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Jon Kersten

Class of: 2011

Jon Kersten was born in Wisconsin and moved to Florida when he was 5. He started playing drums in elementary school, and went on to be Drum Major of NE High School in Ft Lauderdale, in 1970 & 1971. After joining the service, and marrying his sweetheart, who was a majorette at a rival high school, they settled back in Florida after a bit of traveling. It was then that Jon found his new love, writing drill for high school bands. He also picked up a rifle and a flag, (and sometimes his wife’s baton) and started putting the moves to music, on the field and in the gym.

Knowing music, design, and choreography, he really excelled in his designing, and then judging bands, color guards, and percussion ensembles. It was a natural fit to get involved as South Florida started its guard circuit, SFWGC, as contest director and other roles. As the Kersten family grew, they moved up to central Florida. When there was interest to start FFCC, both Jon and Cathy were glad to be involved and to help grow the circuit. Michele Dershimer and Jon started an independent guard, “Beyond” that entertained the audience with lots of energy and innovation, earning a Bronze medal at WGI Finals. Jon was also on the ground floor when Stryke Percussion started with Scott Hughes, who was a former student of Jon and Cathy’s when they taught camp each summer at Hollywood Hills HS. One year, Jon and Cathy were in Kentucky, judging the Kentucky State Championships. They got together with a couple of the other Florida judges (Jeff Bridges and Evan Rogovin) the following day at breakfast and wondered, “Why can’t we start something like this in Florida?” And, a year later, FMBC was born…Florida Marching Band Championships!!

Sadly, we lost Jon in 2010, but his legacy lives on through the thousands of performers, educators, adjudicators, directors, staff members, and spectators who enjoy the Florida Marching Band Championships each fall, and continually push the standards of the FMBC to new horizons.