Directors and Staff
James Yaques, Director of Bands
James Yaques was appointed Director of Bands at Palm Beach Central High School in the summer of 2005. Mr. Yaques received his Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from the Florida State University and a Master of Music in Conducting degree from Florida International University. His teaching responsibilities include the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Marching Band, Concert Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble 3, Percussion Techniques, and Eurythmics
Since arriving at Palm Beach Central, Mr. Yaques has developed the Bronco Band into one of the most respected programs in the state. The band has achieved consistent Superior ratings at the District and State Marching, Jazz, and Concert Band festivals. The marching band has been crowned Grand Champions at the 2007 Port St. Lucie Tournament of Sound, the 2008 North Port Music in Motion, 2010 Lely Tournament of Bands, the 2016 Mariner Triton Invitational, the 2016 Jupiter Festival of Bands, the 2017 Leesburg Invitational, the 2017 Lehigh Lightning Tournament of Bands, and the 2017 Jupiter Festival of Bands. The marching band is also an Eight-time FMBC 3A State Finalist (2008-2010, 2012-2014, 2016-2017). They are a Three-time Silver Medalist (2012, 2014, 2017) and the 2016 3A State Champions.
The Concert Jazz Ensemble, under his direction, was selected to perform at the 2010 Florida Music Educators Association Conference. Mr. Yaques has been named the Walmart Teacher of the Year in 2008, which he was nominated for by his students. He was also awarded the Tom Bishop Award by the Florida Bandmasters Association for "the remarkable impact he has had on his band program." In 2017, Mr. Yaques was one of only twenty-five music teachers nationwide to be a semi-finalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award. Also, in 2017-18 he was the Palm Beach Central High School District Teacher of the Year Nominee and the William T. Dwyer Excellence in Teaching Award Nominee.
Prior to his appointment at Palm Beach Central, Mr. Yaques served as Director of Bands at Taylor County High School and South Dade Senior High School. Mr. Yaques was also a Graduate Assistant Director at Florida International University where he assisted with the Golden Panther Band in their Inaugural season, and directed the Basketball Band and the University Symphonic Band. He is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps Band, serving for four years as the Principal Tuba player for the Second Marine Division Band.
Mr. Yaques is active as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator for Marching, Jazz, and Symphonic Bands. He is a past FBA District 14 Chairman and member of the State Executive Board. He also served as the Instructor of Tuba and Euphonium at Palm Beach State College. His professional affiliations include the Florida Music Educators Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, College Band Director National Association, Music Educators National Conference, International Tuba and Euphonium Association, and Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Fraternity. He is an Andreas Eastman Brass Performing Artist Educator and performs on the EBC 632 CC Tuba. Mr. Yaques enjoys spending time with his family, wife Tatiana, and daughters Katie, Samantha, and Lilah.
Luke Basso, Assistant Director of Bands
Mr. Basso holds a Bachelor of Science from Barry University, and is a National Board Certified Teacher in Biology. He has been at Palm Beach Central HS since 2006. He teaches AICE Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, leads the Bronco Jazz Band, and assist with the Marching Band. He has developed the Bronco Jazz Band into a prime feeder band into the Concert Jazz Ensemble. He has led the BJB to multiple Superior ratings at the District Jazz MPA and outstanding performances at the State MPA, including a Straight Superior rating at State Jazz MPA in 2016 and 2018. Prior to arriving at Palm Beach Central he has taught science at Hialeah Middle School, Barbara Goleman High School, and taught science and band at Palm Beach Gardens High School. When not helping with the band you can catch Luke coaching golf or tennis, playing trumpet and percussion with his band The Brass Evolution, or spending time with his family, wife Michelle, and boys Miles and Brody.
Eric Rucker- Percussion Arranger
Kaden Levy- Percussion Caption Head
Mason McCall- Battery Instructor
Josh Melnick- Front Ensemble Instructor
Adam Yorke- Bass Drum Technician
J.R. Vidal- Drill Designer/ Visual Caption Head
Eric Dunn- Visual/ Music Instructor
Anthony Mennella- Visual/ Brass Technician
Kayla Smith- Visual/ Woodwind Technician
Brian Horan- Guard Caption Head
Carol Giraldo- Guard Co-Caption Head
Lauren Rispoli- Guard Instructor/ JV Winter Guard Head