Kevin Erickson - Director of Bands
Kevin Erickson is currently in his fifth year as the Director of the Dobie Band program, serving the previous six years as Assistant Director. Mr. Erickson conducts the Wind Ensemble, Freshman I & Freshman II Bands, and oversees all aspects of the Dobie Band program. Prior to his arrival at Dobie in 2007, Mr. Erickson served on the faculties of the University of Houston and San Jacinto College-South, and was a member of the instructional staff at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Pearland High School, and Lincoln High School (Stockton, CA). He also served as the Percussion Coordinator and Arranger for Super Bowl XXXVIII, directing the 60-member percussion section and collaborating with pop superstar Janet Jackson on the musical arrangements.
An avid performer, Mr. Erickson has appeared as percussionist/timpanist with the Houston Symphony, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Mineria (Mexico City), the Stockton Symphony (CA), and regional orchestras throughout southeast Texas. From 2007-2012, he served as the Principal Percussionist & Timpanist for Opera Vista in Houston, TX. His performances as a drumset/percussion artist include: jazz legend Dave Brubeck, country superstar Shania Twain, Latin great Pete Escovedo, La Mafia, Jack Sheldon, Mel Martin, Mike Vax, Vocal Flight, and he has appeared as a featured guest artist at the Midwest International Clinic & Convention. Mr. Erickson’s performance experience also includes four years as a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps, winning the 1989 DCI World Championship and three DCI High Percussion titles.
Mr. Erickson’s compositions have been performed worldwide by world-renowned artists and ensembles such as Don Liuzzi (Principal Timpanist for the Philadelphia Orchestra) and the Ju Percussion Group (Taiwan). His compositions have also been featured in international clinics and conventions such as: the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), the Music for All National Percussion Festival, and the Texas Music Educators Association Clinic & Convention. His composition for percussion ensemble, “At the Dawn of War,” is featured on the compact disc Surge by the University of Houston Percusion Ensemble and was performed at the world-famous Sydney (Aus.) Opera House by the West Percussion Group. “In the Valley of the Kings,” for solo timpani, was the 3rd Prize Winner in the 1998 PAS International Composition Contest. Mr. Erickson’s compositions are published by C. Alan Publications and Innovative Percussion, Inc.
Mr. Erickson holds degrees from the University of the Pacific (B.M. Performance) and the University of Houston (M.M. Applied Music), where he also completed all coursework requirements for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He is an educational/performing artist & clinician for Pearl Drums & Adams Musical Instruments, Paiste Cymbals, Innovative Percussion Drumsticks & Mallets, and Remo Drumheads. Mr. Erickson resides in Houston with his wife, Keely (Assistant Band Director at Sam Rayburn H.S.), and their four sons: Camden, Collin, Connor, and Caleb.
Brian Best - Assistant Director of Bands
Brian Best joins the Dobie Longhorn Band staff as the assistant director of bands this year and is currently in his 9th year of teaching. Brian attended Sam Houston State University where he graduated with a bachelors of music in saxophone performance and a masters of music in instrumental music conducting. Brian has been the director of bands for perennial sweepstakes-winning Texas band programs for both middle school and high school. Under his direction, he has taken his bands to UIL Area Finals and has advanced to UIL State Marching Championships and various state ensemble festivals and contests. Brian is often invited to judge UIL events for marching band and concert and sightreading contests, and he has also been invited to guest clinic TMEA Region Bands. As a wind band composer, Brian has had several commissioned works performed by various programs across the state.
As a performing artist, Brian has released two contemporary solo jazz albums and is in high demand as a freelancing saxophone performer, recording artist, and music producer all over the country for many styles of music ranging from pop, dance, rock, jazz, and electric. He is also in demand as a jazz headliner in Houston and has appeared in many local performances such at Sullivans, Sambuca, Martini Blu, Cafe 4212, Phil & Dereks, and many other venues. He is also in demand as an instrumentalist for many bands in the Houston area. Brian has shared the stage with many national jazz artists, such as Allen Vizzutti, Chris Vadala, Regina Belle, Althea Rene, Marion Meadows, Gerald Albright, Bobby Lyle, and Ron Wilkins. Brian has also appeared in several television performances and as a headliner for many jazz festivals, such as the Houston Jazz Festival, Beaumont Jazz Festival, Zachary Breaux Jazz Festival, Kemah Jazz Festival, and the Michigan Jazz Festival.
In his free time, Brian enjoys video gaming because he’s a huge nerd. And he has two dogs: one is Lilly, who is a Bernese Mountain Dog and weighs about 100 lbs (we don’t talk about her weight though). The other is Dash, a long-haired Daschund. (there’s also a cat named Vincent, but he’s super annoying) Brian also enjoys writing and producing music in his spare time and highly enjoys practicing his saxophone.
Clay McNeill - Assistant Director/Percussion Director
Clay McNeill is in his first year as Assistant Director and Percussion Director of the Dobie Band program, where he conducts the Concert Band, Percussion Ensembles, and oversees the percussion programs within the Dobie feeder cluster. Mr. McNeill comes to us from Lockhart High School where he served as Director of Bands (2014-17) and as Assistant Director & Percussion Director (2007-14). Mr. McNeill previously held positions at North Shore Senior High School, Wylie High School, and San Marcos High School. Mr. McNeill has served on the faculty of the University of North Texas Percussion Camp, and is a frequent adjudicator for TMEA and UIL events.
Mr. McNeill has a diverse performance background, including the Austin Symphonic Band and steel drum groups such as the Texas Symphony of Steel, featuring Andy Narell. His performance experience also includes the Velvet Knights and the Sky Ryders Drum & Bugle Corps. Mr. McNeill has arranged percussion music for numerous high schools throughout the State of Texas, and his compositions have been featured at Texas State University's "Mysterium for Modern Music" forums.
Mr. McNeill is a graduate of the University of North Texas (B.M. Music Education) and Texas State University (M.M. Composition).
Michael Acosta - Colorguard Director
Michael Acosta is in his second year as Colorguard Director at Dobie High School. Mr. Acosta is the founder and director of Redemption Independent Colorguard (3-time TCGC State Champion) and has over thirty years experience as a performer, designer, and educator in the colorguard activity. Mr. Acosta has an extensive background in dance, starting at a very early age in the Houston Ballet Academy and he has also served as an intern with the prestigious American Ballet Theater in New York. "Mr. A" marched four years with the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps (1986-89), winning the 1988 DCI World Championship. He was also a member of Nouveau Colorguard from 1987-90 and returned as Artistic Director from 1993-95, winning the WGI World Championship in 1994. Mr. Acosta has been involved with numerous award-winning high school band and colorguard programs including: Elkins HS, Cypress Woods HS, Westfield HS, and Langham Creek HS.