When their daughter, Dominique, was in the Odessa High School Band her junior year, Liz and Freddy Avila decided to volunteer. Little did they know it would turn into a decade-long avocation.
In her junior year, Dominique, a percussionist, was in OHS’s International Baccalaureate program and the band director at the time, Bill Harden, let her be in a music course that was part of IB.
“That’s how we got involved,” Liz said.
October, affectionately called Bandtober, is their busiest time of year. That sometimes spills into November if the band makes state.
Dominique is now a seventh grade English teacher at Crockett Middle School.
The Avilas have a son, Frederick, a freshman, at OHS. He plays clarinet.
The Avilas were at a football game one night and saw students trying to load their instruments and equipment onto a “gutted out” school bus.
“Just seeing those kids have to lift up those instruments, about four feet into the air to put them in. It just got to us; quickly. So we donated a trailer” and hauled it, Liz Avila said.
She added that they enjoy seeing the musicians doing something that they “absolutely love.”
Even after Dominique graduated high school, the Avilas decided to keep volunteering.
“The kids look forward to it,” Freddy Avila said.
He added that they have gotten to know students throughout their whole high school career.
“We always want to make sure that the kids know that it’s the right thing to do to help each other out. It didn’t matter where, or who it is. My daughter was in percussion. But we were there for every instrument, not just her,” Liz Avila said.
Her son also helped even as a little kid.
“And now he’s part of the band, which is great,” she added.
Frederick is part of the loading crew, the Broncho Equipment Loading Team, or BELT.
“I think we’ve always been like that. We’ve always made sure that you help where there needs to be help. I’d rather instill that in my kids instead of them being off doing what they’re not supposed to be doing; give back to the community,” Liz Avila said.
“We do it for the kids, so they can accomplish what they want to do,” Freddy Avila said.
Freddy Avila noted that their parents taught them to help other people, as well. The Avilas have instilled the same thing in their children and they hope they are teaching the students in band the same thing.
“Even when the kids graduate, they see you in town, they still come and say hi to you,” Freddy said.
The Avilas also help the Permian High School band off and on.
It started about five or six years ago.
The Avilas have their own trucking business, Mowgli Logistics, so when Freddy isn’t trucking he’s helping the bands.
“Our personal business loads are always scheduled around OHS,” Liz said.
When Permian calls him, Freddy said he has to figure it out. He was doing it for free for about eight years and now he is a part-time driver for the band.
For the couple of years, whatever he is paid gets put back into drinks and snacks for the loading crew.
Liz said it’s a good feeling to be able to help out this way.
“Especially when I can see that kids appreciate it,” Liz Avila said.
She added that people ask why they are helping Permian and she says it’s the right thing to do. Then the kids tell her, “that’s pretty cool.”
Maybe one day, they might need Permian’s help, Freddy said.
The Avilas tell the students the band is not a rivalry.
They tell the freshmen it’s a family. The same things that go on at Permian are going on at OHS.
“You compete within yourself. You’re not really competing against Permian on a field or whatever. It’s not like that,” Liz Avila said.
If they mess up, they did it, it’s not because Permian did something, they said.
“So they finally get it, especially the freshmen. The upper classmen, they understand. It has been fun. We look forward to it,” Liz Avila said.
Liz Avila is from Presidio and Freddy is from Canderlaria. They have lived in Odessa since 1995 and they have been married 27 years.
“We want the community to know that this is what it should be like. The rivalry is great to have because you know there always is a rivalry, but the thing is, is that you need to to be nice to each other. That’s the thing. Be kind to each other, work together. The rivalry, it’s going to be there. But when it comes right down to it, we just need to be friends,” Liz Avila said.
She added that Permian has phenomenal people.
“They’re just really good people to work with and volunteer with,” Liz Avila said.