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Copperas Cove ISD hires from within for new Head Band Director


Cove Leader-Press


A Copperas Cove High School alumni is taking the reins as the new Head Band Director for Copperas Cove Independent School District, as announced at the CCISD board of trustees’ Tuesday evening meeting.

The board recognized former Director of Instrumental Music/Head Band Director Tony Chapa upon his retirement after 29 years in education (28 of which were with CCISD) at the same meeting before later approving the recommendation to promote Lawrence Varela-Halbert to fill the position.

The district originally interviewed applicants back in April for the position and selected one candidate who ended up having to turn down the job due to family health issues. The district opened the position again and received 12 applications. After interviewing candidates, the selection committee recommended Lawrence Varela-Halbert to be the best fit for the job.

Varela-Halbert grew up in the Copperas Cove ISD Band Program, starting as a student in the seventh grade and on through high school, where he served as a Drum Major with the Pride of Cove Band. He graduated with the Class of 2006. As a student, Varela-Halbert was under the direction of Paul Fellows, Randy Kelley and later worked with Andrew Nixon and Tony Chapa.

He attended Texas State University where he earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Studies. He was hired the summer of 2015 after college graduation to return to CCISD as the band director for S.C. Lee Junior High, where he has worked for the past eight years.

As a music consultant, he has taught private lessons, has been a marching band technician and helped clinic ensembles around the state for the past 12 years.

“I'm extremely excited and very ambitious to see what's going to happen with the rest of the Pride of Cove,” Varela-Halbert said. “I've been a part of this program since I was a little old kid, and I'm looking forward to seeing it grow to new heights.”

As a Cove alum who grew up in the CCISD band programs, he brings a unique perspective.

“I’ve seen where it started, where it’s gone, where it can go, things to change, things to stay the same, but more importantly, keeping kids first and that's what's most important to me,” he said. “I don't think anyone will ever fill Tony Chapa's shoes, just like no one would ever fill Randy Kelley's shoes. I plan to make my own kind of shoes.”

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