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El Paso High School Band Grieves Director, Marches On

El Paso High School’s band room holds more than just instruments.

Inside, there is a symphony of memories scrawled on sheets of paper taped to the blackboard.

“This is everyone’s little bit that they have of Mr. Works,” student Albert Richardson said as he pointed to the collection of notes, inside jokes and messages.

The makeshift memorial is for Aaron Works, the band’s 53-year-old director who died July 20 of natural causes.

Now, the band he loved to lead is marching on in his honor. One of the pieces they are rehearsing is the memorial song “Hymn to the Fallen.”

“We’re all just trying to put our whole [selves] into it so we can do it how he would’ve wanted us to do it,” said Richardson.

The band has decided to pick up where Works left off. It’s a demanding schedule that starts at 7 a.m. every weekday.

They march in the school’s parking lot for three hours in the morning, break for lunch, then continue practicing in the school’s band room and auditorium for a few more hours.

“We’re pretty much doing the same thing we would be doing if Mr. Works was here,” said Matt Dayoub. Dayoub, a graduate of El Paso High, is now studying at UTEP. He came back to his alma mater to lend a hand with the band’s summer program.

“He really meant a lot to this band. He was real big on not stopping for one person and I’m sure he would want us to do the same thing,” he said. “It’s about continuing everything he started.”

Senior Dante Oviedo said this year is especially significant for the band. Works was about to go into his fourth year as band director at the school.

“This would have been [Mr. Works’] graduating year so it means a lot to us,” said Oviedo.

David Castro, the Assistant Band Director at Jefferson High/Silva Magnet School, is helping the young musicians for the time being. He said their hard work is a reflection on Works.

“These kids showing their dedication to the program is a remarkable tribute to him,” Castro said.

Students said there’s more to the music in this season’s songs.

“We have to dedicate them to people who made a difference in our lives. So we’re doing this for Mr. Works,” said Oviedo.

The band is set to perform on Aug. 27 at home when El Paso High’s football team hosts Fabens High for the first game of the season. El Paso Independent School District officials said they hope to hire a new band director by the fall.

Related Links:Video:El Paso High School Marching Band 2009 UIl RegionalVideo:El Paso High School Marching Band 2007 NMSU Tournament Of Bands

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