Past Permian Directors
Permian Band Director 1959-1972
J. R. returned to Odessa in 1950, serving as band director at Bowie Junior High. He also worked with Hall of Fame member, Robert Maddox, band director at Odessa High. Bonham Junior High was opened in 1955 with J. R. being that school's first band director. In 1959, Permian High School opened its doors and the incredible tradition of that band began with J. R. At the helm, J. R.'s bands not only received sweepstakes awards each year that he taught, but they also received First Division ratings in each and every contest they entered. The "Mojo" Band is widely acclaimed thanks to Mr. McEntyre's dedicated work. The Permian Band was also selected 5-A honor band during J. R.'s tenure.
J. R. was honored by being selected Bandmaster of the Year by T.B.A. He has served as president of TMEA and TMAA (Texas Music Adjudicators Association), and he has also served as State Board Chairman. He is a member of the American Bandmasters Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, TMEA, TMAA, and Phi Beta Mu. J. R. has taught in many summer band camps including West Texas State University, Texas Tech, and McMurry. He even taught band in college for one day before his great love for public school bands overrode his academic instincts. He has co-authored a band method series entitled "Division of Beat", and he has also served as an All-State conductor.
Permian Band Director 1973-1989
During Mr. Nail’s seventeen year tenure as band and orchestra director at Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, the ensembles under his leadership performed at extraordinarily high levels, winning the Texas State Marching Band contest in 1982 and finishing second three other times and being selected five times for the finals competition in that event. The Permian Band was also selected as the Texas State Honor Band and was never awarded less than a superior rating in every contest and festival they entered during his time there. The Permian Orchestra was twice chosen as the Texas State Honor Orchestra and also was invited to perform at the prestigious Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic/Convention in 1985.
Mr. Nail is a Past-President of the Texas Music Educators Association and also served two years as the Vice-President and Orchestra Division Chairman of that organization. He is a Past-President of the Texas Orchestra Directors Association, and he was chosen in 1992 to be a member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association, a group of the most highly regarded band directors in colleges, universities and public schools from across the United States and Canada.
Permian Band Director 1989-1996
In August of 1971, Van was at home when Odessa Music Coordinator Robert L. Maddox called to ask if he would be interested in the John B. Hood Junior High School job in Odessa. Having grown up in Texas, Van yearned to be a Texas band director, so he bade farewell to his wonderful students at Yucca JH in Clovis, NM. He also wanted to learn from the legendary J.R. McEntyre. The Hood band went on to earn numerous marching and concert band awards while Van was director, including 3C Honor Band in 1973. After leaving Odessa, Van was a successful high school director and administrator. His Midland Lee HS Band was named the Texas Honor Band in 1979.
J.R. McEntyre retired as Odessa Director of Fine Arts in 1989, and Charles Nail moved into that position, creating an opening at Permian High School. Luckily, Van’s name had not been forgotten, and with the encouragement of Jean, his wife, the Ragsdales moved back to Odessa. This was during the “Friday Night Lights” era, and Van’s first year at Permian included eighteen half-time performances and an ESPN National football championship. The marching band also placed 6th in the State Marching Contest, a feat it would repeat three consecutive years. During this time Van served as president of Phi Beta Mu’s Alpha Chapter.
Permian Band Director 1996-2012
The Permian Band continued a tradition of success under the direction of Mike Watts. The band performed at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. The Permian Band combined with the Odessa High School Band to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. At the time they marched it was the largest band to ever perform in the nationally televised parade. The Permian Band also marched in Dublin, Ireland in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade and performed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.