Writing this book has been a labor of love for both Duane and Bob.  We have such an illustrious history in the growth of the band movement in Nebraska and we felt a need to preserve our history for future generations. It is important that we share it with the younger generation of Band Directors with the hope they will grow to respect our history and the future contributions they can make to enlarge on this great legacy.

Getting to this point has been a long process.  Materials were gleaned from the NMEA files, files of the Nebraska School Activities Association, minutes of NSBA Board minutes from the inception to the present, and Phil Fahrlander willingly agreed to create the cover.  A lot of time was spent in the library researching the early history of the band movement in the United States, and searching the internet for photos of early Nebraska Bands.  The biggest challenge has been to get Nebraska Band Directors to research the history of their own program.

There is still an opportunity for directors to include their school.   Dave Young has set up the web site to allow for updates at any time.  Just email Duane (Duane Johnson) and you can be included.  Director changes in schools will be updated at the beginning of each school year.  If your Band Program isn’t represented in the book, please let this be a priority.  Your number one resource is your old school annuals to find the succession of directors and highlights of the band program through the years.
Duane, as the writer, would like to thank Bob Maag for his contributions to the book.  Bob loved  researching our history and there could not be better person to work with.  It has been exciting for us that Dave Young would spend hours at the computer getting the history on the Web.   He has seen the value of preserving our history from the very beginning and it has been a “labor of love” on his part as well.

Where will we go from here?  This writer, in nearly 60 years since he first wielded a baton, has seen us move forward each and every year with new ideas presented by the many great Band Directors this state has produced.  Theirs is a lasting legacy but it should be a challenge to the newer generations of young directors to see that the legacy they leave behind is just as great.  I believe that the future of the Band Movement in Nebraska will be in good hands with the many fine young directors who are beginning to make an impact on the Band Movement in Nebraska.




Duane E. Johnson: Duane is a retired Nebraska music educator: He is a graduate of Hastings College and has a Master’s Degree from Chadron State College.  He is the recipient of two Honorary Doctor’s degrees (Hastings College and Vandercook College of Music).  His teaching career spanned 50 years; serving as Band Director at Doniphan, Crawford, Broken Bow, Sidney and 33 years at Hastings College.

Duane is a 1977 recipient of the Donald A Lentz “Outstanding Bandmaster Award;” was inducted into the Music Educators Hall of Fame in 1980; received the Outstanding Music Educators Award from the National Federation of Interscholastic Music Association in 1995; received a Distinguished Service Award from the Nebraska School Activities Association in 1995; was inducted into “Pro Rege” at Hastings College and numerous other awards. The Nebraska State Bandmasters Association renamed the “The Distinguished Service Award” to “The Duane E. Johnson Distinguished Service Award”.  Phi Beta Mu awarded him an Honorary Life Membership for his service to bands and music education in the state of Nebraska. The Nebraska Music Educators honored him with the purchase of a brick, noting his service to Music Education for 40 years on the NMEA Board, which has been entered in the National Association for Music Education “Walk of Fame”. He is a Past-President of Nebraska Music Educators Association and the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association.  He has served as a Clinician, Adjudicator and advisor to other music programs in several states.  He has had a Brass Choir at his church for 30 years and has served as a Choir Director for over 50 years.

Bob Maag: Bob is a retired Nebraska music educator.  He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Music Education.  Bob taught instrumental music at Waverly District #145 from 1958-1991 and elementary music in the Lincoln Public Schools from 1991-1995.  In 1983, as part of the community’s recognition of his 25th year at Waverly, the Bob Maag Dedication scholarship was established and has been awarded annually.

Bob was awarded the Donald A. Lentz “Outstanding Bandmaster Award” in 1988.  He has been an adjudicator at numerous marching and concert competitions; guest director of several honor bands in Nebraska and one in Pennsylvania.  He is a Charter/Lifetime member and Past-President of NSBA.  He is lifetime member and past All-State Band Chair of NMEA,


Phil Fahrlander: Phil is a retired Nebraska music educator.  He is a graduate of Peru State College and holds a Master’s Degree from Kearney State College. (Now UNK)   He was band director at Diller, North Loup-Scotia and Minden High School from 1968 until retiring in 1997. 

Phil was awarded the Don Lentz “Outstanding Bandmaster Award’ in 1997.  He is recipient of numerous other awards including the Cooper Foundation Award for excellence in teaching, Outstanding Educator Award from the Minden Jaycees and a Distinguished Service Award from NMEA.  He is a Past-President of NSBA and a past-chair of Band Affairs for NMEA.  He has designed covers for the NMEA Journal, covers and logos for NSBA and was author of “From the Fahr side: articles that appeared regularly in the NMEA Journal.


Sandra Smith: Sandra is the daughter of Duane E. Johnson.  She has a degree in English, Journalism and Spanish from Hastings College.  She is a published writer and teaches at the Sylvan Center in Kearney. 



Marilyn Johnson: Marilyn is the wife of Duane E. Johnson.  She served for many years as a church secretary and has done periodic proofing for the Hastings College Music Dept., for Duane personally, published the church newsletter while a church secretary andfor NMEA and NSBA while Duane was president.


This book was written as an NSBA project. It was proposed by an earlier Executive Board but final approval was a result of action by the 2005-2006 officers. They are as foillows:

President: Dick Marolf
Immediate Past President: Cathy Keiser
President-Elect: Jim Schulz
Secretary: Sarah Boeka
Treasurer: Joann Couton
Middle School Chair: Chris Johnson
Membership Chairman: Jeff Mount
Public Relations Chair: Carola Winkle
Exhibits Chair: Marilyn Godby
Awards Chair: Larry Rathbun
Marching Chair: Byron Braasch
Concert Band Chair: Michelle Bluford
Webmaster: David Young

A word of special thanks to everyone who contributed to this book!

Thanks to NSAA for the use of their Archives.


Nebraska State Bandmasters Association
NSBA Archives