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The Band Program at Franklin High School


The Franklin High School Band has a long tradition of excellence in the school and in our community.  Currently over 80 members strong, the Band is recognized throughout the state for the consistent quality of our performing groups.  We hope you will join us and become a part of this tradition.


Band at FHS is a full year, 5 credit course, scheduled as a regular class within your school day (sorry, at the present time there is no option for partial credit or half-year participation).  It is open to all students with one or more years of band experience. As a freshman, you will begin your FHS Band experience in our 9th Grade Band class.  Later in your high school career, you will be eligible to audition for our Wind Ensemble, or to participate in the Symphonic Band


All Freshman Band students are eligible to participate in both our marching and concert bands.  Students who participate in the full program (marching band in the fall/concert band in winter and spring) will receive honors credit on their school grade records.  You should request 9th Grade Band (H) on your course request sheet.  Students may also choose to participate in the concert band only portion of our program. These students will participate in all Band activities with the exception of after school marching rehearsals and weekend performances.  You should choose 9th Grade Band (non-honors) on your course request sheet.


During marching season (from late August through November), after school rehearsals and weekend performances are a required part of your 9th Grade Band (H) schedule. (Note: because of our busy fall schedule, we do not recommend participation in a fall sport - contact us if you have questions.)  The Warrior Marching Band performs at varsity football games and at competitions throughout the state.  Recent highlights of our performance schedule have included performances at MetLife Stadium, Disney World and the prestigious US Bands Association championships. Further information about registration to secure your position in the Warrior Marching Band is included in this packet.


Our concert ensembles perform at several concerts throughout the year, as well as at Concert Band festival events in the central New Jersey area.  Additional playing opportunities for qualified band members include Jazz Band, musical theater “Pit” Orchestra, and Brass Ensemble.  Other ensembles may be formed based on student interest and ability.


Membership in the Honors Band program also provides exciting opportunities for travel.  In addition to our regular trips to football games, marching and concert festivals and other local events, the FHS Band undertakes a major trip every 2 years.  We recently returned from a five-day trip to Orlando Florida. We visited and Disney Hollywood Studios, Epcot Center, The Disney Magic Kingdom and Blizzard Beach. Highlights of the trip included concert band and color guard performance workshops and a parade performance before thousands of spectators on Disney’s famous Main Street.  Our next trip will take place in the spring of 2017.


The FHS Band is a great place to develop your musical skills and enjoy the experience of working together with both old and new friends.  We hope that you will take advantage of the opportunities available to you as a member of our program - we look forward to working with you!  

HISTORY of The Franklin High School “ Warrior” Band – a proud tradition of  Excellence....

The Band program has deep roots at Franklin High School.  The hundreds – thousands – of students who have passed through the FHS band program have represented Franklin Township locally, throughout the country, and even internationally. Their efforts have long been a source of pride to the school and community.

Under the guidance of Jack Pirone, the band’s first director, the band grew from modest beginnings to a first-rate concert and marching unit. The Band was nearly 300 members strong when they appeared in Washington, DC in January of 1969 at President-Elect Richard Nixon’s inaugural parade, and traveling later that year to the Arizona to perform in the Jaycee National Convention Parade championship. Pirone would later go on to serve as a principal and administrator in the Franklin school system.

With Dr. Pirone’s departure from the program in 1970, the stability of the 60’s gave way to a period of change. Long time assistant Tom Gall took over as director from 1970 -72, followed over the next several years by Alan Bosoy  (1973), James Guter (1974-’75), and Dan Witherspoon (1976-’77).  The Band continued to travel and perform, appearing throughout the New Jersey-New York-Pennsylvania area, as well as traveling to Florida to march in the Orange Bowl Jamboree parade. 

In 1976 the Band marked our nation’s bicentennial celebration, appearing in the colonial uniforms that would become a part of the band’s identity for the next decade. It was sometime in the late 70’s as well, that the Band’s drum section adopted its signature “cadence,” still heard each fall as the Warriors take the field for performance and competition.   

In 1978, the arrival of Cal Chase as Band director, followed by assistant director Fred Oltarzewski a year later, marked the beginning of a decade that would see the FHS log thousands of miles as musical ambassadors. Appearing at DisneyWorld for the first time in 1981, and again in 1983, the Warrior Band would later journey to Mexico (1985), California (1987) and England (1989).  The band gained substantial exposure in 1981, appearing on local and national television in the New York City Iranian hostage parade, and at the opening of New York City’s South Street Seaport in 1986.

In 1987, Mr. Chase stepped into a supervisory role, and handed the directorship of the Band to Oltarzewski.  Mr. “O.” and his long time co-director, Ms. Dixie Presson, have led the Band through the ‘90s and into the millennium, maintaining both the concert and marching programs as worthy successors to the legacy of their predecessors.  Under their direction the Band has visited Atlanta, Orlando, the Bahamas and Virginia, as well as appearing locally in state and regional concert and marching festivals. 

In Spring 2015, Mr. "O" and co-director, Ms. Dixie Presson retired, and the band welcomed a new director, Mr. Daniel Berz and co-director, Mr. Eric Diaz.  The band continued to succeed in the fall of 2015 and placed 5th in the NJ State Competition at Rutgers Stadium.  We hope to continue representing Franklin High for many years to come!

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