Former Odessa Band Director holds clinic in Morton


Blaze Garza

Pano Mata directs 7th-grade band students on breathing technique in a clinic held in Morton on February 23.

Russell Hill, For The Tribe

The Morton 7th grade band was treated to a clinic with guest band director Pano Mata on Tuesday, February 23.

Students practiced with Mr. Mata for a little over an hour on the music they have been playing in class.

Afterward, the students were fed McDonald’s (delivered to them by FCCLA) and were audience members to three FCCLA presentations that are advancing to the state level competition in April.

Morton Band Director Elaine Truitt asked Mr. Mata to come to Morton to do a clinic for the 7th grade Band.

“Mr. Mata was a clinician for my band when I was a High School student,” Truitt said.  “I had a good experience with him as a guest band director, so it made sense that these students would, too.”

Truitt said that the importance of breathing was emphasized in Mata’s clinic.

“You could hear the difference in the sounds of the group because they had to pay attention to so many other details to breathe at the exact same time,” Truitt said.

Mata is a retired band director from Odessa, Texas. He ended his career as a High School Director at Odessa High, but starting out, he built his reputation at Junior High School creating great bands.  He came to Morton for a clinic last year and made the return this year.

“We are making so much progress,” Truitt said. “Mr. Mata came last year and he commented that last year’s group was good and this year’s group is even better. That is a complement to our current 8th-grade members because that means they set a high standard for future bands to follow.”

Truitt says that the 7th-grade band is important in helping students build the skills they will need to perform well in the high school band in the future.

“7th Grade is unique because they get one more year by themselves to learn new notes and rhythms before they are combined with 4 other grade levels in our high school band,” Truitt said. “This year is when the MOST learning will take place and next year they will be expected to play the same music that 12th graders are able to play.”

Truitt said that the presentations by FCCLA members were also an important learning time for the 7th graders.

“Many JH students do not realize the options they will have in HS besides band or athletics or that they can continue the band and also be in these new classes, Truitt said.  “These students walked away with a good idea of what FCCLA involves so they can make better decisions about their HS schedules.”

FCCLA student Davoni Benavidez presents her project to the 7th grade following their band clinic on February 23. (Elaine Truitt)

Truitt said that the next band performance will highlight some of the work being done in the FFA classes.

“We will host a High School Concert right before spring break that will showcase some FFA projects and 8th graders will be there and get exposed to that side of our CTE curriculum,” Truitt said.

The CTE Curriculum at Morton High School includes Business Information Management with Mrs. Ridley, Agricultural Sciences The CTE curriculum at Morton High School consists of Business Information Management with Mrs. Ridley, Agricultural Sciences with Dr. Reed, Family and Consumer Sciences with Mrs. Smith, Health Sciences with Mrs. Cannon and Digital Media Arts with Mr. Hill.

Morton FCCLA state qualifiers present to 7th grade band