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Legends of the Big Ten

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  • This session is part one of a two year series featuring Legends of the Big Ten in a panel discussion including emeritus faculty from band departments in the Big Ten. This year’s discussion includes Dr. Al G. Wright, Purdue University; Professor Ray E. Cramer, Indiana University; Professor John Whitwell, Michigan State University; Myron Welch, University of Iowa. The decades of experience from each panel member will serve as a back drop for a lively discussion about the band world, trends in the band profession and music education along with fun memories and stories from a collective 160+ years in the profession. Jay Gephart, Director of Bands at Purdue University and former President of the Big Ten Band Director’s Association will serve as moderator.
  • Jay Gephart (jsgephart@purdue.edu)
  • 12/19/2013 03:00 PM - N/A
  • W185
  • Jay S. Gephart joined the faculty of Purdue University in the fall of 1995 after having completed 12 years as a public school band director. He currently serves as Director of Bands, music director of the Purdue Wind Ensemble and director of the “All-American” Marching Band. Under his direction, the Purdue Wind Ensemble performed at the 2012 national convention of the American Bandmaster's Association in Indianapolis. The Purdue Wind Ensemble has also served as the World Projects collegiate showcase ensemble at both Carnegie Hall in New York and Orchestra Hall in Chicago. His ensembles have also performed at numerous state conventions and conferences. During his tenure as director, the Purdue “ All-American” Marching Band performed in the 2013 Dublin, Ireland Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, the 2010 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the 2008 “Meet in Beijing” International Arts and Music Festival prior to the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Professor Gephart has served as guest conductor, clinician and lecturer nationally and internationally including appearances as conductor of All-State Bands in Indiana, Virginia and Arkansas. He has commissioned numerous works for wind band, including "Anthem" by Steven Bryant which was premiered in 2011 celebrating the 125th Anniversary of Purdue Bands. Mr. Gephart holds memberships in the American Bandmaster’s Association, National Band Association, College Band Director’s National Association, Indiana Bandmaster’s Association and Phi Beta Mu. He currently holds positions of Vice President and Treasurer of the John Philip Sousa Foundation, collegiate representative of the National Band Association and is on the Board of Directors for the American Bandmaster’s Association. He is also a member of the NBA Revelli Composition Contest selection committee. From 2010-12, he served as President of the Big Ten Band Director’s Association. Professor Gephart holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and a Master’s Degree in Tuba Performance from Indiana University. He, his wife Jana and their family reside in Lafayette, Indiana.
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  • Ray E. Cramer
  • Ray E. Cramer was a member of the Indiana University School of Music faculty from the fall of 1969 through May 2005. In 1982, Mr. Cramer was appointed Director of Bands. Under his leadership the Indiana University Wind Ensemble earned an international reputation for outstanding musical performances including the 1982 ABA Convention, Indianapolis; the 1984 joint American Bandmasters Association/Japan Bandmasters Association Convention, Tokyo; the 1988 NAfME National Convention, Indianapolis; the 1991 National CBDNA Convention in Kansas City, the 1994 National NAfME Convention in Cincinnati, the 1995 ABA Convention in Lawrence, Kansas, the 1997 National CBDNA Convention in Athens, Georgia, the 2003 CBDNA National Convention in Minneapolis, MN, a 2000 spring tour to Japan performing in six cities and the All Japan Band Clinic plus numerous regional and state conventions and a 2003 performance at The Midwest Clinic. In addition to his administrative responsibilities as the Department Chair, Mr. Cramer taught graduate courses in wind conducting, history and literature. He also conducted the University Orchestra for seven years during the fall semester. He is a member of ABA, CBDNA, NBA, WASBE, NAfME, IMEA, IBA, CIDA, and is affiliated with Phi Mu Alpha, Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma, and Phi Beta Mu. Mr. Cramer is a recipient of the Student Alumni Council Senior Faculty Award (1983), the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Award (1988), the CIDA Director of the Year Award (1988), the Phi Beta Mu, International Assembly, Outstanding Bandmaster Award (1988), the Kappa Kappa Psi Bohumil Makovsky Memorial Award (1991), the Goldman award (2002), and the 2005 Midwest Medal of Honor. He is a past National President of the College Band Directors National Association, the American Bandmasters Association and has served as president of the Indiana Bandmasters Association, the North Central Division of CBDNA and the Big Ten Band Directors Association. He is also former President and former member of the Board of Directors of the Midwest Clinic. Mr. Cramer is actively involved in clinics and guest conducting engagements nationally and internationally. He has served as regular guest conductor for the Musashino Academia of Music in Tokyo, Japan from the fall of 1990 to the present. A native of Illinois, Mr. Cramer has a B.A. and Honorary Doctorate from Western Illinois University and an MFA from the University of Iowa. He taught at Indiana University for 36 years, and served as Director of Bands for 24 years
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  • Dr. Myron Welch
