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LestweForget Their diligence challenged. Their excellence dazzled. Their passion inspired. Their foresight showed the way.


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Int roduction

Wilfred C. Bain Material prepared by Charles Nelson


Euell Porter Material prepared by Maurice Alfred


Julia Dean Evans Material prepared by James R. Nance

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Frank McKinley Material prepared by Charles Nelson

Michael Johnstone Material prepared by Karl Hickfang

Introduction Lest We Forget by Charles Nelson On the stage of Lila Cockrell Hall, in the splendor of the Henry Gonzales Convention Center in downtown San Antonio, the 1999 edition of the Texas Music Educator’s Association’s superb All-State Choir polished the final phrases of its program to a splendor well beyond sixteen, seventeen and eighteen year old vocal and artistic norms. For the past forty years, in addition to an impressive array of octavo music, this choir has performed a repertoire of choral masterworks including Masses by Haydn and Beethoven, Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, even Brahms grand German Requiem. This in itself is remarkable, but there is more. The process which produces this highly select body of student singers also produces a hand-picked choir of one hundred twenty voices in each of the twenty-three TMEA Regions. These region choirs, for the most part, perform the All-State Choir music. This means, that in the year the AllState Choir performed the Beethoven Mass in C Major, there were 2500+ high school students in Texas who could sing every note of his/her part to that masterwork! Contrast this with the TMEA All-State Choir which met in Mineral Wells fifty years earlier. Those singers were selected by a letter sent to all TMEA choir teachers, which said, “Select a quartet of your best singers and bring them to the convention to sing in the All-State Choir”. What brought the great change in the quality of the teaching of choral music in Texas? Who was responsible? Any astute observer of Texas school choirs for the past sixty years can point to a number of teachers whose musical talent, devotion to excellence and charismatic personalities inspired their students with a passion to become, and teach others to become, music makers. “Lest we forget” highlights some of those who have gone before us who have sown the seeds which have produced the bountiful musical and choral harvest which we now enjoy.


Wilfred C. Bain Material prepared by Charles Nelson


Wilfred C. Bain Biographical Sketch North Texas State Teachers College Denton, Texas • 1938-1947 In the fall of 1938, the Music Department at North Texas State Teachers College in Denton, Texas, was housed in several houses on the east side of the campus. The faculty consisted of Mary Anderson and Gladys Kelso who taught piano, Floyd Graham who directed the orchestra, the marching band and the stage band, and Lillian Parrill who directed the choir. They shared the classroom teaching for the twenty-five music majors they served. Dr. Joseph McConnell, the president of NTSTC, hired Wilfred Conwell Bain, a thirty four year old musician with an Ed.D. in Music Education from New York University, to head the Music Department. Born in Canada, son of a minister, Wilfred Bain had attended Westminster Choir College in Princeton NJ where he fell under the influence of the school’s founder and president, John Finley Williamson. Movie star handsome, with a deep, resonant speaking voice, in the flower of manhood, Wilfred Bain conveyed an air of confidence that was infectious. When he talked to students, they believed him. When he talked to the mother of a prospective student, her child was destined to enroll at NTSTC. He talked to a lot of mothers and music major student enrollment grew by 109% in the first year of his administration. By 1939, the NTSTC music department was awarded associate membership in the National Association of Schools of Music; only the second teachers college in the United States to be so designated. Two years later, NTSTC became a full member of NASM. Dr. Bain was elected national vice president of the organization and was appointed to a three-member committee to reevaluate the music curriculum for the 150 member schools. The Music Teachers National Association elected him as a member of its national executive committee. Though all this happened in the heart of the “great depression”, when the economy of the United States was at an all time low, a college education was still affordable. Tuition was just $25.00 a semester for all the hours a student could take. The college owned the textbooks and loaned them to the students without fee. Applied

