AMEA Hall of FameBeginning with the Inaugural Class of 2008, the AMEA has recognized members for excellence in teaching or administration; contributions and improvements to the field of music education; betterment of our profession through exemplary service or acts; professional offices, professional publications, awards, or performances; and those with exceptional professional ideals and academic integrity. Nominations are accepted up to July 15 each year.
Ken Williams is known for the outstanding band programs he developed at Meek High School and Haleyville High School. He graduated from Winston County High School in 1965. Mr. Williams attended Florence State University (now the University of North Alabama) from 1965-67 and the University of North Alabama from 1971-1973, where he earned his BS in Music Education. Between the years 1967-1971, he served in the United States Marine Corps, including 13-months of service in Vietnam.
Mr. Williams was band director at Meek High School (Arley) from 1973-1980 and again from 1981-1990. He was band director at Gadsden High School for one school year in between the years at Meek. Mr. Williams served as band director at Haleyville High School from 1990 until his retirement in 2007. Under his direction, the bands at Meek, Gadsden, and Haleyville received a Superior rating 22 times at the Alabama Bandmasters Association State Band Compeition Festival. His concert and marching bands received Superior ratings and were named “Best in Class” at many band festivals in the United States, including Grand Champion at the University of Montevallo Concert Competition (1983), the St. Louis American Music Festival (2001), and the Orlando All-Star Music Festival (2000 and 2002).
Mr. Williams served as president of the Alabama Bandmasters Association and president of the Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity. He was a deacon of the First Baptist Church in Arley for over 10 years. Mr. Williams was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 2004.
Bio to be added when available.
Yale Ellis was band director at Woodlawn High School (Birmingham) from 1927-1938, Sydney Lanier High School (Montgomery) from 1938-1955, and assistant band director at the University of Alabama from 1955-1967. Under his direction, Woodlawn became the first high school band in Alabama to perform half-time shows at football games. Mr. Ellis was one of the originators of the Ala Breve magazine, and continued to contribute articles for the magazine throughout his career. He was one of the pioneers of the Alabama Bandmasters Association, and later served as its President.
Mr. Ellis was, for many years, director of the summer music camp at the University of Alabama, and taught music camps at Auburn University and in South Carolina. He also taught instrument repair on public television and in the classroom.
Jerry Bobo was band director at Fayette County High School from 1956 until his retirement in 1991. He graduated from Fayette County High School in 1953. He received his BS and MA in music education from the University of Alabama. He later earned the “AA” certificate in music education supervision.
During his years at Fayette, the band program grew from 54 students to approximately 400. The Fayette County High School Band performed at the Alabama Bandmasters Association State Band Competition Festival 35 consecutive years, earning a Superior rating 31 times and an Excellent rating four times.
Mr. Bobo served as president of the Alabama Bandmasters Association, president of the Fayette County Teachers Association, president of the Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity, was named “Alabama Outstanding Music Educator of the Year,” was winner of “Mac” Award, and was guest conductor of the Alabama All-State Blue Band. Mr. Bobo was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 1986. The Jerry Bobo Music Building at Fayette County High School is named in his honor.
Retired after 37 years of experience as a successful band director in Alabama public schools, Mr. McAfee completed his career as band director at the award-winning Hoover High School. His bands consistently received superior ratings on both the concert stage and the marching field and performed in many prestigious events both in the United States and abroad. Mr. McAfee received his Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Montevallo and earned a Master of Science Degree at the University of Illinois placing emphasis on instrumental conducting and band literature. Mr. McAfee served the Alabama Bandmasters as Vice-Chairman and Chairman of District IV, as Vice President and President of ABA, and for 9 years as the Executive Secretary. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve after 26 years of meritorious service with the 313th Army Band. In retirement, Mr. McAfee continues to teach private trumpet students and sectionals in Birmingham area middle schools as well as observing intern teachers for the University of Alabama Music Department. He also serves as an adjudicator and guest clinician around Alabama and southern states.
Memberships include the Alabama Music Educators, National Association for Music Education, The National Band Association, The International Trumpet Guild, and Phi Beta Mu Honorary Band Directors Fraternity. Mr. McAfee now serves as conductor for the Birmingham Community Concert Band. He also plays principal trumpet with the Alabama Winds and the Celebration Winds community bands. Active with the American Federation of Musicians Union, he plays local shows, church and freelance work. He is also a member and director of the orchestra at Metropolitan Church of God. Mr. McAfee and his wife, Amy, have two daughters, Kate, who recently graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in psychology and Erin, who also attends the University of Alabama pursuing a flute performance career.
Sharon McCann August is a retired music teacher of Vestavia Hills Elementary at Liberty Park in Vestavia Hills, AL. Her other teaching experiences were at Highlands School in Mountain Brook and Berry Middle School in Hoover. She is a native of Mobile, AL, where she played French Horn with the Mobile Youth Orchestra and the Mobile Symphony Orchestra. Sharon received a bachelor’s degree in music performance and a master’s degree in music education from the University of Montevallo. She completed Level I Orff certification under Shirley McRae, and Levels II, III, and Master’s Level at The University of Memphis under Konnie Saliba and Jos Wuytack. Sharon was selected as Alabama Teacher of the Year at Liberty Park Elementary in 2007, and received her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification in early and middle childhood music in 2007. She continues to mentor other teachers in the National Board process, as well as being a mentor and cooperating teacher to more than 20 student interns during her teaching career.
Sharon served as president of elementary division of AMEA from 2009 to 2010. She was an active member in the Alabama Orff Schulwerk Association, serving as president of the Alabama chapter from 2002 to 2005, and was elected as the southeast regional representative to the National Board of Trustees of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association from 2007-10. While teaching, Sharon played horn with the Birmingham Community Band and Celebration Winds, and is now a member of Callanwolde Community Band in Decatur, GA. Sharon has one son and two daughters. Since retiring, Sharon has moved to Atlanta, GA, to enjoy her four grandchildren!
Vicki Portis is the retired music specialist from Bluff Park Elementary School in Hoover, AL. Except for an eight-year hiatus in which she worked in a local ministry, Ms. Portis has taught since 1977 in schools in Montgomery County, Jefferson County, and Hoover, AL. Ms. Portis received both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in music education from the University of Montevallo as well as Level 1 Orff certification under Konnie Saliba. She completed Levels 2-3 Orff certification and Master Class at Memphis State University under Ms. Saliba and Jos Wuytack. Ms. Portis has conducted workshops for both music and classroom teachers in addition to serving as a guest elementary choral conductor and adjudicator. She worked with local universities as a cooperating teacher for student interns. Ms. Portis has served the Elementary/General division of Alabama Music Educators Association as president and district representative. She is also a member of Music Educators National Conference, American Orff-Schulwerk Association, the Alabama Chapter of AOSA, and the Alabama National Board of Professional Teaching Standards Network. Ms. Portis conducted Hoover and Homewood elementary choral students in the Opening Session performance of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association National Conference in Birmingham in 2005 She also conducted the Alabama Music Education Association’s first all-state choral performance in 2006. In November 2002 she became the first Alabama music teacher to become certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and recertified in 2011. She has mentored other teachers in the National Board process and is an adjunct professor at Samford University. In 2016 Ms. Portis presented a workshop for Jefferson County elementary music teachers on developing the child voice. Ms. Portis has been blessed to travel to many places in the world. Kenya is the place dearest to her heart. She has made special friends in the Masai Mara area while doing humanitarian and mission work.
