State Fair Band
Omar P. Blackman Memory Page
Enjoy the many memories and messages about the many ways in which he touched the lives of many
musicians, colleagues and friends.
Omar Blackman has been my hero, teacher, colleague, mentor and friend. As a high school student, he was my Band Director, got me
into the All-Ohio Boys' Band, and was my inspiration to pursue a career in Music Education. As a Band Director in the Cleveland
Schools, it was always a pleasure to work with Mr. Blackman on the All City Band staff, contests, conventions, and other projects.
He set the standard for all of us. It was a "dream come true" when Omar asked me to join the staff of the All-Ohio State Fair Band.
It was an honor and privilege to serve this wonderful organization for 27 years and it truely was the highlight of my career. I will
never forget the influence Mr. Blackman had on my life and will be ever greatful for his guidance, advice, and friendship. Thanks
Assistant Director Woodwinds 1976-2003
Well, I thought I would start by sharing a great memory. I believe was '94. He stepped up to the podium and all I could do was
smile. It was the beginning of "hell week as we called it. Amazingly, after all of his years of directing AOSFB Omar announced that
he had JUST learned that the first week was called "hell week" HA! We all laughed so hard!
Omar was so great! He will be missed dearly!
Jennifer Wendeln (Edwards)
Buckey Brass 1995
I was a member of the '55-57 bands playing trombone and remember Omar well. Omar was a kinds and gentle man and I admired him.
We will miss him.
John E. Raile
Such a loss. Kids now a days have no idea what a great man he was. He really inspired me when I was in the Band and to this day he
has made me a great leader at what I do.
Percussion 1987 - 1990
My sincere sympathies to the family of Omar Blackman. I was privileged to be in his first Boys' Band. He had a deep love for not
only his work but for "his band kids." He always made it fun!! On Fair remembrance I had was the stage band, which I played
drums in, played the WRFD tent. Doc Lemon, one of their DJ's, always emceed the show at the etent. We went to Omar and asked
for our final parent's concert, if we could have Doc emcee for us. He had no problems with it and even had some fu with us and Doc
on stage. A great man!
I had the pleasure of taking a group of choir kids to the state fair about 10 years ago to perform. The Band was playing ina tent near
by. He took the time to chat with me for a few minutes before the band had to leave. The one thing I can say about Omar. . . his
heart was larger than his stature.
The world is saddened by his exit, but Heaven has been greatly improved by his entrance.
John Marshall High School
All-Ohio Boys' Band
Omar Blackman was a diligent and dedicated instrumental music teacher as evidenced by his remarkable success as director of bands
at Collinwood, John Marshall, and St. Ignatius High Schools as well as the All-Ohio State Fair Band.
Omar was highly esteemed and admired by his co-workers and left a lasting influence on his students.
I have lost a dear friend and fellow musician.
May I extend my warmest condolences to Milliw and his family.
Joseph Lanese from cleveland.com
Omar was a man who loved life and knew how to live life to its fullest. I will miss his laugh and fantastic sense of humor. He was a
very special to our family.
I'm sure many people will remember him fondly who were involved in the All-Ohio State Fair Band. He gave his musical talents in
many untold ways. His faith carried him through to the end of life and left us an example of giving, loving and being all one can be.
Uncle Omar, I love you.
Sue McFarland from cleveland.com
Omar was a wonderful man, director, and leader. He certainly made my years at the Ohio State Fair fun and exciting.
Sande Haldiman, former Ohio State Fair staff member from cleveland.com
I was a French Hornplayer in the AOSFB from 1993-1995. Two of my other brothers were in the Band at the same time. I have
since spent four years in the Air Force and six years in the Air National Guard. I still find myself humming Armed Forces Salute to
One of my favorite memories of the the All-Ohio State Fair Band was one time when Omar got up on the podium to direct a concert
on the Rhodes Center Lawn. He raised his hands to start the first piece, but unbeknownst to him, the Band had a nother piece in
mind. I don't remember what piece we were supposed to play, but when Omar started to direct, there was a drum roll. He looked
down at his music with a look of "That is not right...." and then the Band proceeded to play the theme music of 20th Century Fox.
