ESUSD’s New Band Director Robert Soto Sets the Bar High

“I am envisioning an exciting fall competitive season for us. While my focus is on high quality performances, I feel this year’s band is gong to make a good run for the top at the championships,” says the professional bass trombonist, teacher and performer.

Over the summer, Soto wrapped up his first assignment for El Segundo High School – a two-week Summer Band Camp. The intensive program focused on marching techniques, skills and musicianship.  “Summer Camp allows us accomplish a lot before the academic year even begins,” said Soto. “The band quickly learned two movements of the music for the field program, including the marching drill for their entire opener.”

Soto brings a wealth of teaching experience to his new position – he’s been named director of El Segundo High School’s (ESHS) marching band, wind ensemble and concert band, as well as the El Segundo Middle School band and choir. He earned a master’s degree in music from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree in music education cum laude from the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP). His past music and band teaching experience includes middle schools and high schools in El Paso, Texas; and Hollywood, West Covina and Chino Hills, California.

The prolific musician is also an adjunct professor of trombone at Fullerton College and has performed with the Orange County Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony, Golden State Pops Orchestra, as well as in the orchestra for various community theaters. He has recorded and performed with top artists and orchestras in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, England, and Brazil.

Soto says his primary goal is to provide students with an extensive and varied experience in music and band. “I want to continue the quality music education program already established by my predecessor, Steve Fox, and ESHS Assistant Band Director Edie Rice.”

In the future, he envisions the band participating in regional competitions, such as Bands of America, and performing in a prestigious event such as Pasadena’s Rose Parade. “I want the El Segundo Unified music program to be recognized and renowned throughout California,” he said.

As for El Segundo Middle School’s band, choir and orchestra, Soto says he hopes the students experience how much fun performing music can be, and wants to inspire them to continue their music education in high school.

Previewing what’s in store for the ESHS marching band’s 2016 field show, “Romeo and Juliet,” Soto says, “We’re taking a straight-forward approach in telling the story of the conflict between the two families.”

At every home football game, attendees will see the field show change and progress, until the last home game when the band will perform the complete show during halftime. The show will feature Russian Composer Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet as well as the love theme from the 1968 film, “Romeo and Juliet.” “We’ll be incorporating some dramatic voice over quotes from the play,” said Soto. “Our choreography will include movements taken from many dance styles from ballroom to modern and everything in between.”

Soto appreciates the support that El Segundo’s music program receives from the District, the El Segundo Education Foundation, parents and the community.

“I’m encouraged by this community’s love and support of the arts in El Segundo,” he said. “My wife and I love the small town feel here and are grateful for the warm welcome we have received.”


Photo Captions:

El Segundo Unified School District’s new band director, Robert Soto, is a professional bass trombonist, teacher and performer.

ESUSD Band Director Robert Soto takes the conductor’s podium to lead the El Segundo High School Band during their last performance of the 2015-16 academic year.