The History of the Martin County High School Band
In February 1938, the Stuart High School Band was formed by Mrs. R. W. Hartman. She contacted and personally guaranteed Mr. J. C. Crowley, Director of High School Bands of Ft. Pierce, Vero and Melbourne Schools, that she could encourage a minimum of 35 students to participate in a band program. In return, Mr. Crowley agreed to help and within two weeks approximately a dozen instruments were accumulated and 35 students were recruited. The community in full support of the formation of a band program, pledged $500 to help establish the band.
The band was composed of Jr. and Sr. High School students and lessons were taught for as little as $2 a month and met in a log cabin to rehearse until 1967 when the band suite was constructed at the present site on Kanner Highway. The log cabin was later dismantled and rebuilt at Langford Park in Jensen Beach. The concert band received its first division rating at state concert the first time it attended. Standards were set high as the band competed in a classification higher than required for a school of its size.
The first uniforms were white pants, shirts and shoes. Later the city and County Commissioners were asked to donate enough money to make a down payment as official blue and white uniforms which cost $18 each (a uniform today is approximately $450). The remaining money was raised by the band performing Sunday concerts in the park.
In 1939, Ralph Hartman, Jr. was elected as Band Captain along with Ruth Wheat Madelren Tyson, and Dorothy Clements were selected as majorettes. A Band Parent organization was also formed to support the growing organization. Members of the Executive Board were: R. B. McPherson – President, Rev. T. C. O’Steeen – Vice President, Mrs. R. Hartman – Secretary, J. C. Crowley – Musical Director, H. A. Wyckoff – band Manager, Evans Crary – Principal, LC Clemmons and Superintendent of Schools J. A. Jameson as Directors.
In April 1939, the Band Shell was designed by Mr. Crowley and built by band students, was dedicated in Memorial Park. In 1951, Earl Dyer Ricou, a member of the 1938 band, filmed the first motion picture of the band marching.
Between the forties, fifties and sixties, the band saw many directors who would stay for a year or two before moving on and it was not until 1963 with the appointment of Mr. Lemoyne Roll that the band experienced success and stability. Mr. Roll would remain as the Martin County High School Band Director until 1967, when Mr. Ken Mauger became the director until 1979 when he would turn the baton over to Mr. Dwight Robert Roadman.
Mr. Roadman began in the fall of 1979 and would serve as the director for the next thirty-one years and become the longest tenured band director in the history of the county. Under Mr. Roadman’s baton the band would become one of the strongest most musical programs in the state of Florida. During Mr. Roadman’s tenure the band received 30 years of superior ratings at both marching and concert festivals. The first state superior rating was received in 1985 and was one of only 7 bands in the state to make straight superiors that year. Of the 23 years appearances at state between the years of 1985-2008 the band received superiors.
In 1987, Mr. Earl H. Brown, longtime friend and colleague to Mr. Roadman, would serve as interim band director for the band while Mr. Roadman pursued a Master’s in Wind Conducting from Louisiana State University (hence the 1987 trip to New Orleans to visit, DRR!). Mr. Brown would remain on for one year as assistant band director when Mr. Roadman returned until accepting an appointment as the Stuart Middle School band director. Mr. Charles Fulton would replace Mr. Brown as the assistant band director and would remain in that position until 1992 when he would leave to pursue a Master’s in Music from Northwestern State University in Louisiana. Mr. Fulton was an alumnus of Martin County High School and was a trombone player in the band.
In 2010, Mr. Roadman, having become one of the most renowned band directors in the state of Florida and well-known throughout the south, retired and turned his baton over to Michelle Brown, a former musician and student of Mr. Roadman. Ms. Brown graduated from Martin County High School in 1993 and received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s from Northwestern State University in Louisiana. During her first year at MCHS, Ms. Brown carried on the tradition established by Mr. Roadman and continued the band’s success with superiors at marching, concert, and state music festivals.
In 2012, Mr. Simon Holoweiko took the podium as the Director of Bands. Mr.Holoweiko is a recent graduate of Michgan State University, where he was drum major for two years while earning a Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.).
The band prides itself in performing not only at local events but on an international level. The MCHS band has performed in the New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1990, 1994, and 2009, in Washing DC in 1984, in New Orleans in 1987, in Atlanta in 1998 and in 2002 the performed in concert in Shimoneseki City, Hiroshima, Japan as part of the prefecture Cultural Festivals. The band retains a close friendship with Funairi High School in Japan and often hosts the band from Funairi High School when it comes to the US to tour.