From Austin to Carnegie hall
The McCallum band program is comprised of many diverse ensembles that perform and compete throughout the school year. In June 2020, the entire band was scheduled to perform in New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall before Covid-19 disrupted those plans. This would have been McCallum’s seventh appearance at this iconic concert hall.
McCallum High School was The 2015-2016 GRAMMY Signature School – recognized as the Top U.S. Public High School for Excellence in Music Education by the GRAMMY® Foundation. This award is only presented to one high school in the United States out of over 20,000 high school music programs invited to apply.
The McCallum band program is known for its superior musicianship and the McCallum Marching Band brings that musicianship to the football field during Central Texas’ famous Friday Night Football games. This year's show is titled, "Starsurfer." The 2022 show was "Seeing Stars," and the 2021 award winning show was, "Mirage." Our 2019 field show -- "Forever in Stone" - was named for Mr. Henry Stone, a MAC band parent who sadly passed away that year. Henry was unsurpassed in his support of MAC Band and a friend to all who knew him. Through "Forever in Stone," we honored the life and work of this incredible man.
In November of 2021, McCallum Band placed 6th overall in the UIL 5A State Marching Band Championships at the Alamodome, competing against some of the top bands from across Texas. In 2019 and 2017 the band performed in the UIL 5A State Marching Band Championships. In 2016 the band was named a National Winner of the 2016 National Wind Band Honors Competition sponsored by The Foundation for Music Education. It was also named a finalist in the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Honor Band Competition. An AISD band has been named a finalist only three times in the history of this competition - McCallum owns two of those three spots.
McCallum’s Color Guard provides visual movement to the marching band program. A combination of music, dance, theatre and visual arts, McCallum’s Color Guard is a brilliant combination of various art forms cultivated at the McCallum Fine Arts Academy. Color Guard is offered in the Fall semester and continues in the Spring semester as a Winter Guard class.
McCallum’s three concert bands (Concert, Symphonic and Wind Ensemble) showcase a sophisticated blend of musicianship, showmanship and practice, practice, practice. In 2015-2016, the three bands produced 62 TMEA District musicians, 44 TMEA Region musicians, 19 TMEA Area musicians and seven TMEA All State musicians!
In addition, our musicians amassed MANY First Division medals at this year’s UIL Solo/Ensemble Contest, with MANY solo entries and ensemble members advancing to the Texas State Solo Ensemble Contest. The Wind Ensemble (Varsity Band) is consistently recognized as one of the best concert bands in the state of Texas, named as a TMEA Honor Band Finalist in 2013 and 2015.
It's not a rock band without a drummer, and it's not a high school band program without percussion. A combination of precision, complexity and fun, McCallum’s percussion ensemble drives the marching band, anchors the concert bands and stands tall on its own as one of the top groups in the state of Texas and the United States.
McCallum’s percussionists are the 2015 Percussive Arts Society International Percussion Ensemble winner and were featured in concert at the P.A.S.I.C International Convention in San Antonio. The marching percussion section also placed first in the 5A division at the 2015 Dripping Springs Drumline Contest and received the Best Snareline, Best Bassline and Best Tenorline awards.
The McCallum Jazz Ensemble showcases the exceptional talents of our very versatile musicians in the band program. In 2022, TMEA Jazz auditions recognized six Region players and four Area players from our jazz program. The McCallum Jazz Ensemble won Outstanding Jazz Ensemble at the very competitive Bill Watrous Jazz Festival at Sam Houston State University in 2013 and Winter Park Music Festival in 2014. The Jazz Ensemble performs at many school and community events throughout the school year.
Knights of Steel
The McCallum Knights of Steel is among the most sought after steel drum bands in central Texas, playing 25-30 public performances each year. The Knights of Steel have twice been a feature ensemble at the Midwest Band and Orchestra International Convention and have performed at the 2006 and 2011 Percussive Arts Society International, Convention, alongside the Austin-based Inside Out Community Steel Band. The Knights of Steel are perfect for many different functions, everything from birthday, pool and graduation parties to corporate events and conventions.
The Samba Knights, a Brazilian drum group, is an after school program at McCallum High School. It was created in 2013-14 through an Austin Creative Classroom Fund grant and continues to offer study of Brazilian culture and performance of the infectious Brazilian Carnival style music. Through this grant, the Samba Knights have created a community partnership with the Austin Samba School, one of the largest Samba Schools in the United States. The Austin Samba School provides instruction to McCallum students and affords them many unique side by side performance opportunities. The Samba Knights perform at school concerts, soccer games and community events throughout the school year.
