Onsby Rose’s musical journey took him from boot camp to band camp

11:00 am | November 26, 2013

Hampton High School Band Director Onsby Rose is pictured above with some of the trophies his band has captured.

Since Onsby Rose came marching in as Hampton High School’s band director a year ago, his military background has become a beacon of discipline and dedication to inspire young musicians at those schools.

In the beginning, he said he had nine students enrolled in the concert band and now there are 28.

“I don’t think it has been anything necessarily that I did, other than the kids can see that I care about them,” Rose said about the success of the program so far under his command.

He pointed out that he was the fourth band instructor the students had met that semester.

“By the time I got here, they were just tired of seeing different people,” Rose said. “When band camp came around this year and they saw me show back up, that in itself was a motivator.”

Many of the lessons Rose learned through the Marine Corps when he joined in 1997 can be applied to his music program, he said.

“The discipline level that I expect of them I think is much higher than someone that had not been in the military,” Rose said. “I have high expectations because that’s what I’m used to. They have adhered to that very well.”

Although he thinks he may have unintentionally intimidated some of the students with his military background, students are beginning to embrace him and his expectations.

“There’s a certain persona that comes along with the military I guess,” Rose said. “I think I kind of surprised them because I’m not exactly what they would have expected.

In the Marine Corps, I guess you could say a motto of ours is, ‘Work hard, play hard.’ ”
The best way to run a band classroom, Rose said, is to balance the amount of fun they have with the amount of hard work they put in.

“I teach the entire band program here,” Rose said. “I teach half of the day at the elementary school and I teach a half day here at the high school.”

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