Married to Music: Husband and Wife Music Teachers at WoodCreek Junior High

KATY MAGAZINE l AUGUST 2019

By Jennifer Miko

 

Anne and Bobby Guess share their love of music with the students at WoodCreek Junior High School. Through their choir and band classes, they inspire the students to appreciate music, find the joy in performing, and reap the benefits of studying music. 

 Anne Guess has been the Head Choir Director at WoodCreek Junior High (WCJH) for five years and her husband Bobby Guess has been the Head Band Director there for three years. Bobby says they share the same teaching philosophy and common goal for the positive outcomes for their students.

 

 

 

“We don’t think of the children as exclusively belonging to one program or another,” says Bobby.  “We are there for all the children who need us.  We knew that we would make a good team because our philosophies have always been aligned, even prior to working at the same campus.”

 

“Academically, music teaches children how to plan, make goals, deconstruct a problem to construct a solution,” Anne says. “ In music organizations, we are working on real life skills like teamwork, cooperation, taking direction from others, processing, and leadership.” 

“Music shapes the lives of children even before they are consciously aware of it.” – Bobby Guess  

“Students are constantly listening to and engaging in music,” says Bobby. “It’s ubiquitous and the soundtrack of our daily life.”

 

Research shows that music students consistently score and rank higher on standardized tests, college placement exams, and overall school rankings. 

 

“Music exposes students to math, science, social studies, language arts, and foreign language,” says Bobby. “It strengthens them in every area.”

Anne believes there are two things that music teaches students that they do not get enough lessons in:  empathy and joy. “Music teaches young people how to understand another person’s perspective,” Anne says.  “It helps them think outside of themselves and outside the box.”  

 

Taylor Nguyen,15, a former WCJH choir student recalls, "Mrs. Guess inspired us musically by showing us how much music means to her. She shares how music can change people's lives and make them better humans overall."

 

  

Meet Anne Guess

Anne was born in New Jersey, the youngest of three siblings, and the only girl.  Her father was born in Greece and her mother in the US, but she was raised in Greece. The family moved quite a few times throughout her childhood following her father’s job as an engineer. Anne spent her adolescence and teens in Greece every summer. 

“Music and singing were my love language.” – Anne Guess

“At home, I was exposed to all kinds of music from traditional Karpathian styles, to more modern Greek, and of course, everything my older brothers were listening to: insert 80s and 90s top 40 hits here.”  

 

Anne’s musical journey was just beginning.  “The first time I heard opera, I thought it was magical,” she says. “It was beautiful and challenging, and I felt like it was a miracle that the human voice could be so gloriously, divinely beautiful.”  

 

Anne’s family moved to West Houston where she attended Lanham Creek High School in CFISD. “I then fell in love with choral singing, and I made the decision to become a choir director just before my senior year of high school,” Anne says.

 

 

 

She graduated high school in the top 10% of her class and went on to the University of Houston, Moores School of Music.  She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in Vocal Music in May 2001.  

 

Anne’s first classroom teaching position was at Labay Middle School in Cy-Fair ISD where she was the second assistant choir director. She would move to other middle schools within CFISD before teaching at Beck and McMeans junior highs in Katy ISD.  In 2014, she was hired as the Head Choir Director at WCJH.

“Music completes the human psyche, and life is

empty without it.” – Bobby Guess

Meet Bobby Guess

Bobby was born and raised in Houston, in the Woodforest neighborhood on the east side of town.  He attended North Shore High School and his two years in the Texas Music Educators of America (TMEA) All State Band helped him secure scholarships and entrance to several major universities in Texas. Bobby was the first band representative from North Shore High School to participate in TMEA.  

 

He graduated in the top 5% of his class and was the first Guess in his family to attend college. He was proud that music got him there, and admits that his family wouldn't have been able to afford to send him to college if it hadn't been for his musical talents.

 

In 1993, Bobby graduated with honors from the University of Houston, with a Bachelor of Music with K-12 certification.

 

His first job was as a long-term substitute Assistant Band Director at Truitt Middle School in CFISD.  In 1997, he became Head Band Director at Thornton Middle School in CFISD and moved to other schools within Houston ISD and Lamar Consolidated ISD. In 2016, he joined WoodCreek Junior High in Katy ISD as the Head Band Director. 

 

Bobby’s main instrument is bass trombone, but he can play trombone, euphonium, tuba, and contrabass trombone at a professional level.  “As part of my job, I have a functional knowledge of all the major wind instruments, percussion, and piano,” Bobby says.

 

“As the head band director, it is my job to be able to teach every instrument in the band,” Bobby says. “I serve as the brass specialist while my assistant director serves as the woodwinds specialist.”

Making Music Together

Anne and Bobby met on February 14, 2004 at the annual TMEA Clinic and Convention.  He proposed to her there, two years later.

 

Although he’s never heard her sing it, Bobby imagines Anne choosing Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” for karaoke.

 

“I think her go-to music empowers women and girls,” Bobby says.  Although he admits, if he could request a song from Anne, it would be the classic “My Funny Valentine.”  

 

“There is joy in the physical act of creating music and in appreciating music on a higher level,” Anne says.  “But there is transcendent joy in offering music to someone and reaching them, truly reaching them where they are as an audience member and touching that place in them that needs to be touched.”  

 

From a Duet to a Quartet

Anne and Bobby have two daughters. Zoe starts sixth grade this school year, and Vasileia starts first grade. The family enjoys spending time together watching movies, sharing meals, being silly - singing and dancing.  The girls are the reason Anne has Kidz Bop on her playlist.

 The Guess Family

 

Awards and Accolades

Through their instruction, WCJH's talented Directors have prepared their students for success - artistically, academically, socially, and emotionally. 

 

"Performing music gives students presentation opportunities where they can learn public speaking skills and how to think on their feet with grace," says Anne.

 

Anne and Bobby have collected countless trophies from various showcases, festivals and competitions. Many of their former students have pursued careers in music, in music education, music therapy, and music performance.  Some, they say, are successful band and choir teachers and elementary music teachers in their own right.  

Music helps make our world a little smaller and a

little less scary.” – Anne Guess

"Mrs. Guess gave me a foundation to build upon as a singer and motivated me to challenge myself everyday to become a better performer," says Nguyen. "She taught me how to endlessly work for the things I want."

 

Bobby says: "Our students make us proud in any and every field, if they carry the greater lessons that music has taught them, if they sing or play for their children, and if they encourage their children to join a music organization simply for the love of becoming a musician."

 

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