What I remember most was next - his smile of gratification. It had been a hot and rough day for him. The song wasn't very long, but
it sure made his day. He was so happy, honored, and proud (and I believe humbled) that the Band honored him for the moment.
The State Fair Band touches so many lives, and not just the players. That is what I learned that day.
French Horn 1993-1995
I am deeply saddened by our loss. Omar P. Blackman was one of the greatest influences on my life during my high school years and
my years performing in the AOSFB. Omar helped me to make one of the hardest decisions of my life and I have been forever grateful.
I thank Mrs. Blackman and his family for letting the AOSFB have him for all of the years he gave to us.
I have thought of the AOSFB many times over the years. The three years I spent in the Band were very rewarding. I felt it was a
great honor to represent my state at the Fair. I will always remember those nights in the Rhodes Center and the long rehearsals. I
learned a lot of discipline and felt I did a lot of "growing-up" while I was there. Thanks you Mr. Blackman.
Lenny M. Shank
Alto Sax 1975-1977
My heart goes out to Mrs. Blackman and all family and friend during this time of loss.
I greatly enjoyed my four years in the AOSFB and my time there would not have been the same without Omar P. Blackman's
presence. He was always such a joy to be around.
AOSFB 1993-1996 from cleveland.com
I loved this man dearly. He was a huge influence on my music. All the years at John Marshall, Boys' Band and on the staff. We had
great times, ones I will never forget or would give up for anything. Freon the week from hell to the two years of touring county fairs,
Cotton Bowl Parade, and the Dixie Band that I had the pleasure of starting and kept going for the years I was on staff. We had the
honor of playing Schmidt's October Fest on the fairgrounds - what a blast. FRee Bahama Mamas and the beer. The staff was a blast.
Omar would send us down to Root's Kitchen in the Rhodes Center at night to raid the fridge. We ate great and the stories are too
many to tell. He will be missed greatly by everyone he crossed paths with. I know I will.
We love you Omar, Oh yes we do!
Clarinet, sax, banjo
John Marshll High School
All-Ohio Boys' Band 1970-1972, Staff 1973-1977
To Mrs. "B" and Omar's whole family . . . as you already knew, there was a much bigger extended family of his. I was lucky enough
to have gone to JMH and AOBB under the direction of Omar. What a guy . . . what a life . . . what a legacy . . .and remembered
John Marshall High School
All-Ohio Boy's Band 1973-1974 from cleveland.com
More to come.......
Omar P. Blackman
AOSFB Staff - 1955-1998
Director of the All-Ohio State Fair Band - 1970-1998
It is with much sadness, that we announce the passing of Omar P. Blackman on
Thursday, June 8, 2006.
Mr. Blackman was Director of the All-Ohio State Fair Band from 1970 -1998 and
served on the staff beginning in 1955. It was under his leadership and dedication
that thousands of young Ohioans experienced the All-Ohio State Fair Band. The
Alumni Association passes along condolences to his wife Millie, who has dedicated
the last several years to his care.
Funeral services were held on Monday, June 12 and Mr. Blackman was laid to rest
at Sunset Memorial Park in North Olmsted, Ohio.
You may find the death notice from cleveland.com here.
The obituary article from the Plain Dealer may be found here.
The Omar P. Blackman Scholarship Fund has been established with the AOSFB
Alumni Association. Full information concerning the scholarship will be announced
during the 2006 Ohio State Fair.
Funds made payable to the AOSFB Alumni Association may be sent to:
Omar P. Blackman Scholarship Fund
AOSFB Alumni Association
8106 Parmenter Drive
Parma, OH 44129
Please share you memories of Omar P. Blackman by emailing
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, instrument and years you played
at the Ohio State Fair.