by Frank L. Battisti and R. Bruce Musgrave


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The Best We Can Be: A History of the Ithaca High School Band 1955-67

This inspiring story provides an extraordinary model for band programs of today and tomorrow explaining how the most creative high school band program in America’s history evolved and functioned daily, with glimpses of individuals involved including Frederick Fennell, Norman Dello Joio, Vincent Persichetti, William D. Revelli, Warren Benson, Richard Franko Goldman, Donald Sinta, Harvey Phillips, “Doc” Severinsen and Benny Goodman.

“…the ultimate lesson in the importance of building a program uniquely tailored to the context of a particular school and its community… may well be the key to ensuring that instrumental music education thrives in the future.”

Gary W. Hill, Director of Bands, Arizona State University

“I urge you to read Frank Battisti’s newest publication as it will serve as a “template for success” with school band programs!”

Edward S. Lisk, Clinician, Conductor, Author, Oswego, NY

“…a model to show what might be possible in our current times. Frank Battisti’s “can do” attitude is an inspiration to band directors. … a shining example to those teachers who see only limitations.”

William Berz, Director of Bands, Rutgers University

“On the surface, The Best We Can Be reads as an inspiring encomium to the Ithaca High School Band and its conductor, Frank Battisti.  Beneath its comely exterior, however, lies a deeper story of remarkable achievements likely unparalleled in the history of public school bands.”

Larry J. Livingston, Dean, University of Southern California Flora L. Thornton School of Music

“This book is a pleasure to read, and the many photos are a real delight. After reading the book, one is tempted to rise up and say, “Yes we can!”

Stephen Peterson, Conductor, Ithaca College Wind Ensemble

“This is a special book you will want to read, reread…and then read again…it is a blueprint-for-success written with a mission-driven passion and branded with the trademark signature of FRANK BATTISTI – a professional legend.”

Tim Lautzenheiser, President Attitude Concepts for Today, Inc.

“If you teach music of any kind, you will do yourself and your students a great service by reading this inspiring story.  Frank Battisti shows us that child-centered learning is caring enough to share with them the highest qualities of the art.”

Mark Fonder, Professor, Ithaca College Music Education; Conductor, Ithaca College Concert Band; Editor, Journal of Historical Research in Music Education

“This is a history of what music education in the schools should be – inspiring, uplifting, and a tribute to those who lived it.   After reading it, I wanted to cheer and start my career all over again. It reads like an exciting ‘page turner.’”

H. Robert Reynolds, Director Emeritus of Bands, University of Michigan

“…a remarkable narrative about a remarkable journey for hundreds of students guided by a remarkable teacher and musician, Frank Battisti.”

Craig Kirchhoff, Director of Bands, University of Minnesota

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