Longtime Music Educator Charles Aguillon Appointed Director of Mustang Band and Spirit Squads

Charles Aguillon

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU welcomes a new director of the Mustang Band with the selection of Charles Aguillon. Currently the director of Fine Arts and Academic Enrichment for the Lake Travis Independent School District in Austin, Aguillon will on July 1 take the helm of SMU’s band while also overseeing the cheer and pom teams, SMU’s live mascot, Peruna, and the Peruna Handlers.

“We are thrilled that Charles has agreed to serve in this important leadership role at SMU. The Mustang Band, Cheer and Pom teams, Peruna and the Peruna Handlers embody the incredible spirit and long tradition of what makes SMU a special place,” said K.C. Mmeje, Vice President for Student Affairs. “His many years of experience working in music education in Texas and his commitment to student excellence both inside and outside the classroom make him the ideal person to lead the Mustang Band and spirit squads. With one son already a Mustang, we look forward to welcoming his entire family to the Hilltop.”

Aguillon will be leading a band with a century of history, which began in 1917 as a few members of the SMU orchestra who played together to back up the cheerleaders for the last two football games of the season. Within a few years, the band had become the leader of SMU school spirit.

Inspired by the growing popularity of jazz, the Mustang Band became the first college band to march, play jazz and adopt a uniform style of slacks and blazers – the beginning of a unique sound and look that continues today. Recognized as the "Best-dressed Band in the Land," band members can create 32 distinct looks with their uniforms, including the trademark candy-striped jackets.

The Mustang Band performed before its most distinguished audiences in 2001 when it played for the inauguration of President George W. Bush and at festivities surrounding the 2013 dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU. Band members will be traveling to Normandy, France, this summer to represent the United States in the D-Day Commemorative Ceremonies.

The band’s newest director has a nearly 30-year career as a music educator. Prior to his current position in Austin, Aguillon was a band director in the Georgetown and San Marcos Independent School Districts. Under his direction, the Georgetown High School Band program was recognized at the state and national levels and appeared at the University Interscholastic League (UIL) State Marching Band Championships and the Music for All National Concert Band Festival. 

Aguillon succeeds Don Hopkins, who retired from SMU after serving as the band director since 2005.

“My family and I are excited to be coming to the Hilltop,” Aguillon said. “I am humbled to be the 12th Director of the Mustang Band following legends such as Dr. Irving Dreibrodt who put the Mustang Band on the map of storied college marching bands. I am also excited to be working side by side with the amazing SMU Spirit Groups.”

Aguillon is an adjudicator and clinician for the UIL and US Bands. He has served as the Corps Director for Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps in Austin and was previously on the marching arts staff at the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps in Casper, Wyoming. He has also held faculty positions in the marching arts at Texas State University (Texas State) and Southwestern University.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music Education from Texas State, where he was drum major of the Bobcat Marching Band and assistant conductor of the wind ensemble. He also holds a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Phoenix.

Aguillon and his wife, Vanessa, also an educator, have two adult sons, one of whom is a current undergraduate at SMU pursuing a music performance degree in the Meadows School of the Arts.




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