in 2013. While at Jefferson, Rick Astorga had several percussion students earn a spot in the Region 11 MS Band which included 1st chair spots. Rick Astorga has also taught percussion with George Garza at Sandra Day OConnor High School which earned 1st place in the Percussive Arts Societys International Convention High School Small ensemble competition as well as 22nd in the 2012 Texas UIL State Marching Competition. In 2014 Jefferson Middle School percussion under Astorgas direction had the privilege of perform alongside great artist Lalo Davila for the OConnor Percussion Concert.

Currently, Mr. Astorga is the Associate Director of Bands and the Director of Percussion at William Howard Taft High School in San Antonio which has qualified numerous times for the UIL State Marching Competition including 2014 with the production H. Taft premiered their first ever steel drum ensemble under the direction of Mr. Astorga and has performed as a musical showcase at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in 2016. Taft percussion also participated in the 2015 Percussive Arts Society International Convention Marching Competition. Aside from his teaching assignments at Taft, Mr. Astorga is a percussion judge for The Texas Educational Colorguard Association. He has also performed as a percussionist for the San Antonio Wind Symphony and the Bandera Road Community Church. He is also the co-founder of Lime Drop Steel which actively performs in the Austin area. Mr. Astorga currently instructs the 5 Points Indoor Drumline and Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps.

Currently, Rick Astorga serves as a coordinator for the Texas State Percussion Summer Camp since 2008 and has worked alongside educators such as Murray Gussack, Mike Macintosh, Bill Bachman, Ney Rosaro, Ndugu Chancler, Arthur Lipner, Gary Gibson, Tom Aungst, Paul Wortico, Chris Hanning, Ed Soph, Butch Miles, Rick Latham, and Zoro.

Rick Astorga is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Band Masters Association, the Percussive Arts Society, the National Association for Music Education, and is an endorser and a member of the Education Team for Vic Firth, the worlds largest drumstick and mallet manufacturing company.

Ruben AlejandreColor Guard Director

A graduate of William Howard Taft High school, Ruben was a member of the Taft Raider Band color guard. He became a member of Revolution Drum and Bugle Corps for two seasons. After aging out, Ruben became a staff member for the corps specializing in dance and flag. Ruben was also a part of Revolution Independent Winterguard for four seasons competing in both the Open and World class at WGI.

Currently, Ruben resides in San Antonio, where he is working on his college degree in Dance. He is currently the Color Guard Director at William Howard Taft High school.

Band Parent Boosters and Teams Leads

Doug Rager                         - Booster Presidentpresident@taftraiderband.org 

Minerva Cooperwood            - Booster 1st Vice President

JoAnne Smith                      - Booster 2nd Vice President

Tony Durand                        - Booster Treasurer

(vacant)                              - Asst Treasurer


Celeste-Jewel Heist              - Booster Secretary


 Freshman Rep -  Jonathan Waughtal
                                Savannah Falcon

 Color guard Rep -  colorguardrep@taftraiderband.org

 Booster Committees Website Email
 Audit                                   (vacant) audit@taftraiderband.org
 Chicken BBQ                         Ali French
                                            Liz Rhine
 Concessions                          Ruben Mendez concessions@taftraiderband.org
 Hospitality                            Jenny Ortegon hospitality@taftraiderband.org
 Italian Dinner                        (vacant)  italiandinner@taftraiderband.org
 Membership                          Marilyn Trevino membership@taftraiderband.org
 Multimedia Management        Fernando Aguilar multimedia@taftraiderband.org
 Nomination                           (vacant) nomination@taftraiderband.org
 Public Relations                     (vacant) publicrelations@taftraiderband.org
 Scholarship                           (vacant) scholarship@taftraiderband.org
 Sponsorship                          Savannah Falcon
                                             Imelda Aguilar
 Spirit Sales                       (vacant) spiritsales@taftraiderband.org
Tailgates                                Scott Hutcheson tailgates@taftraiderband.org
 TMEA                                    (vacant) tmea@taftraiderband.org
 Booster Teams Website Email
 Band Meals                            Lucille Hernandez bandmeals@taftraiderband.org
 Banquet                                (vacant) banquet@taftraiderband.org
 Chaperones                           Roni Wiggins chaperones@taftraiderband.org
 Jazz Extravaganza                  (vacant) jazzextravaganza@taftraiderband.org
 Jazz Festival                          Roy Bolton   jazzextravaganza@taftraiderband.org
 Props                                    Brian and Roni Wiggins
                                             Mari Dominguez
 Registration                           (vacant) registration@taftraiderband.org
 Roadies                                 Mark Contreras
                                             Fernando Aguilar
 Student Fundraising               Mari Dominguez fundraising@taftraiderband.org
 Senior Night                          Sharon Cone seniornight@taftraiderband.org
 Uniforms                                (vacant)
                                             Becky Durand