Former Field Band Officer Honored in San Antonio

By CW4 Gordon Kippola
The United States Army Field Band

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Chief Warrant Officer (Retired) Charles Booker, who completed a distinguished Army career as the director of the Jazz Ambassadors of The United States Army Field Band, will be honored as a "Pillar of Character" for the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas. The following story was posted on the UA Fort Smith News:

Charles Booker, associate professor of music and director of bands at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith, was recently named a 2008 “Pillar of Character” by the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, where he attended high school.

For the last decade, the Northside Education Foundation has selected six NISD alumni and living role models each year to represent a character trait taught in Northside classrooms as part of the District’s character curriculum.

Booker was nominated by several Northside District band directors he said have known him his whole life. After the nomination a committee chose the final award recipients based on their demonstration of the Six Pillars: Responsibility, citizenship, respect, fairness, trustworthiness and caring, which was the Pillar bestowed upon Booker.

“I was very honored and humbled by the nomination and the award,” he said. “I was very surprised. I had no idea about the award.”

He will be honored with five other District alums at the Northside Education Foundation black-tie gala Sept. 2 in San Antonio. Other honorees include an engineer, college softball coach, energy executive, U.S. Army major and wildlife research expert.

Posters of the six honorees will be hung in 6,000 classrooms across the District to remind students of each person’s potential to be a Pillar of Character. The Pillars will also make personal visits to classes to inspire and motivate.

“Kids grow up and they want to be like certain people,” Booker said. “If there’s any way I can reach out and touch one student and encourage them to go to college and be a success in life, I’m all for it.”

With the classroom visits, Booker says he will not only be representing the school district, but will also bring a piece of where he is now to the San Antonio area.

“In doing so I also represent the University, too,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to let them know about the great institution we have here.”

Booker has composed numerous works, including “Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble,” “The Trailblazers,” “Valtzz! For Euphonium and Band” and “American Jubilee,” which was commissioned by the South Jersey Wind Ensemble. Today his music is performed by high school, university and military bands from around the world.

Booker is also a former U.S. Army Bandmaster, marching in the inaugural parades for Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton and playing trumpet at the funerals of Presidents Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson with the U.S. Army Band.

NISD is the fourth-largest school district in Texas encompassing 13 high schools, 16 middle schools, 11 special schools and more than 50 elementary schools with an enrollment of more than 85,000 students.

Article by: Jessica Martin, Public Relations Assistant

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