History of Music in Hanover - Conductors

Click on thumbnails  for view full-size version.

#Band005
LOC:           

Conductors of the Hanover High School Band

A paper submitted by Katie E. McMaster as partial fulfillment of the requirements for her Senior Project.

May 10, 2004

ďThe band has had a great positive influence on my high school career, and I feel that through mentoring younger students and performing for wide varieties of audiences, the band has been able to touch the lives of many othersĒ (Leskinen NP). This remark made by a current Hanover High School band student is just one of the many indications that the Hanover Band is an influential program. The Hanover High School Band Program has been an important part of Hanover High School since the band originated. The band has changed in numerous ways, won various awards, and represented Hanover in many differing places throughout the years. Reaching out to so many and contributing so much to the teachers and faculty, the band is not only an important part of the high school, but an important part of Hanoverís heritage.

Harry C. Stenger started the Hanover High School Band Program in 1929. Stenger was the first band director and served until 1935 (Myers NP).  The high school band started out with somewhere between twenty and thirty members but was quick to begin rapid growth. After Stenger left in 1935, Ernest Boucher took over as band director. Under the direction of Boucher, the band continued to prosper and grow as a popular organization until 1944, when Boucher left the position (Nornir 1944, NP).

Upon Boucherís departure, Jack Schuler took the position of director. Jack Schuler has been called one of the greatest influences on the Hanover High School Band program (Blocher NP). Schuler served as band director until 1947, then became supervisor of instrumental music until 1951. During the time Schuler was supervisor of instrumental music, John Paul was director until the spring of 1950 and was replaced in the fall of 1950 by Donald Trostle, who served as director until the spring of 1952. Schuler then returned as director of the band in the fall of 1952. During Schulerís time in the band, he made many improvements that continue to carry on within the program. First, Schuler established the first elementary and junior high bands (Blocher NP). Next, Schuler got the band on the football field during half time for exposure to the community. Though Schulerís field shows were not competitive, they were performed at every football game and were unique because they were done in the dark. The band uniforms had a battery pack that would fit in the pocket of their uniforms that was wired to a light attached to their hat. The shows were performed only by the light generated by their hats (Blocher NP). During his time as director, Schuler also concocted the idea for a vending machine that dispensed reeds for woodwind instruments. He eventually left directing to pursue his invention in 1955. The band prospered through Schulerís years and had a great, well-known reputation that would last for years to come (Blocher NP).

In the fall of 1955, Bruce Wiser took the position of band director (Nornir 1956 NP). Wiser made it a point to carry on the traditions of Schuler, and the band continued to flourish. Members continued to join, and by 1957, the band had 120 members (Stauffer NP). This growth had much to do with support gained in the previous years. The band was said to have been treated equally to the athletic teams, was a popular activity, and was supported by both faculty and students (Stauffer NP). During this time, the band also had much exposure to the public. In November of 1957, the band performed in the Macyís Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and in April of 1958, the band competed in the PMEA State Concert Band Adjudication and was rated Superior. In April 1958, as well as August of 1959, the band also performed on national television at Baltimore Coltís professional football games (Stauffer NP). Wiser worked hard to continue to live up to the bandís highly regarded reputation started by Schuler, and he did so with great success during his career. Wiser left after the first semester of school in 1963, and Gene Polaski took over the director position (Nornir 1963 NP). Polaski served as director until the spring of 1967. He continued to uphold the bandís reputation and kept the band a constant size of about 120 members (Nornir 1967 NP).

In the fall of 1968, Charles Brodie took over as band director (Nornir 1968 NP). Under Brodie, the band program continued on its positive path but did so in quite a different manner. In the fall of 1969, the Hanover High school had its first competitive marching band. Competing in various competitions from 1969-1973, the band never placed below third, and in the 1973 season, the band placed first in every competition they participated in (Hanover High School Instrumental Music Parents Club. Bands in Review 35). In 1975, the marching band began competition in the Cavalcade of Bands and won the Independence Conference. In 1976, the marching band began competition in the American Conference of the Cavalvade of Bands (Hanover High School Instrumental Music Parents Club. The 5th Annual Bands in Review NP). The band won the American Conference in 1978 as well as 1980 and was Eastern Regional Champion in 1978, 1979, and 1980. The band also won the Grand National Championship of Class A Schools of Marching Bands in America in 1980 (Hanover High School Instrumental Music Parents Club. The 8th Annual Bands in Review NP).

Brodie continued as director until 1983, when Keith Kemner took over. This is the first year that the number of band members dropped below 100 down to about 95. Despite losses, the marching band still managed to win the American Conference of the Cavalcade of Bands in 1983. (Hanover High School Instrumental Music Parents Club. The 12th Annual Jack H. Schuler Memorial Bands In Review NP) Kemner continued with the band until the spring of 1985, bringing the number of members back up to just over 100. ( Hanover High School Instrumental Music Parents Club. The 14th Annual Jack H. Schuler Memorial Bands in Review NP).

In 1986, Galen Leitzel took over as band director and directed the marching band on a new path. The number of band members dropped to about 85 members, and Leitzel decided to have the marching band compete in Tournament of Bands rather than Calvacade of Bands (Hanover High School Instrumental Music Parents Club. The 15th Annual Jack H. Schuler Memorial Bands in Review NP). In 1987, 1988 and 1989, the marching band won the Chapter Six Championships and was invited to compete in the Atlantic Coast Championships for Tournament of Bands. (Hanover High School Instrumental Music Parents Club. The 18th Annual Jack H. Schuler Memorial Bands in Review 22) Rather rapidly the band dropped from about 85 members in 1986, to about 40 members in 1990 (Hanover High School Instrumental Music Parents Club. The 19th Annual Jack H. Schuler Memorial Bands in Review 24). The number of members was only to decrease even more as years continued to pass. The band continued to compete in Tournament of Bands, and in 1998 the band once again won the Chapter Six Championship (Hanover High School Instrumental Music Parents Club. The 27th Annual Jack H. Schuler Memorial Bands in Review NP). The band continued to win the Chapter Six Championship and was invited to the Atlantic Coast Championship until and including the year 2000. (Hanover High School Instrumental Music Parents Club. The 29th Annual Jack H. Schuler Memorial Bands in Review NP). Leitzel decided to leave Hanover in the spring of 2002.

In the fall of 2002, Clay Sattazahn took over as band director and is the current director. Unfortunately, the number of band members and the lack of director for a portion of the summer months did not allow for the band to continue competing in the fall marching band season. The annual band competition hosted in memory of Jack Schuler was also discontinued in 2002. Though they had suffered losses, the marching band continued to play at home and away football games. Since the marching band and concert bands have become completely separate activities throughout the years, the number of marching band members has continued to decrease. In 2002, the marching band consisted of only about twenty members and the concert band of only between twenty-five and thirty members. The year 2003 proved to have the same outcome, the marching band continuing to play at all football games. Though no longer a competitive band, in the spring of 2003 a new program of mentoring was introduced by Sattazahn, in hopes of building back up the size and experience of band members. High school students donate their time on weekend afternoons to tutor and play along side the elementary and middle school band members, in hopes of encouraging the younger players to continue on with their musical careers.

Throughout the years, the Hanover High School Band program has evolved greatly as a program to enrich the lives of the members involved as well as to influence the lives of everyone in the community. From a strong, stable band made up of one hundred twenty players to a group of twenty dedicated players, the Hanover High School Band has immensely changed, but the influence the band has had on the school and the members of the community has been and continues to be a great asset to the organization.