Director of Bands, Director of Jazz StudiesMs. Denise Kennedy is Director of Bands and Director of Jazz Studies for the Lake Dallas ISD Band Program. She was Associate Director for the Falcon Band for two years, prior to her appointment as Director of Bands in 2011. Mrs. Kennedy is a graduate of Tulsa Edison High School and earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
Ms. Kennedy has enjoyed a very successful career while employed at Lake Dallas High School, having earned consistent UIL Sweepstakes awards, in addition to consistent superior ratings in Marching, Concert and Sight-reading performance.
While teaching in the North Texas area, Ms. Kennedy also serves as the Tour Director for The Sound of Texas European Concert Tour through Music Adventures International. This group travels internationally with student musicians from the North Texas area on a 16-day European Concert Tour every other summer. She has been a staff member of this group since 2014.
Her teaching experience began with a one-year assignment to Elk City Public Schools in western Oklahoma, where she was Associate Band Director and Color Guard Instructor. Following her entry year, she moved to Shawnee, Oklahoma, where she was Director of Music for three years at the Grove Dependent School District. She spent the next seven years working for Bixby Public Schools in Bixby, Oklahoma, as Associate Director for the Pride of Bixby High School Band, Director of Bands for Bixby Middle School and Director of Jazz and Woodwind Studies. During that time, Denise saw the high school band grow from 75 members to 120 members, and is now one of the largest 6A band programs in Oklahoma.
While at Bixby, the high school band received four state Sweepstakes Awards. The 8th grade band received three Outstanding Achievement Awards, as well as numerous superior ratings in concert and sight-reading contests. The BHS Jazz Program received three superior ratings at the State Jazz Ensemble Contest and was awarded second place in class 4A twice. Denise also worked with the BHS Woodwind Ensemble, Clarinet Choir and Saxophone Choir, each receiving consistent superior ratings. Her private students have consistently achieved membership in All-District and All-State Honor groups.
Prior to Lake Dallas, her teaching assignment was for the Mabank ISD Band Program, as Associate Director of Bands, Director of Jazz Studies and Color Guard/Winter Guard Instructor. The Mabank Bands have achieved numerous UIL Superior Ratings in Marching and Concert Band and received two Sweepstakes awards during her tenure. Under her direction, the Mabank Symphonic Band received its first UIL Sweepstakes in the history of the school. Ms. Kennedy’s Color Guard actively competed in the North Texas Color Guard Association circuit and moved from a Regional A classification to Scholastic 2A while under her direction.
Ms. Kennedy’s professional honors and awards include being elected as the TMEA Region 2 Band Chair since 2020; being named Teacher of the Year for Lake Dallas High School in 2017 and 2021, Secondary Teacher of the Year for Lake Dallas ISD in 2017, Region XI Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2017, and was a Secondary Texas Teacher of the Year Finalist in 2017; being elected as Jazz Chairman for the All-OMEA and IAJE/OBA Jazz Ensembles in 2004; being named Teacher of the Year for Bixby Middle School in 2002; being recognized as School Band and Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Director’s Who Make a Difference” in 2001; being twice named in Who’s Who Among American Teachers (1999, 2000); being named Grove School Teacher of the Year and a Masonic Teacher of Today in 1997. She is also very active as a guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator and private instructor throughout the states of Oklahoma and Texas.
Ms. Kennedy is a member of the Texas Bandmaster’s Association, Texas Music Educator’s Association, Texas Association of Jazz Educators, North Texas Color Guard Association, and Mu Phi Epsilon. She has also served as chairman of the Eastern District Band Director’s Association in Oklahoma and the ATSSB All-Region Jazz Band for Region 3. As a clarinetist, saxophonist and jazz pianist, Ms. Kennedy actively performs throughout Oklahoma and Texas. She has performed with jazz greats such as Bill Watrous, Rich Matteson, Lou Fischer, Shelly Berg, Diane Reeves, Paquito d’Rivera, Byron Stripling, Clark Terry, Carl Fontana and Dan Haerle.
Ms. Kennedy enjoys spending time with her three children, Kaitlyn, Zachary, and Rebecca.
Associate Director of BandsBefore coming to Lake Dallas, Mr. Darrough served as the Director of Bands at Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma and graduated from East Central High School. Mr. Darrough received his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education in 1995 from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma while also concurrently enrolled at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Mr. Darrough went on to pursue his Masters In Educational Leadership in 2004 and was granted National Board Certification in 2015.Mr. Darrough has served as a music director throughout his career in the States of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Indiana, and Florida. The Association of School Band Directors and the Oklahoma Band Masters Association have named him "Band Director of the Year" on two different occasions and his programs have been named to the National Association of Music Merchants “Best Schools for MusicEducation". Mr. Darrough has prepared and traveled with two concert bands to the Annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.Mr. Darrough’s teaching experience includes high school marching band, concert band, jazz band, orchestra, color guard, winter guard, concert and show choir, junior high band, and middle school band. Mr. Darrough often serves as a clinician, adjudicator, and leadership consultant for music programs throughout the country.Mr. Darrough is the proud dad of two daughters, Bayleigh Nicole and Amanda Elizabeth. They are both very talented musicians. Bayleigh is an accomplished Oboist, vocalist and served as the color guard captain for Har-Ber High School. Amanda played the French Horn and is a vocalist, and was a member of the color guard at Fayetteville High School in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Assistant Director of Bands, Percussion Specialist
Mr. Garza attended Coppell High School in Coppell, Texas, where he performed with the Coppell High School Marching Band, Concert Band, and Honors Band under the direction of the late Scott Mason. As a sophomore, he traveled with the band to Dublin, Ireland and marched in the snare line in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade, as well as performed at a special event in Kilkenny, Ireland with the Honor Band. He also competed and received superior ratings at Texas State Solo and Ensemble and performed in numerous percussion ensembles under the direction of Jerime Harris.
