To current students at Duncanville High School, he is the guy whose name graces the school’s performance hall. To concert and marching band aficionados in Duncanville and across the country, he’s a living legend.
Last year, the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame named Dr. Tom Shine to its incoming class of honorees. The award came after 40 years in education – 30 of those spent as Director of Bands at Duncanville High School.
“It’s a wonderful thing if you live long enough and stay in the profession long enough, those sorts of things happen,” Shine said.
The induction to the hall of fame is regarded as one of the highest honors in the profession. Current DHS Director of Bands, David Brandon, worked under Dr. Shine for 14 years.
“I count my lucky stars that I was able to have those years with him – as a middle school director and to work one-on-one with him at the high school,” Brandon said. “He taught me that you don’t count anybody out. You never give up on somebody. Everybody has potential.”
During Dr. Shine’s years in Duncanville ISD, the bands reached goals rarely accomplished by any one band or district. They were awarded the Sudler Flag of Honor in 1988 and the Sudler Shield in 1998 by the John Philip Sousa Foundation; Duncanville is one of the few programs worldwide to receive both awards. Under Shine’s leadership, the Duncanville High School Marching Band advanced to the UIL State Finals 14 times – winning championships across three decades: 1986, 1990 and 2002.
Despite his long list of accomplishments while working at Duncanville ISD, Dr. Shine said he is most proud of is how the band program has flourished without him at the helm. Shine said that’s how he designed the curriculum during his time at DHS. It’s student-centered rather than focused on the personality of the director.
“The students in Duncanville are empowered to take control of their own destiny,” Shine said. “We just don’t believe in letting students fall through the cracks. They will succeed. Anything less is unacceptable.”
Dr. Shine, who retired from Duncanville ISD in 2010, is still actively involved with the band community. He provides clinics for districts in the area and is scheduled to join other panelists to judge eight marching contests this fall.
Duncanville has the opportunity to go all the way to the state contest this year, and Dr. Shine says he expects his hometown band to be competitive.
“They’re better, bigger and I’m just so proud of what they’re doing here,” Shine said.