Ola High School Band is a comprehensive music education program dedicated to the development and maturation of its student musicians. The band program offers multiple ensembles that foster students’ musical growth throughout the traditional school day, such as Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Green & Gold Band, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble I, and Percussion Ensemble II. In addition, many students participate in extracurricular activities that go above and beyond the regular school curriculum, including the Ola Marching Band and Colorguard and the JV and Varsity Winter Guard.
In the fourteen years that Ola High School has been open, the Ola High School Band has established a tradition of excellence and school pride. Participating in concerts, music festivals, honor band clinic, chamber concerts, marching competitions, parades, and football games, the Ola High School bands are recognized in the community and around the state for their superior performances. The marching and concert ensembles consistently earn high marks at Georgia Music Educator Association events, as well as Bands of America regional performances.
Todd Manson, Director of Bands
The 2019-2020 school year is Todd Manson’s fourteenth year as the Director of Bands at ola High School in Henry County, Georgia, where he serves as the Fine Arts Department Chair. Originally born in Charlotte, Florida, Mr. Manson holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Troy University (2001), and a Master’s in Music Education from the University of Georgia (2007).
Before serving as Ola High School’s inaugural band director, Mr. Manson spent five years at Jonesboro High School in Clayton County, Georgia, with two years as the Assistant Director of Bands and three years as the Director of Bands and Fine Arts Department Chair.
Under Mr. Manson’s direction, the Ola High School Bands have continually earned top honors at concert, marching, and GMEA-sanctioned events. The Ola High School Marching Band has been honored as regional and class champions at multiple Bands of America events. The Ola Marching Band has had the privilege of performing at the Magic Music Days Parade in Orlando, Florida (2008) and the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (2010). The Marching Mustangs had the great honor of marching in the 2012 Lord Mayor’s New Year’s Day Parade in London, England. In 2015, the Marching Mustangs traveled to Hawaii for the 74th annual commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor, with performances at the USS Missouri, USS Arizona, and the Waikiki Holiday Parade. Most recently, the Marching Band traveled to Hollywood, California to participate in the 2017 Hollywood Christmas Parade.
On the concert stage, the Ola High School Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Symphony consistently earn superior ratings at Large Group Performance Evaluations. The Wind Symphony has had invitational performances at the Georgia State Capitol (2009), Kennesaw State University’s Concert Band Invitational (2014), the 66th annual University of Georgia’s Janfest (2016), the 32nd annual University of Alabama Honor Band Clinic (2017), and most recently the 46th annual Southeastern United States Band Clinic at Troy University (2018).
Mr. Manson has professional affiliations with MENC, NBA, Percussive Arts Society, and GMEA. He resides in McDonough, Georgia with his wife, Deborah, and his children, Ethan and Avery.
Jaime McDonald, Assistant Director of Bands
Originally born in mission Viejo, California, Mr. McDonald moves to Hickory, North Carolina at a young age. In North Carolina, Mr. McDonald became interested in songwriting, music production, and music education. Mr. McDonald currently holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a concentration in Commercial & Electronic Music from Western Carolina University (2016).
While at Western Carolina University, Mr. McDonald worked with the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, serving as their visual coordinator for two years and received the Bandsmen of the Year award in his final year on their instructional staff. During this time, he traveled with the group to Bands of America regionals and national championships, as well as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Mr. McDonald is an active member of the Drum Corps International performance activity. Performing for a total of four summers, Mr. McDonald toured the country and competed with two world-class organizations: Spirit of Atlanta (12’-13’) and Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps (14’-15’).
Currently, Mr. McDonald is in his third year as the Assistant Director of Bands at Ola High School, and is serving his fourth summer on brass staff with the Boston Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps. Mr. McDonald is an active member in NAFME, GMEA, and is a proud alumnus of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
Mason Barnes, Director of Color Guards
Mason began his involvement within the marching arts world as a trumpet player at Northwest Rankin High School in his hometown of Flowood, Mississippi. He later went on to become the drum major at both the high school and collegiate level at Hinds Community College where he pursued an Associate Degree in the Arts.
In 2011 he entered the pageantry arts world with Music City Drum Corps out of Nashville and later with the Madison Scouts Drum Corps from Madison, Wisconsin until his age out in 2015. Along with his accomplishments within the Drum Corps International Competitive field Mason has had the opportunity to preform in the Winter Guard International circuit beginning with the Birmingham based organization Amor Winter Guard. He then went on to preform with Paramount World Winter Guard(Atlanta, GA) in 2014, 2015, and 2017.
During and after his marching career Mason has had the opportunity to design, choreograph, and tech with a number of color guard programs. After moving to Atlanta in 2014 Mason worked with the Kennesaw Mountain High School Color Guard before beginning his time with Ola High School where he is the current director. While working at Ola Mason has also choreographed and been a technician for the Mumford High School Color Guard, Music City Drum Corps, Ola Winds, Mill Creek High School, Troopers Drum Corps, and most recently Paramount Open Winter Guard.
Mason currently resides in Atlanta where he enjoys walks with his dog and exploring new places in the city.
Travis Chiles, Visual & Graphic Design
Travis Chiles is a native of South Carolina, and received his BA in Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina. His involvement in the performing arts began at the age of 10 and continues through college where he founded Project Dance, a student led dance company and charitable organization.
While pursuing his degree, he spent his summers performing with the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps where he later returned to teach. He is excited to be returning for his second summer as choreographer and visual designer/merchandiser for The Academy. Chiles has also performed with Etude and Paramount World Winter Guards.
Travis currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia where he choreographs for and instructs several pageantry programs including Ola HS, Hoover HS, and Paramount Winter Guards. In addition to instructing, he designs flags and other graphics for programs across the country. Any remaining free time he has is devoted as a barista, teaching dance, and enjoying life with his three roommates and their pets!