The first Norwin High School Band was formed in the 1923-1924 school year. It consisted of 28 members, all boys. The first director was Mr. Steven Winter. The 1924 Norwin yearbook stated “An organization, such as our Norwin Band turned out to be, is one that will make our high school known throughout the state.” Little did they know how prophetic that statement was, for the Norwin High School Band has brought the notice of the entire nation to our community. By competing and receiving accolades nationwide, quality of Norwin’s band program and the outstanding efforts of the band students are a credit to not only the school district, but to the community that nurtures them.
Mr. “Jimmy” Weaver was instrumental in establishing the early Norwin Band, acting as band director beginning in 1924-25. He felt that the band was organized with the sole aim of showing off Norwin’s ability to the best advantage on the field. He also organized many small ensemble groups, such as the Jazz Band, the Little German Band, and a Swing Band. Lessons taught to younger children prepared them for entering the high school band and gave them the opportunity to develop musical abilities to last a lifetime.
Mr. George Weaver was another influential individual to work with the band. With his father, Jimmy as assistant band director, George directed the Irwin High School band from the late 1940’s through the 1950’s while the district was temporarily divided into Irwin and North Huntingdon. He organized a junior band made up of elementary and junior high students to strengthen and continually improve the music program of the future.
The Norwin Band Aides, the community support group of Norwin Band was founded in 1961, with Glen Zockoll as band director. The Band Aides have contributed enormously to the financial means of the band making it possible for the students to concentrate on their performances.
From the mid 60’s through the mid 70’s, band director Mr. Lawrence Radzevic led the Norwin Band with a program that resembles that of today. The competition performances became preeminent, the outstanding performances came more often and practice, practice, practice till perfection became the standard. A student field conductor under Mr. Radzevic’s tutelage, L.J. Hancock, would have an even greater impact on the band and the entire music program at Norwin.
From 1976-2001 L.J. Hancock directed the Norwin Band, inspiring the students to some the programs greatest successes. Due to his charismatic leadership, between 1980-1996 the Norwin Band placed in the top twenty bands at the Bands of America Grand National Championships. During his tenure the band top first place at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in 1982, achieved the Sudler Shield award for musical excellence from the John Philip Sousa Foundation. During his tenure as Music supervisor several positions were added to the music faculty including Assistant Chorus Director, Orchestra Director, Assistant Band Director as well as Associate Band Director.
From 2002-2006 Mr. Ian Morrison was appointed band director. Under the direction of Ian Morrison the Norwin Marching Band remained competitive and a new focus was brought to the Concert Ensembles of the Norwin Band Program paving the way for the successes of the current Wind Ensemble and Concert Band.
In 2007, Mr. Robert Traugh was appointed band director. Mr. Traugh was assisted by Mr. Gregory Ondayko and Associate Director Mrs. Kimberly Glover. Mr. Timothy Daniels was hired as the Director of Bands in 2013, and Mr. Brandon Kandrack was hired as the Associate Band Director in 2016. Recently, ensembles of the Norwin Band Program have received numerous distinctions: The Norwin Percussion Ensemble performing at the PMEA State Convention in Valley Forge, PA in 2009, 2013, and 2016 as well as the 2011 MENC All-East Convention. The Norwin Concert Band receiving excellent ratings in 2008, 2009, & 2010 at PMEA State Adjudications. In 2011 The Norwin Concert band received a superior rating. The Norwin Wind Ensemble received superior ratings in 2008, 2009, 2010, & 2011 at PMEA State Adjudications. The Norwin Jazz Ensemble in 2008 received accolades at the Slippery Rock Jazz Festival for best Saxophone Section, Best Rhythm Section, Best Trombone Section, and Best Trumpet Section. In 2008 the Norwin Marching Band performed at the Bands of America Super Regional in St. Louis, MO and placed in the top ten at finals. The Band program continues to grow and new levels of performance excellence are set every year and in every ensemble at Norwin High School.