Klein Oak High School welcomed home alum turned world-renowned percussionist, Dr. Brian Zator, last week for a special, one-night-only performance with today’s generation of Panther percussionists.

“It’s very nostalgic but very special to me to come back and see the students now and everything that they’ve accomplished,” he said. “It’s even more special to play a part in accomplishing something with them and creating what will hopefully be a special memory for them to look back on.”

Zator’s homecoming after 26 years serves as a testament to the Promise2Purpose vision that was implemented long after he graduated from the district but clearly lives inside of him. He returned to the auditorium stage with more credentials and wisdom, but the same spirit and passion that embodies Profile of a Leader.

“Fine Arts programs provide students with not only opportunity but with an outlet to be creative, to find their passion, and possibly their future career path,” he said. “I’ve seen it with myself, with my peers and colleagues, and now with my children. I knew I wanted to try the music thing all those years, ago and if it hadn’t been for the guidance and intention that this district provided me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Applauding the foundation that Klein ISD Fine Arts afforded him, Zator knows that students graduating from his alma mater will also be thoroughly prepared for future success, regardless of what that looks like.

“Even if they don’t choose to pursue a career in the arts, they will gain invaluable skills from being involved in these programs,” he said. “Skills like being creative, building relationships and working as part of a team are so essential in any job.”

For two days leading up to the concert, Zator invested one-one-one rehearsal time with the students performing in the concert with him. Junior Stephen Mann was inspired by the experience of learning from and performing with Zator.

“I have a similar plan for my future, so seeing Dr. Zator, who grew up in Klein ISD like I have, and all that he has accomplished, gives me the confidence to know that anything is possible,” he said.

Zator currently serves as the Director of Percussion at Texas A&M University-Commerce, is a proud member of the Royse City ISD Board of Trustees and recently fulfilled a two-year term as President of the worldwide Percussive Arts Society.

As a Forever Learner, he truly exemplifies an insatiable desire to grow and improve.

“This is not the end. I want to do so much more. The sky’s the limit.”