Theresa McKibben recently retired from 25 years of teaching Elementary Music in Homewood, Alabama. She is a graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson, Ms., where she taught for 7 years before moving to Birmingham. Theresa was selected as Teacher of the Year at Edgewood in 1993-94 and 2001-2002 and received her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification in Early and Middle Childhood Music in 2004. She served the state as President of both the Elementary Division of AMEA (1998-2000) and the Alabama Orff Schulwerk Association (2003-2005). In 2013, she was a Quarter Finalist for the first Grammy Award for Music Education. Last year, she received the Teacher Impact Award for Edgewood School from the Homewood City Schools Foundation. Theresa is now teaching Preschool Music to 3, 4, and 5 year olds at Riverchase Day School in Hoover, Alabama. During her spare time, she enjoys performing with the bluegrass group, the Dill Pickers.
Jim Duren was the Director of Bands at Oak Mountain High School from its opening in the fall of 1999 through the end of the 2011-2012 school year. Prior to coming to Oak Mountain, Mr. Duren was Director of Bands at Mountain Brook Jr. High (1973-1978), Mountain Brook High School (1978-1987) and Pelham High School (1987 – 1999). During his 39 year career, Mr. Duren’s bands have performed throughout the southeastern and midwestern United States, The Bahamas, Toronto and two performances at Carnegie Hall in New York. Mr. Duren is a graduate of Gordo High School in Pickens County. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama. While at the University, he was a member and student conductor of the “Million Dollar Band,” Principal Trombonist in the Symphonic Band, Bass Trombonist with the Brass Ensemble, Trombone Choir, University Symphony Orchestra, and the Jazz Ensemble. Mr. Duren is a member of the Alabama Music Educators Hall of Fame, the Alabama Bandmasters Association, the National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, and Phi Beta Mu. In 1996, he was awarded the “John Philip Sousa Legion of Honor Award.” In 1999, he was named “Honorary Conductor” of the University of Alabama Wind Ensemble. In 2011 was awarded the “Outstanding Band Director or the Year” award for the State of Alabama by the Rho chapter of Phi Beta Mu Band Director’s fraternity as well as being named “Outstanding Alumni” at the University of Alabama in 2011. Mr. Duren is married to Sharon Lamberth Duren they have one son, Jason, and daughter-in-law, Bashan. Jason is a salesman for Gadsden Music Company. The Durens are members of Hunter Street Baptist Church.
Bill Brunner is a native of Cullman, Alabama and a graduate of the University of Alabama where he earned B.S and M.A. degrees in Music Education. He began his teaching career in 1959 at Vigor High School (Prichard, Alabama) where his bands received “Excellent” ratings at State Competition Festivals his four years there. In 1963 he organized the Austin High School Band in Decatur, Alabama and served as the band director until his retirement in 1988. Under his direction, the Austin Band compiled an impressive record of achievement including top ratings in numerous national concert festivals, and earned 22 consecutive “Superior” ratings at the Alabama State Competition Festivals. Mr. Brunner served as adjudicator and guest conductor in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida. State offices he held include President of the Alabama Bandmasters Association and President of Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Mu. In 1988 he was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Alabama Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame and honored as the “Outstanding Music Educator” by the AMEA. After retiring from teaching, Mr. Brunner was employed by Nuncie’s Music until 2001. After retiring from Nuncie’s, he continued to teach privately in Decatur until moving to Georgia in 2014 to be closer to family.
John Bradley is a native of Monroeville, Alabama. He holds the Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts Degrees from the University of Alabama and Certification in School Administration from Alabama State University. At the University of Alabama he was solo trumpet with the Million Dollar Band and was the leader of the Alabama Cavaliers Dance Band. He also played with the University Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Bradley has a total of 36 years of teaching experience in the public schools in Alabama. He has served as band director in Selma, Mt. Brook, and Hueytown as wellas at Monroe County High School and Monroeville Junior High School in Monroeville. His bands have consistently received superior ratings in concert competition at the district and state levels as well as superior ratings in marching competitions. The Monroe County High School band twice received Best in Class awards at the Six Flags Over Georgia Band Competition. He also served as Assistant Principal at Monroeville Middle School and Band Supervisor for the Monroe County Schools for eight years. Mr. Bradley has served as President of the Alabama Bandmasters Association, Chairman of District Vll of ABA and served on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Music Educators Association. He was also appointed by the State Superintendent of Education to serve on a committee to develop the standards for Fine Arts Education in Alabama. He served 5 years with the Alabama National Guard Band and 31 years with the 313th U.S. Army Reserve Band serving 12 years as First Sergeant and Assistant Director. During this time he was the recipient of the Army Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and served overseas. He has served as President of Phi Beta Mu Bandmaster Honorary Fraternity and is a member of the Alabama Bandmasters Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, Alabama Music Educators Association, and the National Association for Music Education. Mr. Bradley has been a band adjudicator and clinician in the southeastern United States. Since his retirement he has worked part time with the Briarwood Christian School Bands and currently works with the Homewood Band program. He plays trumpet professionally in the Birmingham area. He and his wife Jane live in McCalla, Alabama. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
Curtis Hollinger, (B.S., M.M.Ed.), is a graduate of Alabama State University; Montgomery, Alabama and Vander Cook College of Music, Chicago, Illinois. He has served in the following capacities: Band Director (forty (40) years) in the public school systems of Georgia and Alabama; past director of the George Washington Carver High School Bands, Montgomery, Alabama; past director of The Montgomery Public Schools All-City Bands; first instrumental music director for The Alabama Governor’s School of the Arts; director for three different high school bands from Montgomery, (with Superior ratings), at District Band Festivals. He currently serves as principal clarinet for the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra – a position held since 1984. Additional experiences include participation in the Festival Clarinet Choirs of the International Clarinet Association Annual Festivals, plays saxophone in the Montgomery Recreators (jazz band) and clarinetist in the Montgomery Woodwind Quintet. Hollinger’s professional development includes attendance at the Mid-West Band and Woodwind Quintet. Orchestra Clinics, and attendance at the Alabama Music Educators Association (AMEA) conferences. Over the years, he has served as judge for clarinets at Alabama All-State Music Festivals, adjudicator at District Band Festivals, State Band Festivals, Marching Band Festivals, Solo Ensemble Festivals, guest conductor, and Clarinet Clinician at various schools and colleges. In March 2005, he served as music director for a local production of the Broadway musical “Purlie”, performed at the Davis Theatre; Montgomery, Alabama. Hollinger’s most recent professional work includes a solo performance of Concertino for Clarinet by C.M. von Weber with the Minor High School Band, Carlton Wright, Band Director – at the 2008 Alabama Music Educators Association (AMEA) Conference, held at the University of Alabama. Hollinger has been band director of Loveless Academic Magnet Program Symphonic Band in Montgomery, Alabama; adjunct clarinet instructor at Troy University in Troy, Alabama, adjunct clarinet instructor at Faulkner University, Montgomery, Alabama; clarinetist in the orchestra for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s productions of Man of La Mancha, Peter Pan, A Christmas Carol, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Musical and many others. Currently, Hollinger is adjunct professor of Studio Woodwinds at Huntington College Department of Music, Montgomery, Alabama.
