Joe Charles Arsuaga
Joe Charles Arsuaga was born and raised in Corpus Christi, TX. He decided at an early age to go into the music field. Following in his sister’s footsteps, he joined the band and learned to play the saxophone. He held the position of drum major in both junior high and senior high bands. As a senior, he earned a UIL (University Interscholastic League) First Division Medal as a student conductor. After graduation from Roy Miller High School, he attended Del Mar College School of Music and the University of Texas in Austin where he graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree.
His first eight years as a director, he worked with the Harlandale middle and senior high school bands in San Antonio, TX. His bands received many UIL first division ratings. All of his band’s public performances were well received, including his concert tour to Monterrey in February 1971 and his “Six Flags Over Texas” show performed for the Battle of Flowers Band Festival in 1974.
In the fall of 1974, due to a family emergency, he moved to Robstown, TX where he assumed the position as director of bands with the Robstown ISD. Within a year his band’s enrollment nearly doubled in size going from 84 to over 160 members. His bands earned first division ratings in marching and concert during his tenure. The band ended the ’75-’76 school year by traveling to Mexico City on a concert tour.
In the fall of 1977, he enrolled at Corpus Christi State University which led him to earn a Master of Science degree in Educational Administration. While attending CCSU in the evening, he worked with the Corpus Christi ISD as band director at Cunningham Middle School in the morning. In the afternoon, he helped develop and implement the first instrumental program at Chula Vista Fine Arts Academy.
At the end of that year, he was hired as director of music for Brooks County ISD in Falfurrias, TX. His bands in Falfurrias were well established and successful as he challenged them to the highest levels of competition in the state reaching the top five bands in state competitions in both (UIL) marching and (TMEA) concert in both 3A and 4A classification.
Throughout his band directing career, paso doble marches were always included in his band’s repertoire due to inspiration by his mentor, Mr. Eddie Galvan, who taught him the interpretation and performance techniques of these unique marches.
The next eleven years were spent serving in the educational administration field as principal at all levels in various South Texas school districts and superintendent of schools in Premont ISD. All the while, he continued to serve as band adjudicator and clinician throughout the state.
He returned to Brooks County ISD to serve out his last three years as director of bands as he had promised his youngest daughter. His bands continued to earn consecutive first divisions until his retirement at the end of the 1999-2000 school year. He continues to be an active member of the Texas Music Adjudicators Association, as well as, a mentor and band clinician to several directors and schools in the area.
On May 12, 2012, he was honored by his induction into the Texas Music Educators Association’s Region XIV Band Directors Hall of Fame.