  • Myron Welch is an emeritus professor and former director of bands at The University of Iowa where he conducted the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, coordinated the graduate program in band conducting, and taught courses in instrumental methods, conducting and band literature. In 2001, Dr. Welch was named a Collegiate Fellow in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for his years of outstanding teaching, service and dedication to the college. Prior to coming to Iowa, Dr. Welch was Director of Bands and Coordinator of Music Education at Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio. He was also band and orchestra director at Okemos High School, Okemos, Michigan, where he developed superior ensembles in both mediums. A native of Michigan, he received the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Michigan State University, with majors in clarinet and bassoon. He earned the Doctorate in Music Education from the University of Illinois where he was selected as the first candidate for the Band Conductor Internship program and studied conducting with Dr. Harry Begian. Ensembles under his direction have performed at state and national conventions for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, Ohio Music Education Association, Iowa Music Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, Iowa Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Association, and the American Bandmasters Association. Dr. Welch was a reviewer of new music for The Instrumentalist and is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician. He has appeared with the Goldman Band of New York City and numerous all-state bands, honor bands, and music camps throughout the country. Dr. Welch is Past-President of the American Bandmasters Association, Past-President of the Iowa Bandmasters Association, Past-President and Treasurer of the Big Ten Band Directors Association, and holds membership in the College Band Directors National Association (Past-President, North Central Division), National Band Association (College/University Representative), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (Past-Faculty Advisor), and Music Educators National Conference. A member of the advisory boards of the Goldman Memorial Band and The Purdue University Bands, he was also awarded the National Band Association's Citation of Excellence.
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  • John Whitwell
  • Professor John Whitwell, who retired as professor of music and director of Michigan State University Bands, has distinguished himself in the field of music as an educator, clinician, conductor, adjudicator, and author. He earned an associate degree from Rochester College (formerly known as Michigan Christian College), a bachelor’s degree in music education from Abilene Christian University, and a master of music degree from the University of Michigan. Professor Whitwell began his teaching career in 1965 and held positions as a music teacher, director of bands, and music department chairperson at public schools in Jackson and Ann Arbor. Before joining MSU in 1993, he taught at Stephen F. Austin State University and Abilene Christian University. During his time as director of bands at Michigan State, Professor Whitwell served as chairperson of the conducting area. As a lecturer, guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, he participated in hundreds of music conferences, state and national music association meetings, workshops, festivals, and music competitions throughout the United States and elsewhere, including England, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and Mexico. Professor Whitwell joined the board of the Midwest Clinic, one of the world’s largest instrumental music conferences, in 1997 and has since retired from the positon. His writings have appeared in several music journals and other publications. He is a tireless supporter of the MSU Alumni Band Association and has worked with that organization to commission new works for band. He received MSU’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 2003 and the Paul Varg Alumni Award for Faculty from the College of Arts and Letters in 2004.
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  • Al G. Wright
  • Al G. Wright was born in London, England, in 1916 and came to the United States with his parents in 1923, settling in Pontiac, MI. A French horn player in high school he was awarded a full music scholarship to the University of Miami where he received his Bachelor’s in 1937 and his Masters in 1947. Upon graduating, he obtained a position at Miami High School. In 1954 he was hired as Director of Band at Purdue University and held that position until his retirement in 1986. While at Purdue, Dr. Wright was also Director of the pre-race musical ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Upon his retirement, Purdue University named him Director of Band Emeritus. Early in his teaching career Dr. Wright was elected President of the Florida Orchestras Association. In 1947, he was elected President of the Florida Bandmasters Association. In 1949 he was nominated by Henry Fillmore and elected to membership in the American Bandmasters Association, becoming the youngest member to be elected to the ABA. In 1961, Dr. Wright and John Painter organized the National Band Association at the suggestion of Traugott Rohner, editor and publisher of the Instrumentalist magazine, and Wright assumed the role of president. Later he was elected an Honorary Life President of the NBA. He was also elected an Honorary Life President of the American Bandmasters Association in 2007. In the same year he was elected to the Hall of Distinction of the Florida Bandmasters Association. Dr. Wright has also been awarded the Kappa Kappa Psi Medal and the Sousa Foundation’s Gold Medal of Honor. In 2010, Al and Gladys Wright received the Midwest Clinic’s Medal of Honor, and in 2011 Dr. Wright received the ASBDA’s Harding Award.
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