Director of Bands
Mr. Cheripka is currently in his 16th year of teaching and 12th year at Birdville High School. Since becoming the Director of Bands in 2012, the Birdville High School Band Program has received consecutive UIL Sweepstakes awards, has consistently advanced to the Area Finals in both Marching Band and the TMEA Honor Band Competition, advanced to the State Marching Contest in 2015 & 2017, and is a Bands of America Regional / Super Regional Finalist. The Mighty Hawk Marching Band was featured on the Discovery Channel’s hit television show “Fast’n Loud” in 2014 helping to unveil their 1968 Cornet. Under his direction, The Birdville High School Jazz Ensemble was selected as a “Commended Winner” for their 2012 recordings and a “National Winner” for their 2015 & 2016 recordings by the Foundation for Music Education in their National Jazz Honors Competition. The Birdville Wind Ensemble has received Grand Champion Awards at the Peak Music Festival in 2014, 2015 & 2016. In 2016, the Birdville High School Wind Ensemble performed at the Music for All National Concert Band Festival as a “Featured Performing Band” and the Saxophone Quartet and Percussion Ensemble performed in 2019.
Mr. Cheripka received his Bachelor’s Degree from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he studied under Dr. Jack Stamp (conducting) and Dr. Kevin Eisensmith (Trumpet). During his time at IUP, he served as Phi Mu Alpha’s Director of Music, as well as their social chair. In 2002, Mr. Cheripka was a member of the World Champion Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps in which he played lead trumpet. He currently serves as the TMEA Region 31 Jazz Chairman and Organizer.
Mr. Cheripka currently resides in Mansfield, Texas with his two Black Labs, Snoopy and Sadie.
Assistant Band Director
Sarah Chang received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce and is currently finishing her Master’s Degree in Music Performance at the University of Texas at Arlington. Ms. Chang has performed as a flutist and member with the Samba Leao Brazilian Ensemble, Panimation Steel Band, the TAMU-C Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Flute Choir, and the UTA Wind Symphony and Maverick Flute Choir. She was a featured soloist on the Maverick Flute Choir 2016 Spring Concert, performing Eva Beglarian’s I Will Not Be Sad In This World for Alto Flute and Electronics. Her past flute instructors include Jocelyn Goranson, Julee Kim Walker, and Terri Sánchez.
Born in McAllen, Texas, Ms. Chang began her music career studying Music Education at the University of Texas Pan-American (now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley). After transferring to TAMU-Commerce, Ms. Chang became a member of the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps Color Guard in 2011. She has also been a member of the TAMU-Commerce “Pride” Marching Band Color Guard, the Dallas Cowboys Color Guard, and the Black Gold Color Guard in the North Texas Color Guard Association and Winter Guard International circuit shows (making history with the group when they became WGI World Championship Finalists in both 2015 and 2016).
Ms. Chang is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Flute Society, the National Flute Association, and is an active member of the International Music Fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota. She currently resides in Euless, Texas where she enjoys trying new foods, watching documentaries, and spending time with her fur family of four (Tucker, Remus, Leena, and Luna).
Director of Percussion
James Figueredo is the Percussion Director for the Birdville High School band in North Richland Hills, Texas. Mr. Figueredo oversees all aspects of the percussion programs for Birdville HS, Richland MS, and Smithfield MS. Under his direction, the Birdville Percussion Ensemble is one of the 2019 International Percussion Ensemble Competition winners and will be a Featured Ensemble at the 2019 Percussive Arts Society International Convention this November in Indianapolis, Indiana. In the spring of 2019, The Birdville Percussion Ensemble was a Featured Ensemble at the 2019 Music For All National Percussion Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Birdville Drumline received 1st place honors at the 2018 Lewisville Drumline Invitational in Lewisville, Texas and earned the High Percussion award at the 2018 USBands Saginaw Showcase.
Before coming to Birdville ISD, Mr. Figueredo served as the Percussion Director for the Fowler Middle School band in Frisco ISD, as well as the Assistant Percussion Director at Liberty High School. During his tenure with the Fowler band, the Percussion Ensemble won the Percussive Arts Society International Convention’s 2015 Junior High Percussion Ensemble Competition. He also taught private lessons to the percussionists at Vandeventer Middle School.
Mr. Figueredo taught in Lewisville ISD for the highly acclaimed Marcus High School band from 2010 to 2013 before his tenure in Frisco. He assisted on the field for two of the Marcus band’s 5A UIL State Marching Championships, the PASIC “Call For Tapes” showcase concert in 2011, and the 2012 PASIC Marching Festival Championship. He also taught private lessons and clinics for Lewisville ISD, Richardson ISD, and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD.
Mr. Figueredo earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas. While at UNT, he performed with the Indoor Drumline, winning the PASIC Marching Festival Championship in 2008. He also performed with various UNT ensembles such as the Latin Jazz Lab Band, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Gamelan, Steel Band, Percussion Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, and the Green Brigade Marching Band. His teachers included Mark Ford, Paul Rennick, Jose Aponte, Christopher Deane, Mike Drake, and Ed Smith.
Mr. Figueredo has been no stranger to the marching music and arts. From 2009 to 2010, he was an original member of the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Drumline. He performed with the 2008 DCI World Champion Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps and earned the Fred Sanford High Percussion Award. He also performed with the 2007 Boston Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps.
Mr. Figueredo is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, Texas Music Educators Association and is an endorser of Innovative Percussion Sticks and Mallets. Mr. Figueredo resides in North Texas with his wife and daughter.
Birdville High School Directors