Billy “Rip” Reagan was director of the Gadsden State Show Band for 28 years. He was also the principal music arranger for the group that performed for college functions, community events and recruiting shows. His many years as a music educator made him a legend throughout the South, and his influence is known internationally. Many of his students have become music educators or perform professionally. Reagan previously served as band director for Crossville High School, Corinth High School in Mississippi, Albertville High School and Emma Sansom High School. He is widely known for his 25-year tenure at Emma Sansom, where he also served as principal for five years. His accomplishments there include 24 years of superior concert ratings and more than 200 superior ratings at marching competitions. Under Reagan’s direction, Sansom’s band won the National Veterans of Foreign War Championship three times, 1957 through 1959, competing in Miami, New York and Los Angeles. These awards were instrumental in Gadsden’s recognition as the City of Champions. Sansom’s band also won the Greatest Band in Dixie Award in a prestigious competition held in New Orleans in 1963, 1965 and 1967. The band also performed for many televised professional and semi-professional football games, including the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Birmingham Stallions. Reagan shared his musical talent internationally by conducting the Dixie American Youth Band from 1969 to 1970. This goodwill musical tour took students from seven Southern states to Europe to entertain audiences at schools and public events. He was known for his music judging abilities in Europe as well as throughout the United States.
Joe Riemer a native of New Orleans, La., received his bachelor and Masters degrees in music education at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, La. He began his teaching career in 1962 and has served as band director at Davidson High School and Shaw High School in Mobile, Al. Subsequently he has served as band director at Bay Minette Middle School, Baldwin County High School and Faulkner State Community College, all in the Mobile Area. He has served on the board of the Mobile Jazz Festival and as conductor of its High School All-star Jazz Band with numerous performances on the Mobile Jazz Festival concert programs. He also holds membership in MENC, the Alabama Bandmasters Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, and the music fraternities Phi Mu Alpha and Phi Beta Mu, and has served as adjudicator, clinician and guest conductor throughout the Southeast. Joe is one of the founders of the Mobile Symphonic Pops and served as one of its co-directors for 10 years. He is also the founder of the Baldwin Pops, a community band in the Baldwin County, and has served as its music director since its inception in 1997. He was named in 2001 by the Mobile Bay Monthly as one of the most influential “Masters of the Arts” for Mobile and Baldwin County and in 2007 was received the Fairhope First “Quality of Life” award for his contribution to the enhancement the quality of life in the Fairhope area. Joe and his wife Mary Lou are both retired educators and reside in Fairhope, AL. They have two children and four grandchildren.
Roland Lister holds a B.S. degree in Music Education from Jacksonville State University and a Masters degree in School Administration from the University of Alabama. He studied viola and taught instrumental music in the Gadsden City School System for thirty years, spending twenty years as a string orchestra director. In 1978, Lister organized and conducted the Gadsden City School System’s first full symphony orchestra. He continued as an orchestra conductor until he retired in 1998 to work with the Etowah Youth Orchestra. In 2000, he served as the conductor of the Premiere String Orchestra at the Alabama All-State Orchestra Festival. In 2003 he was chosen as conductor of the All-West Tennessee String Orchestra in Memphis. Lister conducted performances of the Etowah Youth Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 2002 and again in 2007. He also conducted the orchestra at the Royal Elizabethan Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, England. His string orchestra has presented a concert for the Alabama Music Educators Conference and he has twice served as a clinician for the conference. In 2007 Lister was selected as Teacher of the Year by the Alabama chapter of ASTA is the Associate Conductor of the Etowah Youth Orchestras. In this capacity he serves as the Principal Conductor of the June Moore Bugg Prelude Strings and the Etowah String Philharmonic, and Director of the EYO’s Summer Strings Camp. He also serves as an instructor for the EYO’s Beginning and Intermediate Strings Program in the Etowah County and Attalla City School Systems., and was inducted into the Alabama Music Educators Hall of Fame in 2009.
Pat Morrow holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Auburn University and a master’s degree in school administration from the University of Alabama. He started his career in Gadsden in 1969. After serving a serving as band director at Gadsden’s Emma Sansom High School, he spent two decades as director at Homewood High School. During his tenure, the band grew from approximately 35 students to 170. During this time, Homewood became the first high school band from Alabama to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, held in New York City, and the first to participate in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. The band also performed in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland. Morrow worked in the Hoover school system from 1996 until his retirement in 2007, including five years as Hoover High band director and then six years as communications and public relations coordinator at the central office. As band director at Hoover High, travels included trips to New York City for the Macy’s parade, The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.
Dr. Gerald Welker was the founding conductor of the Wind Ensemble at The University of Alabama. Born May 3, 1941 in Champaign, Ill., Dr. Welker received the bachelor of music degree in music education, the master of music degree in music literature, and the doctor of musical arts degree in performance from the Eastman School of Music. He earned the performer’s certificate in saxophone and served as principal saxophonist of the Eastman Wind Ensemble for four years. A former conducting student of Gunter Theuring in Vienna, Roger Wagner, and Frederick Fennell, he was the top-rated American conductor at the 1982 National Orchestral Conducting Competition. He has served previously on the conducting faculties of Union University, Appalachian State University, the University of Central Florida, and Murray State University. An active clinician, Dr. Welker conducted all-state and regional bands in numerous states as well as having given extensive appearances as a lecturer, reviewer, and adjudicator. He conducted the world premiere performances of over forty compositions. Gerald gave tirelessly of his time and expertise to many students, colleagues, and fellow music lovers over the years. He was the consummate teacher, and he spread his love of music and high level of knowledge to all who were fortunate enough to know him.
Dr. David L. Walters was a native of Youngstown, Ohio. After graduating from Struthers High School, Dr. Walters served six years in the Navy, where he graduated from the United States Navy School of Music. He continued his music education by working on and receiving the B.S. Degree in Music from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He continued his education with graduate work in Musicology at Washington University in St. Louis. Further study took him to Florida State University where he received the Master of Music Degree in Music Theory in 1960. Dr. Walters’ teaching career began as Band Director at Fairfield High School in Hamilton, Ohio. From there, he moved to New Bern, North Carolina, where he served as Supervisor of Music for the New Bern school system and as Band Director for New Bern High School. Dr. Walters’ bands at New Bern consistently earned superior ratings during his nine-year tenure there. In 1961, Dr. Walters came to Jacksonville State University and served as Director of Bands from 1961 to 1991. He continued to develop The Marching Southerners by personally arranging the music which gave the Southerners their unique sound and trademark. He also arranged many fine dance line tunes specifically for the JSU Marching Ballerinas. By featuring this group, the Ballerinas became one of the finest dance line groups in the country. With his ability to arrange and produce such a unique sound for the field along with his clever drill writing, strong traditions emerged from within the group. Section leaders were chosen from each section of the band and this proved to be an excellent educational tool. The band ultimately became one of the finest college bands in the United States. During his tenure as Director of Bands, The Southerners performed at hundreds of band competitions as the exhibition band. They performed as the halftime entertainment for the Atlanta Falcons for many years. Dr. Walters wrote the “theme” music for the All-American Bowl which was played in Tampa, Florida, where the Southerners performed many times. The Southerners represented Alabama in the Inaugural Parade for President Lyndon Johnson in the early 60s. In 1976, the Southerners were selected to represent Alabama in the Bi-Centennial parade in Philadelphia. Dr. Walters’ Symphonic Bands also toured the Southeast and performed for many high schools and recruited some of the finest performers. His band program produced many fine directors and educators. Dr. Walters always spoke very fondly of his nearly 5,000 band alumni whom he says were the finest people he ever had the privilege to teach. Dr. Walters was named Emeritus Director of Bands at Jacksonville State University.
