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2007-2008 Hall of Fame Inductees

Paul Brazauskas

Paul grew up in Chicago, Illinois where his love for music started early. While in elementary school, he carried drums on the city street cars to take lessons from Herman Wiegman and Haskell Harr.  He received a music scholarship to Mt. Carmel High School.  After high school, he attended VanderCook College of Music in Chicago wherehe received a Bchelor of Music Education degree in 1953.  After graduation, Paul completed a three year enlistment in the 5th Army Band at Fort Sheridan, Illinois.

In September 1956, Paul began his teaching career as assistant band director in Harvey, Illinois with Haskell Harr.  When Haskell retired, Paul took over as head band director. He directed this band to first division ratings at state competitions multiple years.  He also judged solo and ensemble contests in Illinois and Indiana during this time.

Paul and his wife, Shirley, were married in January 1957. Four summers were spent going back to VanderCook College of Music where he received his Master of Music Education the summer of 1962.

VanderCook was also where Paul and Bob Vezzetti became friends.  In 1967, this friendship became the reason Paul, along with Shirley (seven months pregnant at the time) and two small children, packed up and moved to Brownsville, Texas.

Over the next 25 years, Paul taught young percussion players in the Brownville school system.  During this time, Brownsville was always well represented in the percussion sections of the All-Valley, Area and All-State percussion try-outs.

Paul had many published articles in the Instrumentalist and Percussive Arts Newsletter along with a number of published percussion solo and ensemble pieces (Neil Kjos Music Company).

He was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Honorary Lifetime Illinois Congress of Parent and Teachers, Percussive Arts Society (President Texas Chapter 1977), The Society of Rudimental Drummers, TBA and TMEA.

Paul and Shirley retired from BISD in June 1991 and moved to Beaver Lake just outside Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  They have thee grown children, Carrie, Mike and Susan and three grandsons, Roy, Kevin and Tanner.  Paul's retirement was cut short in August 1997 when he passed away due to a massive heart attack.

After his passing, he was honored at a Night of Percussion in Brownsville, Texas where some of Paul's former students paid tribute to him by performing.  Shirley also received many cards and letters from former students letting her know how important Paul had been to them - not only during their band days but also in the life lessons he had taught them.

Henry Rodriguez

Enrique (Henry) Rodriguez was born on February 11, 1942, in Weslaco, Texas, to Carlos and Hortencia Rodriguez. He attended St. Joan of Arc Catholic School with his other seven brothers and sisters. In the 8th grade he was first introduced to music by being offered the opportunity to participate in an after-school band program provided by the Weslaco School District for students in parochial schools. One of his fondest memories of this time was walking to the band hall and playing the trombone, his instrument of choice.

Henry attended Weslaco High School and played in the band under the direction of Marion Busby. As a student he earned recognition for his playing ability and was selected to the All-Valley Band trombone section several years running, and as a high school senior he was selected to the Texas All-State Band. Mr. Busby played a key role in influencing Henry’s decision to pursue a musical career.

In 1965, after graduating with a degree in music from Pan American College in Edinburg, Texas, Henry was hired by then Weslaco High School band director Kenneth Caldwell. He directed the Mary Hoge Jr. High Band and assisted at the high school until 1969. During the four years in Weslaco, his Junior High Band received numerous 1st Division Ratings, including honors in the Texas Honor Band competition.

After leaving Weslaco, Henry went on to serve as head director of the High School Band in Rio Grande City, Texas. Under his direction and the assistance of Junior High School Director David Silva, this band also received several 1st Division Ratings in Marching and Concert competitions.  After three fruitful years, Henry made the tough decision to move his family to McAllen, Texas.

In 1972 Henry received and accepted a job offer from Gary Zook, Director of Bands for the McAllen Independent School District. From 1972-1976, he directed the Lamar Junior High Band, Lincoln Junior High Band, and Brown 9th Grade Band, respectively. During this tenure, a strong friendship was formed that still exists with the Zook family. It was at the end of 1976 that Henry’s musical career as a teacher would take a different turn.

Henry joined the staff at Melhart Music Center in the summer of 1976 and worked for Jim Melhart as manager of the Band Department. During this time, Henry continued to enjoy his love of music by performing with and directing the McAllen Town Band. After 17 hard-working and enjoyable years at Melhart’s, Henry ventured out once again in the music field in a different direction.

