As Director of Bands at Harlingen High School, TX for 21 years, all Six Concert Bands received consistent UIL Sweepstakes awards, Best in Class, State and National awards and All-State Band and Jazz Band students. The Harlingen High School “Big Red” Cardinal Marching Band made 11 consecutive appearances at the Texas State Marching Band Championships, qualifying every opportunity from 1998-2018. The group also earned positions in the finals of Bands of America Regional Championships, where they won the school’s first Regional in 2005. The Marching Band has also won numerous 1st Place Festival Awards and Grand Champion Marching Band Awards throughout South and Central Texas. The Concert Band advanced to the Texas 6A Honor Band Finals numerous times finishing as high as 9th in Texas. The Jazz Ensemble has received consistent Best in Class and numerous “Outstanding Band of the Festival” awards. The Jazz Ensemble was a featured performing group at the IAJE convention in New York City. They also performed and served as a featured group to Duke Ellington’s music with guest Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center. His Jazz Ensembles have also performed at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago three times and HHS was named the Honor Jazz Ensemble for the State of Texas and showcased at TMEA in San Antonio. His Jazz Ensembles have also shared the stage with artists Bob Mintzer, Michael Brecker, John Fedchock, Conrad Herwig, Mike Steinel, Woody Witt, Armin Marmolejo, Dennis DiBlisio, Terell Stafford and Arturo Sandoval. Mr. Rios’ groups have performed throughout Texas, as well Florida, California, New Jersey, Washington DC, Illinois and Central Park in NY City. In 2011, the Harlingen HS Band was named the Texas Bandmasters Association “Exemplary High School Band Program of the Year” in Texas.
Mr. Rios has been named to the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers numerous times and was also named Teacher of the Year in the Harlingen CISD. He received the Distinguished Citizen Award by the community of Harlingen, and is also a past Phi Beta Mu ‘Texas Young Bandmaster of the Year’ recipient. Mr. Rios also created and serves as the Artistic Director for the community group Rio Grande Valley Jazz Orchestra in Harlingen, TX. He has also performed with this group at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago as well and has shared the stage with the World Famous Count Basie Orchestra. He is a member of TMEA, TBA, TMAA, TJEA, Phi Beta Mu and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He is the Past President of IAJE-Texas, TJEA, past TMAA Vice-President and served as the TMEA Texas State Band Chair. He is currently the TMEA Area G Band Chair. Mr. Rios has served as a clinician and adjudicator in Texas, Arizona, Kentucky, Georgia, Nevada, Utah, California, New Mexico and Indiana. He currently serves as an active adjudicator for UIL, DCI, and BOA.