A graduate of the Horner Institute of Fine Arts with a Bachelor of Music, William Levi Dawson later studied at the Chicago Musical College with professor Felix Borowski, and then at the American Conservatory of Music where he received his masters degree. Early in his career he served as a trombonist both with the Redpath Chautauqua and the Chicago Civic Symphony Orchestra. His teaching career began in the Kansas City public school system, which was later followed by a tenure with the Tuskegee Institute from 1931–1956. During this period, it was he who appointed a large number of faculty members that later became well known for their work in the field. Additionally, Dawson also developed the choir, the Tuskegee Institute Choir, into an internationally renowned ensemble; they were invited to sing at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall in 1932 for a week of six daily performances. As a composer, Dawson began at a young age, and it was early on in his compositional career that his Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano was performed by the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra. Besides chamber music, he is also known for his contributions to both orchestral and choral literature. His best known works are arrangements and variations on spirituals; his Negro Folk Symphony of 1934 garnered a great deal of attention at its’ world premier, under the direction of Leopold Stokowski with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The symphony was later revised in 1952 with greater African rhythms inspired by the composer’s trip to West Africa. The composition was – the composer conveyed – an attempt to convey the missing elements that were lost when Africans came into bondage outside of their homeland. In creating this work, Dawson was influenced by the nationalistic views of Dvorˇák. Widely performed, his most popular spirituals include Jesus Walked the Lonesome Valley, Talk about a Child That Do Love Jesus and King Jesus Is a-Listening.
Orland Thomas earned his B.S (1955) and his M.A. (1958) from the University of Alabama and took advanced graduate work at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is a 1950 graduate of Holt High School in Tuscaloosa County. He taught at Holt High School for nine years before moving to Mobile for a five-year stint at Davidson High School. He next assumed the position of Music Supervisor for the Mobile County Public School System, a job he held for the following 21 years. In this position, he was responsible for 32 school music programs. During this supervisory period Thomas also taught part-time at the University of South Alabama (14 years), Mobile College (7 years), and conducted the Mobile Student Symphony (15 years). He was chair of the Alabama Bandmasters Association (1967-68), was on the Mobile Arts Council Board of Directors, served on the board and was chairman (1987-88) of the University of Alabama Society for the Fine Arts, played trombone in the Mobile Symphony, the Mobile Opera Orchestra, and the City of Mobile Symphonic/Pops Band, was a mobile Jazz Festival Board member, and was Choir Director at St. Marks and Springhill Avenue United Methodist Churches. In 1983, Thomas was honored as the University of Alabama Music Department’s first Alumni Achievement Award recipient. He retains affiliation with the Music Educators National Conference (50+ years), the National Band Association, and the American School Band Directors Association. He continues to serve as a district band festival adjudicator, honor band festival conductor and solo and ensemble judge. Thomas is now retired and resides in Mobile, where he continues to participate in various church and community music activities.
Hugh Thomas, who died in 2002 at age 90, was a choral music legend at Birmingham-Southern College for more than a half-century. Thomas began his long association with the college in 1936 and retired from the faculty in 1982. He became dean of the Conservatory of Music in 1947, was chairman of the Department of Music from 1964-72, and directed the Concert Choir from 1964-93. Dr. Neal R. Berte, former longtime BSC president, said Thomas’ legacy and influence stretched literally around the world. “Hugh Thomas graced the campus of Birmingham-Southern College for many years, and from there his work extended around the world,” said Berte, a friend and colleague of Thomas for nearly 30 years. “Hugh’s enthusiasm for teaching, as well as his consummate artistry, was the catalyst that brought out the best in everyone who performed under his direction or learned from him in a piano studio. It is overwhelming to think of the tremendous legacy and continuing influence Hugh Thomas’ life will have for all who knew him.” Dr. Lester Seigel, Birmingham-Southern’s Joseph Hugh Thomas Professor of Music, said that Thomas, known to friends and colleagues as “H.T.,” will be remembered not only as a musician and composer, but also for his relationship with his students. “Hugh Thomas was the consummate artist-teacher,” said Seigel, a 1979 Birmingham-Southern graduate who studied under Thomas. “Students at Birmingham-Southern were not only inspired by his passion and insight, but by his tremendous industry in rehearsing the BSC Concert Choir, and in working with piano students and young conductors. He taught them that excellence comes not only from knowledge and talent, but from developing one’s technique through hours of practice and study. Yet his teaching was much more than this; he taught by example, as a role model and mentor to his students. “His sense of humor was legendary. He also could be tough, but it was almost always with a gleam in his eye, underscored by real caring. His concept of learning embodied not only music, but philosophy, literature, art, and drama. H.T. knew that true wisdom came from embracing a wide range of disciplines, and making the connections–the true goal of a well-educated human being.” Thomas received his bachelor’s degree from Birmingham-Southern in 1933 and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Birmingham Conservatory of Music. He studied piano with Dorsey Whittington and conducting with Robert Shaw. He also studied analysis with Julius Hereford at the Berkshire Music Center in Lenox, Mass. In 1951, he made his professional debut as a conductor of the Hugh Thomas Chorus at Town Hall in New York. He also was a piano soloist with Andre Kostelanetz. An administrator at the BSC Conservatory of Music from 1947-72, he returned to full-time teaching in 1972 and retired from the faculty in 1982. He continued to direct the college’s concert choir until 1993. Birmingham-Southern choirs directed by Thomas performed at Carnegie Hall and toured Europe. His BSC Concert Choir was selected in 1978 to perform at the meeting of American Choral Directors Association, an organization that honored him for his lifetime contribution to choral music. In 1988, he was named Outstanding Music Educator in Alabama. In 1993, he was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. National Public Radio profiled Thomas in 1995. Thomas received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Birmingham-Southern in 1981 and the college’s Medal of Service in 1992. In addition to his tenure at Birmingham-Southern, Thomas directed the First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir for 20 years, along with the Canterbury United Methodist Church choir, the Birmingham Civic Chorus, the Birmingham Symphony Chorus, the Hugh Thomas Chorus, and the Indian Springs School Choir. He also served as music critic for the Birmingham Post-Herald. The Barbara and Hugh Thomas Scholarship was created at BSC in 1998 to honor Professor Emeritus of Music Thomas and his wife, Barbara Dorough Thomas, a 1937 BSC graduate and prominent Birmingham musician and teacher, who died in 2001 at age 84. The Hugh and Barbara Thomas Master Class Series, established in their honor by alumna Beverly Hosokawa and her husband, David, brings four master artist to campus each year in the areas of instrumental performance, vocal performance, piano performance, and composition.
