As Seminole High School Band begins a new chapter of history in a brand new building in March 2008, we wish to pay our respects to Seminole Band from years past, to keep alive the spirit of "the old days" in previous Seminole band buildings. Through announcements in the local newspapers and the school newsletter, we invited past members of Seminole Band to send in their stories. These accounts are presented below.
If you would like to contribute YOUR memories, we welcome them. Please email them to Kevin Fletcher (email@example.com). Please include your name, phone number, the year that you were in band, what instrument you played, your band director at the time, have you continued to play an instrument, have any of your kids attended Seminole, and your memories.
At the time, the school was located at the site of the current Sanford Middle School. Those buildings were later torn down for the buildings that stand there now. The Band Directors included Ollie Reese Whittle, Dorothy Sanford Gatchel, Mrs. Jackson and others. These ladies had husbands in the military, and worked with the band until they had to leave town with their husbands.
I was on the football team and in the band. I mainly played in the football games during football season. We had orange and black marching uniforms.
We marched for the first time in the Sanford Christmas Parade on First Street in downtown Sanford. We also had a homecoming parade, and marched in parades in New Smyrna, Oviedo and Mt. Dora. There was no fee for bands to march in parades in those days. We also marched in the Veterans Day parade.
We had an after-school swing dance band, consisting of Neil Powell, Tommy Vaughn, Catherine Clark Whelchel, Oliver Mathieux, Mary Ann Whelchel Smith, Ed White, Raymond Reel, Wade Rucker, Pete Bukur, Bill Brumley and Emmett Herndon. We played for the USO dances in the building that is now the Chamber of Commerce in downtown Sanford. It was a new building at the time. At one of the dances, a USO sailor asked us what our band was called. We did not have a name, so he gave us one: The Banana Boys, Music with Appeal!
The swing dance band disbanded at the end of World War 2.
My three sons graduated from Seminole High School in 1967, 1970 and 1973.(Top)
THE OLD SEMINOLE HIGH SCHOOL BAND
As far as I am concerned the Seminole High School band really began in 1947. There had been a band before that but not a serious one. It was run by the music teacher who really wasnâ€™t interested. The old bandâ€™s only purpose was to make noise at football games and it was only about 25 or 30 strong up until Mr. Black came along.
Seminole High School at that time was where Sanford Middle School is now, at 18th and French. Our band consisted of about 50 members, maybe 60. Our Fight Song was â€œOn Wisconsinâ€ sung â€œOnward Sanford.â€ The school had a total population when I graduated in â€™51 of about 500. Our graduating class was 124. Seminole was the largest High School in the county, the other High Schools being Oviedo and Longwood.
I was in the SHS band from the fall of 1966 to the end of my senior year, 1969. I came into the band playing trumpet and left playing french horn.
I remember...walking into the band room the summer before my sophomore year, scared to death, but greeted by a friendly, smiling Mr. Elmore.
...being a band member allowed you the use of one of the tall lockers located just outside the band room, while everyone else had to use the short ones located along the hallways.
...in my sophomore year, we received a "superior" rating at district marching contest. All the way home we rocked the bus and screamed,"Seminoles got superior!" "Seminoles got superior!" I couldn't talk for three days.
...having to make our own Indian feather headdress that we wore with our marching band uniform. Many eagles gave their all for those headdresses. (At least they TOLD us they were eagle feathers.)
...working the lot selling Christmas trees as a fundraiser.
...when we wanted to "challenge" someone above us in our section, we both went into the little area in the back of the band room behind the wall and play our challenge music. If you won, you took their seat.
...many, many fond memories that I will treasure forever. Thanks, Mr. Elmore, for three wonderful, fun-filled years!
I now live in South Daytona FL...my parents still live in Sanford. I have 2 boys that graduated from Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach FL. I continued to play french horn in the city band in Daytona and in a brass choir for a few years, but eventually gave it up.(Top)
I am JohnAaron Henderson, the first African America drum major at Seminole High School. I attended Seminole High from 1970 - 73. Our band director in 1970 -71 was Jack Foo. In 1971, Roland Castro became our new band director. He was even there after I graduated in 1973. I was in the stage band, which was five saxophone players, four trumpet players, four trombone players, a piano player, bass guitar player, and a drummer. My freshman year, I was assistant chief operation officer. In my junior year, I became chief operation officer. As chief operation officer your job was to distribute and collect uniforms. Your job was to ensure that everything was properly carried out. The area where the quad is wasn't there then. The present quad area was a marching field with a stage.
