Massillon Instrumental Music Program
Washington High School
Tiger Swing Band
The Massillon Tiger Swing Band (MTSB) has roots dating back to 1914 when a group of students brought their instruments to a football game to entertain the crowd. This high school football band (Ohio’s oldest) continued until 1938 when George “Red” Bird was hired as director. Incorporating movement, patterns, props, lighting effects, and a modern style of music, Bird revolutionized the world of marching bands and the Tiger Swing Band was born!
Tiger Swing Band Drumline
The MTSB Drumline, sometimes called “the heartbeat of the band” performs as a separate unit at certain events in the community such as the Massillon Schools “Literacy on the Lawn”, Downtown Massillon Funfest, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Community Parade. Learn more about the drumline, including listening to selections of their cadences.
The MTSB is led onto the field by our drum major, who entertains the crowd as the band performs. Our first drum major, in 1919, was the school’s janitor. In addition to leading the band onto the field at football games, the drum major leads the band in parades, and serves as the “face of the band” at many community events. Learn more about our drum majors.
Obie the Tiger
In 1938, coach Paul Brown had the idea to have a costumed mascot who could fire up the crowd on a Friday night. George “Red” Bird used his Hollywood entertainment connections to purchase a real tiger skin and have it made into a costume that a student could wear. With an “O” for orange, and “B” for black (the school colors), ‘Obie the Tiger’ was born, and has accompanied the band ever since. Learn more about Obie the Tiger.
The WHS Wind Orchestra is open to students through an audition process. This band expands on the typical high school musical experience by performing more challenging works. Each May, the band performs works from throughout the year at the Wind Orchestra Showcase.
The WHS Symphonic Band is open to all students who have completed their year in Concert Band, and who meet the minimum expectations to continue in the music program.
The concert band is where the first-year high school musicians begin the process of honing their craft.
WHS Jazz Orchestra
The WHS Jazz Orchestra is made up of student musicians who volunteer their time outside of the school day to rehearse. With their selections of jazz standards and traditional favorites, the Jazz Orchestra performs at select events in the community, and is featured at the annual WHS JazzFest each May.
The Basketball Band is made up of members of the Concert and Symphonic Bands and Wind Orchestra. Performing at a select number of home basketball games during the regular season, the band plays a variety of music before the game, during half-time, and during timeouts.
The Pit Orchestra provides the music for the WHS Spring Musical. Students audition in the fall, with the instrument mix based on the needs of the particular show. Musicians rehearse after school in the weeks leading up to the production, and gain experience in accompanying a live theatrical production.
Middle School Bands
5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Bands
Each of the grades in the Massillon Junior High & Intermediate Schools features their own concert band. In the 5th grade band many students are picking up an instrument for the first time, while 8th grade band sees musicians who are preparing to take the field and stage at the high school. It is always a treat to watch the students’ musical development during their journey through middle school.
MJHS Jazz Band
The MJHS Jazz Band is comprised of students from the 7th and 8th grade bands who meet to learn more about jazz, and how to perform as an ensemble. The Jazz Band performs each May at the WHS JazzFest.
Developing and Challenging Our Musicians
Each band member is encouraged to participate in Ohio Music Education Association Adjudicated Events (“contest”). Student musicians select pieces to perform in front of a judge who critiques the performance and fundamentals, providing important feedback. Each musician then receives a rating of their performance against standards.
Contest isn’t just limited to individuals, as the Wind Orchestra, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band (as well as the Junior High bands) have the opportunity to perform at Large Group Adjudicted Events.
OMEA Adjudicated Events are free and open to the public (no recordings), and typically take place during the spring. Watch our calendar for upcoming contest events!