Gene Gooch was born on November 17, 1932 on the U.S. Corps of Engineers Reservation at Florence, Alabama. He was educated in Florence City Schools and graduated from Coffee High School in 1950. He began music study on alto saxophone in 1944 and began the study of bassoon in 1947. He studied bassoon privately with Mr. Pasquale Bria, who was band director in Cullman. He also studied alto saxophone and sousaphone under Mr. Floyd C. McClure, the band director at Coffee High School. He attended Murray State College in Kentucky after high school, but due to the outbreak of the Korean War, joined the U.S. Air Force after the first semester. He was a member of the Air University’s 604th Air Force Band at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery Alabama and the 584th Air Force Band at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton, Florida. In the Air Force he played bassoon in the concert band and saxophone in the dance band, and acted as drum major in the marching band. During these years he was a member of the Montgomery Symphony and an original member of the Pensacola Symphony. Upon discharge from the Air Force in January of 1955, he enrolled at the University of Alabama. He received the Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education in August, 1957. He played bassoon in the Million Dollar Band, University Symphony and the University Woodwind Quintet and was drum major of the Million Dollar Band. He also played with the Birmingham Civic Opera orchestra. He was a member of The Capstoners Dance Band, playing alto saxophone. In August, 1960 he received the Master of Arts degree in Music Education from the University of Alabama. In 1957 he became Band Director at Sheffield High School. In 1962 he became Band Director at Colbert County High School. He was appointed Band Director at Appleby Middle School in Florence in 1966. He was appointed Band Director at Coffee High School in 1972. The bands at Coffee High School consistently received Superior ratings at State Band Competitions and at other competitions. Each year there were students selected to participate in the All-State Band Festival. He retired from Coffee High School in 1986 but taught woodwinds at The University of North Alabama as an adjunct faculty member until 2001. He served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Alabama Music Educators Association from 1972 through 1978. In 1979 he became Secretary-Treasurer of the Alabama Bandmasters Association and remained in that position until his retirement from teaching in 1986. In 1991 he was asked to return to service as Executive Secretary of the Alabama Bandmasters Association and still is in that position. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Phi Beta Mu, the International Bandmasters Fraternity. He is a past-president of Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Mu. He was the first undergraduate at the University of Alabama invited to become a member of Phi Delta Kappa, national education honorary. Other professional affiliations include Music Educators National Conference, Alabama Music Educators Association, National Education Association and Alabama Education Association. He is a member of the Phi Beta Mu Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame and the University of Alabama Million Dollar Band Association Hall of Fame. He has been married to Virginia Reed Gooch since 1953. They have two children. Gena Gooch Cape and daughters Lauren and Sarah Catherine live in Marietta, Georgia. Lauren is a student at The University of West Georgia and Sarah Catherine is a member of the Marietta High School Band. Gena is a member of the staff at Marietta High School and serves as president of the High School Band Parents Club. Michael Gooch and wife Angela reside in Boston, Massachusetts where Mike is employed by Saks Fifth Avenue and Angie is Head of the Voice Program at The Walnut Hill School for the Arts and performs with Opera Boston.
G. Truman Welch served as Vice-President and President of the Alabama Bandmasters Association, President and Vice-President of the Alabama Music Educators Association, and one term on the governing board of the National Band Association. He also served as President of the Alabama chapter of Phi Beta Mu. Mr. Welch taught woodwinds at Auburn and Alabama music camps, at Auburn University and at Huntington College. He played professionally for years in both symphonies and dance bands and was a member of the board of directors of the Montgomery Symphony for several years. In 1967, Mr. Welch was presented the Birmingham News Post “Herald Award” for 25 years of outstanding service to the youth of Alabama. He also was awarded the order of the “Silver Horn” in 1970 by the First Chair of America for outstanding achievement in the field of school music. The “Silver Horn” is awarded only to those whose accomplishments in the field of music are of the highest national standards. During World War II, Welch was director of the 13th Air Force Show Band. He was a member of Phi Beta Mu, National Band Association, American School Band Directors Association, Music Educators National Conference, College Band Directors National Association, and the Alabama Music Educators Association. Mr. Welch organized the Elmore County High School Band of Wetumpka and Eclectic, Alabama. He directed this band for 26 years. During this time, the Elmore County Band was a consistent winner at state contests and first place winner of the Virginia Beach Festival. The band was also selected to play at the Midwest National Clinic in Chicago in 1965, the All-South Clinic at Jekyl Island, Georgia in 1969, the Lion’s International in New York in 1959 and in Chicago in 1960, and the Southern Division of NAfME in Mobile in 1969. Mr. Welch and Edd Jones originated and organized the Studio Lab Band movement. He also organized the first annual Southeastern United States Concert Band Clinic, which was held at Troy State University in January of 1974. He served as Executive Secretary of this organization. Mr. Welch was the flute clinician for Yamaha Musical Instrument Company throughout the Southeast, and was in great demand as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the country. He served as Woodwind Instructor at Troy State University, and was the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Coordinator of Instrumental Music. He was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 1978. He was elected mayor of Wetumpka in July 1980. Mr. Welch was the originator of the very popular Flute-A-Rama series. In his later years, Mr. Welch organized his own clinician service and woodwind studio, and conducted the Montgomery Civic Band.
Floyd C. McClure was born August 28, 1914 in Oakley, Illinois. He graduated from Decatur High School in Decatur, Illinois in 1933. He received his Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Murray State College, Murray, Kentucky in 1937 and attended the University of Alabama from 1938 to 1941. He was band director at Thomasville High School in Thomasville, Alabama from 1937 until 1940; Coffee High School in Florence, Alabama from 1940 until 1972 where he taught band, glee club, biology, American government and economics. In 1972 he organized the new Weeden Junior High School Band and was their director until his retirement in 1976. During Mr. McClure’s tenure at Coffee High School the band was consistently awarded Superior and Excellent ratings at State Competition. They performed frequently in Mardi Gras parades in Mobile and New Orleans; performed at the Lion’s International Convention in Miami, Florida and the Orange Bowl Parade on two occasions. He was a charter member of the Alabama Bandmasters Association in 1939 and was among those who were responsible for organizing the first All-State Bands (there were two bands then). He later served as Vice-President and then as President from 1947. He pushed through legislation to authorize an ABA State Band Contest and organized the first one in 1947. It was held at the University of Alabama with 17 bands participating. He also organized the first All-State Band and Choral Festival held at the University of Alabama in 1947. He was a charter member, President and Vice-President of the Alabama Music Educators Association. He is a past member of AEA, NEA, NAfME, AMEA, and Phi Beta Mu and was a charter member of Gamma Delta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha. Mac, as he was known to his friends, played with the Huntsville Symphony, the Florence Civic Orchestra and the Florence Big Band. He had a large number of students who became band directors. Mr. McClure was Choir Director at the First Methodist Church in Florence and for 20 years was Choir Director at Trinity Episcopal Church. He organized and directed the Tri-Cities Oratorio Association which presented “Messiah”, Brahms’ “Requiem” and “Elijah”. He was President of the Florence Teachers Association and was Treasurer for 10 years. Mr. McClure was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 1984. He died on December 3, 2005 leaving two daughters, Marilyn Camp of San Antonio, Texas and Jackie Williams of Prattville, Alabama; four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Eleanor Nation received the B.S. and M.A. degrees in music from Middle Tennessee State and did summer studies at Bowling Green University (Ohio) and the University of Michigan. She retired after 22 years as choral director at Johnson High School in Huntsville, AL. She had previously taught at Davis Hills Jr. High School and was a part-time instructor at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. Ms. Nations’s choirs distinguished themselves by receiving superior ratings at district, state, regional, and national levels. Under her direction, Johnson Chorale earned nine regional and national Grand Championships. She has often been acknowledged for her expertise in the interpretation and performance of Renaissance and Romantic period music. Mrs. Nation has served Alabama Vocal Association as district chairman, secretary, president-elect, and president. While president, she wrote several articles about the life of a choral director that were re-printed in other state music journals. Ms. Nation has also served as Alabama president of American Choral Directors Association and in several capacities in Huntsville Choral Directors Association. While at Johnson High School, Ms. Nations’s choirs performed on numerous occasions for the Alabama Vocal Association workshops and Alabama Music Educators conventions. In addition, her choirs performed at three regional division conventions of American Choral Directors Association. Ms. Nation has conducted clinics on choral literature and guest conducted Honor Choirs in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. She is a frequent adjudicator throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas. Two of Ms. Nation’s proudest and most humbling moments were being invited to conduct the Huntsville All-City Chorus SATB Choir and the Alabama All-State Men’s Chorus.
