Adan Salazar began his career as a music educator in San Isidro, where he marked the first football field, performed half-time shows in both English and Spanish, and drove students home in an area so remote that they had to put reflectors on mesquite trees to guide the way. From his early days in San Isidro where his work with the band attracted many to watch the band perform, Adan Salazar has dedicated himself to his work. Throughout his career, he has taken pride in having taught several students who have become successful directors.
Adan Salazar was born to Jose Fuentes and Jesusa DeLeon Salazar and was raised with his sister, Minerva Blanco, in Gonzalez, Texas. Adan began his musical career playing the saxophone with dance bands his junior and senior year in high school. After graduating from high school in 1945, he was drafted into the Army and was assigned to the 386th Field Army Band, serving at Burns General Hospital in Los Alamos, N.M. and Hot Springs, Ark.
He served three years in the Army, received an honorable discharge, then attended college at Southwest Texas State Teacher’s College (now Texas State University) in San Marcos, majoring in music education. He played with several dance bands to supplement his income.
After graduating from college in 1952, Adan accepted a job in San Isidro ISD organizing its first high school band. Just two years later, his band participated in its first UIL marching contest, receiving a Division I rating. His first judges were Tommy Williamson, Tony Fassino and Weldon Covington. Adan credits the success of his program to his first superintendent, Charles McWaters.
After teaching four years in San Isidro, he moved to Falfurrias, Texas and became the first Hispanic band director and teacher in high school. The band was awarded a First Division in marching, which was the first in school history.
He moved to Edinburg, Texas to serve as an assistant director of woodwinds, where he met the wonderful head band director, Ralph Burford. While at Edinburg High, his students received 100 Class I solo and ensemble medals. He also had seven woodwind students who made the All State Band. Then he became high school band director at Premont, Texas where his band made Sweepstakes for seven years and two of his students made the All State Band. At the University of Texas Band Day, the Premont band was presented the first place trophy at Memorial Stadium by the then head band director, Mr. Vincent DeNino.
From Premont, Adan moved to San Antonio and became the head band director at Harlandale High. After one year he applied to North East ISD where he met Al Sturchio, then supervisor of music at NEISD, and Mr. Bobby Geisler, who was then principal at Churchill High. He became band director at Nimitz Middle, where he stayed for 12 years. During his teaching career at Nimitz, his band received 72 first place medals in Solo and Ensemble out of 73 entries. His greatest accomplishment at Nimitz was his band receiving six one ratings in concert and sight-reading; Nimitz was the only middle school band to accomplish this in 1985. The band received Sweepstakes Awards every year that the middle school bands were allowed to attend UIL contest.
He retired in May of 1985 after teaching 33 years in the public schools, then taught band at Catholic Schools: St. Matthew’s, St. Peter, St. Anthony Elementary, St. Anthony Boys School, and Incarnate Word Girls High.
He has done tape clinics, and has been a mentor for several band directors who then received their first sweepstakes. He currently teaches saxophone lessons at Eisenhower Middle and Churchill High schools, both in the NEISD.
Adan was married to the late Catalina Ramos Salazar for 52 years. His present wife is Blanca Garcia Salazar, who was a teacher for 36 years, with 28 of those teaching at Churchill High School. His son, Adan, is married to Kathleen; they have two daughters, Sylvia White and Juanita Cariffe and her son, Lou, and four grandchildren, Nicole, James Adan, Adam and Megan.
He has been a member of Texas Music Educators and Texas Band Masters for the last 54 years. He is very thankful to Servando Aleman, Joe Menchaca, Al Cortinas and members of Phi Beta Mu for making this award possible.
Mr. Salazar passed away in June of 2015.