The “Death March” Tradition: Dover High School Marching Tornadoes

The Marching Tornadoes have a well-known tradition: Before each home football game, the boys and girls in crimson and grey take to the streets of Dover to perform the ceremonial ‘Death March.’  While no exact dates have been discovered, Mr. Redd, the band’s director, says that “Fred Delphia, Dover’s band director from 1966-1978, and then High School principal for some time after that, told [him] that the tradition of marching to the stadium from DHS has been in place even before he took over in 1966.  It was not called ‘The Death March’ at that point, and according to Steve Stroup, director of the band from 1986-2010, Joan Wenzel, retired middle school band director, gave it the name “The Death March” in the fall of 1990.”

Departing the high school at 5:50pm, the band’s route for the death march has varied only slightly over the years but has always included a tune in front of the post office, the Dover High Victory March between Walnut Street and Wooster Avenue, Crimson Tornado in front of the fire station and at the turn Betscher Street, and the Cowbell Cadence as the band enters the stadium. With the new building opening, the band will utilize Hickory Street to access Tuscarawas Avenue.

The Dover Tornadoes Marching Band has become synonymous with Dover tradition and is part of what makes Dover different.  The pride the students, staff, and community members feel for the band is equal to none.  Let’s hope that this continues for many years to come as a Friday night at Crater just is not the same without ‘The Death March’ that precedes it.