Dr. William R. Denison came to Troy University in the fall of 1967. A native of Michigan, he received Bachelors and Masters Degrees from the University of Michigan and completed the Ph.D at Florida State University in 1969. Since retiring in June 2005 from administrative duties as Director of the School of Music, he continues to teach piano and organ part time. From 1971-1998 he was director of the Collegiate Singers and conducted annual winter performances of major choral works for over 25 years. Dr. Denison also conducted many productions of the opera workshop and musical theatre at Troy University, ranging from grand operas such as Rigoletto and Faust to Broadway standards like Oklahoma and My Fair Lady. He remains active with Collegiate Singers as conductor emeritus and as organist and director of music at St. Marks Episcopal and First Presbyterian Churches in Troy. He acts as a liaison between Troy University and Troy Arts Council and has secured a number of grants to assist in the presentation of guest artists and major productions on campus. He is married to Jane Denison and has two sons, Joey and Rae, both TSU graduates, and five grandchildren.
Dr. Wilbur “Bodie” Hinton was director of bands at Auburn University from 1956 to 1969 and served as head of Auburn University Department of Music from 1969 to 1984. The band practice field at Auburn University was dedicated the Wilbur “Bodie” Hinton Field in the fall of 1986. Dr. Hinton is a member of Phi Beta MU, The American Bandmasters Association, the Alabama Music Educators Association, NAfME, Phi Kappa Phi, and ODK. He is a past president of the Alabama Music Educators Association and the Alabama Bandmasters Association. Dr. Hinton was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame in 1976.
Dr. Thomas R. Smith, Professor Emeritus of Music at Auburn University, retired as Chair of the Department of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Auburn University in 2006. After receiving the Bachelor of Music from Samford University, the Master of Arts in Music Theory from the University of Iowa, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting and Literature from the University of Colorado; Dr. Smith came to Auburn University in 1972, where he taught choral music-related courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Smith also founded and conducted the Auburn University Singers and conducted the Concert Choir. He conducted two concerts in Carnegie Hall in New York City and has conducted eight European concert tours with the Auburn University Concert Choir and University Singers. Under his direction, the Auburn University Singers and Concert Choir have performed at four Southern Division Conventions of the American Choral Directors Association. In 2005, the Auburn University Singers performed for the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Los Angeles. Before coming to Auburn, Dr. Smith was Choral Director at Fairfield High School and Vocal Music Supervisor for the Fairfield City Schools, Fairfield, Alabama. In 1998, Dr. Smith received the Frances P. Moss Choral Directors Award from the Alabama Vocal Association and was recently presented the Paul Steward Service Award in recognition of his work in the Music Ministry. As an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, Dr. Smith served as Southern Division president and has served as Program Chair for two divisional and four national conventions for the organization. Dr. Smith continues to serve as Minister of Music at Providence Baptist Church in Opelika, a position that he has held for the past 33 years. He also is conductor of the Alabama Singing Men.
Dr. Lacey Powell is retired Professor of Music at the University of South Alabama and Executive Director for the Alabama Music Educators Association. He served as president of Alabama Music Educators Association for two terms, Alabama Bandmasters Association, and the Rho chapter (Alabama) of the Phi Beta Mu, national honorary bandmasters fraternity. In addition, he was state chairman of the College Band Directors Association and the American School Band Directors Association. He also served as a member of the Alabama Alliance for Arts Education Board and was recently named Director Emeritus. Dr. Powell has been honored with induction in the Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame (1995), Troy State University Distinguished Alumnus of the Year (1993), Troy State University Outstanding Music Educator (1992), AMEA Outstanding Music Educator (1993), Outstanding Educator of America (1971), and AMEA Hall of Fame (2008). Dr. Powell, a former chairman of the editorial board of ala breve, official publication of the Alabama Music Educators Association, has published articles in the ala breve, The Instrumentalist, Music Educators Journal, and School Musician-Director. Professor Powell received his bachelor’s degree from Troy State University, master’s from VanderCook College of Music, and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama, with additional study at Northwestern University. As an active clinician, Dr. Powell has conducted all-state and regional honor bands in numerous states and has appeared as adjudicator, consultant, clinician and speaker. He was a member of the 43rd Division Army Band during the Korean Conflict, the Mobile Symphony for seven seasons and a charter member of the Mobile Symphonic Pops Band. He served on the board of directors for the Symphony Concerts of Mobile. During his career at Georgiana High School, Andalusia High School and Davidson High School, his bands at state contest were awarded only superior ratings. He was appointed the first director of bands at the University of South Alabama in 1965. Prior to joining the University faculty, he was supervisor of music for the Mobile County Public School. As part of the bicentennial celebration, Dr. Powell was director of the “Marching 200,” the official Alabama bicentennial marching band, which performed on three national telecasts. Memberships include Music Educators National Conference, Alabama Music Educators Association, Alabama Bandmasters Association, National Band Association, Alabama Alliance for Arts Education, Phi Beta Mu and Phi Mu Alpha.
Dr. L. Gene Black has been a life member of NAfME /AMEA since 1960 and has frequently served as a choral festival adjudicator, guest conductor and choral clinician across the country. He has received numerous honors, awards and holds membership in several professional societies. He is respected throughout the country and abroad as a music educator, conductor of the renowned Samford University A Cappella Choir, and currently as conductor of the A Cappella Alumni Choir. Dr. Black is widely recognized for his work in the area of a cappella choral music and has brought worldwide recognition to Alabama through the lasting and positive impressions his choirs have made across Europe and Asia in 27 international tours. Dr. Black holds the Bachelor’s Degree in music education from Samford University, and the Master of Arts, Educational Specialist and the Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. His career began as a choral teacher in secondary education until his return to Samford in 1965 as associate conductor of the A Cappella Choir. He was conductor of the choir 1967-1999. During his 35 year teaching tenure at Samford he was Professor of Music/Music Education, Director of Choral Activities, Associate Dean of the School of Music and Dean of the School of Music.
