Dobyns-Bennett High School Band

The Dobyns-Bennett High School Band is one of the premier high school bands in Tennessee.

Professor S.T. "Fess" Witt, first band director at DBHS.
Professor S.T. "Fess" Witt, first band director at DBHS.

The band has also been received national recognition and has participated in the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, just to name a few. The Dobyns-Bennett High School Band has an established tradition of musical excellence  and achievement that has been fostered for over eighty years.

In 1926, Professor S.T. “Fess” Witt came to Kingsport from Norton, Va to organize Dobyns-Bennett’s first school band.

Article from the Times-News from August 3, 1926 inviting high school boys and grirls interested in the band to attend a meeting.
Article from the August 3, 1926 Times-News inviting high school boys and girls interested in the band to attend a meeting.

The first band, comprised of 45 students, consisted of 10 cornets, 12 clarinets, five trombones, two alto horns, six saxophones, three basses, two baritones, two drums, two fifes and one piccolo. Student participation in the band has certainly grown over the years with estimations that band members comprise more than 25% of the school’s population!

1927 band-1
The 1927 Band

The Dobyns-Bennett High School Band participates in athletic events, particularly football games, but the band is also active in community parades, concerts and competition. For many years the band had a tradition of parading through the streets of downtown Kingsport before football games to excite residents for the “big game.”

The band marching down Broad Street, c. 1938
The band marching down Broad Street, c. 1938

During World War II, the band would gather to send off Kingsport Servicemen as they left for service. The band would also participate in a parade to honor the school’s graduates every spring.

Dobyns-Bennett High School Band, 1941
Dobyns-Bennett High School Band, 1941

Professor Witt served as director of the band until 1952. During his tenure at Dobyns-Bennett, Professor Witt laid the foundation for the excellence that the band program has since achieved.For many years the students at Dobyns-Bennett High School honored Professor Witt with “Fess” Witt Day.

1940-1941 DBHS Band
1940-1941 DBHS Band
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One thought on “Dobyns-Bennett High School Band

  1. This is a cool article. I have seen the DBHS band in both the Tournament of Roses and Macy’s parades. They are allways one of the larger and best bands.

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