From the Band Director – John Hepford
Welcome to Tortolita Middle School Band! TMS is pleased to offer students an outstanding Band program and I am honored to be the Director of an exceptional group of students. TMS invites all of our students to consider joining us. Students may choose to be in their individual grade level band (7th or 8th) as well as Jazz band in 8th grade. Band meets every day for 45 minute class periods during the school year.
Below is more about myself. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions about our program. Welcome!
I graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. In 1998, I began my teaching career in Easton, Kansas where I taught Band and Choir at both the middle and high school level – grades 6-12th. During my 4 years as director, the high school band grew from 12 members to 30 with 40 students in the 7/8 band on the way. I also started a jazz band and was able to take these young musicians to see Maynard Ferguson in concert!
From there, I moved to Chisholm Trail in Olathe, Kansas where I taught for the next 15 years. This was an exciting time in which the bands I worked with received numerous superior ratings for both concert and jazz band, and in 2010 was one of only 2 middle school bands selected to perform at the Kansas Music Educator's Association State conference.
I was honored to serve on the Executive Board for the Kansas Sousa Honor band from 2008-2015. While on the board I had the exceptional opportunity to work with several amazing composers such as: Douglas Akey, Quincy Hilliard, Johnny Vinson, Michael Sweeney and James Swearingen. I also served as the Kansas Music Educator's Northeast Region Middle School Band chair from 2004-2006.
In 2016, I moved to Marana where I have taught elementary band 2 years before being hired as the band director at Tortolita for the 2019-2020 school year.
Professional Musician & Personal Interests
In addition to teaching, I take great joy in also being an active performer. I was the principal percussionist for the Kansas City Wind Symphony from 2004-2015. In 2008, the KCWS performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City; the following year I had the exceptional opportunity to be the featured percussionist performing movement 3 from Gary Zeik's Concerto for Solo Percussion and Wind Ensemble. I have also played with the Olathe Ragtime orchestra, Freestate Brass band, Olathe Civic Band, several productions with Theater in the Park and jazz dance band Anna Lee and the Lucky So and So's.
Since moving to Marana, I have continued to enjoy performing and have worked with the Old Pueblo Brass Band, Tucson Repertory Orchestra and The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra. I am also the front ensemble director of the Flowing Wells Marching band.
When not teaching or performing, I love to spend time with my beautiful wife and best friend Stefani and their daughter Eva. Personal hobbies include tennis, swimming, cycling, cooking new things and cheering on the KU basketball team!