Who is the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band?
Welcome to the home of the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band. The band was founded in 1969 by William Stiehl, a graduate of Miami University, band director, and Coordinator of Music, Art, and Physical Education for the Middletown City School District.
The Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band traces its roots all the way back to the Middletown Armco Steel Band, which became a household name in the 1930's by playing every Sunday evening on NBC and WLW radio.
During its rebirth in the late 1960's, the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band was associated with Miami University’s Middletown Campus and later was sponsored by various area businesses. The band grew so popular, the Ohio Senate passed a special resolution commending the cooperation between supporting businesses and the performing arts.
In 1983, after 15 years as Director, Bill Stiehl stepped down and Chris Brandenburg took over leadership of the band. Chris is a graduate of Ohio University and the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and was a band director and District Music Coordinator with Lakota Local Schools. Chris led the band for the next 35 years, steadily growing the membership to the 90 or so musicians who now take the stage at every concert. In 2008, the SOSB was a featured community band playing at the Ohio Music Educator's Association's conference in Cincinnati.
At that concert, the band debuted "Slidin' Stiehl," a raucous circus march composed by Dave Shaffer in tribute to our founding Director. In April of 2018, the band celebrated another first by joining the Fillmore Community Band and the Lakota East Symphonic Winds for a joint concert at Cincinnati Music Hall. And in May of 2019, the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band celebrated its Golden Anniversary with a concert that included the world premiere of "Between Two Rivers," composed by Paul Stanberry in honor of Chris Brandenburg and the band.
Today, the band is part of Miami University's Institute for Learning in Retirement, but is a self-supporting fine arts organization funded by patron donations and sponsors. In 2019, after 35 years, Chris Brandenburg stepped down as Director of the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band and was succeeded by Danny Maddox Nichols. Dan, a former Fairfield City Schools administrator and a graduate of Miami University, had been the Associate Conductor of the SOSB prior to assuming the Director position.
In March of 2020, Chris Brandenburg and Bill Stiehl were designated as Director Emeriti of the band. Two original members of the 1969 founding season who still play with the band, Sam Ashworth (trombone) and Earl Jones (trumpet), were also designated as Emeriti players.
The SOSB continues it's second half century still going strong, a true “community band” with members from all over the tri-state area. Musicians volunteer their time and talent and include professionals, amateurs, and students. A number of professional musicians who began as student members years ago still play with the band today. We welcome support from all those who value the arts in our local community.
Bill Steihl, Director of the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band
Chris Brandenburg, Director of the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band
Danny Maddox Nichols, Current Director of the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band
The Armco Steel Band
Director of the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band