Once upon a time, Harry L. Dinkle, the fictional band director at Westview High School, led his students onto the field for halftime performances at Westview Scapegoats football games.
The self-proclaimed “World’s Greatest Band Director,” Dinkle was an early character in Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean comic strip. In 2012, the strip celebrated 40 years with the publication of The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 1.
In other strips, Dinkle takes his band to the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in New York City, and lends his name to a particular type of band candy as well as some band directors’ shoes. Those cartoons are included in the next installment of the series, The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 2.
In 2012, the Ohio Music Education Association presented Akron native Batiuk, with the Honorary Service Award for Meritorious Contributions to Music Education. The award, presented during the OMEA state conference, includes an image of Harry Dinkle.
Batiuk said he is very fond of Harry, who he describes as one of his first “breakout characters. Working on the second volume involves providing some background for the characters, so I have been thinking about Harry a lot,” he said.
“Harry is singularly focused on his music program, the marching band in particular, because he believes it is so important in students’ lives,” Batiuk explains.
A fan of music educators, Batiuk creates comic strips for members of the National Association of Music Education (NAfME). They feature Halle Dinkle, Harry’s daughter, who carries on the family business as a general music teacher.
Just in time for fall, here is the latest Halle strip:
Roz Fehr, NAfME Managing Editor for News, August 30, 2013. © National Association for Music Education