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A Timeline of Barberton High School Band Directors.

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This past summer I spent a lot of time at the library researching the history of our Barberton High School band. I learned about our directors, our students, our traditions, and some awesome performances. For my first entry, I’d like to share a timeline of our Barberton High School band directors, and some facts about them. If you were in the marching band, feel free to share which director you were led by, and what they were like! Share some facts and stories about them!

EDIT (07/13/2020): Previously, the 1926-27 school year was marked unknown. However, I was finally able to see a yearbook from that school year, and Mr. George Bowen was the director. This makes his tenure as Barberton High School Director of Bands 1926-1935, not 1927-1935. Nine years, not eight. I have updated my list, and now it is complete!

1923-1924: Mr. William Boden
1924-1925: Mr. I. M. Snyder
1925-1926: Miss Maye Custer
1926-1935: Mr. George Bowen
1935-1945: Mr. William Tritchler
1945-1947: Mr. Myron McKelvey
1947-1966: Mr. Robert Hofstetter
1966-1976: Mr. Eugene Sharick
1976-1981: Mr. William Curtin
1981-1985: Mr. Jeff Waggoner
1985-1995: Mr. Philip Sauvageot
1995-1999: Mr. Greg King
1999-2000: Mr. Rich Kibler
2000-2002: Mr. Don Opsitnik
2002-2014: Mr. Dan Fleischaker
2014-Present: Mrs. Celeste Wagner

Mr. William Boden. 1923-1924

He was our first band director. He later opened a music store downtown.
Mr. I. M. Snyder. 1924-1925

Miss Maye Custer. 1925-1926.

She was our first female band director.
Mr. George Bowen. 1926-1935

He is responsible for turning the band into a program rather than just a club. He is also the first director whose band performed in Sharkey Stadium.
Mr. William Tritchler. 1935-1945

He wrote our current Barberton High School Alma Mater.
Mr. Myron McKelvey. 1945-1947.

While in college at Ohio State University, he served as a drum major in the OSU Marching Band.
Mr. Robert Hofstetter. 1947-1966

He is without a doubt the greatest band director we have ever had! He made the band all brass, the first high school all brass band in Ohio. The band grew to have 128 members grades 10-12, collegiate size. His bands also performed all over the country, and were seen many times on national television events.

Mr. Eugene Sharick. 1966-1976

He continued the tradition of the All-Brass band. He was nicknamed “B’WANA” by his students, a result of him wearing a pith helmet during marching rehearsals.
Mr. William Curtin. 1976-1981


Mr. Jeff Waggoner. 1981-1985

He is responsible for adding 9th grade musicians to marching band. He also wrote all music and drill for marching band and his band performed at the 1981 All-Star baseball game in Cleveland.

Mr. Philip Sauvageot. 1985-1995

Mr. Greg King. 1995-1999

Mr. Rich Kibler. 1999-2000

Mr. Don Opsitnik. 2000-2002

Mr. Dan Fleischaker. 2002-2014

5 COMMENTS

  1. What about Linda Hodges? I can remember her on the fields on top of the large, metal stairs directing. Was she a guest director, assistant maybe?

    • Linda Hodges was the assistant director during Mr. Curtin’s tenure, then she was the director of bands at Highland Middle School for many years. From what I’ve heard she was an awesome teacher! I attempted to put together a list of our assistant band directors too, because we have had some great ones including Mrs. Hodges, William Walters, Frank Masters, Leroy Martin, Ronald Clemmer, Darren LeBeau, and Sue Keserich! My only source for this research was the high school yearbooks, and sadly most of the yearbooks didn’t mention or list the assistant directors, which made making a list for them very difficult.

  2. I was in marching band from 1997-2000, Mr.King watched the movie “Rudy” on every trip. I have not watched that movie since 1998.

    Little piece of trivia for any band members from 1995-1999. Do you remember the nicknames of Mr. King and Mr. LeBeau?
    Hint: Think of Mr. LeBeau’s first name.

    • Mr. LeBeau is great! He is the director of bands at Revere High School right now. I worked with their marching band over the summer, they’re awesome!

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Nicholas Ratay
I am a life-long resident of Barberton, Ohio. I graduated from Barberton High School in 2018, and am currently studying at Kent State University to become a middle or high school music teacher and band director. I am happy to be a contributor to the Barberton Journal!

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