Forest High School Band Program
Muriel Ward Fielding was born in Ocala on May 2, 1930. He graduated from Ocala High School in 1948, having been in the band as a trumpet player under Leland "Pop" Armstrong. He served in the Air Force during the Korean War. He also played in the Air Force Band where he was a principal trumpet player. After his honorable discharge from the Air Force, LTC Fielding joined the Army and earned both his bachelor’s degree in Music Education and master’s degree in Education Administration from Florida State University. At FSU, he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, the Phi Delta Kappa honor society, and the Phi Mu Alpha honor society. He was first trumpet in the FSU Marching Chiefs. LTC Fielding completed post-graduate work at University of Florida, Auburn University, and Emory University.
LTC Fielding served as a teacher & public-school administrator at several schools in Georgia and Florida. He was, first, the band director at Chamblee High School in Georgia before moving into an administrative position at Madras Junior High School . He served as an assistant principal at Cedar Key School, Bell High School, and North Marion High School in Florida before becoming the principal at Fort McCoy School and later North Marion High School. In 1969, LTC Fielding stepped down as principal, expressing a desire to return to the classroom. He took over as the band director at Osceola Jr. High. In 1971, he traded places with Mr. Maglio to become the director at Forest High School. With the help of Ms. Joann Brooks, who had been asked by Mr. Bishop to help out with the band that summer, the program was able to grow rapidly in membership. That summer, Ms. Brooks made over 70 home visits to students with previous band experience in order to recruit students for the coming school year. They started that school year off with 60 band students (up from 12 the previous year). Under Mr. Fielding's direction, the marching band was reinstated after over a year's absence. They attended the UF Homecoming Parade for the first time as Forest High School that same year. Mr. Fielding was only at Forest for a year, stepping down at the end of the school year for health reasons.
LTC Fielding was also a graduate from the Army Military Police School and the Army Command & General Staff College after his time at FSU. He then served as Assistant Director of Instruction at the Infantry Training Center in Fort Benning, Georgia. He was also past Commanding Officer of the 351st Military Police Unit in Ocala. LTC Fielding was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service and the Distinguished Service Medal. LTC Fielding retired from his military career on May 2, 1990. Mr. Fielding passed away on June 30, 2018, at the age of 88.