Ms. Lara Whitehouse is the Director of Bands at Highland Park Middle School and McCulloch Intermediate School and is in her sixth year of teaching in Highland Park ISD. Ms. Whitehouse conducts the Honor Band, assists with the Symphonic and Jazz bands, teaches 6th grade beginner band classes and 5th grade band classes.
Prior to Ms. Whitehouse’s appointment as head director, she was an assistant band director at MIS/HPMS. During Ms. Whitehouse’s time in this position the Symphonic Band earned unanimous 1st division ratings at UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest for the first time in the history of the ensemble. The band also received unanimous superior ratings at a variety of festivals and contests that they attended. In addition to teaching at MIS/HPMS, Ms. Whitehouse also assisted with the Highland Park High School “Highlander” Marching Band. Before joining the HPISD band staff, Ms. Whitehouse served on the band staff at Richardson High School.
Ms. Whitehouse holds a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a Bachelors of Science in Music Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She also serves as a clinician for the UT-Arlington Drum Major Camp each summer. Her professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Bandmasters Association.
Mr. TJ Emsley is an Associate Director of Bands in the Highland Park Independent School District. His teaching responsibilities include teaching and conducting the Symphonic Band (HPMS), Raider Riffs (Stage Band/HPMS), assisting Honor Band (HPMS), assisting with the Highlander Band (HPHS), assisting Wind Symphony (HPHS), teaching Sixth Grade Tuba, Euphonium, and Saxophone classes (MIS), and teaching Fifth Grade Trumpet and Trombone classes (MIS). Mr. Emsley also serves on the Campus Leadership Council for MIS and is the Academic UIL Coordinator for HPMS and MIS. Prior to his appointment in HPISD, Mr. Emsley served as an adjunct professor of music at Texas A&M University-Commerce, Kilgore College, and Paris Junior College.
A native of Charleston, South Carolina and product of Kingsland, Georgia, Mr. Emsley attended Camden County High School where he played percussion and piano in the Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensembles.
Mr. Emsley earned a Bachelor of Music in Education degree from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia. While at VSU, he served as the drum major of the VSU Blazin’ Brigade for three years, performed with the VSU Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Blazer Steel Drum Band, as well as the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Emsley earned a Master of Music in Music Education degree in 2013 from Texas A&M University-Commerce in Commerce, Texas. While in Commerce, he performed with the TAMUC Wind Ensemble, Concert Band (Clarinetist), Percussion Ensemble, and Piano Studio as well as performing with the Irving Symphonic Band.
Teachers and mentors of Mr. Emsley include: Phil Clements, Brian Merrill, Lynne Jackson, Melodianne Mallow, Eddie Green, Reagan Brumley, Allan Goodwin, David Morris, Paul Campiglia, Joe Brashier, Eric Bradshaw, Allan L. Smith, Curtis Hersey, Luis Sanchez, Josephine Wammock, and Lyle Indegaard.
Mrs. Cindi Sobering is in her eleventh year as Assistant Band Director at McCulloch Intermediate and Highland Park Middle Schools. Mrs. Sobering teaches fifth and sixth grade band students and assists with the Symphonic and Honor Bands at the middle school. Prior to teaching in Highland Park, Mrs. Sobering was Assistant Band Director at Bishop Lynch High School. During her tenure there the band program tripled in size, the marching band earned Texas Honor Marching Band Division, and the concert band consistently earned Sweepstakes awards.
Mrs. Sobering has many connections with Highland Park band students. While attending school at Southern Methodist University, she student taught with the Highland Park Bands under the direction of Bob Jordan at HPHS and Craig Logan at HPMS. Years later she returned to teach beginning clarinet classes, clarinet sectionals for both the HS and MS, and taught private clarinet lessons in HPISD for many years. Mrs. Sobering also taught in the Lake Highlands schools for many years and was lead private clarinet teacher in Duncanville for fifteen years. She has a Bachelor of Music Education and Performance degrees and a Masters’ Degree in Education, graduating with Summa Cum Laude honors. Professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association, National Music Educators Association, and Women Band Directors International.
Mrs. Sobering grew up in Minnesota and was a member of the Minnesota All State Band for four years and the Minnesota All State Orchestra for three years. She performed clarinet professionally in the Dallas area for many years and continues to enjoy playing clarinet, flute and piano in her free time. She and her husband Mike enjoy spending much of the summer at their Minnesota lake cabin with family and friends. Her two grown daughters and their families keep her busy, and she also enjoys gardening and traveling.