Dr. Johnny Jacobs was employed by the Jefferson County School System as a music educator for thirty-six years, from September, 1964 through August, 2000. His notable appointments were Dixie Junior High School, Minor High School, Berry High School, and thirteen years as Supervisor of Bands. Dr. Jacobs received the Doctor of Education degree from the University of Alabama in 1985, The Advanced Certificate in Music Education from the University of Illinois in 1975, the Master of Arts degree from the University of Alabama in 1968, and the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Birmingham-Southern College in 1965. Dr. Jacobs served as president of the Alabama Bandmasters Association from 1977-1979 and as president of the Alabama Music Educators Association from 1984-1986. He was inducted into Phi Beta Mu Rho Chapter’s Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 1997. His bands were successful and respected, receiving numerous superior ratings and “best in class” awards during his twenty-three years in the classroom. As an outgrowth of his doctoral dissertation, Dr. Jacobs published “Supplementary Material for Beginning Band, Fifteen Settings for Beginning Band and Pre-recorded Electronic Synthesizer”. This work, named “The Johnny Book” by the students and directors who use it, is currently used with significant success in several Birmingham area middle schools. Concurrently with his work in public education, Dr. Jacobs remained an active performer and teacher of trumpet. He played several years as principal trumpet with the Alabama Pops Orchestra, the Birmingham Symphony Pops Orchestra and as second trumpet with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, forerunner of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. He taught trumpet at Birmingham-Southern College for thirty years and at Samford University for eleven years. After retiring from the Jefferson County Schools, Dr. Jacobs taught music education and trumpet for two years at the University of Alabama Birmingham. During subsequent years to the present he has assisted daily in band programs in the Birmingham area and maintained a private studio at Art’s Music Shop. He is affiliated as a conductor with the Birmingham Community Concert Band and plays principal trumpet with Celebration Winds. Dr. Jacobs now lives in a rural area near Warrior, Alabama. He is a deacon at First Baptist Church Warrior and also serves as Director of Discipleship Training. He and his wife Carol have five children and three grandchildren.
Johnnie Vinson is Director of Bands and Professor of Music Emeritus at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. He received bachelors and masters degrees in Music Education from Auburn, and a doctoral degree in Music Theory from the University of Mississippi.
Dr. Vinson retired from Auburn University several years ago after a long career with the Auburn Bands. Prior to joining the Auburn faculty, he taught in the public schools of Columbus, Georgia, and worked as a graduate assistant with the bands at the University of Texas and University of Mississippi. At Auburn, he supervised the overall band program, conducted the Symphonic Band, and taught conducting and band arranging. He was also faculty sponsor to Auburn’s Theta Lambda Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma.
With over 500 published arrangements and compositions, Dr. Vinson is an internationally recognized writer of music for band. His exclusive publisher is the Hal Leonard Corporation (www.halleonard.com), the world leader in the music print industry. Six of his compositions and arrangements are included in the book Teaching Music Through Performance in Middle School Band, and his “Echoes of the Hollow Square” is featured in Vol. VI of Guides to Band Masterworks. Other of his compositions, such as “Newcastle March” and “Three Czech Folk Songs,” have become standards in the young band repertoire. He has served as an adjudicator and clinician throughout the United States and Canada.
Dr. Vinson has been active professionally as a member and officer in numerous organizations. He has served as the National Vice President for Professional Relations for Tau Beta Sigma, is a Past President of the Alabama Music Educators Association, and is former Alabama State Chair of the College Band Directors National Association. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Band Association and served as NBA Representative to the North American Band Directors Coordinating Council. He is a Past President of Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity and is also a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Kappa Psi, and ASCAP.
Dr. Vinson was elected to membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association in 1994, has served three terms on its Board of Directors, and is currently Vice Chair of the ABA Foundation. He has been presented the Distinguished Service to Music Medal by Kappa Kappa Psi, the Citation of Excellence by the National Band Association, and the Outstanding Music Educator Award by the Alabama Music Educators Association. He has also been presented the Paula Crider Award by Tau Beta Sigma and was the first recipient of the Johnnie Vinson Award, named in his honor by Tau Beta Sigma. In 1998 he was elected to the Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame, and in January 2008, he was one of the inaugural class of twenty persons inducted into the Alabama Music Educators Hall of Fame.
Dr. John M. Long was Dean of the School of Fine Arts, Director of Bands and Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus at Troy University. He is Past President of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and is active as a guest conductor, speaker, clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and Mexico. Dr. Long has received many National and State Awards, including election to the NBA Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors, the AWAPA Award from the NBA, the Distinguished Service to Music Medal from Kappa Kappa Psi, the Gold Medal from the Sousa Foundation, the Governor’s Award from the Alabama Council of the Arts, the Outstanding Music Educator of the Year Award from the AMEA, the Barbara Odom Award from the AMEA, the Al Wright Award from the WBDNA and was elected to the Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame by the Phi Beta Mu. Dr. Long has served 24 years on the Alabama Historic Commission, Past President of the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce. Troy University has two buildings named for him and in 1998 the Board of Trustees renamed the school of music the John M. Long School of Music in his honor.
Dr. James Simpson, a native of Montgomery, Alabama, received his Doctor of Arts and Master of Music Degrees from the University of Mississippi and his Bachelor of Music Education Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. Earlier in his teaching career, Simpson served as Band Director in Union, Mississippi and Canton, Mississippi. During his tenure, the Canton High School Band received outstanding ratings at the Mississippi State Band Festival and won the first annual Six Flags Over Georgia Concert Competition (AAA Division) in 1969. While in Mississippi, Simpson performed in the Hattiesburg, Tupelo, Meridian, and Jackson Symphony Orchestras. He was a featured soloist with the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra and the University of Mississippi Concert Band. For two years, he served as Concert Director of the Mississippi Lions All State Band. Since joining the music faculty at UNA in 1973 as Assistant Band Director and Woodwind Instructor, Simpson has performed as featured soloist with the UNA Concert and Jazz Bands, the UNA Invitational Honor Band, and several regional high school bands. He is a charter member of the Shoals Area “Big Band” and has played lead alto saxophone and clarinet with the band for twenty-eight years. Under his leadership, the University Of North Alabama Department of Music became an accredited member of the prestigious National Association of Schools of Music in 1986. From 1994 to 1996, Simpson served as President of the Alabama Music Educators Association. He has also served as State President of Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity, and President of the Association of Alabama College Music Administrators. Simpson was listed in Who’s Who Among American Teachers (2004), Outstanding Young Men of America (1977), International Who’s Who in Music and Musician’s Directory (1975) and Outstanding Educators of America (1975). He received the Shoals Area Band Director’s Association Service Award (2003) and a UNA Education Leadership Award (2000). Dr. Simpson is a member of the Music Educators National Conference (NAfME), Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Beta Mu (International Bandmasters Fraternity), Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Simpson retired in August of 2007 after thirty-four years of service to the University of North Alabama. He served as Chair of the Department of Music for the past thirty-three years. Recently, he was honored in being selected as clarinet soloist to perform as part of the Distinguished Events Series at the University of North Alabama in January 2008.
