Alumni band shares memories

By Susie Spitler

For the Weekly Record Herald

WEST MILTON — The 36th West Milton area oral history recording session took place Monday evening, Oct. 10. The panel discussion topic was “The Milton-Union Alumni Band.”

This is the second in a two-part story about the Milton Memories recording session.

Jeff McDaniels is a 1978 M-U grad. He was in the band when Scott Hinkle was the drum major. Jeff was in Cross Country, which made it difficult to be in the marching band. His favorite was the Pep Band, mostly because they played fun songs. He joined the Alumni Band in the mid ’90s and was also the equipment manager. He has carefully preserved their original banner. The first Strawberry Festival was extremely hot. That is the last time they actually marched.

Tim Sant is a 1981 M-U grad. His band directors were Mr. Stitz beginning in sixth grade, Mr. Allen for seventh grade, and Mr. Bowman from grades eight to 12. Their uniforms were made up of a red M-U sash and cummerbund, black slacks, and a white shirt. The band numbered around 150 members — 25-33 percent of the student body was in the band. West Milton Players and Young Spirits were the other activities available for musicians. He recalled one Alumni Band homecoming performance with heavy snow and very cold temperatures as his beard froze solid.

In follow up discussion they all voiced their appreciation for the flat bed trailer so they no longer had to march. Also for all the support they have received through the years from the school district and the teachers as well as Band Parents and Band Boosters associations.

Alice Martin recalled the wonderful opportunity the M-U High School Band had when they performed at Walt Disney World. They raised $49,000 through fund raising and donations from local businesses as well as Smedley Chevrolet and Hobarts. Mr. Stitz insisted they fly on three separate planes and were accompanied by a number of adults. Alice said when the band came marching across the bridge from Cinderella’s Castle most of the adults were in tears. They received very high praise from the Disney officials.

They discussed the many fund raisers: Smiling Scott trinkets and trash, etc. sales, paper drives, Band Parents rent-a-kid, among others. At one time, band parents marched along side the band members to insure their safety if a problem arose. They recalled memories of performing at all the local cemeteries on Memorial Day. They played for the races at the Miami County Fair. The name of Joe Rosengarden came up as he was the only bass drum player in the state who could do a somersault while playing the bass drum during the band shows.

Through the years some of the Alumni Band instruments have been misplaced. If anyone knows where any of these might have ended up please call Steve Schumann at (937) 339-7300.

To hear many, many more details and watch the complete session tune in to the local access station, listen on You Tube, purchase a DVD or borrow one from the M-U Library. For further information call Barb at (937) 698-6559.