The 2023 Golden Eagle marching band season has officially begun under the new leadership of Band Director Sebastian Villacis and student drum majors. The lively performances during football games and pep rallies would not have been possible without the imperative role of these current Naples High leaders. 

Band Director Sebastian Villacis

The current band director of the NHS band program is an avid admirer of music, graduating from Florida Institute University with a bachelors in Music Education. Villacis was raised in Broward County playing the saxophone, but his career has allowed him to be knowledgeable in different instruments. Villacis largely attributes his achievement in the musical field to the time spent studying at the Miami-based college. 

“I had a very great music educator mentor. Her name was Dr. Davenport, and I feel like she set me up for success,” Villacis said. “Just going into this career, I never expected a job like Naples High School.”

Villacis joined the staff only one week before the annual band camp, a crucial time in which students are trained in their marching technique and sound needs for the upcoming school year. Although the sudden transition was a bit of a shock for the director, he came out of the experience with inspiring insight about himself and the young musicians. 

“I was excited because it was a good kind of busy, but afterwards, I got used to it. The students were hesitant at first because they’ve already gone through two director changes,” Villacis said. “The energy is there. My only goal right now is to make sure that the energy is driving them still in this whole school tradition.”

The band director asserts that the marching band program is an essential course. It is evident that his dedication to the band program will benefit both the performers as well as the school environment. 

“It just shows school spirit. It shows a level of complexity that students work towards in terms of arts, and it just makes us appreciate music more, ‌which is very important in my opinion,” Villacis said. “The football players, I heard them compliment my band for how good they sound. We also compliment them for always doing a great job.”

With consistent rehearsals, the band director strives to have a victorious, competitive marching season. However, his long-term objective for the marching band program is to be an influential force at a state level. 

“My ambition right now is this county has a lot of resources in terms of performing arts, but I would like to modernize it in comparison to the rest of Florida instead of us following the trend,” said Villacis. “I want us to be starting the trend patterns of band culture [with] some things such as marching shows, uniform and music tastes. Hopefully, the rest of the culture around us outside of the band world will also follow us.” 

Drum Major Gavin Moon 

The role of drum major is the highest position a student can hold in the NHS band program. Drum majors are responsible for conducting the marching band and supporting their fellow peers in any way possible. Senior Gavin Moon was informed of his application acceptance of drum major during the spring of last school year, after many seasons serving as a leader and highly involved band member.  

“Sophomore year, I was chosen to be a section leader over a bunch of people that were older than me, so I felt like that helped me grow,” Moon said. “Junior year, I was also chosen to be the brass captain in charge of all brass.”

Drum Major Moon has excelled at the skills required to play his horn instrument since his sixth-grade band enrollment. Despite these qualifications, the trumpeter had to overcome obstacles and gained valuable knowledge that coincided with the establishment of his new title. 

“We have run into issues and that’s going to happen no matter if you have the best program or not, but our strength is we work through them,” Moon said. 

Assistant Drum Major Savannah Toro

Junior Savannah Toro was informed about the approval of her drum major application along with Moon in the spring. She is most comfortable playing the flute, an instrument that she has performed with in the marching band, concert band and the Indoor Winds extracurricular. Assistant Drum Major Toro was inspired to apply for the position because of the incredible NHS drum majors that preceded her. 

“All the drum majors that conducted me through my freshman and sophomore year made it seem like one of the best jobs ever,” Toro said. “You can’t be a drum major if there are no people to conduct, and so being a drum major to me is helping everyone on the field, making sure they reach their fullest potential.”

One major lesson that Toro learned during her time as a drum major is the importance of collaboration. As a student who aspires to join a marching band at the collegiate level, this lesson will most likely contribute to her success both musically and in her studies. The Golden Eagle drum majors’ communication allows them to lead the band in an effective manner. 

“It’s good to have a solid foundation with your peers, so that way you present yourselves as a united front,” Toro said. “We work well together, which definitely helps when we need to talk about conducting or anything band related.”