A music educator since 1962, Dr. Frances Moss has taught band and choir in public schools, grades 1-12 and has taught at Calhoun Community College since 1966. At Calhoun, Dr. Moss has taught voice, piano, music theory, conducting and vocal ensembles, served as chairperson of the music department and initiated the Church Music Program. She founded the internationally known Chorale, Madrigal Singers and Alumni Musica. These ensembles were invited to perform nationally and internationally for professional events, took annual concert tours, performed for local, state, regional, Church and school groups, presented an annual Madrigal Dinner and performed for governors and presidents. The Alabama Honor Choir Festival, founded by Dr. Moss, was held at Calhoun Community College for 23 years. The event was conducted by nationally known clinicians and was a state-wide event for middle school choral students. In-service workshops, presented by Dr. Jack Platt, Aden Lewis, Dr. Joan Goree and other noted musicians, were provided for choral directors. During her tenure as president the “Choral Division” became the Alabama Vocal Association. The AVA instituted their first auditioned All-State Chorus, implemented required sight reading at both district and state choral festivals, gave the first medals to members of the All-State Chorus and established provision of certificates for choirs participating in Stat Competition Festivals. Dr. Moss edited the first AVA Handbook, wrote the Handbook for District Chairmen and the Handbook for Choral Adjudication. During her tenure as president of AMEA the first state convention was inaugurated bringing together all of the divisions for an in-service event. AMEA met at the Jefferson Davis Hotel in Montgomery. The event was staffed by music students from Calhoun Community College. The AMEA Handbook was developed, an official “logo” was designed for AMEA and the Ala Breve, the Former Music Educators Division and College Division were established and the Outstanding Music Educator Award was instituted. Dr. Moss also served as interim editor of the Ala Breve. She served many years as historian, preparing materials for state and divisional projects. She was also chairman of the Student Division. Dr. Moss served on the board of the Southern Division and served on several national committees including a task force to develop goals and objectives for the improvement of music education in the United States. She served on numerous committees of the Alabama Association of College Music Administrators, served as chairperson for music for the Alabama Community College Association and wrote that group’s position paper to the State Board of Education in regard to Revised Standards for Teacher Education in Alabama. Dr. Moss served as General Chairman for the Curriculum Guide Committee for Vocal/Choral/General Music for the State Department of Education. Degrees held include a bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville State University, masters and doctorate from the University of Alabama and a doctorate from Covington Theological Seminary. Professional memberships include Pi Kappa Lambda, Kappa Delta Pi, Delta Omicron and NAfME. Dr. Moss has been frequently honored and received many awards in recognition of her accomplishments as a music educator. Awards from Calhoun Community College include Outstanding Faculty Member Award, External Service to the Community Award and the Carlton Kelley Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Jack Platt endowed a music scholarship and Austinville United Methodist Church annually presents a music scholarship in her honor. AVA presented The Outstanding Service Award at the conclusion of her terms as president. Dr. Moss was awarded the inaugural Frances P. Moss Outstanding Choral Director Award by AVA. AMEA presented two Awards for Outstanding Service and has named her as an Outstanding Music Educator. Huntsville Choral Directors Association has presented her an Outstanding Service to Choral Music in Alabama Award. Dr. Moss received the national NISOD Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Texas in Austin. She received several awards and recognitions from Governor George Wallace for her work with the Alabama Honor Choir and her music achievements. Dr. Moss is a composer, author, pianist, conductor, clinician, piano/vocal/choral adjudicator and speaker. She has served as adjudicator for Delta Omicron International Triennial Composition Competition and for Alabama Federation of Music Clubs Chamber Music Composition Competition. In December, 1999, Dr. Moss retired from full-time teaching to serve as Minister of Music and Laity at Austinville United Methodist Church, Decatur, Alabama. She continues to teach as an adjunct faculty member at Calhoun Community College.
Dr. Ed Cleino taught in public schools in Missouri before coming South and teaching at Vanderbilt University 1939 to 1942. He entered the Army Air Force in 1942, and was commissioned in 1943. Dr. Cleino served at several airfields before being assigned to the 20th Air Force on Guam, where the mission was “round trips” to Japan. Following WW II, he and his young family moved to the University of Alabama in 1949, as the College of Education was opening its Music Education program. Dr. Cleino designed and opened Alabama’s first Master’s Program in Music Education in 1951, followed by doctoral programs in 1960. He has been a member of the Music Educators National Conference (later renamed National Association for Music Education) for 70 years, and was President of the Southern Division 1969-1973. He edited Ala Breve for about ten years, and served as AMEA Membership Chairman for many years. With the opening of the state-wide “Educational Television Network,” beginning in 1956, Dr. Cleino taught TV music lessons designed for in-school use. The series, called “Music Time,” was used by 50,000 to 65,000 children each week, with the program continuing for 17 years. Though Dr. Cleino retired in 1978, he continued to serve as a mentor to undergraduate music students at UA. His greatest pride was in the success of his former students in their teaching of music in Alabama and in many other states.
Dianne Johnson retired as the Director of the Department of Arts Education for the Jefferson County School System where she is responsible for overseeing the choral and elementary music, band, visual arts, theatre and debate programs of 52 schools. From 1996 – 2006 she served as the elementary and choral music supervisor and from 2000-2005 also served as the band supervisor overseeing the instrumental programs of 13 high schools and 11 middle schools. She has taught at all levels including elementary, middle, high school and college. She became a member of NAfME, the National Association for Music Education, as a college student and has remained active at both the national and state level since that time. Dianne is a Southern Division NAfME Past President and served as a member of the Benchmarks Committee for Content Standard Five. Other services to NAfME include: Clinician at the 1994 National Conference, NAfME National Certified Music Educator, 1991, participation in the Symposium for National Standards in the Arts and participation in the National Assembly and planning conferences of the Southern Division. She has also served as President of the Alabama Music Educators Association, president of the Elementary/General Division, and chair of the Society for General Music. Her articles have appeared in professional publications such as; Ala Breve, Collegiate Exchange, and Teaching Music. She has been honored as guest conductor and keynote speaker for numerous local, state, and national conferences. In 1989-90, the Alabama Music Educators honored her with its Outstanding Music Educator of the Year Award. Dianne holds Bachelor and Master of Music Education degrees from the University of Montevallo and a master’s level Orff Certificate from the University of Memphis.
Colonel Carleton Butler was born February 2, 1907 in Edinberg, Ohio and died May 27, 1993 in Ashville, North Carolina. He attended high school in Warren, Ohio graduating in 1924. He attended Dana’s Musical Institute from 1924-28; Kent State University from 1928-32; and the University of Alabama in 1935. He was band director in the Elementary School in Birmingham, Alabama in 1929-30; Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama 1930-34; and the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, Alabama from 1935 until his retirement in 1969. He was also band director at Tuscaloosa High School from 1935 until 1946. During his 34 years as band director at the University of Alabama, Colonel Butler was a driving influential force behind the band movement in the State of Alabama. In 1939 he called a meeting of Alabama band directors at the University of Alabama to form the Alabama Bandmasters Association of which he was elected the first President. Colonel Butler was loved by his band members and respected by his peers. He lifted the “Million Dollar Band” to National prominence through his insistence of high, quick stepping, elaborate maneuvers, and accuracy and style of musical performance. He conceived the fabled time, temperature, and score drill that baffled and delighted fans at home and at the many national appearances at the major bowls. Colonel Butler was appointed Honorary Colonel in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, University of Alabama in 1940 and appointed Honorary Colonel in the Great State of Alabama by Governor John Patterson in 1959. In 1968 he was presented a plaque by the University of Alabama Student Body, for 34 years of outstanding service to the University and the “Million Dollar Band” . Also in 1968 he was presented a Certificate of Appreciation for “Outstanding Service to Music Education in the State of Alabama” for serving as president of the Alabama Music Educators Association in 1956 and 1958. In 1969 a resolution was enacted and appointment as Professor Emeritus of Music upon retirement was conferred on Colonel Butler by The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama. Also, a resolution was enacted by the Alabama House of Representatives, the Senate concurring that the legislature expressing appreciation to Colonel Carleton K. Buler for 34 years as director of The University of Alabama Band. He was awarded the “Outstanding Bandmasters Award” by Phi Beta Mu, national bandmasters honorary fraternity in 1969. In 1979 $10,000 was donated by former students and friends for the University of Alabama scholarships in the name of Colonel Butler and in 1980, to honor Colonel Butler, the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama the naming and dedication of the band practice field, “Butler Field”. Colonel Butler was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 1976.