Dr. White built the bands foundation with a simple motto: “Strive for artistic excellence in marching, playing, scholarship and character”
William Marion Raines High School Band was established in the fall of 1964 at what was then Northwestern Junior/Senior High School. In January of 1965 School Number 165 opened at 3663 Clarkson Avenue. Dr. Julian E. White transferred from Northwestern High School along with the high school aged students of Northwestern and created the band program at Raines. White was the band director at Northwestern Junior/Senior High from 1963 to 1965. Raised and educated in Jacksonville, White graduated from Stanton High School in 1959. He earned his Bachelors degree in music education from Florida A & M University (FAMU), his Masters degree from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. from Florida State University.
With lyrical help from the French classes of 1965, Dr. White arranged the schools Alma Mater and the fight song “Pride of Raines”. The year of 1965 saw the band participating in the district competition and receiving its first superior ratings. As early as 1970 the band program had 250 students enrolled in band classes and the marching band marched 170 members. White was assisted by Mr. Kenneth Tolbert and Ms. G. Styles who instructed the majorettes. Later Mr. Freddie McClain Jr. served as the director’s assistant and Ms. Evelyn Hopkins became the majorette instructor. In 1971 Dr. Milton Threadcraft created the Vikette squad and served as its coordinator. The flag squad was also added during this period. During the early years of the instrumental music program, there was a marching, concert, symphonic, and jazz band. Raines also had an orchestra which was lead by Mr. Henderson until 1986.
During Dr. White’s tenure the band program performed at numerous prestigious events all over the country including the 1973 Mexican Invitational Band Festival in Mexico City, Mexico.
In June of 1973, Dr. White resigned as our director and accepted an Associate Director position at FAMU. Dr. White also served FAMU as a professor of music and later as Chairmen of the Music Department and Director of Bands until his retirement in 2012. In May of 2012, the Duval County Public School System named the school's fine arts wing "The Dr. Julian E. White Visual & Performing Arts Wing".
Following Dr. White, Samuel McCreary took the bands leadership as director from 1973-1977. It was during this period in 1975 that Mrs. Gail W. Holley began her tenure as auxiliary coordinator, eventually earning the title of the assistant band director. Mrs. Holley instructed the Majorettes, Vikettes, and Flags. The band program continued to set the standard when in 1976 they were the only Duval County Public School to receive 4 superior ratings at the state competition. It was also in 1976 that the band was led by its first female drum major (Cheryl Lane).
McCreary left Raines in 1977 and went on to teach music at Edward Waters College and Northwestern Junior High.
In 1977 Mr. Marcus A. Young “Butta Butta” as he is affectionately called by all of his students, became the band director. Mr. Young was known for his strict discipline and focus on quality musicianship. He nicknamed the band “the marching 100”.
Mr. Daryl Wilson became band director in 1983. Mr. Wilson carried the distinct title of being the first and only former Raines Band member to become band director at Raines. He served the band from 1983-1986 he went on to create a stellar music program at Martin Luther King Elementary in Jacksonville.
In 1986 Mr. Ernest E. White, brother to Dr. Julian E. White, was appointed band director. Mr. White had the longest tenure of any director in Raines Band History serving from 1986 until his retirement in 1999 after over 33 years as an educator in the Duval County Public School system. The band had many historical performances under Mr. White’s leadership. Including being the only high school band from Jacksonville Florida to be selected to participate in the Governor of Florida - Bob Martinez's Inauguration parade in 1991.
Following Mr. White’s retirement in the summer of 1999 the Viking band was led by Mr. Claude Graham, Mr. Reginald Mitchell and later Mr. Kenneth Solomon. In 1999 the band performed for the Vice-President of the United States, Al Gore and in 2000 acclaimed entertainer and philanthropist Mrs. Cicely Tyson.
In 2003 Mrs. Gail Holley retired after 38 years as an educator, spending 29 of those years at Raines serving as the bands assistant director. In 2004 the Marching Vikings were the only marching band chosen to be a member of the 2005 Super Bowl Host Committee. The Band also served as the featured entertainment at the 1st Annual "Snooper Bowl" where they performed with national recording artist and host Snoop Dogg.
At the end of the 2015 Football season Mr. Wilfred "Dubbie" Reddick who had served as the Auxiliary Director for 10 years, resigned. Reddick directed the dancers and the color guard. Both squads had earned superior ratings at the district & state level. Reddick helped to transform the"Platinum Vikettes" into a featured dance line where they earned back to back Southern Regional Dance Competitions (2014 & 2015). Mr. Willie B. Hall was also instrumental in the success of the band program. Hall served as the band's Announcer and later as the President of the Band Boosters. Hall was affectionately known as "The Voice of the Raines Band" and he ended his 11-year tenure in December of 2018.
Today the Viking band is lead by Mr. KuRonde' Washington. Mr. Washington is a native of Daytona Beach, Florida and a graduate of Bethune Cookman University. Mr. Washington took the baton in August of 2009 and has guided the band into an extensive rebuilding season and because of his tireless efforts, his tenure has been successful musically and academically for the band and students. Washington is the second longest serving band director in the history of Raines (Mr. Ernest E. White is the longest serving). He has recruited musicians, worked to improve the band's facilities and completed an extensive fundraising campaign for new uniforms that replaced the 14-year-old uniforms. Mr. Washington guided the band back to participating in the Florida Bandmasters Association's concert evaluation and our student musicians have returned to solo and ensemble evaluation. Our students have received several Superior Ratings since Mr. Washington was appointed as director.
In the fall of 2019 Mr. KuRonde' Washington celebrated his 10th year as Director of the Raines Band. Washington is now the 2nd longest tenured band director in the history of Raines High School! The band continues to travel to various competitions and receive 1st place awards and Superior Ratings whenever they participate. With the support of our principal Mr. Vincent Hall, the band continues to strive towards being ICHIBAN!