Joe Hooten was born and raised in Florala, Alabama. After graduating in 1972 from Florala High School he entered Troy University where he studied with Dr. John M. Long. He graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree.
After graduation he began his teaching career at Richbourg Junior High School in Crestview, Florida. He spent his first 11 years at Richbourg, which was the only feeder for Crestview High School. After the first year, the Marching and Concert Bands received only Superior ratings at all FBA District MPAs. Numerous Richbourg students performed in the All-County band, and many were selected to the Florida All State Bands. While at Richbourg, Mr. Hooten was twice voted Teacher of the Year, he served on the FBA board as Chairman of District One, and he was inducted into the Omega Chapter of Phi Beta Mu.
In January of 1987, Mr. Hooten was hired at J.M. Tate High School in Pensacola, Florida where he remained until he retired in 2011 after 36 years as a music educator. In the 25 years under Mr. Hooten’s direction, Tate’s Marching and Concert Bands received only Superior ratings at all FBA District MPAs and earned several Otto J. Kraushaar awards at FBA State Concert MPA.
The Tate band appeared numerous times on National TV in prestigious events including: Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, Tournament of Roses Parade, Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, Salute to Youth Parade in Hawaii, and the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland. Tate Jazz Bands were twice selected to perform at Swing Central in Savannah, Georgia.
Mr. Hooten received the “Oliver Hobbs” award from FBA and was voted “Outstanding Florida Bandmaster” by the Omega Chapter of Phi Beta Mu. In 2019 he was inducted into the Florida Bandmaster’s Association “Hall of Fame”. In retirement Mr. Hooten continues to support music education by serving as a clinician, conductor, and adjudicator throughout the United States. He is often in band rooms serving as a mentor to area directors.
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