Mr. Hunter Bown – Director of Bands

Hunter Bown, a native of Houma, Louisiana is thrilled to join the Independence High School staff as Director of Bands! He received his formal training from University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University, and recently graduated with a Masters in Music Education from SMU. At North Texas, he spent the 2012 and 2013 Fall seasons as Drum Major of the Green Brigade, earning the Bandsman of the Year Award and Leadership Award for the 2013 season.

Mr. Bown participated in Drum and Bugle Corps at Crossmen (2012) and Carolina Crown (2013 – 2015) as Drum Major, earning the title of DCI World Champion in 2013. An advocate of technological advancements in music education, Mr. Bown serves as a member of the Ultimate Drill Book Education Team. He is an active adjudicator with USBands.

Prior to joining the staff at Independence Mr. Bown taught at Timber Creek High School in Keller, Texas. During his college years, he also served as a field technician for Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas. He is also a member of the Texas Music Educators Association.

In his spare time Mr. Bown loves going to the gym, listening to podcasts and audiobooks, and playing video games. He enjoys spending time with his crazy dog Zoe, who almost exclusively travels in circles!

You can reach Mr. Bown at bownh@friscoisd.org

Mr. Neil Hicks – Assistant Director of Bands

Neil Hicks is in his first year as Assistant Director of Bands at Independence High School, where he works with the Symphonic Band, Marching Band, and Jazz Ensemble.

Prior to moving to Frisco, Mr. Hicks taught for four years at Lee High School in Tyler, Texas. During this time at Lee, his concert and jazz ensembles consistently earned superior ratings, and he was recognized with the Rising Star Award through Young Audiences for excellence in arts education.

Mr. Hicks holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree with High Distinction from Indiana University. Neil’s professional memberships include the Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Jazz Educators Association.

Mr. Hicks is passionate about helping students to more thoroughly understand, more expressively perform, and more deeply love listening to music of all genres, and he feels incredibly fortunate he is able to work with the talented students at Independence each day. In his free time, Mr. Hicks enjoys cooking, leatherworking, and reading.

You can reach Mr. Hicks at hicksn@friscoisd.org

Mr. Josh Jennings – Percussion Director

Josh Jennings serves as Director of Percussion for Independence High School and all feeder middle schools. His duties include instructing the IHS Drumline and percussion ensembles, teaching beginning percussionists, and assisting with all wind band percussive needs.

Before teaching at IHS, Mr. Jennings served as Percussion Director for MacArthur HS in Irving ISD and Vandeventer MS in Frisco ISD where he also assisted with the coordination of the Liberty HS Percussion program. Prior to his work in Frisco, Mr. Jennings worked as a private lesson instructor and percussion assistant at several schools in the D/FW Metroplex; most notably Newman Smith HS in Carrollton and Marcus HS in Flower Mound. For a number of years, Mr. Jennings was a consultant for the drumline and Brazilian ensembles at the University of Texas at Arlington. Over the past decade, several of Mr. Jennings’ students have gone on to make the Texas UIL All-State Band, major in music at the top institutions in the US, perform in Drum Corps International, and have become professional music educators and performers of their own.

Mr. Jennings also presents various educational clinics and has served as a guest percussion artist at schools and universities around the world. He has worked at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand, the University of North Texas, Western State College in Colorado, Tennessee Tech University, and the University of Tennessee Knoxville. In 2012, Mr. Jennings started a program integrating music and percussion in order to assist special needs children in Taipei, Taiwan. Mr. Jennings has also served as a clinician and an adjudicator for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Thailand Drumline contests in Bangkok as well as others here in the US. He has also performed as a guest artist for the 60th and 61st Midwest Band and Orchestra Conferences in Chicago, IL. In addition, Mr. Jennings has appeared at numerous events at the Texas Music Educators Association Conventions and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention.

When he’s not teaching, Mr. Jennings can be found performing every kind of music imaginable either locally or internationally. For example, Mr. Jennings was a percussion coordinator and performer for the NHL Dallas Stars 2006-2007 season. He served as the international manager for the American percussion group, FOUNDRY, featured at the 2012 International Drum Festival in Taiwan. In October 2012, Mr. Jennings played with the Dallas-based Percussion group, D’Drum, when they performed with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. The piece is entitled, “Gamelan D’Drum,” written by former Police drummer, Stewart Copeland. For six seasons, Mr. Jennings marched with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps and received numerous accolades in the world of DCI and marching percussion. Among those, the most notable was being awarded first place in both the PASIC and DCI Individual Keyboard competitions with the latter being featured in the 25th Anniversary Issue of Modern Drummer magazine.

Mr. Jennings holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Education and a Masters Degree of Music Performance from the University of North Texas. Mr. Jennings is an endorser for Cadeson drums, Contemporânea Brazilian instruments, and Pro-Mark sticks and sounds.

You can email Mr. Jennings at: jenningsj@friscoisd.org

Ms. Angela Stoltz – Color Guard Director

Angela Stoltz serves the Independence Band as the Color Guard Director. She is originally from Frisco, TX and graduated from Centennial High School in 2012. Shortly after graduating, she returned to Centennial and served as the Assistant Color Guard Director at CHS from Fall 2012 to Spring 2017.

She has performed competitively in both Drum Corps International and Winter Guard International. Ms. Stoltz marched with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps of LaCrosse, WI in 2014 and 2015. Her other performance experience includes Cypress Independent World 2015 and Color Guard Theater Dallas 2016, both organizations were WGI World Championships Finalists.

Ms. Stoltz currently serves on the Color Guard instructional staff at the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps and goes on tour with the organization over the summer, this will be her second year on staff for the organization. She also serves on the instructional staff for the World Class group CGT Dallas and was just recently named as Co-Director for the organization’s new sister group, CGT Denton, which will compete in Independent A class for the first time this winter season.

Ms. Stoltz holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of North Texas. In her free time she enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, trying new restaurants, and traveling!

You can email Ms. Stoltz at: stoltza@friscoisd.org