Mr. Garza earned his Bachelor’s of Music Education degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2011. While in Norman, Oklahoma, he performed with the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra and worked with phenomenal instructors and conductors, including Dr. William Wakefield, Mr. Brian Britt, Dr. John Pasquale, Dr. Debra Traficante, Dr. Jonathan Shames, and Dr. Richard Zielinksi. He participated in the OU Percussion Ensembles and Percussion Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Lance Drege, and studied percussion under Dr. Michael Wood, Dr. Nick Steward, Dr. Josh Knight, Dr. Stefan Ice, Dr. Ricardo Souza, and Dr. Nathan Daughtrey.
Mr. Garza also earned his Master’s of Music degree in Percussion Performance from New Mexico State University in 2013 and worked as a graduate assistant. While in Las Cruces, New Mexico, he wrote music for and taught the Pride of New Mexico Marching Band and taught the percussion methods class for undergraduate music education majors. He also played as the Principal Percussionist for the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra and the NMSU Wind Symphony under the direction of Mr. Monty Hill and Dr. Chris Hughes. During his second year of his master’s degree, he played in a few dozen different recitals and concerts, including solo, chamber, and ensemble performances. He wrote his thesis about the compositional techniques of Casey Cangelosi’s marimba pieces and, at the suggestion of Mr. Cangelosi himself, submitted it to the Percussive Arts Society where it was published in their Percussive Notes journal in January 2014. During his time at New Mexico State, Mr. Garza was a student of Dr. Fred Bugbee, but was also influenced heavily by Dr. Rhonda Taylor.
Following the completion of his master’s degree, Mr. Garza served as the percussion director for Sulphur Springs ISD in Sulphur Springs, Texas for eight years where he taught anything and everything percussion to students grades 6-12. In addition to his percussion responsibilities, he taught concert band for four years and jazz band for two.
Mr. Garza’s professional affiliations include the Percussive Arts Society and the Texas Music Educator’s Association and is a proud endorser of Vic Firth and Zildjian. He lives with his wife Amber Harmon, their two dogs, and three cats.
Color Guard Instructor
Director of Middle School Bands
Mrs. Felicia May is Middle School Director of Bands at Lake Dallas Middle School and began her tenure at Lake Dallas ISD in August of 2000. She is a graduate of Washington School in Greenville, Mississippi and earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. She earned a Master of Music Education degree from The University of North Texas.
Her teaching experience began as Director of Bands at Union Public Schools in Union, MS where she taught grades 5-12 band and music appreciation for two years. She led the Union High School Band to the first ever Mississippi Marching Band Championship as one of two 2A high school bands to receive that honor. Under her leadership the Union High School Band received unanimous superior ratings in all contests entered and a Best in Class at the District III State Marching Band Contest in October 1996.
Mrs. May’s professional honors and awards include being inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and Kappa Delta Pi National Education Honor Society in Spring 1995. She was named Secondary Teacher of the Year for Lake Dallas ISD in 2013. She served as Treasurer for Region 24 Middle School Bands for 7 years. She is an active adjudicator and clinician in the North Texas region. Her professional affiliations include The Texas Music Educators Association and Texas Bandmasters Association.
Mrs. May enjoys cooking, creating recipes, photographing her food, and watching Ole Miss football, the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers with her husband John. She and her husband also love to arrange music for their company Lost Key Music.
Assistant Middle School Director
Jordan Drake, originally from Euless, Texas, is excited to begin his teaching career in Lake Dallas ISD at Lake Dallas Middle School. Mr. Drake holds Bachelors degrees in Music Education and Euphonium Performance from the University of North Texas. At UNT, he performed with the Wind Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Brass Band. He was also a member of the North Texas Green Brigade for three years, serving as the baritone Section Leader for two of those years. Alongside his education, Mr. Drake has taught lessons in Frisco ISD and was part of the visual staff for Marcus High School in Lewisville ISD.
Mr. Drake has competed internationally at the Leonard Falcone International Tuba-Euphonium Solo competition in the Young Artists division where he placed 4th. He has also competed at the International Tuba Euphonium Competition with the SuperNova Euphonium Quartet where they earned 2nd place. He has also given recitals with the SuperNova Euphonium Quartet at the Texas Music Educators Association convention and local businesses. Mr. Drake also regularly subs for the Dallas Brass Band.
Mr. Drake’s professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, and International Tuba Euphonium Association.
Mr. Drake is a recipient of the 2022 TMEA Collegiate Music Education Award.
When Mr. Drake is not teaching, he enjoys reading, running, playing board games, and spending time with his dog and family.