Carol Nelson, director
In her 44th year at McCallum High School, Carol Nelson is Director of Bands. She received her bachelor’s (music education) and master’s (applied conducting) degrees from the University of Texas in Austin, where she was a graduate assistant for the Longhorn Band. In addition, she also received her trumpet performance certificate from the University of Texas.
Among her many honors, Ms. Nelson has been awarded the University Interscholastic League’s Denius Excellence Award for the state of Texas, the Texas Bandmasters Meritorious Achievement Award, Teacher of the Year at McCallum High School, and the “M” Award at McCallum High School. Ms. Nelson is a member of Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association and Phi Beta Mu.
Dillon Junkin, assistant director
I am incredibly excited for another year as McCallum's Assistant Band Director! I am originally from Pearland, Texas and attended Glenda Dawson High School. I most recently taught for two years at Alvin High School in the Southeast Houston area. I graduated in the Summer of 2020 from Texas Tech University with degrees in Music Education with an emphasis in Trumpet as well as Music Composition. I marched for four Summers (2015-2018) with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps and am currently in my 4th season with Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps right here in Austin! I can’t wait to meet you all in person and get started on what is sure to be a fantastic year. Go Knights!
Ryan Pride, assistant director/percussion director
Originally from Pflugerville, TX, Mr. Pride has been teaching, performing, and composing for nearly two decades and has had wonderful opportunities to perform and tour across much of North America and Europe. Getting his start at Texas State University where he earned a Bachelor’s in Music Education, Mr. Pride performed with the wind ensemble, percussion ensemble, steel drum band, and Bobcat Marching Band. Mr. Pride then went on to march and teach for multiple drum corps including Glassmen, Crossmen, Memphis Sound, Forte, and Phantom Regiment and held roles ranging from front ensemble instructor to Battery Coordinator. Mr. Pride has also worked with WGI groups Odyssey Percussion Theatre, Terminus Atlanta Percussion, Austin Independent, Gateway Independent, and Rise Percussion.
Mr. Pride holds a Masters in Percussion Performance with certificates in Music Theory and College Teaching from the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he performed with the wind ensemble, symphony orchestra, percussion ensemble, latin jazz ensemble, and Brazilian Batéria. He is endorsed by Zildjian, Innovative Percussion, is an Honorary Member of Kappa Kappa Psi, and is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, Texas Music Educators Association, and Texas Bandmaster’s Association. You can learn and hear more about his work at pridepercussion.com. In his free time, Mr. Pride is an avid runner, rock climber, and enjoys spending time with his wife, Dr. Katie Harper, their son Emerson, and dogs Rach (short for Rachmaninoff) and Charlie.
Jeffrey Rudy, assistant director
Jeffrey Rudy is Assistant Director of Bands at McCallum High School. Growing up in Maryland, he received an Artist Certificate in Piano Performance from the Peabody Conservatory Preparatory Program and his Bachelors Degree in Music (Applied Piano) from the University of Texas at Austin. His post-graduate conducting studies were done with Eddie Green at the University of Houston and Anthony Maiello and Col. Arnold Gabriel at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Mr. Rudy directs the Concert Band and Color Guard, assists with the Wind Ensemble and Marching Band, and teaches AP Music Theory and Collaborative Piano within the Fine Arts Academy. Now in his 34th year of teaching, he remains active as a private piano instructor and accompanist in the Austin area.
Wilbert Toruno, color guard director
Wilbert Toruno comes to McCallum from Miami, FL. He has been involved in the marching arts for 10+ years. He started his career in the arts as a saxophone player but turned to color guard after his dreams to march drum corp was becoming a reality.
Over the years he has marched with several groups including, FIU marching band, South Florida Independent 2018, Relentless Open 2020, Relentless World 2021, and FIU Gold winter guard in 2022. He also recently aged out with the Spirit of Atlanta as a member of their color guard.
Wilbert has taught numerous high schools, collegiate, and independent organizations such as FIU Winter guard. He is currently attending Florida International University studying Sustainability and Earth Science to one day become a science teacher.
He spent summer 2023 on tour with the Cadets (DCI corps)
Private Lesson Teachers
Interested in a private music lessons? Our MAC Band directors have compiled a list of recommended teachers. Click here for more information.