The Texas Bandmasters Association (TBA) recently named Ronnie Rios as the recipient of the 2019 Meritorious Achievement Award. It is a tradition dating back to 2000 for TBA to honor those who exemplify the qualities of an exemplary band director with the Meritorious Achievement Award.
TBA promotes the value of music education and the important role instrumental music plays in cultural, intellectual and social aspects of life. Each year, TBA recognizes music educators who have made a difference in the lives of band students in Texas.
Rios, a multi Grammy Nominated Music Educator, is a graduate of Alice High School. He graduated Summa Cum Laude earning a Bachelor of Music Education and a Masters of Music Education from Texas A & M University- Kingsville.
At 21, he began teaching in the Kingsville Independent School District where his middle school and high school concert bands received consistent UIL Sweepstakes awards and best in class awards at various state and national festivals.
As director of bands at Harlingen High School for 21 years, all six concert bands received consistent UIL Sweepstakes awards, best in class awards, state and national awards and had many Texas All-State Band and Jazz Band students. The Harlingen High School “Big Red” Cardinal Marching Band made 11 consecutive appearances at the Texas State Marching Band Championships, qualifying every opportunity since 1998. The group also earned positions in the finals of Bands of America Regional Championships, where they won the school’s first regional in 2005. The Marching Band has also won numerous first place festival awards and grand champion marching band awards throughout South and Central Texas during his tenure.
The HHS Honors Band advanced to the Texas 6A Honor Band Finals numerous times finishing as high as ninth in Texas. His jazz ensembles also performed at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago three times and HHS was even named the Honor Jazz Ensemble for the State of Texas and showcased at TMEA in San Antonio. His jazz ensembles have performed with artists Wynton Marsalis, Bob Mintzer, Michael Brecker, John Fedchock, Conrad Herwig, Arturo Sandoval and the world famous Count Basie Orchestra. Rios’ groups have performed throughout Texas, as well Florida, California, New Jersey, Washington DC, Illinois and Central Park in New York City.
In 2011, the Harlingen HS Band was named the Texas Bandmasters Association “Exemplary High School Band Program of the Year.” Rios is currently the Director of Music Programs in the Harlingen CISD.
The Meritorious Achievement Award will be presented to Rios during a ceremony on July 25 in San Antonio.