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Benjamin Lewis Director of Bands
Ben Lewis has been the Director of Bands at South Garland since the Fall semester of 2019.
Mr. Lewis was born and raised in Garland, TX, and attended Lakeview Centennial High School, where he graduated in 2006 before attending the University of Texas at Arlington. While at UTA, Mr. Lewis studied under some of the top musicians in the state, including Ed Jones, Douglas Stotter, Matthew Luttrell, and many more. Mr. Lewis graduated Magna Cum Laude in the Fall of 2010.
Prior to working at South Garland, Mr. Lewis worked as a music and marching technician for Wakeland High School in Frisco, TX where he helped the band make the state marching band competition twice and then performed his student teaching at Rowlett High School in 2010, when they also made the state competition. Mr. Lewis then worked at Jackson Technology Center beginning in 2011, where he served as the Associate Band Director and Brass specialist initially, before advancing to the Head Director position 3 years later. During his time at Jackson, Mr. Lewis received consistent sweepstakes and 1st division awards, increased the number of participants in Region and District Bands, and saw the program grow to almost 400 students.
Dajia Simmons Assistant Band Director
Ms. Simmons grew up in Kennedale, TX, where she attended Kennedale High School, and was a member of the Wildcat Band and served as Drum Major her senior year. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from East Texas Baptist University with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education in 2021. While at ETBU, she studied with Tom Webster on Alto Saxophone and participated in the ETBU Jazz Band, ETBU Symphonic Band and the Tiger Marching Band while also serving as the drum major from 2019 to 2021.
She recently graduated with a Master's of Music Degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Northern Colorado. While at UNCO, Ms. Simmons studied with Andrew Janak while also participating in the Lab III Jazz Band and in both Baked Potato and Yoshi's jazz combos. In the 2023 UNC Greeley Jazz Festival, Simmons obtained the most outstanding improv soloist award while performing with UNC Lab III Jazz Band.
Ms. Simmons' drum corps experience began in 2019 with the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps where she marched baritone, earning the "Most Improved Brass Player" award. During her 2020-2021 season, she served as Assistant Drum Major, earning herself the Jim Jones Leadership award from the Troopers. In 2022, she served as the low brass intern and returned in 2023 as a euphonium tech.
Miguel Pimentel Percussion Director
Mr. Pimentel was raised in Corsicana, TX, where he attended Corsicana High School and was a member of the Tiger Marching Band. After graduating in 2016, he attended Navarro College and graduated Cum Laude with an Associate's Degree in Music. Mr. Pimentel then transferred to Texas A&M University - Commerce where he graduated with a Bachelor's of Music in Music Education.
During his time at TAMU-C, he studied with a world class faculty, consisting of Dr. Brian Zator, Cory Doran, Sandi Rennick, Lauren Teel and Kent Hillman. He had the opportunity to perform in the front ensemble with the Pride Marching Band as the showcase band at the 2019 Bands of America Grand Nationals Contest at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. In 2022, he was one of the members of the top percussion ensemble at his university and performed with them at 2022 Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio, TX. While at TAMU-C, he also performed with the Symphonic Band, all 3 percussion ensembles and the Steel Pan ensemble.
Mr. Pimentel will oversee the entire percussion program at South Garland High School, as well as Sam Houston Middle School and O'Banion Middle School.
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