From cadet band to head director: Dane Romano


Jett Birsner

Santa Fe Welcomes New Band Director

Luke Roberson, Staff Writer

While the announcement of Sarah Neely’s career change shocked many, none were as shocked as Dane Romano, her replacement. Mr. Romano is a Santa Fe alumni who, up until recently, was the head director for Putnam City North. Mr. Romano is the paradigm of the band experience. From getting randomly assigned percussion in 5th grade to becoming the head director at Santa Fe, he is a true example of what being a part of band can do for you. In his freshman year of high school, Mr. Romano got into Cadet band, which is a correctional band for those who failed their auditions. He says this was his wake-up call, and that getting into the Cadet band was crucial to his journey to Head Director.

Romano started his band career as a percussionist in junior high. He was excited to join band because he had friends in the program. He was assigned percussion in 5th grade because back then, your instrument was decided by playing tests and was not nearly as much of a choice as it is now.

Romano was friends with Ms. Neely in high school and through college. She was the reason he got his first job in directing. He was a front ensemble instructor at Putnam City North, where he helped the students who played the marimbas, keyboards, and other large percussion instruments.

Mr. Romano and Ms. Neely both attended Oklahoma City University. He has many fond memories of directors he liked, classes he enjoyed and his friends in band. It was also where he found his favorite instrument, the marimba.

“I just got into the practice room and started to never leave.” Mr. Romano said. “I could do it for 8 hours a day.”

Romano says he is great friends with the Santa Fe staff. Mr. Romano met Mr. Djonorh, Santa Fe’s brass specialist, in college. Tony Romano, the drumline instructor, visited Dane Romano when he was an instructor at PC North, and Mr. Heitz taught Mr. Romano when he was a student at Santa Fe. Being friends with the Santa Fe staff was a very important part of his decision to become the head director of Santa Fe.

“I was happy where I was, but this is probably the only place I would have left my job for.” Mr. Romano said.

Mr. Romano has a very accomplished directing career. PC North has done very well under his leadership and the Santa Fe band staff said that this was important in the decision to pick him as Ms. Neely’s replacement.