140 S Hamilton Rd
Gahanna, OH 43230

Gahanna Bands

Former and Retired Directors

Jeffrey D. Shellhammer (1985-2010)

Jeff Shellhammer

Jeffrey D. Shellhammer retired in June 2010 after 35 years as a high school band director in the state of Ohio. Mr. Shellhammer earned his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University in 1975, Master's in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in 1984, and served as a graduate assistant while enrolled in the DMA program at Florida State University during the 1984-85 school year. His early teaching positions included three years as the Berne Union High School band director and six years as the Director of Bands at Fremont Ross.

For 25 years, Jeff was the Director of Bands at Gahanna Lincoln High School, where he directed the Golden Lions Marching Band, the Freshman Band, Blue Band and Gold Bands and taught AP Music Theory. The three concert bands, in Class C, B and AA, earned a total of 57 superior ratings at OMEA adjudicated events. In December 1992, the Gahanna Lincoln Gold Band was one of five high school bands in the country selected to perform at the prestigious Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. Jeff was the recipient of the ASBDA-Stanbury Award for Ohio in the Senior High Division in 1983, and was named to the Edgewood (Ashtabula) High School Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Fremont Ross High School Music Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2006, he received the OMEA Outstanding Music Educator Award for the State of Ohio.

Jeff is currently an adjunct professor at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, where he directs the Symphonic Winds and teaches Conducting, level 4. In addition to his duties at Capital, Jeff serves as a guest conductor, remains active in OMEA as an adjudicator, is a member of the Heisey Wind Ensemble and serves as the Director of Music at Stonybrook United Methodist Church.

Charles (Chuck) Miller (Middle School West 1990-2002)

Chuck Miller

Charles "Chuck" Miller taught in the Gahanna-Jefferson School District from 1990 through 2002. He directed the band program at Middle School West and assisted with the Lincoln High School bands, where he was involved in writing drills for the marching band, ran sectionals with the French horns during concert band, and assisted with pep bands.

Before coming to Gahanna, Mr. Miller taught Jr. High Band in Tiffin, Ohio for 9 years, and was also Director of Bands in the Clyde-Green Springs School District for 7 years, where his bands received numerous "Superior" ratings at OMEA Adjudicated Events. While in Clyde, Chuck received the American School Band Director Association's "Stanbury Award" as outstanding young band director in the state of Ohio.

Soon after his retirement from public school teaching in 2002, he was hired by Capital University as an Adjunct Professor in Music Education, where he taught until his wife, Carol, retired in 2009. Currently, Mr. Miller remains active musically as the musical director for The Gahanna Community Theater's yearly musical production, and he continues to pursue his love of golf on area courses and travel with his wife.

Chuck and Carol are the proud parents of current Gahanna-Jefferson Schools band director Greg Miller, and former Olentangy School District art teacher, now stay at home mom, Jennifer Miller Stoycheff. They have three grandchildren.

Robert (Bob) F. Kessler (1955-1985)

Bob Kessler

In July of 1955, Robert Kessler was employed by the Gahanna Jefferson Board of Education to become the teacher of the instrumental music in grades five thru twelve. He also had the duties of the high school choir director. Bob earned his bachelor's degree from Capital University and his Master of Arts degree from The Ohio State University in 1959.

Mr. Kessler had been teaching in the Elm Valley Schools in Ashley, Ohio. Elm Valley was a very small school, graduating only twenty-five students per year, and Mr. Kessler wanted to be active in a much larger school like Gahanna. (In 1955 the Lincoln senior class numbered 56.)

Upon his arrival, Mr. Kessler found a band with less than basic instrumentation. (one flute player, twelve clarinets, sixteen alto saxophones, two tenor saxophones, ten trumpet s, six trombones, three baritones, three sousaphones, three bell lyre, and twelve drums.) Only three members of the band had ever had private instruction.

It required many hours to improve and expand the band program, but by the end of 1958, the band had grown to complete instrumentation, and more than fifty percent of the students were studying with private instructors. The band now had eighty-five members, and the marching band had become a highly recognized group at football games and parades. By 1960, the concert band began earning superior ratings at district band contests. In 1966 the Golden Lions Band performed at the Orange Bowl Parade and joined in the halftime festivities.

At the end of the 1969 football season, the band membership was so large (180 members), the band divided to form two concert bands. The Blue Band (90) and the Gold Band (90) continued to excel at district and state contests. In the meantime, two jazz bands had been formed to embellish a growing and flourishing "all around" band program at the high school.

During the development of the band program, Mr. Kessler had started a string program in the 1961 school year, so that by 1965, Gahanna Lincoln had its first orchestra of forty-eight players; thirty-two of which were string players. In 1967, the orchestra earned its first superior rating at State Contest; many more were to follow.

When Mr. Kessler retired at the end of the 1985 school year, there were more than 300 students participating in marching band, three concert bands, two jazz bands, and a symphonic orchestra.

James (Jim) E. Singer (Middle Schools West and East 1971-1986)

Jeff Shellhammer

Jim Singer graduated from The Ohio State University and began his first teaching job in Delaware, Ohio. In 1971, Mr. Singer moved to the Gahanna-Jefferson Schools to work as the Assistant High School Band Director. He also directed bands at Lincoln Junior High School (now Middle School West) and Middle School East. Mr. Singer and Bob Smith, a former Middle School West director, taught the elementary bands together. Jim currently works as the GLHS auditorium manager, taking the job after Harold Sauder retired in 1986.

Howard Drake (1943-1955)

During the summer of 1943, Howard Drake was employed to serve as "Band Director" in the Gahanna School System. During his tenure, the Gahanna Lincoln Band Boosters purchased the first "Military Style" band uniforms. They were "Blue and Gold" of course. Mr. Drake maintained the band program, but mostly concentrated his efforts into developing a fine choir at the high school. At the end of the 1955 school year, Howard resigned his position and joined the faculty of Columbus South High School as a history and civics teacher.

Albert Germanson (1942-1943)

Teachers (classroom and music) were suddenly in short supply. A professional violinist in the Columbus Orchestra, Al Germanson, was hired to fill the "big shoes" left by the departure of Mr. Smoke. Al was not too interested in marching band but only in "serious" music. A senior in the band, Eldon Hall, the first chair clarinetist in the band, was enlisted to assist Mr. Germanson in maintaining the band program. There were times when Eldon actually functioned as the band director (unpaid- of course). As a result of the demands of his professional duties, Mr. Germanson resigned his teaching position with the Gahanna School system at the end of the 1943 school year.

Delbert Smoke (1938-1942)

In the summer of 1938 the Gahanna Board of Education decided to start an instrumental music program in the school system. As a result the board hired Delbert Smoke to fill the position. Delbert immediately formed a nucleus of about thirty students to form the first Gahanna Lincoln High School Band. After that, Mr. Smoke worked tirelessly to see significant improvement and musical growth so that by the end of the 1940 school year, there were more than sixty students in the band. During the years he also formed a very popular "Dance Band." In the meantime World War II had begun. As a result Mr. Smoke answered "the call" and enlisted in the U.S. Navy accepting a commission as an Ensign.