The Whitko Band Program works to maintain musical excellence through a wide variety of performance opportunities. All students are challenged to hold themselves to high standards in both music and character. We strive to be one of the best small-school band programs in the Northeast Indiana region.
About The Director
The Director of Bands at Whitko Community School Corporation is John VanPatten. He is a 2003 graduate of Northrop High School in Fort Wayne. He studied Music Education at Ball State University, graduating in 2008. As a trumpet student, John was active in many different performing ensembles. He was the principal trumpet of the Wind Ensemble, lead trumpet in the Jazz Lab Ensemble, a section leader and featured soloist with the "Pride of Mid-America" marching band, a member of the Ball State Symphony Orchestra, and a member of many other small ensembles. In 2010 he earned his Masters of Music Education at the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, IL.
From 2008 to 2013 he was the Director of Bands for the Union Township School Corporation, teaching 6th - 12th grade band at Wheeler High School and Union Township Middle School. There he built the program into a competitive, well-rounded group. The concert bands at the high school and middle school level consistently earned gold ratings, as did the high school jazz band. The marching band competed at the festival level and earned gold ratings there as well, after having never competed in the band's history. His wife, Kelly VanPatten, also created a color guard to compliment the marching band. This group also went on to perform at a very high level.
In 2013 he had the privilege of returning to his alma mater to be the Director of Bands and Orchestras at Northrop High School in Fort Wayne, IN. During his time as director the concert band program expanded from one and a half groups routinely performing together to three full size concert bands performing separately. The string orchestra grew from 22 to 45. Both programs consistently earned gold ratings at ISSMA contests, the top concert band regularly earning near perfect scores. The marching band numbers swelled as well, topping out at over 100, and routinely earned gold ratings at ISSMA events, qualifying for semi-state, and received high praise from world-renowned adjudicators. He also led the jazz program at various local jazz festivals, helped the show choir backup band "Intrigue" earn awards at several state and regional contests, and regularly assisted students with solos, ensembles, and honor group and college auditions.
Mr. VanPatten is in his fourth year as Director of Bands at Whitko. During this time the Marching Pride was proud to qualify for the ISSMA Open Class D State Finals. The program also includes a jazz band, concert band, pep band, musical pit, and other small ensemble performance opportunities, in addition to beginning and advanced middle school concert bands. Currently Mr. VanPatten lives in Fort Wayne, IN with his wife Kelly and their daughter Parker.
- Numerous Gold Ratings at ISSMA Solo/Ensemble, State Solo/Ensemble, Jazz Festival, JME Contest, and High School Organizational Contests.
- ISSMA All-Music Award Recipient 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2021
- Whitko Middle School ISSMA All-Music Award Recipient 2017
- ISSMA Scholastic B State Finalist 2013, 2014
- ISSMA Scholastic B State Runner-Up 2014
- ISSMA Open Class D Semi-State Finalist 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
- 2017 ISSMA Open Class D State Finalist