Directors

Sam Labordus is the Director of Bands at Robert E. Lee High School.  In this role, Mr. Labordus serves as conductor of the wind ensemble, directs the Marching Band, and aids in teaching in the Tyler ISD middle school band programs.  Prior to his appointment, Mr. Labordus served as Director of Bands at Caprock High School in Amarillo, TX.

Mr. Labordus is in continuous demand as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator for ensembles across Texas.  He has served as a guest organizer and conductor for the West Texas A&M Band Camp, and most recently as the guest conductor for the CENTEX Honor Band in Temple, TX.  Mr. Labordus earned his Associates Degree in Music from Tyler Junior College under the direction of Tom and Heather Mensch, his Bachelors of Music Education from Texas A&M – Commerce under the Direction of Phillip Clements, Jimmy Clark, and Scott-Lee Atchison, and is a graduate of Hawkins High School in Hawkins, TX.

Mr. Labordus, along with his beautiful wife Mikaela and adorable children Ethan and Evelyn, enjoy spending time outdoors, volunteering with their church, and reading.  The Labordus family is incredibly proud to be a part of the REL family, and will continue to strive to give back to the community that gives so much.  Mr. Labordus is a member of Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, and Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity.


Neil Hicks is in his third year as Associate Director of Bands at Robert E. Lee High School, where he teaches the Symphonic Winds, Jazz Ensemble I, and Jazz Ensemble II, Jazz Combo, and Music Theory AP. Mr. Hicks holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree with High Distinction from the Indiana University (IU) Jacobs School of Music. Interested in all aspects of teaching instrumental music, he earned a dual degree in both band and orchestra education, as well as minors in conducting and jazz studies. While at IU, Mr. Hicks played with the IU Symphonic and Concert Bands, the Jeremy Allen Big Band, the Steve Allee Big Band, and the Marching Hundred. Neil’s professional memberships include the Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Jazz Educators Association.

Mr. Hicks is passionate about helping kids to more thoroughly understand, more expressively perform, and more deeply love listening to music of all kinds, and he feels incredibly fortunate he is able to work with the talented students at REL each day. In his free time, Mr. Hicks enjoys cooking and reading.


 

Jordan Hayes, an East Texas native, is excited to begin his first year as a music educator with Robert E. Lee High School. He recently graduated from Texas A&M University – Commerce with his Bachelors of Music Education and a minor in Business. While in Commerce, Jordan gained performing experience in concert, jazz, and chamber ensembles as well as four years in the Pride Marching Band. He also spent two summers touring the country and performing with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps where he was awarded the 2016 I&E Mellophone World Champion. Mr. Hayes took time to teach private lessons on his primary instrument of trumpet and worked with various local marching band programs such as McKinney Boyd, Melissa, and Denison High Schools.

Mr. Hayes is excited to share his passion for music with the students of REL. Outside of music he enjoys running and reading.

 


Darriel Montgomery serves as an Assistant Band Director and the Percussion Director of Robert E. Lee High School, in Tyler, TX.  Prior to his appointment at Robert E. Lee High School, Mr. Montgomery was the Assistant Band Director and Percussion Director of Westwood ISD in Palestine, TX.  During his tenure there, Mr. Montgomery was instrumental in the growth of the percussion section, bringing Westwood High School its first-ever competitive (and award-winning) marching percussion section in 2016.  Darriel has also taught on the percussion staff of numerous public schools throughout the State of Texas, such as James Martin High School (Arlington, TX), Azle High School (Azle, TX), and many, many others.  He is also an active clinician, having served as the 2015 Percussion Clinician for the TMEA / ATSSB All-Region Clinic, hosted by the University of Texas at Tyler.

Darriel is a Cum Laude graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor of Music degree, and has studied percussion under Michael Varner, Jim Yakas, Mike Drake, and Mark Maynor.  During his tenure at UT Arlington, Mr. Montgomery was a highly-active performer in the music program.  He served as a member (and often, section leader) of the Maverick Marching Band, the Wind Symphony, the Symphony Orchestra, the Percussion Ensemble, the Jazz Orchestra (as a bassist), and the Dan Burkholder Jazz Combo (also as a bassist).  Darriel received his Associate of Arts degree from Trinity Valley Community College (Athens, TX), and is also an alumnus of Tyler Junior College (Tyler, TX).

From 2006 to 2008, Darriel was a member of the Texas Community College Band Directors Association All-State Band, serving as principal percussionist in 2006 (his first year as a percussionist).  In 2009, Darriel was a member of the Tyler Junior College Indoor Drumline, under the direction of Tom McGowan.  Darriel was also a member of TJC Indoor in 2010, which was their inaugural year in the Winter Guard International’s acclaimed Percussion Independent World Class.  During this time, TJC Indoor served as the ambassadors to Dynasty USA in 2010, and traveled to Belgium to perform their show and offer clinics and masterclasses for the budding indoor drumline programs overseas.  Darriel is a former snare drummer for the Dallas Mavericks Drumline, and performed with them from 2013 to 2015.

Mr. Montgomery is a member of many professional organizations, including the Texas Music Educators Association, the Percussive Arts Society, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.