The History of Patrick Henry High School Band: The First Forty Years, 1940-1980

May 3, 2011 / By: Elizabeth Roth Kotek

The purpose of this thesis project was to describe and understand Patrick Henry High School Band’s musical past - 1940–1980.  There were three research problems:  Who were the first two band directors at Patrick Henry High School?  What did the first band directors accomplish?  What lessons in teaching excellence can the first band directors teach current teachers today? There were two sub-problems investigated:  How do music programs engender civic spirit and pride in the community?  What do former students remember and value from their experience?  Both archival and survey/interview methods documented this historical profile of Patrick Henry High School Band’s unique musical identity.  A survey was used to gather information about former students in the band program.  One of the first two band directors was interviewed extensively for information about the time period 1940 – 1980. 

The chronicle of Patrick Henry’s band program offered a rich study of core values that are cultivated through music education.  This thesis described the history and development of a program that created a legacy of excellence and accessibility for all students on the north side of Minneapolis.  It also documented how music and the band program at Patrick Henry High School have served the ongoing tradition of pride, civic spirit, resiliency, determination and accomplishment in its students and the community it serves.  By researching this program, and sharing the results, I hope to provide other educators, particularly in urban environments valuable insights.  This document is evidence for district administrators and others concerned with curricular and academic matters of the importance of music in general and band in particular in the lives of students, their families and the communities they represent.