West Potomac Band

West Potomac High School boasts one of the very best band programs in Fairfax County. We’re an Honor Band at a Blue Ribbon School, and the musical instruction our kids enjoy is extraordinary. 

 

All band students participate in one of our three concert bands (Symphonic Winds, Wind Ensemble, or Concert Band). We’ve got an award-winning marching band, two jazz bands, and a growing indoor drumline ensemble. Our musicians also have the opportunity to play in the orchestra pit for the school’s theatre productions.

 

Band Director: 

Gio Garcia 

 

We welcome Mr. Giovanni Garcia as our 2021-22 Band Director.  Mr. Garcia brings a wealth of experience into the role.  He has worked as a Band Director and Assistant Band Director in multiple high schools, most recently as the Director of Bands and Orchestra at KP Taravella High School in Coral Springs, Florida during the 2019-2020 school year.  During that year his Jazz Band earned two different superior ratings and his Concert Band also earned superior ratings.  Mr. Garcia also spent four years serving as a teaching assistant for the Scarlet Marching Knights of Rutgers University.  While at Rutgers he increased participating in brass and served as guest conductor for the Rutgers Wind Ensemble.   

 

Mr. Garcia also bring experience as a French Horn performer having spent 9 years as a member of the Miami Symphony Orchestra and three years as a member of the Florida Wind Symphony.  He has continued to participate as a free lance performer spending time with the Princeton Symphony, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and others. 

 

Mr. Garcia holds his Bachelor of Music, Music Education from the University of Miami, his Masters of Arts in Conducting from Florida Atlantic University, and is currently working on his Doctorate from Rutgers University in Horn Performance.  

 

We are very excited for Mr. Garcia to take over this role for the 2021-22 school year and will work to complete a comprehensive search for our band director position this coming Spring.

 

The band director provides the students with a full musical education through teaching, testing, rehearsal, and performance. He plans and conducts each rehearsal, as well as hires the auxiliary staff members and supervises their instruction. The director selects and orders all music and plans all musical aspects of the performances. Students are auditioned, graded, and disciplined by the director. In addition, the director provides the schedule of events, oversees the rental of instruments, and prepares budget recommendations for the WPBPO.

Longtime band director, Steve Rice, retired August 2, 2021. We are incredibly grateful for his almost 30 years of service to Fairfax County Public Schools and West Potomac High School.  He has been a mainstay in our community and supported thousands of students in their passion for music.  We wish him all the best in retirement.

Color Guard Director: 
Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell has had a passion for the performing arts and pageantry arts her entire life. She was a member of the Phantom Regiment Color Guard from 2007-2011, earning the DCI World Champion title with the corps in 2008. Kelly also performed with Onyx Winterguard from 2011-2014 and in 2018, earning two WGI Independent World Championships in 2012 and 2014. She has choreographed for Bands of America high school finalist groups across the United States.  Kelly has also choreographed for Onyx Color Guard and the Phantom Regiment.

 

Kelly has a bachelor’s degree in dance from Columbia College in Chicago. Outside of drum corps and marching band, Kelly is an active performer and choreographer. Kelly currently resides in Washington, D.C., where she works as a dancer.  She also travels the country as a dance instructor and choreographer with her business, centered around dance education and choreography for the Marching Arts. 

band camp 2017
graduation 2018
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Mr. Rice and Mike
ready for competition
Band Administrative Assistant: 
Penelope Bauer 

Penny Bauer, our band administrative assistant, is responsible for maintaining the music library, rental instrument contracts, and medical form files. In addition, she also handles other administrative duties, such as activity request forms, field trip permission forms, and competition applications. The salary for this assistant is provided by WPBPO funds.