Directors & Staff

Greg Mills, Director of Bands

gregory.mills@nisd.net

210-397-5976

Mr. Mills is the Director of Bands at William H. Taft High School. A native of Arizona, he began his musical study on the piano. Shortly after, he picked up the saxophone in school. Following high school, Mills studied saxophone performance and music education at Arizona State University under the musical guidance of Dr. Timothy McAllister who currently teaches as the professor of saxophone at the University of Michigan School of Music and studied conducting privately with Gary Hills and Dr. Wayne Bailey.

During his time at Arizone State, Mills served for three years as the drum major for the 400 member, Sudler Trophy winning Sun Devil Marching Band under the direction of 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, Mr. Mills was hired as the Associate Director of Bands at Taft High School in San Antonio's Northside Independent School District in 2013. He was later promoted to the Director of Bands in May of 2019. As the director of bands, Mr. Mills leads the team-taught marching band program, conducts the Taft Wind Ensemble, and team teaches the Taft Jazz Ensemble with fellow directors Jeremy Chapman and Robert Soto. His bands have continuously received sweepstakes ratings at UIL contests since his employment at Taft HS. Mills also actively teaches saxophone privately. His students have gone on to be accepted into region bands, area bands, the Texas all-state band 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 in San Antonio with their son Ezra and their son Ezra and 85 pound goldendoodle Bo. They enjoy visiting the many Texas State Parks located throughout the Hill Country and hiking on the weekends.

Robert Soto, Associate Director of Bands

robert.soto@nisd.net

210-397-5975

Trombonist and Educator Robert Soto is a native of El Paso, Texas. He has performed and taught across the United States, Mexico, Canada, England and Brazil. He has worked with such artists as Sir Neville Marriner, Dave Taylor, Gary Foster, Brad Leali, Bill Reichenbach, Tito Puente Jr and jazz legend Dave Brubeck as well as composers Alan Silvestri, Eric Nathan and Frank Ticheli. Robert has also recorded/performed with a variety of groups including the El Paso Wind Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Golden State Pops Symphony Orchestra, Clare Fischer/Brent Fischer Jazz Group, Elliot Deutsch Big Band, Conjunto Oye and on the IFC series Comedy Bang, Bang! He has performed with the Yale Philharmonia at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Hungarian Revolution at Carnegie Hall in NYC, Birmingham and Wigan Jazz Festivals in England, the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) convention, the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) convention and the Music for All National Festival and Summer Symposium sponsored by Yamaha.

As a featured soloist, Robert has performed at the Texas Tech Big XII Trombone Conference, with the El Segundo Concert Band and Fullerton College Symphonic Winds and at the Southern California Trombone Day. Since coming to Los Angeles in 2008, Robert has been in demand as a freelance trombonist, private instructor, conductor and guest clinician. He has worked with a variety of music programs ranging from beginning bands, middle school/high school ensembles, college/university groups and community bands. Robert has served on the brass staffs for the Blue Knights, Sacramento Mandarins, DCI World Champion Cavaliers, Boston Crusaders and The Battalion Drum & Bugle Corps. Robert holds a Bachelor in Music Education (Cum Laude) from the University of Texas at El Paso and a Master in Music Performance from Yale University, School of Music. He has studied trombone with Scott Hartman, Steve Norrell, John Lofton, Steve Wilson, Allan Kaplan and Robert Melendez. His conducting studies were with Dr. Ron Hufstader and Maestro Toshiyuki Shimada. In 2013, Robert was selected to attend the Pokorny Low Brass Seminar, where he studied with members of the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit and Chicago Symphony Orchestras.

Robert has served as the Director of Bands at Norte Vista High School, El Segundo Middle School/High School, and as Adjunct Professor of Trombone at Fullerton College. He has also taught at Ayala HS and Chino Hills HS. As of June 2019, Mr. Soto relocated to San Antonio to become the Assistant Director of Bands at William H. Taft High School. Off the podium, Robert enjoys family time with his wife April, their daughter Camila and their furry pets. Robert Soto is a performing artist and educator for the Yamaha Corporation of America and performs on Yamaha trombones exclusively.

