By Dave Stafford
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Douglas Fletcher had an unenviable task: Create harmony where there was ample discord. Conduct the merging of two storied high school marching bands as the opening act of the new Anderson High School.
The celebrated bandmaster said he did what he always does.
“I firmly believe in setting high expectations and motivating kids to reach those expectations,” said Fletcher, whose was selected by the editorial board of The Herald Bulletin as 2010’s Person of the Year. “It may sound simple, but that’s been the key to my success.”
Fletcher’s accomplishments are far beyond his selection this year as an Indiana Outstanding Bandmaster — the highest honor in the profession. He has won a record number of Indiana State Fair Band Day competitions, but it’s doubtful any of them was meaningful than the Anderson High School’s title won this past summer.
“I would say this band came the furthest of any band I’d ever directed, as far as where we were when we started and where we ended up,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher made his mark in the years he served as Highland High School’s band director, and he was selected to lead the band program when the schools consolidated. Before Anderson High School opened this year as the sole city school, many predicted a tumultuous situation.
“There really was not this rivalry thing that I think some people anticipated,” Fletcher said. “From Day One, the kids seemed to blend and there was a respect level there. ... In all of this, the kids have been great.
“I’m proud that the band helped set the tone for that. Here was something we were able to accomplish before the first school day, and I’m proud of that,” he said.
The band also was instrumental in bringing together the traditions of all three Anderson city high schools. Drum majors donned uniforms representing Anderson, Highland and Madison Heights high schools.
“I think it was important that we did that — recognized the heritage and the history of all three schools,” Fletcher said. “There is quite a history in the city of Anderson. Those three band programs, 20 percent of time (the State Fair Band Day) championship came back to an Anderson Community School. I don’t think another school corporation comes close to that statistic.”
The 130 members of the Anderson Marching Highlanders performed a field show themed “The Six Pillars of Character.”
“We felt like we had more to teach than just a marching band show — we were trying to teach a concept,” Fletcher said. “Pirates, Scots and Indians, coming together with character.”
Fletcher said he was surprised by his selection as Person of the Year.
“It’s humbling,” he said. “If felt like I was just doing my job.”
Contact Dave Stafford: 648-4250, firstname.lastname@example.org