Hannan band heads to competition


By Brittany Hively - [email protected]



The Hannan Junior/Senior High School band is heading to its first competition in years, along with a trip to King’s Island.

The Hannan Junior/Senior High School band is heading to its first competition in years, along with a trip to King’s Island.


Brittany Hively | OVP

ASHTON — The Hannan Junior/Senior High School (HJSHS) Band is heading to compete in the Music in the Parks Festival at King’s Island in Ohio.

It has been a long time since the school has been able to compete, so long that no one is sure when the band last participated in a competition.

“We don’t know [when]. It’s been a long time,” said John Carlise, band director. “The band went through many directors, a lot of years of ineptness.”

Carlise started at HJSHS four years ago, the band having four experienced students.

“We finished with nine that year and now we’re up to 31 in the program,” Carlise said. “Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is when you consider there’s only 232 kids in the school, it’s 13% of the student body, which is the highest [band participation] in the county.”

The band will head to compete in Music in the Parks Festival in May.

“[It] allows the kids to hear from college level directors to evaluate the kids and music and spend the day at King’s Island,” Carlise said. “And this is big. Big for them because they’ve not done this before. Most of the band [has] only been here for two and a half years in the program and because of COVID, we didin’t have a lot of performances.”

With Carlise starting with the HJSHS band just four years ago, half of that time has been abnormal school years altered by the pandemic.

“That’s not to brag, but I think that makes me proud, is the fact that it was COVID years and we’ve still been able to increase the numbers through COVID, which is rare,” Carlise said.

All but three members will be attending the competition, as they have other commitments.

Carlise said the competition has a minimal fee, but they wanted to be able to provide transportation and allow the students to enjoy the park and not worry about money.

The school reached out to the community asking for assistance in providing this experience for the students, as few of them have been to the amusement park.

“[It’s] publicly fund, plus enough to give each kid $50 to spend,” Carlise said. “The community and the people, not just within the community and the people outside of the community, all came through in a major way.”

Carlise said as soon as word was out, donors were reaching out to sponsor the entire trip and some are continuing to donate to the program.

“[The] kids are very excited,” Carlise said. “Because for our kids, they don’t get out and do much.”

Now that the trip has been sponsored, any further donations will go back into the band program.

“There’s still people donating to the band now, everything [now] is just money we’re going to be able to use to buy equipment,” Carlise said.

With the area being one of poverty, the school tries to provide as many of the instruments as possible giving every student who would like to participate the opportunity.

“I take old instruments and get them repaired and we provide the reeds and things for them,” Carlise said. “A lot of schools don’t do that. And the extra money is being donated [to] help that.”

Money has been found to fix old instruments.

“We’ve been able to provide instruments for kids,” Carlise said. “If there’s a kid that wants to be a part, we find a spot. No one’s turned away because of money or anything like that.”

Carlise said not only did the current principal, Tammy Burns, but the previous principal have given the band a lot of support that has helped its growth. He said the county has also been supportive.

“The district has been good with extra grant monies,” Carlise said. “They have granted us and the other two [Wahama and Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School].”

Carlise said he and the other school’s band directors are currently working on a proposal for grant money to assist with new equipment as they’ve “gone so long without basic needs.”

For most of these students, this will be their first competition.

“A little nervous, but pretty excited,” said Alexander Martin, ninth grade.

“I didn’t know that we would be competing, I expected it to be like, just maybe a couple shows for like family and go into the elementary to perform,” said Makenna Haul, eighth grade. “This is kind of our first impression for a long time, so it’s kind of a lot of pressure on us to make a good first impression.”

While the students feel the pressure, they said they are “definitely” ready for the competition. They also love how the band is growing.

“It feels amazing,” Haul said. “Because when I joined, we had people come in and out, but I think the most that we had was maybe somewhere between 10 and 20, at most. And now we have around upper 30s.”

From the ability to hang out with friends and using both physical and mental strength simultaneously, the two band students love the various aspects of the program.

The students had no idea the community spread the word about the competition so much or that so much support has been given.

“I don’t think any of us really expected to get that much help with the trip and funding,” Haul said. “It was amazing.”

Haul said she feels like their band is more of a family, which takes the pressure of performance away.

“We’re all friends with each other, we can joke with each other,” Haul said.

Hannan’s band is seventh through twelfth grade, with many of the students this year being in the junior high level.

Carlise said once the program gets the performance piece down, they will add in the marching piece of band and eventually he hopes to find Hannan’s niche when it comes to a yearly program.

© 2022, Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

The Hannan Junior/Senior High School band is heading to its first competition in years, along with a trip to King’s Island.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2022/03/web1_IMG_6821.jpgThe Hannan Junior/Senior High School band is heading to its first competition in years, along with a trip to King’s Island. Brittany Hively | OVP

By Brittany Hively

[email protected]

Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.

Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.