Mr. Reagan Brumley is the Director of Instrumental Music for the Highland Park ISD, where he serves as director of the Highlander Marching Band, conducts the Wind Symphony, and guides all aspects of the Highland Park Bands, grades 5-12. During Mr. Brumley’s tenure in this position, the HPHS Band has advanced to the Finals of the Area C Marching Contest three straight times in class 5A and 6A, been named a finalist and class champion at marching contests around DFW, placed many students in the All-Region Bands and All-State Bands, been the 1st place Honor Band representative from Region 20, and received exclusively 1st division ratings at UIL Contests and all festivals entered. He was named the PC-TAG Teacher of the Year for Highland Park ISD in the 2012-2013 school year.
Prior to Mr. Brumley’s appointment at Highland Park, he was the Associate Director of Bands at Berkner High School where he was the conductor of Symphonic Band II, led music rehearsals for the Class 5A State Marching Finalist Berkner Marching Band, coordinated the private lesson program, and taught 6th grade band in the cluster. Mr. Brumley also served as part of the teaching team that helped the Berkner Varsity Concert Band finish 2nd place in the state in 2010 and earned an invitation to the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. Before his tenure at Berkner, Mr. Brumley also served on the band staffs of Lake Highlands High School and Red Oak High School and Junior High.
Mr. Brumley holds a Masters of Music in Wind Conducting from Texas A&M University-Commerce, and a Bachelors of Music from the University of Texas-Brownsville. He is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator throughout Texas, and serves on the State Board of the Texas Music Educators Association. Mr. Brumley and his wife, Cayce, reside in Dallas along with their daughter, Scarlett.
Mr. Corey Parks is in his tenth year of teaching at Highland Park ISD and is the Associate Director of Bands at Highland Park High School. He conducts the Symphonic Band, plays a vital role with the marching band, and team teaches the jazz band with Mr. LaBrecque. Prior to taking on his current role at HPHS, Mr. Parks served as an Assistant Band Director Highland Park Middle School, and McCulloch Intermediate School teaching music to 5th-12th graders every day. He has been highly involved with the HP Marching Band, the All-Region process, and assisted with the two concert bands during the spring semester. At HPMS, he taught 6th grade woodwinds and brass classes, assisted with the two concert bands, and directed the 2nd MS Jazz Band. Before coming to HPISD, Mr. Parks taught three years as an assistant band director at Forestwood Middle School in Flower Mound, TX. He taught beginner woodwind classes, directed the 2nd band, assisted the top band and jazz band and received invaluable instruction in music education from Debra Haburay. While at Forestwood, he studied bassoon with Hermann Vogelstein.
Mr. Parks earned his Masters in Music (Instrumental Conducting) and Bachelors in Music Education from Texas Christian University. While at TCU, he conducted all three wind ensembles on numerous concerts along with his own 60+ member wind group. As a clarinetist, he performed with the TCU Wind Symphony and TCU Symphony Orchestra, performing at multiple TMEA and CBDNA conferences. Mr. Parks was the Drum Major for the TCU Marching Band for two years. As an undergraduate, he student taught at L.D. Bell High School in Hurst, TX and North Ridge Middle School in North Richland Hills, TX. He is also an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma and Pi Kappa Lambda.
During his free time, Mr. Parks performs with the Lone Star Wind Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Corporon. He recently performed with the LSWO at the 2010 TBA Conference and with the LSWO Clarinet Choir at the 2010 International Clarinet Association Conference in Austin, TX. During the summer, Mr. Parks is in high demand to teach at drum major camps, some including the Texas A&M-Commerce and the University of Texas in Arlington camps. He also participates in many conducting symposiums, some featuring prominent conductors such as Frederick Fennell, Sarah McCoin, Rodney Winther, Per Brevig, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya. Mr. Parks enjoys “playing” with his 2010 Camaro.
Mr. James LaBrecque comes to Highland Park ISD from Frisco ISD, where he served as the percussion specialist at Wester and Clark Middle Schools and assisted the Frisco Centennial marching band. He also served as the assistant band director and percussion coordinator at Lake Highlands High School from 2006 to 2011.
“James LaBrecque is an outstanding musician with passion for music and skill as an educator,” HPHS Principal Walter Kelly said. “His experience as an assistant band director and a highly successful percussion teacher are assets to the Highlander Band program and its growing success. We are excited about adding Mr. LaBrecque to our band staff.”
“Mr. LaBrecque has earned a reputation as one of the most respected and successful percussion teachers in the area,” HPHS Director of Bands Reagan Brumley said. “His marching percussion units have won the highest honors possible at area and statewide contests, and as a result, Mr. LaBrecque is in demand around the Metroplex as a clinician and adjudicator.
“He has served as an assistant band director/percussion specialist with some of the finest band programs in Texas, including the 2006 5A State Honor Band, the State Championship for concert band. Mr. LaBrecque will be an outstanding addition to the Highland Park Band staff and will provide exemplary instruction to our percussion students, grades 6-12.”
LaBrecque earned his Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of North Texas in 2005. He received his Master’s degree in music from Southern Methodist University in 2016.