Mason makes new marching band director official

A new leader for Mason High School’s nationally lauded marching band has been officially hired.

Johnnie Green of Lehman High School in Texas will take over the Marching Comets next school year.o

Green, who will earn an annual salary of $65,781, is the second candidate to be offered the job.

The Journal-News reported Monday that the district’s first choice had backed out of the position.

FIRST REPORT: New director backs out of Mason High School marching band job

Mason school officials hired Grove City High School Assistant Band Director Greg Benson in March, but he recently informed Mason officials in a short letter that he no longer wants the position.

Benson did not provide a reason.

The Mason Board of Education approved Green’s hiring during its Tuesday meeting.

“Johnnie B. Green is the right choice to lead Mason’s renowned Marching Band program. He has a wealth of experience in the marching band world, and his excitement for the pageantry of marching band is only matched by his dedication to students. He is warm, caring, and enthusiastic, and we could tell immediately that Mr. Green is someone who will truly care about our kids and make them the center of every decision,” said Mason High School Principal Dave Hyatt.

Green inherits one of the nation’s most famous prep marching bands.

The Marching Comets are consistent regional and national award winners in various band competitions and in 2016 it was one of only 20 high school bands nationwide invited to perform before an international TV audience of millions during the Rose Parade.

In a released statement, Green said he is thrilled to join the Mason Band family.

“The tradition of excellence here seeps through everything that Mason does. This program has incredible momentum, and I’m really excited to chart the next chapter together. I can’t wait to meet all the members of the Mason Band family. I have always believed that we are teaching life skills through music — team building and leadership for all kids, because they will all be leaders in the world,” said Green, who currently serves as associate director of bands, and color guard director at Lehman High School in Kyle, Texas.

Green currently serves as Associate Director of Bands, and Color Guard Director at Lehman.

As part of the Lehman team, Green experienced immediate success earning Superior ratings in both concert and marching band, and establishing the Lehman Color Guard as a Texas Color Guard Circuit State Championship Medalist in 2011, Scholastic Regional A State Champion in 2012, Scholastic A State Finalist in 2014, and WGI Regional Finalist in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017.

Most recently, the Lehman Varsity Winter Guard is the 2017 National A State Championship Bronze Medalist, and the Lehman JV Winter Guard is the 2017 Novice Class Bronze Medalist.

In 2012 Green received the UIL Sponsor of Excellence award from Hays CISD, and was nominated for the State UIL Award. Green is also a Quarterfinalist for the 2015 Grammy in Music Education award. And under Green’s direction, the Lehman Wind Symphony was recently named a “Commended Winner” in the Foundation for Music Education’s Citation of Excellence contest for non-varsity bands.

Mason school officials said in statment that the Warren County district stepped back and re-evaluated the scope of the program and shifted the search focus to find just the right fit for marching band and its concert bands.

For the first time the 10,000-student school system will have separate directors for the marching band and concert bands.

“We believe we have a terrific marching band fit with Mr. Green, and we will be announcing additional leadership for the high school concert band program to complement the existing educator team in the future,” said Mason Schools Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline.

She said details on the director of concert bands position are still being finalized.

MORE: Jail, probation for Mason High School’s former band director

Mason High School’s former band leader Robert Bass was sentenced in December to six months in the Greene County Jail and five years of probation after pleading guilty to sexual battery charges against a 17-year-old female band student at Fairborn High School in 1996.

Bass resigned from the high school in 2016 after Fairborn Police began their investigation into allegations against the musical director, who had been with the Warren County school for 18 years.

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