Life seem so simple then. I remember the fun things we would do. Things like stuff the sophomores in the tuba cases for fun. Once all the band officers got together and squeezed ourselves in a small car, right along with our instruments. All seven of us with tubas, trumpets, and saxophones.
Some of my favorite memories:
Those were the good old days. I shared so many great band days with my daughter Joh'naye Henderson, that she also wanted that band experience. This is her third year as a flutist for Seminole High School Band.(Top)
I played in the seminole band from 73, 74, 75. And was very glad to have played in that band. We played to every foot ball game, and got a chance to perform in all the Xmas festivities. Along with the Statefair and the Gasperillia parade. My band director was named Mr. Castro, and he kept us the band members on our toes. I will always cherished the moments that I had in that band. Thank you Leroy Williams(Top)
My family roots are buried deep in that wonderful building. My name is Gena Bukur and if you are familiar with the old Sanford, the Bukur name has always been associated with music. Our family history with the Marching Seminoles goes back to 1951 when my grandfather, Peter J. Bukur, was instrumental in organizing the Sanford Seminole High School Band Parents Organization and serving as its first president. This was at the old high school location on French Avenue.
My father, Peter P. Bukur, did his student teaching/internship, under Ernie Cowley when the band room was brand new. He went on to become the band director for Sanford Junior High/Sanford Middle where he retired in 1982.
I myself was a member of the Marching Seminoles from the fall of 1973 until my graduation in June of 1976. While I was there I was under the direction of Roland Castro, Martha Oestreich and Bob Maguire. During my freshman year I can remember collecting the large egg flats, spending weekends and spring break attaching them to the walls of the band room. This was done to give the room better acoustics. During my senior year I had the privilege of being drum major for the Marching Seminoles.
I went on the get my degree in music education and came back to Seminole High where I taught out of field for 3 years. While I was there I did some instrumental private instruction and directed the flag and rifle corps for the band. I have been living in Kissimmee for the past 8 years but still come up for the football games just to watch the band at halftime. I have just purchased a home in Sanford and returned back to the town I hold so near and dear to me. I have dreams that one day my 8 year old son, Matthew, will also become a Marching Seminole. I have spent many an hour in that old band building and have many fond memories. I have seen many lives enriched through the programs presented in that building. As with all good things they must come to an end, but my memories of the old Seminole High Band Hall will live forever.(Top)
I used to sit in the front row of the band with the flute section, and the ceiling leaked. God only knows what it was, because it happened every day, rain or shine, without fail. It would do it every minute or two. Drip! and thereâ€™d be a splash of water on your music or your hair or â€” even worse â€” the headjoint of your flute, and youâ€™d have to try to figure out how to keep playing without letting it slide into your mouth. The thing was that it seemed to follow me around from year to year, because one year I was third or fourth chair and I got dripped on there, and the next year I was first chair and I got dripped on there too. But it was still better than being a percussionist, where instead of water falling onto you, it might be a piece of the wall.
I seem to remember some kind of termite season for a week or two each year in the band room, but the details escape me. I might be repressing them.
I remember Sean Bresemann (whom most of the whippersnappers there wonâ€™t remember, I guess, and their lives are the less rich for it) used to be able to make the ceiling panels vibrate by hitting a specific pitch on the horn. Incidentally, the band room had to be the site of at least six or seven of my marriage proposals to him as well. Iâ€™m still waiting for the ring.
One of the things I remember most about the band room is that no one ever seemed to want to leave. Before school, during lunches, after school, after concerts, after games, we all just hung aroundâ€”even when it was 11:30pm on a Friday night and Mr. Malcolm was pleading with us, okay, everyone, time to go now, Iâ€™d like to lock the place up and go home, no, seriously, time to go!
It wasnâ€™t that we wanted to spite him, but there was something special about that band room. Like, that was where the magic was happening, or was going to happen, or had happened, and when you finally hung up your uniform and left, the magic was gone. I think most of us felt that way at one time or another. The band room was somewhere special, and whatever was going on in there, we wanted to be a part of it.
The new band room may have ceilings that donâ€™t leak and walls that donâ€™t disintegrate, but that sense of magic is one thing I hope stays the same.(Top)