‘Super’ Band Leader Torres is Teacher of the Year
Center Grove Community High School teacher Josh Torres took his band students to the 2012 Super Bowl, but to his band kids and fellow staff members, he was already pretty super. That’s why he was selected as this year’s high school Teacher of the Year.
“It has been a humbling experience to be selected for the Teacher of the Year award,” Torres says. “I keep a pretty low profile, so I never really expected to be honored by my peers. It really meant a lot to know that my colleagues were aware of the work that I have been doing down in the band area.”
The 31-year-old band instructor got involved in band during middle school. His interest was piqued, especially in the percussion area, after seeing Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis. However, he says, “It wasn’t until high school that I really blossomed as a player. It’s funny to look back on it now because one of our biggest rivals during my high school years was Center Grove!”
Torres’ teaching career started at Denton (TX) High School, but in 2006, he moved to Center Grove. Torres’ career at Center Grove originally had him leading percussions with the band, and only later assuming complete leadership of the group. Then of course, in 2011, came news of what would be one of his career highlights.
“Each year, the NFL hires a performer to headline the halftime event at the Super Bowl. They also hire a production company that helps make sure that artist fits into the scheme that the Super Bowl Halftime show requires. Madonna’s people then communicates any needs (ranging from additional performers to stage needs) to the production company and they help make it a reality. At some point, the phone call came from Madonna’s people that they need a 100-member drum line for the halftime show. The production company had a contact who worked for Drum Corps International. She recommended me based up the record of accomplishment of Center Grove High School’s Percussion Program. I was completely stunned to receive the phone call. Of course, my answer was we’ll do anything to be a part of Super Bowl XLVI.”
Torres calls the night a “surreal experience.” “We were in awe when we stepped out onto the field to play for all of those people. I was definitely a bit nervous, but I wasn’t going to let that spoil the experience of playing alongside Kelly Clarkson,” Torres says.
The Super Bowl was just one more landmark achievement for an instructor who also led his band to win a Silver and Bronze at the 2009 and 2010 WGI Championships, finishing second and third out of more than 100 groups.
Torres is not content with the success of the past, though. In the future, he hopes to involve his band more with music of other cultures. “We’ve recently started ensembles focusing on Brazilian, African, and Afro-Cuban Percussion. That’s not only going to be lots of fun, but it will open up a whole new musical dimension for our students.”
I apologize that the pictures were not correct in the print edition. Below you will find the corrected list of the honored teachers. Dann Veldkamp, Publisher.
Other Award Winners
Mr. Torres is but one of the outstanding teachers in the Center Grove school system. Each year, the Center Grove school district selects a teacher from all of its schools for the Teacher of the Year Award. These awards are given to teachers who have gone above and beyond the normal call of duty in order to enhance the lives and learning of their students. The following are recognized for outstanding work within their school. Cg