Since 1992 until the present, he has been district manager of sales for Conn-Selmer Inc., first in Northern California and Hawaii, and now Texas and New Mexico. In this position Henry communicates daily with the music store dealers, promoting not only his product, but music as a whole. Apart from this, he calls on educators in the music department of universities and public schools. His love of music has been very fulfilling and has come full-circle.

Henry and his wife Luci reside in San Antonio, Texas. They are the parents of two sons: Rick, a band director in Spring, Texas, and Rob, sales representative for a publishing company out of San Antonio, Texas. In his spare time, Henry golfs and enjoys visiting with family and friends.

Nancy Shepard

Nancy was born in Olney, Illinois, to Myra and Gilbert Nadler in 1945. After her father died when she was three years old, she lived with her mother and grandmother on a farm in southern Illinois.

Nancy began her elementary education in a one-room school in Denver Township, Illinois.   That school was consolidated with the West Richland School District in Noble, Illinois.  She graduated from Noble High School in 1963.

Nancy began her college education at the formerly named Evansville College, Evansville, Indiana.  Her first declared major was in elementary education.  By the end of her sophomore year she was unhappy with that choice and transferred to a major in music.  She was awarded scholarships but had to work several jobs in order to complete her undergraduate degree, due to the family financial situation.  In 1968, she received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Evansville.

Nancy's first employment after graduation was as orchestra director in grades 4 through 8 in Lyons District #103, Cook County, Illinois.  This included seven schools in five suburbs:  Berwyn, Stickney, Lyons, Brookfield and Riverside.  All students were bussed to a central location before school for the full orchestra rehearsal, and then the rest of the day was spent going from school to school giving class lessons.

In April of 1969, she married Wesley Shepard, who was also a music teacher.  At the end of the school year she moved back to Evansville, Indiana and started pursuing her Masters of Arts degree, which she finished in 1971.  Upon finishing that degree she was employed in Huntingburg, Indiana, teaching General Music, grades K-6,  Middle School Band Director and Assistant High School Band Director.

The following two years she and her husband, Wes, traveled the USA. That was a great education in itself.  Eventually these travels brought them to McAllen, Texas.  When they joined the McAllen Town Band it was soon apparent to others that they were proficient in music.  Henry Rodriguez hired both Wes and Nancy to teach solos and ensembles at Lincoln Junior High School.  During the second year, a director resigned at Lamar Junior High School at the end of the first semester.  Gary Zook approached Nancy to take this job.  After much urging, Nancy took the job with the stipulation that she would not teach summer band camp, and she would not be back the following year.  Well, thirty years later Nancy retired from the McAllen ISD.

During these thirty years, Nancy was the Lamar Junior High School band director for 12 years, first assistant at Memorial High School for 5 years, and head director at Travis Middle School for 13 years.

A major challenge presented itself at Lamar when Nancy agreed to take over after the director resigned, because the band had only two months to prepare for UIL as a Class CC group.  Nancy discovered that the clarinets had never crossed the "break" and the cornets had not yet played third spaced "c".  There was much teaching to be done and in an extremely short time.  Nancy met the challenges many times, and the program grew from 22 students to 317 band students. Before the end of her tenure at Lamar she had won several UIL Sweepstakes Awards with her bands.

In the summer of 1985 Nancy attended the Vandercook School of Music for postgraduate study.

While she was teaching at Memorial High School Nancy's band won the first UIL sweepstakes for a second band in the history of the high school. Her band placed in the Great Southern Contest of Champions in Orlando, Florida and Carlsbad Music Festival at Carlsbad, New Mexico.

In 1990 Nancy moved to Travis Middle School where she had several Sweepstakes bands.  Throughout the years many of her students qualified for the All-Valley Band, and her students did extremely well at solo and ensemble competitions.  She worked under head directors Gary Zook, Ray Guzman, Paul Mann, Robert Jackson, Bryan Herring, Charles Casillas, Darrell Anderson and Jim Egger.

Related activities of Nancy's career are: Member of the Tri-State concert Band (professional band), Olney Cummins Municipal Band, Member and Director of McAllen Town Band, Adjudicator for many contests, Student teacher supervisor for UTPanAm and Texas A & M at Kingsville, and teacher advisor for the ACT program at UTPanAm.  Professional memberships included Sigma Alpha Iota, MENC, IMEA, ATPE, TMEA, TBA, International Clarinet Society, and Women Band Directors National Association.  She was elected to Who's Who Among America's Teachers in 1998 and 2002.  Nancy was Teacher of the Year in McAllen in 2003.  Upon her retirement, the band hall at Travis was named after her---Shepard Hall.  Her great passion was to help middle school students.

