The Music Makers of Brunswick
As early as 1893 there was a Brunswick High School and Zeno L. Griner was the principal. There were only 34 students, however. Principal Jim Hayas now supervises a student population of 2,457. The first class to graduate, have commencement exercises and receive diplomas was the class of 1900 with five members. Things went downhill the next year, however - only one student graduated!
In the late 1900s and early 1900s, the bands in Brunswick were community brass bands. They consisted of local talent and were rated by the number of local musicians and the elegance of their uniforms. In those days, the brass band marching down the street in the 4th of July parade and bursting forth with "Yankee Doodle" was positively the grandest sight on earth. Not even firecrackers popping at their feet could stop them on their march. And on summer evenings the band would play concerts in the bandstand located in the circle that once graced the town center. There were both a men's and women's band.
It was 1921 when the first part of the high school - which is now the south house of Edwards Middle School - was built. That same year, the teaching of instrumental music began in Medina County. The Brunswick orchestra was organized in 1922.
In 1935, the first band was started in the schools and on April 20, county supervisor of musical instruction, Delmar Graff, conducted the band in a contest at Berea. The fledgling instrumentalists came home with a superior rating, so winning has been a 50-year tradition. The music that the band played that day was the "Pantheon Overture" by Holmes. Members of the band - we hope some of you still remember - were Howard Dunn, Harold Chidsey, Glenn Fuller, Dorothy Cadnum, Lewis Damon, Earl Bowman, Vesta Vaughn, Lois Cadnum, Julius Miklos and Keith Cadnum. At the Brunswick Sesquicentennial Concert on February 21, 1965, director Albert Sego re-enacted that concert with the high school band.
By 1947, the band had grown to 32 members. And along came the first semblance of a booster's organization. Interested parents put on a variety show to outfit the band with their first uniforms and the American Legion raffled off a steer to add to the fund. Don Parfitt was the leader of the band at that time.
In 1948, Al Sego took over the leadership of the band - starting his career here which lasted some 30 years.
The band is no stranger to playing for important events. In 1952, it was invited to Columbus to help celebrate the State's Sesquicentennial. Among the numbers played by the group was "Beautiful Ohio." And it was at that time a new addition was made to the marching troupe - the majorette, Shirley Capotosto was Brunswick's first.
In 1958, the band played for the State Fire Convention in Akron and in 1960, it played for the opening of the new post office dedication ceremonies. Twenty five years later in 1985 history repeated itself when the band performed at the dedication of the spacious new post office on Center Road.
In 1963 the Brunswick High School Band received a certificate of award in recognition of personal effort in behalf of the community from Mayor Carl Miller. That same year the band participated in two large parades in Cleveland - The Shriners and the Order of Alhambra. For many years, it regularly played at the VA Hospital in Brecksville for the recreational therapy division. The band's first of several opportunities to play for the President of the United States was during Richard Nixon's 1972 re-election campaign when the band performed along the winding parade route through Northeastern Ohio.
Over the years the band performed for Ohio's governors - Michael V. DiSalle, James A. Rhodes and John Gilligan - both for campaign appearances and for official events such as the opening of Interstate 71.
In 1985 the band, now under the direction of Robert Neidlinger, was invited to play in the Inaugural events in Washington for President Ronald Reagan. Though the parade was cancelled due to inclement weather, Brunswick's band played in a pre-inaugural festival and marched down Pennsylvania Avenue on its own.
In 1987 the band was invited to play in the Orange Bowl Parade at Miami, Florida. For both events, community fund raisers were launched including live televised auctions.