The history of the Norwin Band…
The first Norwin High School Band was formed in the 1923-1924 school year. It consisted of 28 members, all boys. The first director was Mr. Steven Winter. The 1924 Norwin yearbook stated “An organization, such as our Norwin Band turned out to be, is one that will make our high school known throughout the state.” Little did they know how prophetic that statement was, for the Norwin High School Band has brought the notice of the entire nation to our community. By competing and receiving accolades nationwide, quality of Norwin’s band program and the outstanding efforts of the band students are a credit to not only the school district, but to the community that nurtures them.
Mr. “Jimmy” Weaver was instrumental in establishing the early Norwin Band, acting as band director beginning in 1924-25. He felt that the band was organized with the sole aim of showing off Norwin’s ability to the best advantage on the field. He also organized many small ensemble groups, such as the Jazz Band, the Little German Band, and a Swing Band. Lessons taught to younger children prepared them for entering the high school band and gave them the opportunity to develop musical abilities to last a lifetime.
Mr. George Weaver was another influential individual to work with the band. With his father, Jimmy as assistant band director, George directed the Irwin High School band from the late 1940’s through the 1950’s while the district was temporarily divided into Irwin and North Huntingdon. He organized a junior band made up of elementary and junior high students to strengthen and continually improve the music program of the future.
The Norwin Band Aides, the community support group of the Norwin Band Program was founded in 1961, with Mr. Glen Zockoll as band director. The Band Aides have contributed enormously to the financial means of the band making it possible for the students to concentrate on their performances.
From the mid 60’s through the mid 70’s, band director Mr. Lawrence Radzevic led the Norwin Band through a program that resembles that of today. The competition performances became preeminent, the outstanding performances came more often and practice, practice, practice until perfection became the standard. A student field conductor under Mr. Radzevic’s tutelage, L.J. Hancock, would have an even greater impact on the band and the entire music program at Norwin.
From 1976-2001 L.J. Hancock directed the Norwin Band, inspiring the students to some of the programs greatest successes. Due to his charismatic leadership, between 1980-1996 the Norwin Band placed in the top twenty bands at the Bands of America Grand National Championships. During his tenure the band achieved first place at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in 1982, as well as the Sudler Shield award for musical excellence from the John Philip Sousa Foundation. During his tenure as Music supervisor several positions were added to the music faculty including Assistant Chorus Director, Orchestra Director, Assistant Band Director as well as Associate Band Director.
From 2002-2006 Mr. Ian Morrison served as band director. Under the direction of Ian Morrison the Norwin Marching Band remained competitive and a new focus was brought to the Concert Ensembles of the Norwin Band Program paving the way for the successes of the current Wind Ensemble and Concert Band.
From 2007-2013 Mr. Robert Traugh served as band director. Under Mr. Traugh’s direction the band returned to the BOA Grand Nationals in 2011 and earned 19th place in the country. Also, the band won 4 Regionals and 2 PIMBA championships.
Currently, the Norwin High School Bands are under the direction of Mr. Tim Daniels. Tim is a 2008 graduate of Norwin High School. During his first year, the marching band won the 2013 BOA Monroeville Regional. Tim is assisted by Mr. Gregory Ondayko and Associate Director Mr. Brandon Kandrack. Recently ensembles of the Norwin Band Program have received numerous distinctions including: The Norwin Percussion Ensemble has performed at the PMEA State Convention in 2009, 2013 and 2016, as well as the 2011 MENC All-East Convention. The Norwin Concert Band has received excellent ratings in 2008, 2009, & 2010 at PMEA State Adjudications. In 2011, 2012 and 2013, 2015 the Norwin Concert band received superior ratings. The Norwin Wind Ensemble has consistently received superior ratings since 2008.
The Norwin Band has come a long way from the first 28 member group under the direction of Mr. Winters. This organization has seen thousands of students come through the program and each of them take into their lives experiences only gained by participation in this program. The Band program continues to grow and new levels of performance excellence are set every year and in every ensemble at Norwin High School. We move forward, Norwin Knights!