Gene joined the Watsonville Band in 1966, while a sophomore at Watsonville High School. After graduating from San Jose State University Mr. Smith began his career in music education in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. His 30 year tenure includes 18 years at the middle school level and 18 years as the Watsonville High School Band Director. He rired from the Band in 2012 after 35years of dedicated service.
Mr.Smith was honored as the Outstanding Music Educator of 1996 by the California Association for Music Education, Central Coast Section, and was inducted into the Watsonville High School Hall of Fame in 2005. He was elected President of CMEA-Central Coast Section three times and has been re-elected President starting in June, 2008. He is a member of CMEA, MENC, CBDNA, and CBDA.
Longtime Band supporters know the name "Bert Viales" goes with "Watsonville" as "Martinelli" goes with apples. Though a San Francisco native, Bert helped spread the name of our town over four continents and 15 nations. He occupied the podium for 39 years, and defined the musical style of the Band.
Gonzalo "Bert" Viales joined the Watsonville Sciots Band in 1953, and became conductor of the Watsonville Band in 1957. With only a short hiatus in the middle, Bert retired as Conductor in 1999, but returned to the Watsonville Band where he started - in the trumpet setion in 2005, retiring finally in 2010.