New Huntington North band director says improvement will come with hard work, time


Josh Huff, Huntington North High School’s new band director, listens intently to his band perform in preparation for the Homecoming Parade on Sept. 27. Photo by Lauren M. Winterfeld.

Originally published Oct. 3, 2013.

"We come in with the idea that we are here to work, we are here to build, we are in it for the long haul," says Joshua Huff, Huntington North High School's new band director.

Huff, who brings eight years of experience to his new position at the high school, says he is excited to be in Huntington.

"When I came here a lot of the kids said, why would you leave where you were at?" he explains, "I left because it is a bigger school."

He previously worked at Tri-Central Middle and High School in Sharpsville.

"Tri-Cental had 320 kids in the high school - classes here (at Huntington North) are bigger than that. I went to a large high school in Ohio, so I am familiar with the large school mentality, the idea. There are more resources in terms of student resources," he notes.

At Tri-Cental he was band director and also taught elementary music.

"In the eight years I was there we qualified for a regional competition three times," he says, "It should be noted that they had gotten the lowest level rating you could get the two years before I got there. It took a long time to build."

Huff says he brings to the table eight years of experience of building a program.

"I wouldn't say we were always highly successful," but every dog does have his day," Huff points out.

"I am one of, to my knowledge, two band directors in their school history [Tri-Central] to have received a regional gold rating for marching band. The last three years, my high school concert band got a gold rating in sight-reading, I think overall in eight years we achieved (between middle school and high school) six gold ratings with concert band. We performed at the boys' basketball state finals in 2006. We performed at Lucas Oil Stadium last football season for the football championship game for our conference.

"We kept them busy."

In Huntington, he says his expectation is to find any little thing and be successful at it.

"The little things will make the big things work," he points out, "And that's just kind of how I've always operated any program. I think if you don't understand it's the little things that make you better, you'll never get the big things.

"It is not about the trophies, it is not about awards, it is about (the kids) enjoying themselves and being successful in what we focused on that week.

"So far it has worked, we'll see if it works this week," he says with a smile.

Not only are band members getting used to a new director, they will also be competing in a new format at the upcoming Indiana State School Music Association Marching Band competition.

One hundred and seventy-six marching bands will participate in one of three classes - Festival, Scholastic or Open class.

Huntington North will compete in Scholastic class, which was created to take into consideration band size as well as school enrollment.

The competition will have two parts, a preliminary competition on Oct. 12, to be held at Homestead High School in Fort Wayne, and Scholastic Finals, to be held Oct. 26, and held at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis.

In order for the band to compete in Indianapolis, they must achieve a gold rating at the preliminary round.

"Huntington has always gotten their gold rating at district," says Huff, "Regional gold ratings have been tough," he adds.

Huff says, "People will be familiar with the old ‘district, regional, semi-state, state format' (of competition)."

The new classes change that for Huntington North.

If they achieve a gold on Oct. 26, the band will have the opportunity to perform in Lucas Oil Stadium, Huff says.

"I think people should know that the kids here have worked hard and they want to be successful. They are working towards that goal," he says, "It is not an easy task.

"It is one of those things where you know that it is a process and so we (Huff and his wife) didn't come in this thinking we were going to have overnight success, or turn this thing around just by the fact that I walked through the door.

"It is going to take some time."

"I hope people can see change and results," he adds.

The band will perform tonight, Thursday, Oct. 3, at Kreigbaum Field at 7:30 in a community concert that is open to the public.

For a competition schedule, visit www.issma.net.

Complete caption: Josh Huff, Huntington North High School’s new band director, listens intently to his band perform in preparation for the Homecoming Parade on Sept. 27. Huff and his band ran through several songs before lining up for the parade that evening.