The Hendersonville High School Band was formed in 1961 by Mr. Doyle Marsh. Since its beginning 50 years ago, the program has developed a reputation for excellence in the region, performing at the Tennessee Music Educators Association conference on three occasions, the MENC National convention and the ASBDA National Convention. The HHS Band has also performed at the Orange Bowl and the Outback Bowl and several marching band events in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia. The string program began at HHS in 2000 under the direction of Director of Bands, Jeffrey T. Phillips. The orchestra program has received superior ratings at regional festivals and has been invited to perform at the TMEA State Concert Festival. The Hendersonville Band and Orchestra program continually places over 25% of its membership in the MTSBOA Mid-State ensembles and has a rich tradition of superior ratings in concert, sight reading and marching performances. Members of the HHS Band and Orchestra have performed or are currently performing in university and military bands throughout the nation. Graduates are also active as teachers and performers.
The current instrumental program at Hendersonville High School consists of the three curricular ensembles including the 9th Grade Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and String Orchestra, involving over 160 students. In addition, courses in Honors Music Theory and AP Music Theory are available. After school activities include marching band and jazz ensemble as well as several other small ensembles that perform throughout the year at community events.
Hendersonville High School Band History
(as told by Mr. Doyle Marsh, founding director)
I taught at Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee from 1957-1961. The first two years I lived in Red Boiling Springs, the next two in Lafayette, Tennessee. While teaching there, I was working on my Master’s Degree at Peabody in Nashville. By 1960, every time I passed through Hendersonville I decided I’d like to teach there and start an instrumental program. Mr. J. G. Stone of Hewgleys Music Shop had told me they were in need of a band director at Hendersonville High School. I stopped at the old Amaco gas station and asked the owner if he knew where the Principal of Hendersonville High School lived. He told me he lived in front of the First Baptist Church and his name was Mr. Bill Clevenger.
I parked in front of a big house with an enclosed front porch and then got out and knocked on the front door. Mr. Clevenger came to the door and I told him I was interested in teaching band at Hendersonville. We hit it off from the start. We talked for two hours and he told me I had the job. He was very supportive of getting a band program at HHS. We worked together from 1961 until I left in 1969.
I started the band program in the Summer. By the time school started in the Fall we had a 50 piece band. Mr. Clevenger allowed the school to go into debt to Hewgleys Music Shop for three sousaphones, two baritones, three French horns and other instruments.
We entered our first competition as a concert band in Spring of 1962. We won a top rating of “A” for our performance at the MTSBOA festival. In the Fall of 1962, we entered the MTSBOA Marching festival and again earned an “A.” To close out the year, the marching band performed at the Portland Strawberry Festival Parade and the Cotton Carnival Parade in Memphis, Tennessee.
In 1967, former Commando head football coach, Bob Cummings, who had coached in Miami, Florida, contacted friends in Miami and thus enabled the marching band to receive an invitation to the nationally televised Orange Bowl Parade on January 1, 1968. We took three double deck Greyhound busses with 127 people including chaperones.
Brax Dixon, who build Johnny and June Cash’s home on the lake, had two children in the band. I asked Brax to see if Johnny and June would present a concert in our gym to raise money for the Orange Bowl trip. The Cash’s brought their whole road show to the gym including the Carter Family and the Statler Brothers. The gym was packed and we got the money for the trip, nearly $6000.
I will always remember my association with Hendersonville and the Band.