Jeremy Chapman, Director of Percussion Studies

Jeremy.Chapman@nisd.net

210-397-5963

Jeremy Chapman is the Associate Director of Bands and the Director of Percussion at William Howard Taft High School in San Antonio, TX, where his responsibilities include teaching drumline, front ensemble, concert percussion, steel drum band, concert band, as well as teaching percussion at Zachry and Briscoe Middle Schools.

Jeremy Chapman is an alumnus of the University of Kentucky where he received his BA in Music Education and studied Percussion Performance under DCI Hall of Fame Recipient, PAS Hall of Fame Recipient, & Provost Distinguished Service Professor, James Campbell.

Jeremy was a member of the 1999 Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps, winning the Fred Sanford Award for Best Percussion Performance. In 2001, he won the Percussive Art Society Solo Percussion Contest. Jeremy went on to teach several Drum & Bugle Corps including Southwind, The Colts, Spirit of Atlanta, and Phantom Regiment.

In 2008, he began teaching at Clinton HS in Clinton, TN. In 2011, while a Director at Broken Arrow HS, the Pride of Broken Arrow Marching Band won the BOA Grand National Championship. As an Assistant Band Director & Percussion Specialist at Wagner HS, the percussion program has received consistent and numerous awards for outstanding percussion in Marching Band and have performed at the following events: 2015 PASIC Convention in San Antonio, 2016 DCI Drumline Battle in San Antonio, 2018 TMEA Showcase Concert, and 2019 TBA Convention “The Great Divide” Making the Percussionists’ Middle School Years Count. Most recently as the Fredericksburg ISD Director of Bands, Mr. Chapman is looking forward to come back home to San Antonio and finish out his teaching career. Jeremy is a proud endorser of Remo Drumheads and Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets.

Jeremy and his wife Michelle along with their two young daughters Ella Rhea and Emma Kate, are excited to join Northside ISD Community at Taft High School as an Associate Director of Bands. GO RAIDERS!

In his spare time, Jeremy enjoys writing music, date nights with his wife, and playing with his daughters. He also loves cheering on his 8-time National Champion Kentucky Wildcats Basketball team! GO CATS!

Jacob Barrientes, Director of Color Guard

robert.soto@nisd.net

210-843-5142

As a San Antonio native, Jacob is a graduate of Harlandale High School. He started his first teaching position serving as the Assistant Director of Colorguard for Earl Warren High School (2017-2020). During his time with the program he helped lead the Colorguard Organization to many Outstanding Colorguard Awards in the Marching Season. The Indoor Winter Season Program is a 4 time WGI Scholastic Open Finalist as well their JV Program being named a WGI San Antonio Scholastic Regional A Finalist in 2020 under his direction. He has worked with other programs in the San Antonio area such as McCollum HS & Southwest HS writing choreography.

Mr. Barrientes has DCI & WGI experience in the color guard activity. He marched with the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps Colorguard for the 2019 Drum Corps International Season where they won the George Zingali Best Color Guard Award. He then marched an Independent Winter Guard Program, ORIGINS based out of Austin, TX for the 2020 Winter Guard International Season.

Jacob currently also serves as the Historian for the Texas Educational Colorguard Association Circuit.

Sarek Gutierrez, Front Ensemble Technician

Sarek Gutierrez is a musician who has been described as “elegant and precise ” to “brutally powerful” in the same breath (Kamikaze Blog). On top of actively performing, he is a also a passionate educator, composer, arranger, and recording engineer based in central Texas. He is currently recording and producing his debut album containing new contemporary pieces for vibraphone.

He has premiered over 20 new works involving percussion. His collaborations typically involve his group, 3G Percussion and has included working with emerging composers from Poland, China, Germany, France, Canada, Mexico, Italy, and the US. When not performing with 3G Percussion, he works as a drum set specialist for various local and touring productions, musicals, wind ensembles, orchestras, jazz bands, and popular music groups around Texas. Sarek has also been a performing artist at the Space City New Music Festival, Artosphere Contemporary Festival, and the Lonestar Contemporary Arts Festival

As an educator, Mr. Gutierrez is currently serving as an adjunct faculty member at Our Lady of the Lake University and Texas A&M University San Antonio, where he teaches courses in percussion, music production, and music appreciation. He also has served as the Director of Development for Space City Performing Arts, based in Houston since 2015. Before teaching at the college level, Mr. Gutierrez taught as a middle school and high school percussion instructor from 2011-2018.

