On Monday, May 8, Kayla Warren, a fourth year band director at Timber Creek, conducted her last concert ever on the Timber Creek stage. Mrs. Warren has decided that this was to be her last year as a band director and wishes to pursue a career in counseling.
During her time at Timber Creek, Warren has transitioned through several drastic changes with the band, and has pushed to make the band better in several ways. The marching band has evolved into a more sophisticated group, the jazz band has grown tremendously and attended their first contest ever, and Timber Creek was the only band in the region to take four concert bands to the UIL Contest, all in the past few years.
During marching season, Warren served as a great asset on the field to assist with drill precision and technique, not only due to her many years of experience as a director, but also her background in several major DCI Drum Corps.
“Mrs. Warren always had a lot of energy at practice and was always ready to work to contribute towards our success,” explained Erin Obregon. “Her outstanding work ethic always motivated me to be my best on the field all the time.”
Two years ago, Warren started the jazz band as an after school club, but it has since grown into something so much more. Due to her instrumental role in the growth of the club, it now has its own class period and is continually expanding into a group of passionate, dedicated musicians.
“Mrs. Warren has really changed the jazz band and made it into something new,” said sophomore Karla Adrian-Caceres. “She started the group and this year we got to go to our first competition and it was amazing. It is a lot different than regular band because it is a smaller group of people and each class period is a new adventure.”
In February, the jazz band was able to have the unique opportunity to compete at the University of Texas at Arlington Jazz Festival. After their performance, the band received a clinic with Stockton Helbing, a professional jazz musician.
“We put in so much hard work for the UTA Jazz Festival,” explains trumpet player Brendan Chucci. “Mrs. Warren wanted to make us great, and her drive encouraged us to want to have a great performance. Getting the clinic from Stockton Helbing afterwards was something super special and a new and unique experience that none of us will ever forget.”
Warren’s passion for jazz has been inspiring to much of the band and has impacted students in huge ways.
“I have been exposed to so many jazz techniques and standards,” explained Chucci. “I’ve become such a better jazz musician, and jazz has become something that I never want to give up. I have even considered studying it in college.”
In mid-April, Warren took the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band I to the UIL Contest. At this contest, each band plays a concert of prepared music for a panel of judges, and then sight-reads a selection for a different set of judges. Both of her bands scored 1’s on stage and in sight-reading.
“Being in Mrs. Warren’s band was one of my favorite parts of this year,” explained Gentry Lamberth, freshman clarinet student. “She always made band fun and something I looked forward to every day. She is always energetic about music and is passionate about teaching.”
Since Warren has made many contributions to help improve the ensemble, the jazz band wanted to show their gratitude by planning something special for her in return. They prepared a jazz arrangement of “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder to perform for her as a surprise at the spring concert.
“Karla and I were really affected after Mrs. Warren announced that she was leaving, so we decided that we wanted to arrange a song for her,” said Chucci. “Karla and I just started looking through a list of song names and decided that ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ would be the perfect fit.”
Mrs. Warren has a special place in all of the seniors’ hearts, because her first year at Timber Creek was also theirs. The seniors and Warren have been able to play an enormous role in the evolution of the band program. Although everyone is sad to see her go, the seniors feel as if Mrs. Warren gets to graduate alongside them.
“Seeing Mrs. Warren graduate with us is bittersweet and almost doesn’t feel right”, explains senior Ainsley Machnik. “I wish all the future band members could experience her bubbly, cheerful attitude.”