When longtime Presidio Independent School District Band Director Lucy Ferguson heard she had won the prestigious Marcia McEntye Zoffuto Hero Award, it was quite unexpected.
In her 27th year with Presidio ISD, Ferguson said some of the people she was up against had a lot more contest experience and had won awards.
“I was surprised that really wasn’t their focus for this award. I was pretty honored and humbled and the same time,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson will receive the laurel during the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale performance of Mozart’s Requiem at 7:30 p.m. March 5 at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center. John Gillian, an Ector County Independent School District elementary music teacher and an administrator in the fine arts office, said the award will be presented during the intermission around 9 or 9:15 p.m.
Presidio doesn’t have football, so it doesn’t offer field marching. It has parade marching instead. “The other big activity we do in the fall is … a fall musical,” Ferguson said. She added that this is for the whole district – mostly high school and middle school, but some elementary students, as well.
“We also have a pretty thriving jazz band in the spring,” she added. The group enter solo ensemble in the region competition, but the big University Interscholastic League competitions were something of an “esteem basher” for her students.
“There’s a lot of kids who don’t have the family history of being in band,” Ferguson said. Their parents may not speak English and may have attended schools in Mexico.
“It’s kind of like us fitting a square peg in a round hole at contests. I wanted to look at it in a different way, a different light,” she added.
Ferguson grew up on a farm near Cresco, Iowa, the youngest of 12 children. In addition to being a farmer and school bus driver, her father Anthony was a steel guitarist in “Cousin Merle & the Maple Leaf Cowboys.” When she was 5, Ferguson joined her sisters in a vocal ensemble called “The McBride Sisters.”
She took up the trombone in fifth grade and knew she wanted to be a band director. She attended the University of Northern Iowa where she studied music education and trombone. She also was involved in marching band, concert band, jazz ensemble and several community groups.
Her husband, John, is from Dallas and was in graduate school at the University of Northern Iowa. When he was ready to graduate, Ferguson still had two more years of school left.
“He sent applications to all the local schools and Presidio was the only one that responded,” Lucy Ferguson said. “That was 29 years ago. He got his first job down here. Two years later, they actually created position for me. When I started, they started a middle school band for me. He was an elementary music teacher and the high school band director.”
About seven years ago, John Ferguson, who also is mayor of Presidio, became high school counselor, so Lucy took over the band program and was put over the whole district.
Gillian said the Scores for Music Committee, which he chairs, starts soliciting Hero award nominations in August. The award is named for Marcia McEntyre Zoffuto, daughter of legendary Permian High School band director J.R. McEntyre and his wife, Evelyn.
Zoffuto, a Permian graduate who was an outstanding music educator at Coyle Middle School in Rowlett, died in August 2008. She inspired many students and colleagues to greatness, according to information from Gillian.