Sarek has extensive experience teaching and arranging for marching/indoor groups. Under his direction, he started drumline programs at three different middle schools, and his high school students consistently earn division 1 ratings and have twice won awards for “Best Percussion” at different marching contests. His arrangements have been hailed as “incredibly musical, and well written” by judges and many of his students have gone on to perform in open class and world class drum corps.

Sarek Gutierrez has earned degrees from The University of Western Ontario (MM), and The University of Texas at San Antonio (BM) with a Distinguished Performance Certificate. He also completed a semester abroad program in Urbino, Italy studying jazz with vibraphonist, Marco Pacassoni.


Maleah Martin, Clarinet Section Technician


Maleah Martin attended California State University, Northridge where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance and Music Education under the instruction of Dr. Julia Heinen. During her time in college, Maleah earned the principal clarinet position with both the Wind Symphony and the Wind Ensemble. She also coached chamber music and helped teach undergraduate lessons. At the 2011 ClarinetFest, hosted by California State University, Northridge, she was named concertmaster for the Wind Ensemble’s prestigious concert series where she performed alongside Alexander Fiterstein, Bob Spring, Hakan Rosengren, Julian Bliss and the Vendome Quartet.

Maleah has over 15 years of experience and currently teaches clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone, flute, and piano. Most recently, she has been instructing students from beginner to high school levels in San Antonio Texas, and performing regularly with the Prickly Pear Clarinet Ensemble and the Heart of Texas Concert Band. Maleah performed with the Prickly Pear Clarinet Ensemble at ClarinetFest in Orlando in 2017 and Knoxville in 2019. Her private studio has produced several state musicians and future music majors.

Joseph Cerros, Saxophone Section Technician

Mr.Cerros is a saxophone player and educator located in San Antonio, Texas. He is currently a music education major under the studying of Dr.Rami El-Farrah of Saxophone Pedagogy at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Being Immersed in the culture of marching band since high school and continuing the culture with UTSA’s very own SOSA marching band. He was given the opportunity to serve as an assistant drum major for UTSA the fall of 2020. When not pursuing music, he loves engaging with his friends and family traveling.

Jason Grant, Trumpet Section Technician

Mr. Grant is a Trumpet Player and educator based in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to teaching privately, he has worked with high school band programs in NISD and NEISD. Mr. Grant has been a professional trumpet performer for over 5 years from his years as a performer with Sea World Parks and Entertainment and the United States Army Band. As an Army Bandsman, he had the opportunity to travel the midwest to perform and provide clinics/masterclasses at a number of schools in the region. He is currently a music major at The University of Texas at San Antonio. When not doing school work, he enjoy working as a freelance trumpet player, going to the gym, and spending time with my family and friends.



Chase Guerrero, Trombone Technician

Mr. Guerrero is Bass Trombone player and Music Education major at UTSA, with a minor in Jazz Studies. Mr. Guerrero was a part of UTSA's Spirit of San Antonio for four years, where he served as music staff for two years, and a student assistant for one year. He has played with a number of ensembles in his time at UTSA, including the Wind ensemble, Symphonic band, Jazz ensemble, orchestra, and the Trinity University Wind Ensemble. In his free time, Mr. Guerrero enjoys spending time with his friends and dog, and playing video games.

Aashish Mavani, Tuba Section Technician

Mr. Mavani is a tuba player who grew up in Grapevine, TX up near DFW and attended Colleyville Heritage High School. He was a 5A All-State Tuba player and for 2 summers he marched with The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps and 1 summer with The Santa Clara Vanguard. Mr. Mavani is currently attending The University of Texas at San Antonio where he is pursuing a degree in Music Education with a focus on Tuba under the instruction of Gary Poffenbarger. During his college time he has spent 2 years with the Spirit of San Antonio as a member and 1 year as the Rowdy Texan Tuba Section’s music staff, and has also joined the Nu Eta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. This will be his 3rd year teaching in San Antonio, but his first year at Taft HS. In his limited free time he enjoys playing his guitar, hiking, rock climbing, motorcycle rides, and taking care of his new puppy Winter!