Charles Kuentz was a beloved Northside Band Director who ignited his students ‘ passion for music and taught them the value of character, dedication and work ethic.
Kuentz grew up in a musical family that often had jam sessions with friends on Sunday afternoons. His mother played the piano, his father played the violin and the accordion, and Kuentz played the trumpet, as did his older sister.
While Kuentz lived as a boy in the Woodlawn Lake area, he also visited the dairy farm of his grandparents in Helothes. His grandfather was Henry T. Brauchle-a poet, an educator, and a Northside name-girl. O’Connor High School, now Kuentz Elementary School, is built on the site of the former Brauchle dairy farm. Since graduating from Jefferson High School in 1952, Kuentz enrolled at Texas Lutheran University. Here he met his wife Judy, a fellow musician and a former NISD music teacher. Kuentz was preparing to become a minister when his college band director proposed that he think about a career in music.
Kuentz quickly realized that his call was “ministering” to children through music. Kuentz switched majors, and after completing his degree, he began to work as a music teacher and band director at Rocksprings, Asheville, and Three Rivers. His family, which would eventually include six children, returned to San Antonio, and in 1969 Kuentz became the director of the Jefferson band, his alma mater. He entered Northside in 1974, first at Hobby Middle School, then a year later at Marshall High School.
The Ram Band
He revolutionized the Ram Band, adding showmanship, choreography, and music that made half-time performance a must-see experience at soccer games. He put the Ram Band on the map (and in the record books) when they were invited to play the Roses Parade Tournament in Pasadena, California, in 1977. To help raise money for the trip, the students organized a “band-a-thon” to break the Guinness World Record for the longest, continuous appearance of the band. It took 52 hours, but the record was smashed. Given the many accolades and honors that the Ram Band has won, students say that it was the life lessons that Kuentz taught them that had the greatest impact. Kuentz acted as a father figure to many of his students, acting as a role model for self-discipline, collaboration, and pride in one’s work.
In 1982, Kuentz transferred to Ruder Middle School to become the school’s first band director. He retired in 1992, but stayed actively involved with music as founder of the Helotes Community Band. The Kuentz legacy of music, culture, and character is unlikely to disappear any time soon. Many of Kuentz’s former students have become music teachers and educators, including three of his own children, all of whom teach in Northside ISD
This amazing school is located in beautiful Helotes, Texas, along with these other must-see schools for you to check out:
- Charles L. Kuentz, Jr. Elementary School (Helotes)
- Helotes Elementary School (Helotes)
- Los Reyes Elementary School (Helotes)
- Randall H. Fields Elementary School (San Antonio)
- Dr. Hector P. Garcia Middle School (San Antonio)
- Wallace B. Jefferson Middle School (San Antonio)
- Dr. John Folks Middle School (San Antonio)
- Sandra Day O’Connor High School (Helotes)
- Louis Dembitz Brandeis High School (San Antonio)
And after your visit make sure to stop by the best CBD Store in Helotes, Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary, on Bandera Road!