Nancy's competitive spirit is apparent in every activity she does.  She is an avid golfer and sailor.  She made her first “hole in one” last year. Nancy races sailboats on Walloon Lake, Michigan, in the summer.  She has won several medals and pennants, as well as the Curtis Sailing Cup in 1979, 1986, and 1988.  She won the Commodore's Trophy in 1980 and 1985.  She was “Sailor of the Year” in 1982 and 1985.  In 1978 she competed in the Highlander National Regatta finals.  She also loves photography, fishing, jet skiing, boating, and swimming at her summer cottage, named "Rallentando" on Walloon Lake.

Nancy is honored to be the first woman elected to the Rio Grande Valley Band Directors Hall of Fame.

Avie Teltschik

Avie Teltschik was born in Floresville, Texas, into a very musical family on February 13, 1935. His own music training began at the age of three with his father, Fritz Teltschik, who taught him to play the tonette.

Avie grew up to become an accomplished trumpet player. He performed many First Class solos at a very early age when other students his age were joining the beginning band program. With a father who was his band director as well as a strict disciplinarian, the incentive to practice was strong. While still in high school, Avie taught at the Texas Lutheran College Music Camp.

Upon graduation from high school, he attended one semester at Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos, and then transferred to The University of Texas in Austin where he completed the requirements for his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 1957. While attending the university he continued to teach at the Texas Lutheran College Band Camp which enabled him to acquire credit towards his Master of Music Education degree from VanderCook School of Music in Chicago. He received his Master’s degree from VanderCook in the summer of 1959. While attending the university, Avie was a member of the University Symphonic Band and the Austin Symphony.

1957 was a banner year for Avie. He graduated from The University of Texas, received his first teaching position and married Judy Carson. His first teaching assignment was in public school music at Port O’Connor as well as junior high band in Seadrift. Being an instrumentalist and having to sing in class all day led to months of hoarseness, but he managed to survive by using a little sign language.

From 1958-1960, Avie taught the Travis Junior High Band in Port Lavaca, Texas. From there he moved to Mercedes High School where he was band director from 1960 to 1969. The family often thought of Mercedes as being the ham in the sandwich. To the east of Mercedes was La Feria, under the direction of Don Fleuriet. La Feria was a consistent winner in Honor Band competition. To the west was Weslaco, under the direction of Marion Busby, another Honor Band winner. Thus began the challenge to mold Mercedes into Sweepstakes honors.

Many extra rehearsals, sectionals, sign up sheets for private help and even Saturday morning practices were necessary, but Mercedes became a Sweepstakes band and continued so for the next eight years. The Band also entered in Honor Band competition and placed in the top five, and one year came in second in the AAA class. Mercedes could and did compete.

In 1969, Avie moved his family to Kerrville in the Hill Country where he was band director there  until retirement in 1992. As always, with Avie being the perfectionist that he was, the rehearsals and sectionals became routine. For the next twenty-two years, Kerrville Tivy band was a Sweepstakes winner.

During his 35 year career of public school teaching, Avie’s bands received thirty Sweepstakes awards. He constantly strived for perfection which is exemplified in his UIL record. Avie was also a qualified UIL adjudicator in all areas: marching, concert, sight-reading and solo and ensemble. He was a member of the TBA board and served as President of the Texas Bandmasters Association in 1972.

Avie was a long time member of Phi Beta Mu and the Texas Music Educators Association. He was also active in several dance bands, one of which was the Sentimental Journey Orchestra of Kerrville, which specialized in the Big Band sound.

Avie was a very active member of Zion Lutheran Church where he served on the Church Council, the Board of Education, and sang in the church choir. He and his wife had four children, Deanna, Jim, John and Laura.

Avie Teltschik was a man of impeccable character and integrity and had the highest of morals. He was also there for his students when they needed someone to talk to or to just listen. His students knew they were treated on an even level regardless of who they were. For this he was greatly respected. He set an outstanding example for his students as well as fellow band directors.

Avie Teltschik left this world on July 10, 1997. He will always be remembered as a wonderful husband, father, and friend to everyone.