Directors & Staff
Greg Mills, Director of Bands
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
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 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.
Jacob Barrientes, Director of Color Guard
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.
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.
Celestino Rodriguez, Trumpet Section Technician
Celestino Rodriguez is trumpeter and educator born and raised in San Antonio. He attended Southwest High School and was a part of the school’s first Texas Future Music Educators chapter. Celestino began giving lessons at the age of 17 and has taught students in Southwest ISD, Medina Valley ISD, and Alamo Heights ISD where he was also a marching band technician. He was Principal trumpet of the San Antonio Youth Wind Ensemble where he had the privilege to work with Larry Livingston and perform in Carnegie Hall. In 2018, Celestino applied to the UTSA Summer Band Institute and was given a full scholarship to attend the institute. There he was awarded Outstanding Brass and Outstanding Camper. While still in high school, Celestino has performed as a guest with the San Antonio Jazz Orchestra and Primetime Jazz Orchestra. He is currently a student at The University of Texas at San Antonio where he is pursuing a bachelor's degree in music education. During his time at UTSA, Celestino has performed in the UTSA Wind Ensemble and Orchestra as Principal Trumpet. He is also a brother of the Nu Eta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. In 2021, Celestino was the winner of the UTSA Concerto and Aria Competition performing the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto. Celestino is now heading into his fourth year and UTSA and is a marching band technician and on the private lesson staff at William H. Taft High School.
Laura Navarrette, Mellophone Technician
Hello! My name is Laura Navarrette, and I am UTSA Senior Music Education Major! I am originally from Odessa, TX, but resided in Lubbock,TX from middle school to high school. I began playing the French Horn in the eighth grade at Laura Bush Middle School and still love it to this day! I marched and played with the Lubbock-Cooper Pirate Pride Marching Band and the Lubbock-Cooper Varsity Band. I found my love for music during these high school days, and also found my love for teaching when being a Mellophone Section leader and the Brass Captain leader! I chose UTSA because I love this city’s culture and love for the arts. The high schools have so much to offer for the arts and I can’t wait to be a part of it! I am very excited to be working at Taft High School and sharing my passion music with the students this marching season!
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 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!