|Mr. Santa-Emma Takes a Final Bow as Director of the AOSFB
|The Baton is Passed to Brian W. Dodd 11.15
|Brian W. Dodd Named Director of the AOSFB
|Donald F. Santa-Emma, Director of the All-Ohio
State Fair Band, has announced his retirement
after serving on the staff for 42 years with the
last 17 years as director.
Unbeknown to fairgoers and supporters, Santa-Emma
quietly took his final bow as director at the conclusion
of the 2015 Ohio State Fair. During his tenure, he
compassionately worked with thousands of Ohio's
finest high school musicians, allowing them to
showcase their talents at thousands of concerts.
His leadership, wisdom and diplomacy have provided
stability over the years, guiding the All-Ohio State Fair
Band and leaving a lasting mark on the State Fair.
"It is with great sadness that I accept Mr. Santa-Emma’s
announcement,” explained General Manager Virgil Strickler.
“Don has shown such an immense amount of passion toward the All-Ohio State Fair Band,
empowering each and every one of its youth members with an outstanding musical education, a
positive Fair experience and a devoted sense of community spirit. While I am saddened to see
him go, I am proud of the legacy of excellence that Don has left behind.”
The Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame member joined the staff in 1974 when he received a frantic
phone call from the director of the All-Ohio State Fair Band at the time, Omar Blackman. Blackman
urged the hesitant Santa-Emma to join the band staff as an assistant director as a vacancy
needed to be filled immediately.
Through the years he has been a steady force as a leader within the organization. Whether
serving in his previous roles as Assistant Director, Administrative Assistant, or Director, his
foremost focus was on the band members. He desired a high quality music experience for the
members while working to create a welcoming and professional environment in which the
members would grow as young citizens of Ohio. Mr. Santa-Emma knew that the AOSFB provided
the right arena for high school students to grow and develop and he did all that he could to set the
stage so that each member could maximize the opportunity and experience.
Mr. Santa-Emma received his undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and his
Master's Degree from Austin Peay State University. He engaged in doctoral course work at the
University of Kentucky. Mr. Santa-Emma served as Director of Fine Arts Education for the
Cleveland Public Schools where he supervised over 200 teachers. He has received numerous
citations and awards, including The Distinguished Service Award for Music Education from The
Ohio State University, The Industry Service Award from the Ohio Music Education Association,
and The Hall of Fame of his high school, West Technical High School. He was recipient of the
Martha Holden Jennings Teacher/Leader Award and a Master Teacher Citation from The
Cleveland Public Schools. He is President Emeritus of the 1,000 member Cleveland Federation
of Musicians, Local 4, American Federations of Musicians and he continues to serve as music
contractor for Cleveland's Playhouse Square, America's second largest performing arts center.
It has been said that Mr. Santa-Emma "helped
the band through changing times and guided the
organization to new levels of achievement. He
deserves the utmost respect for his leadership
and contributions to the All-Ohio State Fair Band
and Music Education." Without a doubt, Mr.
Santa-Emma led the AOSFB in the spirit of
previous directors - Jack Wainwright, Louis Pete,
Jack Evans and Omar Blackman, as he carried forward many traditions in respect of the
organization's deep history. At the same time, he encouraged and managed change which
allowed the band to excel while meeting the needs of today's youth.
Along with Santa-Emma’s retirement comes the departure of his “right hand,” Patricia Santa-
Emma, who has been beloved by band staff and members for her unmatched support of the
organization - from stuffing envelopes to answering countless calls from members and parents.
She has greatly impacted the organization you hear at the Ohio State Fair.
Plans are being made to honor Mr.
Santa-Emma at the Ohio State Fair in 2016.
Watch aosfb.org for more details and info.
Thank you Mr. Santa-Emma for touching the
lives of many through your distinguished
and dedicated time with the All-Ohio State
Fair Band . . .take a well-deserved bow
with an extra round of applause from the
entire AOSFB Family!
Read the Press Release from the Ohio
State Fair by clicking here.
Posted September 22, 2015
Ohio State Fair officials have announced that Brian W. Dodd of Bladensburg in Knox
County has been named as director of the All-Ohio State Fair Band.
As director, Dodd will have a variety of
responsibilities throughout the year as well as during
the 2016 Fair. He will recruit, prepare and manage a
talented ensemble of more than 200 high school
musicians selected to represent Ohio's diverse
population in the famed All-Ohio State Fair Band.
Dodd is entering his 10th year as an All-Ohio State
Fair Band staff member and first as director.
Dodd is a graduate of Philo High School in
Muskingum County and The Ohio State University.
He holds an Honorary Chapter FFA Degree and has
received the Honor to Educator Awards from West
Holmes Schools six times. Mr. Dodd is a recipient of the Ohio
High School Athletic Association Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award and was
named Teacher of the Year two times for the East Knox Schools. Prior to his time at
West Holmes, Mr. Dodd served as a member of the Adjunct Music Faculty at Mount
Vernon Nazarene University and spent 14 years as Director of Music at East Knox High
“I am really honored and excited for this opportunity to
continue serving the All-Ohio State Fair Band as
Director,” an enthusiastic Dodd explained. “I look
forward to building on the traditions established by
Mr. Santa-Emma and the other fine directors that
came before me. I am excited to work with the students
from fine music programs from across our wonderful
state as they continue to grow – both as musicians
and positive leaders. It is with excitement that I accept
this role as I eagerly look forward to the band’s
performances at the 2016 Ohio State Fair.”
Dodd is in his 31st year as a high school band director
and educator, and is in his 17th year as director of
bands at West Holmes High School in Millersburg
where he currently directs 235 students in the school’s
two concert bands, jazz band, pep band, marching
band and percussion ensemble. His bands have
performed throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington
D.C. and Florida, and regularly perform for the
Cleveland Cavaliers. His students participate in
numerous honor bands throughout the state including Fair Manager Virgil Strickler
the All-Ohio State Fair Band and Youth Choir, in which & AOSFB Director Brian Dodd
he has had members for the past 31 years.
Dodd is a member of Ohio Music Education
Association and served as district chairman and host
of OMEA District 10 Large Group Adjudicated Event.
He remains active as a performer in the North
Central Ohio area and is a member of American
Federation of Musicians Local #159. He and his wife
Lori currently reside in Bladensburg.
In September, former All-Ohio State Fair Band Director Donald F. Santa-Emma of Rocky
River in Cuyahoga County announced his retirement after serving on the band’s staff
for 42 years and spending the last 17 years as director.
The All-Ohio State Fair Band has been a featured attraction of the Ohio State Fair since
1925. The band selects approximately 200 superior high school musicians for
membership annually based on a number of factors including student ability and
recommendation from their local band directors. Participating students gain a unique
musical and educational experience, as well as an opportunity to build many lasting
friendships during a two-week stay at the Ohio State Fair. The All-Ohio State Fair Band
arrives at the Ohio Expo Center just days before the Fair opens, learning all of their
music in a limited time. They remain housed on-site and perform nearly 100 times during
the 12-day Fair.
Posted November 12, 2015