Harry Eben Grant Jr.

   Born into a musical family, Harry was the son of Harry Grant Sr.,  director at Bradenton High School in the 1920s-1940's and who help found the Florida Music Festival. Harry Jr, was a trombone player and graduate of his father's program in the 1930's and followed in his father’s footsteps into the field of Music and Music Education. After college, Harry Grant Jr performed nationally with the likes of Duke Ellington, Jack Teagarden, and the Ringling Bros. Circus Band. His first teaching position was at Lake Wales High School in 1937.  He taught at Mulberry Consolidated School in the mid 1940's before moving on to Moore Haven High School in the 1950's and taught in Live Oak in the early 1960's.

 

   Mr. Grant took Over the Band Program at Ocala High School in 1965 and remained until 1970. During his time, there were many changes happening, both in Ocala and for the band program. Mr. Grant took over after a brief period of membership decline and was able to slowly get the band program numbers back up from around 30 to around 70 members. He also added new components to the program such as a drill team and Majorette Corps as well as a Rock Music Club and the beginnings of a Jazz/Stage Band Program, diversifying the program beyond just the standard Drill Band and Concert Band format of the time. This was also at a time where integration was beginning to happen in Ocala Schools and Mr. Grant was a vital part of creating a new identity for the program that combined elements of Ocala High School Band along with those of the Howard High School music programs. In 1969, while Vanguard High School was under construction, Ocala High School hosted split sessions of classes for students of both schools until construction of Vanguard was completed. Mr. Grant ran both the Ocala High School Program and, what would eventually become the following year, the Vanguard High School Band .

   He left Ocala in 1970 and began teaching in Fort Pierce at Westwood Jr High. In 1977, he received the FBA Outstanding Bandmaster Award (now known as the Oliver Hobbs Award). He retired from teaching in 1978. Harry Grant Jr. was later inducted into the Florida Bandmasters Association's Hall of Fame for his long career of outstanding teaching and dedication to Florida Bands. The Middle School Concert Band Superior Award is named in his honor. He passed away in 1990.