Legendary Texas Bandmasters

Texas Legendary Bandmasters Each year since 2011, the Dallas Wind Symphony proudly honors a Legendary Texas Bandmaster for distinguished achievement in the field of music education. The plaque presentation ceremony is held onstage during our April concert each season. We humbly salute these band leaders and educators, who have selflessly dedicated themselves to leading thousands upon thousands of young students in the pursuit of excellence in both music and life. They are the stuff of legends.

The Foundation for Music Education

The Legendary Texas Bandmasters award is sponsored by The Foundation for Music Education. The Foundation is dedicated to the support and advancement of music education through scholarships and other worthwhile projects.

2015 - Eddie Green

Fred JunkinUniversity of Houston

Eddie Green has been dedicated to instrumental pedagogy for over fifty years. He has experience teaching all levels of instrumental ensemble performance, from small school programs, to very large junior and senior high school programs. His university experience includes work at Western Michigan University and the University of Houston. He has many students from these universities who are leading music educators today.

The concepts conceived with the staff at Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, Texas, have served as the cornerstone of his philosophy of instrumental music education throughout his career. They have been very helpful to many successful bands throughout Texas. Mr. Green’s bands have performed at many conventions, and were chosen to record the works of Percy Grainger by the International Grainger Society. The recordings of Merlin Patterson’s transcriptions by the University of Houston Wind Ensemble have received very good reviews from major audiophile magazines. The first Grainger recording was chosen as one of the “Records to Die For” by Stereophile Magazine.

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2014 - Fred Junkin

Fred JunkinVictoria High School

Although Fred Junkin is most widely recognized for his distinguished 31-year career with the Victoria, Texas, band, his musical accomplishments include work as a musician, arranger, symphony founder, and active participant in professional development for band directors across Texas.

Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1927, he grew up in Kerrville, graduated from the Schreiner Institute High School, and served with the United States Navy during World War II, playing clarinet and saxophone in a musical combo that performed throughout occupied Japan. After his military service he returned to Texas, where he graduated with honors from the University of Texas-Austin in 1950, and served as band director for the Teague, Texas, school district while he completed his masters degree at UT. From 1951 through 1954 he directed the junior high band in Tyler, Texas. During that time he met and married Don Beth, a fourth-grade teacher with the Tyler schools. In 1954 he and his bride moved to Victoria, where he assumed the role of band director, a position he never surrendered, even after he was named Supervisor of Music for Victoria ISD in 1974.

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2014 - Bryce Taylor

Bryce TaylorAlice High School

Bryce Taylor has been helping shape band music in Texas since 1951. A World War II veteran, he served as a trumpeter with the U. S. Marine Corps Band, stationed in San Diego and Pearl Harbor. The Edinburg, Texas, native received his college training at the University of North Texas, Pan American University, and Texas A&I, where he graduated summa cum laude, first in his class.

His first directorship, in 1951, was at Three Rivers, Texas, where he produced the Class A Honor Band in 1960. In 1961 he moved to Alice, Texas, where he devoted the next 35 years to building one of the state’s most outstanding band programs. Under Taylor’s leadership, the Alice Band was a twelve-time finalist in 5-A honor band competition. His bands have been named “Best in Class” or “Outstanding” 36 times, in concert competitions in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas. His 1983 band was one of the first recipients of the Sudler Flag of Honor award, presented by the National Sousa Foundation. Although he retired as band director in 1995, he still works for the Alice Independent School District as a consultant.

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2013 - Dr. Ralph Mills

Dr. Ralph MillsSam Houston State University

Dr. Ralph Lee Mills began his clarinet career in the fourth grade under Dr. Raymond T. Bynum in the Abilene Texas Public Schools through elementary and high school where he played in both bands and orchestras and graduated in 1940. He continued his education at the University of Texas at Arlington majoring in music and studying from Robert Ernst., clarinetist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for two years before the United States Air Force required his service for the next thirty eight months as a bandsman, mostly in Utah and Colorado", where he also played with the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra.

Following his discharge, he went directly to San Jose State University where he did most of his bachelor's degree work from 1945 to 1947 and studied with a wonderful clarinet teacher., Thomas Eagen, who introduced him to the French School of clarinet playing, while playing in both the Symphonic Band and Symphony Orchestra. In 1947 he became director of the Lamesa High School Band and remained there until 1949 while finishing his Bachelor of Arts degree in performance from McMurry University in Abilene. From 1949 t01951 he was a band director with the Odessa Schools and member of the Odessa Symphony Orchestra. From 1951 to 1954 Mills was high school band director and coordinator of instrumental music in the Midland schools. In 1954 he became director and coordinator of music for the First Baptist Church, a position he held until 1959. During his years in Midland he was a member of the Midland Symphony Orchestra.

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2012 - Dr. Gary T. Garner

Dr. Gary GarnerWest Texas State University (West Texas A&M)

Gary Garner was born in Dodge City, Kansas, to Frank and Madge Garner on August 14, 1930. When he was seven, the family moved to Eugene, Oregon, where they remained for one year before coming to Texas.

He attended Sam Houston Junior High School in Amarillo and in the seventh grade joined the band at the urging of his two best friends. Mr. Eads, the band director, gave him a baritone sax. Since it soon proved to be more than he could handle on his bike when he tried to take it home to practice, he convinced his parents to buy the most portable instrument he could find--a flute.

In high school, Gary also took up the saxophone and the clarinet and began playing in local dance bands, which he continued to do throughout college and for many years thereafter.

Following graduation from high school, Gary enrolled at Texas Tech as a geology major, which quickly proved to be a poor choice. Gary had resisted being a music major because that would most likely lead to a career in teaching--something he was determined to avoid at all costs. After the geology debacle, however, he became a music major by default.

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2011 - J.R. McEntyre

J.R. McEntyrePermian High School

Being recognized for excellence in teaching, leadership, and performance is nothing new for J. R. McEntyre. The west Texas oil patch native has spent only six years of his life outside Odessa; he attended college at Texas Tech, he was in the paratroopers during World War II, and his first teaching job was at San Benito, Texas. His contributions to the musical and cultural life in Odessa are legendary, and he continues to serve that area of Texas as Executive Secretary of Region VI.

J. R. was born November 15, 1926 in Odessa. He attended public school there and graduated from Odessa High in 1944. J. R. played French horn, and also served as drum major of the Odessa High School Band under the direction of Wesley May. He joined the paratroopers after high school, and at the end of World War II, he returned to Texas Tech to further his education. While at Tech, J. R. played in the band under the baton of another Hall of Fame member, D. O. Wiley. In 1949, after graduating from Texas Tech, J. R.'s first teaching job took him to San Benito where he served as assistant director to Nelson G. Patrick, a 1992 Hall of Fame inductee.

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