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2018-2019 Hall of Fame Inductees

Paul Flinchbaugh

Paul Flinchbaugh was born in Dayton Ohio in 1959 to James and Jean Flinchbaugh.  He started music in the Belmont Elementary School Orchestra playing Clarinet under the direction of Carl Forbriger.  During middle school he switched from Clarinet to Tenor Saxophone and became a member of the Miamisburg High School Jazz Band.

While in middle school and high school his band director, Mr. Bill Theis, served as role model for him.  Mr. Theis had been a graduate of the VanderCook College of Music and he would speak often of the great band programs in Brownsville, Texas pointing out that they were staffed almost entirely with VanderCook graduates.   As a result, in his 8th grade year Paul decided he wanted to become a band director and attend the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago with the ultimate goal of becoming a band director in Brownsville, Texas.

During his senior year of college in Chicago he was offered a job by Mr. Bob Vezzetti, then Brownsville ISD Administrator of Fine Arts, during the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.  He started as an assistant band director to Mr. Charles Foster at Oliveira Middle School in Brownsville in 1981 and became the head director at Oliveira the following year.

Paul Flinchbaugh went on to work in Music Education for 35 years. His experience included 14 years at Oliveira Middle School,  3 years as an assistant director to Joe Harness at Pace High School and 8 years as the director of bands at Hanna High School.  Finally, he served as the BISD Supervisor of Instrumental Music for 10 years until his retirement in 2016.

Mr. Flinchbaugh’s bands consistently earned UIL sweepstakes awards, ranked as finalists in state Honor Band competition and his high school bands advanced to Area and State Marching competition.  The Oliveira Band was selected as the CC Texas State Honor Band in 1985 while directed by Paul and his assistant director, Stacey Dunn.

Mr. Flinchbaugh received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the VanderCook College of Music in 1981 and holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education as well.  He was the recipient of the Phi Beta Mu “Young Band Master of the Year” award in 1989.

Mr. Flinchbaugh has served as a UIL/Festival adjudicator, TMEA region band clinician, presented clinics at the TBA and TMEA conventions as well as numerous other in-service presentations.  Mr. Flinchbaugh is a member of TBA, TMEA, TMAA, TMAC, Phi Beta Mu and Kappa Kappa Psi.

For TMEA Region 28 Paul served as the region band vice chair, band chair, TMEA region vice president and region president.  He also served as region band organizer, assisted with region auditions, UIL events and served region at the TMEA & TBA convention in various capacities throughout his career.

In “retirement” Paul was offered a position with TMF Enterprises by Mr. Wilberto Perez.   He serves as the company Vice President overseeing operations, day festivals, marching band sales and hosting travel groups several times a year.

He is very fortunate to have the support and companionship of his lovely wife Angela.   Angela works as an Educational Diagnostician for the Point Isabel ISD.  Both Paul and Angela enjoy the opportunity to travel as tour group hosts.

Paul considers himself extremely lucky to have been able to realize his dreams with the privilege of being a member of the Brownsville ISD band staff and be associated with the great band programs in the Rio Grande Valley.  He is humbled by, and grateful for all the outstanding individuals he has had the opportunity to work with.

Neil Nelson

Neil Christian Nelson was born on April 21st, 1953 in Waterville, Washington, just east of the Cascade Mountains, to Harold and Margaret Nelson.  He is the oldest of three children and learned at a young age the importance of hard work.  He also developed an appreciation for music.  As early as second grade, Neil started participating in church choirs and continued until he started working with his father.  While in Waterville, Neil worked with his father, as was the custom in his small community, whom was a wheat rancher.  At age 16, he began delivering anhydrous ammonia, an agricultural fertilizer, while also working on the farm.  He would continue to work both jobs through college.

Neil joined band in 6th grade as a trumpet player and was under the direction of Phil Kendrick, a director that would teach him the importance of expectations and the consequences of not being prepared. He attended Waterville High School and graduated in 1971.  His college career led him to Washington State University, where he briefly studied law.  After Neil was nearly drafted to serve, he decided to pursue a degree in Music.  After an initial rough start in the music program, the Director of Bands, Randall Spicer, helped motivate Neil when things became difficult.  While at Washington State, he also met his trumpet professor, Gerald Webster, who taught him the value of paying attention to and refining details.  As a member of WSU Music Program, he performed with the WSU Orchestra, the WSU Jazz Band, the Marching Cougars, and various brass ensembles and musicals.  He would graduate with a degree in Music Education in 1976.

Neil began his professional career in Davenport, Washington in 1976 where he would stay for one year.  At the time, an acquaintance pointed him south, inviting him to the Texas Bandmasters Association, 1977.  He would also meet the men who would have an important impact on his career, Joe Rogers and Bob Reich. Neil was offered and accepted a job that same summer as an assistant at New Braunfels High School, where his vice-principal, Joe Rogers, the former band director at New Braunfels, helped him acclimate to Texas bands.  In 1978, he would leave New Braunfels for Marble Falls.  A phone call from Joe would lead Neil to Gonzales High School, where he taught from 1979-1982.  Gonzales would later go on to place 5th in the Texas State Marching Contest during his tenure.

In the summer of 1982, he would receive another call from Joe, this time leading him to Seguin High School, where he worked from 1982-1986 and 1987-1990, leaving for a year to Schertz-Cibolo High School, where he helped Schertz-Cibolo receive their first Sweepstakes Award in over thirty years.  Neil’s penultimate job would be at Giddings High School, 1990-1993, where he would lead his program to it’s first Sweepstakes Award in school history.  His marching band at Giddings, would also place second runner-up at Area Marching Contest.

In the Spring of 1994, Neil received a phone call from Bob Reitz, the owner of Reitz Music, whom he had met when he came to Texas in 1977.  Bob would go on to tell Neil about a small program in the Valley named Sharyland.  After some consideration, he interviewed and accepted the job at Sharyland High School.  He would spend the next twenty-four years working in the Sharyland Independent School District, establishing the program, being awarded consistent Sweepstakes Ratings throughout his career at Sharyland, ending with twenty-one straight Sweepstakes upon his retirement.  Neil also was part of two separate trips with Sharyland High School to Texas State Marching Contest in 2004 and 2017.

Throughout his career, Bob Reitz and Joe Rogers introduced him to people that shaped his career.  Some of his mentors and inspirations include Lee Boyd Montgomery, Bill Moffett, Tommy Walters, Rodney Clett, Ray Mesa, Gary Rosenblat, and Francis McBeth.

Neil currently lives in McAllen, Texas with his wife, Linda Nelson.  He has two children, three step-children, and two grandchildren.  On his free time, he likes to rebuild cars, trucks, and Hot Rods.  He is an active clinician and judge throughout the state of Texas.  Neil’s professional affiliations include Texas Band Master Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Phi Mu Alpha, and Phi Beta Mu.