The All-Ohio State Fair Band was founded in 1925 and was known as the All-Ohio Boys' State Fair Band. It was then, as is now, comprised of superior musicians from throughout
the State of Ohio.
The members of the 2015 AOSFB arrived at the Rhodes Center on July 25 and began several intense days of rehearsal. The talented musicians took part in a rigorous pre-fair
schedule where they learned close to 60 pieces of concert music of various styles and genres as well as numerous marches. Throughout the 2015 Ohio State Fair the Band
members performed 90 concerts while continuing a long standing tradition of entertaining Ohio's citizens.
The founder and first director was Jack Wainwright (1925-1931) of Fostoria. He has been followed by four other directors:
Louis E. Pete (1932-1966), Jack O. Evans (1967-1969), Omar P. Blackman (1970-1998) and Donald F. Santa-Emma (1999-2015), who has retired after 17 years as director and
42 years on the staff.
Each year there are various new experiences for the Band - including rehearsing in the Buckeye Building in 2015 as well as the continuation of numerous AOSFB traditions which
included Ballyhoo-ing through the grounds, performances on the Rhodes Lawn and performances at the Lausche Building and The Coliseum....as well as a concert in Ashland on
Information about 2016 will be made available here after its completion in early 2016.
|All-Ohio State Fair Band Favorite Links
|Are you a vocalist looking for an Ohio State Fair musical experience?
Learn more about the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir by visiting aosfyc.org or the AOSFYC on Facebook.
|Donald F. Santa-Emma, Director
|2015 All-Ohio State Fair Band
courtesy of Barry Conrad Photography of Canal Winchester
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 Ohio
“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 www.aosfb.org for more details and info.
Meanwhile, Fair officials hope to announce a new All-Ohio State Fair Band Director by December 1, 2015.
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
|Mr. Santa-Emma Takes a Final Bow as Director of the AOSFB