Jamaal Nicholas- Jamaal.Nicholas@ocps.net
*(Band Director 2014-Present)
Rufus Redding- firstname.lastname@example.org
*(Band Director 1990-2013)
FOUNDER & DIRECTOR
James “Chief” Wilson- email@example.com
*(Band Director 1950-1990)
It’s half-time, and no matter what the score of the football game is, the REAL show is about to begin. Whether the game is home or away, the crowd is always “blown out of the stands” by one of the most exciting marching bands in America! With a mix of today’s popular tunes and the sleekest moves, the band always challenges their competition.
The band was started by James Weldon Wilson in 1950, who would remain director until his retirement in 1990. Wilson was born in Sanford, Florida , and is a graduate of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. On his first day teaching at Jones, the school principal told him that the school was to form a band and he was to be the band director. Wilson started the program with no uniforms and no instruments. Slowly instruments, money, donations, and community support were beginning to pour in from all over Central Florida. Within a few months he would have the basic instruments needed to start up a band. Stores, churches, parents, and anonymous Whites donated in any way they could to the program throughout segregation and into integration.
The first band uniforms were from the old Orlando High School. Parents and teachers joined together and changed the OHS colors of orange and white to the Jones orange and green. On Armistice Day, November 11th, on two months since its creation, Jones participated in their first parade. Transportation was a major problem for black students in segregated Orlando. In a joint effort with the “Quarter-Back Club”, the school’s football boosters, Wilson made a deal. The football team had a bus to help bring students from all parts of Orange County, Wilson committed to driving the bus as long as he can transport his band students as well.
The band performed in the 1964 New York World’s Fair and two United States Bicentennial celebrations. As integration of the schools began, the Jones band broke boundaries by performing in notably segregated communities to be received with respect. Despite the integration, money was still the major problem for the school and the extracurricular programs. The band struggled in purchasing new instruments and uniforms. The practice room itself wasn’t even air conditioned until the 1980’s. Through intense discipline, dedication, and organization, the “Marching Tiger Band” would build upon the school’s strongest and most renown organization.
Today the band is under the direction of FAMU Graduate Jamaal Nicholas, who helps endure the tradition of success and discipline, as well as entertainment. The band still travels around the state and country continuing to make crowds swoon. Today the band still receives much acclaim and community support, especially from it’s “deep-rooted” alumni.