Before Jon Waters led to the Ohio State University Marching Band, there was Jon Woods. And before Woods, there was Doctor Paul Droste.
Dr. Droste says he was absolutely floored when he learned Jon Waters was fired as band director. He says the school “absolutely” made a mistake in firing the 38-year-old just over a week ago.
Dr. Droste led the band during one of the biggest cultural changes it has ever experienced: the year the band went from all males to one that allowed women to play in the band.
“That was a radical change in the band culture think of the boy’s locker room and now there are girls in it,” he says.
At the age of 34, Droste remains the youngest person to lead the OSU Marching Band.
He says after reading the university's investigation into the firing of 38-year-old Jon Waters, he tells 10TV he was amazed at the conclusion.
“I think Jon had tried in every way to improve the culture of the band - which has some rough edges to it,” Droste explains. “We admit that, but he has worked awfully hard to do that. That's what I can't understand; the findings and the firing of somebody who is giving an honest effort to do the best he can with the band.”
Dr. Droste admits that trying to police more than 200 band students isn't easy. “He needs training, the band needs training (and) monitoring. If the university wants to monitor the trips and monitor the rehearsals, visibly Waters would probably say, ‘whoopee, thank you very much!’”
Droste strongly believes Waters is the one to lead the band. “I think under the right conditions, Jon Waters should come back", he says.
Dr. Droste says when he was director, band members were not given nicknames and he had no idea a raunchy song book existed until he saw the university's investigation.
He tells 10TV he was horrified it existed and called it gross.
The university’s investigation cited nicknames and the song book as examples of what it called a sexualized culture in the band.