NBHS welcomes new band director

Jenna Gilbert
Staff Writer

The same year the Ohio State Buckeye’s defeated Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl was the same year New Bremen’s new Band Director, Ryan Starcher was first introduced to the world of marching band music.
While attending his first OSU football game, his parents took him to a Skull Session where the marching band plays in the old basketball arena and play music from their show for the day for more than 10,000 fans.
“I was there at one of those and I heard the band and I’m like I have to be in band because they play the socks off of anything,” said Starcher.
It was a couple years later when it was time for him to join his schools band and at the time, the Tipp City native was certain he wanted to be a trumpet player. However, after hearing a demonstration from a trombone he quickly changed his tune. He said the noise that the trombone made was funny and that’s how he made his decision.
Starcher was first introduced to the idea of teaching when his high school marching band teacher asked him to work at a summer band camp with him. He said someone who was going to work the camp bailed and they needed a low brass person to fill the spot.
“He asked me like, ‘hey I know you’re still a high schooler, you haven’t graduated yet, but do you want to come work this camp?’ and I was like ‘yes!’ and so I went down there and it was a band program similar in size and similar in attitude to New Bremen here,” he remembered. “It really just focused on having fun and knowing each other and just creating a really positive environment for everyone, and I got hooked on the teaching bug after that.”
After high school, Starcher went to college at Ohio State University where he spent two years in the marching band. It was there that he met Zack Nellom, New Bremen’s former band director. They played the trombone together at OSU and it was Nellom who helped him land a spot on the marching band itself.
“I played in a group called Bone Cheers which is the audition based group of just trombones, it’s the people with the sixth highest playing scores of the trombones section,” Starcher said “They go around during the third quarter of the football game ... and play for people in the stands and small stuff, just trying to get people energized because the third quarter always has a lull for everyone.”
There were many highlights for Starcher during his two years with the OSU marching band. He got to travel a lot with the team during football season and was able to visit places like New Orleans and Dallas. It was also with the marching band that he was able to travel outside of the country and play in London with NFL teams.
“They flew us over and we were the halftime show for there and pregame and things like that which was really cool,” Starcher said. “So that was, up until that point, my only time overseas, and only time outside of the country besides Niagara Falls.”
When he wasn’t traveling with the band, Starcher spent two years student teaching at Pickerington North High School, the same school his older sister also student taught at. She is also a graduate of Ohio State and is a band director for a school in Toledo.
“I like to make the joke that I just drafted off of her for years and now we’re finally doing our own things,” Starcher laughed.
He was a little familiar with New Bremen from his time in high school and mentioned that his high schools band participated in the Cardinal Invitational three of his four years. His familiarity with the program, along with some research and the location were key factors during his job search.
“It’s close with family which is good,” Starcher said. “My sister is an hour and half up the road which is nice. So yeah just all the puzzle pieces fit together at the right time and it just seemed like a really good opportunity.”
The day of his interview Starcher said he got even more familiar with the area.
He traveled to New Bremen early to meet Nellom for lunch, but his interview wasn’t until 4 p.m. so he sat in what he now knows as the Crown Pavilion for around two hours before showing up to his interview. From his time spent in New Bremen waiting for his interview and driving through the village, Starcher mentioned that he liked the serenity of the area, something that was vastly different from Columbus.
“This seemed like a nice change of pace to come back to and just really unwind with a community that seemed very supportive of the band program because it’s hard to find that,” Starcher said.
Since July 10, the band has been meeting regularly to prepare for the season, with this years theme called “Lost in the Circus.” Created by Nellom, the theme came from watching “The Greatest Showman” and realizing that outside of the soundtrack there were a lot of “really cool stuff” and he put pieces together to turn it into show all its own.
So far, Starcher said working with the students has been great. Although this may be a different way of learning than what they are used to, Starcher said they are being patient and soft hearted with him which he appreciates.
“I tell the kids we’re doing the whole, slow and steady wins the race idea so we’re taking it step by step by step,” Starcher said. “We don’t have a lot of stuff on the field as far as like quantity goes, but as far as like quality goes we’re doing a very nice job and we’re getting done exactly what I think we should be getting done.”
He said he planned out all of the rehearsals from mid-July through the end of the season and so far they are right on track.
As for what they will show during halftime, Starcher said he plans on showing a little bit at a time, so as to not lose the entertainment aspect of show. The full show won’t be performed until the Sept. 29 Cardinal Invitational.
His biggest goal for the students is not only to make them as successful as possible when it comes to competitions, but also help them feel comfortable and confident in their performing.
“That’s my goal, it’s not a focusing on ratings, its focusing on how the kids feel and if they feel successful,” he said.
His goals for himself in his first year are the same.
“A lot of people talk about first year teaching just trying not to drown; flounder, don’t drown,” he added. “And for me it’s one of those things like if I don’t focus on myself and not floundering then I feel like when I start focusing on what they need, my needs follow.”
Although he does feel some pressure to do well because that it was expected with this group, he does appreciate the support he has seen from the community.
“[They’ve been] very supportive so from a personal connection standpoint,” Starcher said. “I don’t feel nervous because I know the community members are super positive and super supportive. Now I just have to find my personal dialogue, as every performer does.”