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Youngstown, Ohio 44512
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In 1926, the Boardman Schools decided that instrumental music should be part of the curriculum. James Minteer was hired as the school's first band director. He started the program with excellence as its goal. The very first Boardman Band (left) gave its first concert in the spring of 1926. The picture below (circa 1930) is the Boardman Orchestra. Mr. Minteer was also director of the Boys and Girls Glee Clubs.
Richard Bame (below) took over in 1948. He brought much of what he learned as a member of the Ohio State University Marching Band (he dotted the "i" in Script Ohio!) to Boardman. Mr. Bame elevated the musical quality of the band by nurturing its individual members. Bame molded the band (and the orchestra) into a musical powerhouse in the area. He continued to benefit the program as a private low brass instructor and avid supporter until his death in the fall of 2001.
Boardman High School moved into a new building In 1969. That same year, Thomas A Groth (right) became the new director of bands. Under his leadership, the Boardman Band assumed its current form. It is one of the biggest bands in the area and, without a doubt, the most active. The exciting show style of the marching band and elegant professionalism of the concert bands has set a standard for the program for which other schools strive. Mr. Groth is responsible for so many of the band's honors such as the National parade appearances including the 1986 Tournament of Roses Parade (below), a Carnegie Hall performance, and performances with famous guest artists. In his retirement, Groth is still a valuable resource for the current staff.
In 1999, Thomas M. Ruggieri (left) became the fourth director of the Boardman Band. A 1983 Boardman graduate, Ruggieri feels lucky to have been a part of the Boardman Band "Dynasty". His experience as a student of Mr. Groth helped him ease smoothly into leadership. Mr. Ruggieri's goal was to take the band to the "next level" with regard to musicianship, entertainment value, and critical acclaim. Under his leadership, the concert bands have resumed participation in District Band Contest for the first time in over 30 years with the Symphonic Band earning superior ratings. In 2002, the Symphonic Band also advanced to contest at the state level and received superior ratings.
The Boardman Band Staff has always valued a commitment to excellence, high standards, maximum audience entertainment, and sharp organizational skills. Ruggieri shares these values and uses them and his own expertise to guide the band. The key to doing this, Ruggieri feels, is to encourage the students to develop a love and appreciation for the music. “I am never embarrassed to show the kids that I can be emotionally moved by the music. I make it a point to show them when I am having fun creating or listening. Then, I tell them that it means so much to their audience to see them having the same kind of fun.”
The success of a band program can never be attributed to one person. It comes from the hard work and dedication of many people in and out of the school system. Former Boardman Band students had the fortune to be taught by Wesley O’Connor, Greg Bonamase, Larry Miller, Robert Furney, Joseph Purser, Bud Mould, Frank Dispenza, Michele Vari, David Evans, and others. Likewise, Mr. Ruggieri depends on the assistance of Timothy Tuite, Steven Chambers, and Michael Shevock. Success is also attributed to the countless private teachers and auxiliary instructors who give the students the individual attention they need.
The Boardman Schools and the community are also very proud of their award winning orchestra and vocal music programs. All three programs have thrived for years in the school because of strong leadership and support of the administration. All the while, however, the three existed separately. The 1999-2000 school year brought with it the biggest staff turnover in Boardman Schools history. The music department retired all 3 of the head directors. Now, Ruggieri, Head Orchestra Director Frank Dispenza, and Choir Director Emily Slaven look to the future with a “spirit of cooperation” yet unseen in the Boardman Schools. The staff, students, and community have already seen some of the collaborative efforts of the department and will continue to see more.
With everything mentioned above, the generous support of the Boardman Band and Orchestra Parents, Inc., the Friends of the Boardman Band, and the Orchestra Friends, the future of instrumental music in the Boardman Schools is indeed bright. The "Tradition of Musical Excellence" continues...
1958 Boardman Band