Initiated by the “Swing Band” originator George Bird back in the Spring of 1941, band members that successfully completed three full years of participation and remained in good-standing with the program were awarded a “3-Star” ring upon graduation. It is not known or now remembered if the band mothers club gave him his ring or if Mr. Bird “awarded” himself a 3-Star ring, but he did indeed proudly wear one about for years.
The fact that Mr. Bird had a ring was brought to the attention of this past year’s band boosters club officers who decided it was time to re-establish this tradition and extend it to the assistant directors as well.
So as part of the “virtual” Four Star Awards ceremony this past May, long time Tiger Swing Band director Jason Neel and band associates Chris Nussbaum and Jim Unferdorfer were presented rings a sign of appreciation by the band community for their long-term dedication to keeping the traditions of the Massillon Tiger Swing Band.
Also noted was current assistant Jenn Reuckert Smithheisler (’99), who already has a ring by being a band alumnus, set a tenure record of serving the band for 17 years, the longest of any WHS graduate.