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music lessons were free. Many students did menial work for the college to pay for their tuition and incidental expenses. Since WCBs early training was in choral music, it wasn’t long until he had established an a cappella choir which was impressing the local citizens with its power and polish. He recruited singers from the college at large and in no time at all, everyone on the campus, who was interested in singing, was singing in the choral program. Practical, rather than musical, reasons determined the size of the touring choir. Since a charter bus held forty passengers, the touring choir numbered forty. Buses were available for charter, but money was not. Since WCB wanted to advertise the NTSTC music department in the larger towns in the area, something must be done. He contacted a large church in downtown Fort Worth and offered them a concert for the price of a bus charter. Since they, too, were short of funds, his offer was rejected. As the son of a minister, he well understood how churches operated. He offered to sing a concert for a free will offering. They accepted. WCB gambled the bus fare against a free will offering and won. A large and generous audience contributed more than enough money for bus fare. As news of the quality of the choir spread, churches, schools and community organizations were willing to help with travel expenses if the choir would come and sing for them. Floyd Graham directed the NTSTC symphony orchestra. WCB knew that an excellent orchestra was essential to the establishment of first-rate music department. Besides recruiting within the State, he sent Floyd Graham to high schools in Chicago and St. Louis, to recruit strings players. In turn for playing in the NTSTC orchestra for four years, these players would be given jobs on campus which would allow them to earn their expenses. A significant number of string students responded. The size and quality of the orchestra grew. With a more than competent orchestra and a significant number of well trained singers, WCB challenged the students with a week long Bach Festival which brought Bach’s masterworks to the North Texas community. The festival opened on a Sunday afternoon with the presentation of the Passion According to St. Matthew. Each day of that week, afternoon and evening concerts were given featuring church cantatas, motets, organ works and concertos. The festival closed the following Sunday with a



Wilfred C. Bain performance of Bach’s B minor Mass. Not only did WCB know how to plan and build a music department, he knew how to advertise. The afternoon and evening concerts during the festival were well attended, but the Sunday performances of the St. Matthew Passion and the B minor Mass, played to a full house. Large numbers came from Dallas and Ft. Worth. John Rosenfield, music critic for the Dallas News and Clyde Whitlock, music critic for the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, attended the concerts and wrote complimentary reviews in their respective papers. This festival was a phenomenal achievement for a music department which, just three years earlier, had a faculty of four music teachers and a handful of music majors. In a short time the music department outgrew the several houses where they met classes and practiced. A new three-story music building was planned and built. The NTSTC Music Department was on the move. Dallas and Houston had professional symphony orchestras. WCB visited Jacque Singer, conductor of the Dallas Orchestra and Ernst Hoffmann, conductor of the Houston Orchestra and offered the NTSTC Grand Chorus as a choral instrument to perform the fourth movement of the Beethoven 9th Symphony. Since neither orchestra had an organized choir available for major choral works, they were happy to use the NTSTC resources. The advanced college singers sang the solos. Dr. Bain felt that it was a privilege for students to have the opportunity to perform great choral masterworks. He felt so strongly that he required ALL music majors, regardless of their chosen instrument, to sing in the Grand Chorus. Strict attendance was taken and excessive absences were penalized by deducting points from the offenders applied music grade. Though the instrumentalists complained about this requirement, years later, they would boast of having sung the Beethoven 9th and Brahms’ German Requiem with professional orchestras. Multiple copies of all the standard collections of etudes, sonatas and vocal anthologies for all voices and instruments were available from an applied music loan library in the music building. On the way to the practice room, or lesson, the student would check out music and return it when finished. A schedule was posted on all practice room doors with assigned names and hours. The practice rooms were

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checked hourly and students who failed to meet their practice period were reported to the office. Excessive absences resulted in loss of points on their applied music grade. There were complaints about this enforced practice, however, most of the students improved significantly each semester. Following the tremendous success of the 1941 Bach Festival, a Brahms Festival was announced for the spring of 1942. This festival encountered a severe impediment on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The majority of the college male population rushed to join the military service. Like all other colleges and universities in the country, NTSTC was left with only men who were too young to be drafted or physically unable to serve. The festival was presented but with modest success. Though the men of the A Cappella choir were committed to military service, it took some time for the mechanics of the draft to call those who did not volunteer. Long before Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war, a four state, twenty-one day tour was planned for March of 1942. Among the stops were: Abilene; Odessa; Amarillo; Roswell NM; El Paso; Alpine; Blanco; Houston; Galveston; Shreveport LA; Russellville and Searcy AK. One can only guess what discussions must have gone on between WCB and the school administration to allow a trip of this magnitude in the middle of a semester. Somewhere near midpoint on that trip, the Chapel Choir, also on tour, joined the A Cappella Choir in Houston and performed Rachmaninoff’s The Bells with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. In 1943, WCB made an arrangement with the Texas Quality Network to broadcast a Bach Church Cantata every Sunday morning for six months. In addition to other music, a cantata was prepared for each Sunday’s performance. Often, there was also a Saturday rehearsal. In effect, for one six month period, the choir was rehearsing six days a week and performing on Sunday! As gasoline and tires were rationed, it became impossible to charter a bus to tour a choir. WCB found creative ways to get his choir about the State. Because of the favorable weather conditions in Texas, Army Air Corps training fields and Army Infantry camps were placed all over the State. Thousands upon thousands of soldiers in these military installations needed some diversion from their military training, so



Wilfred C. Bain their commanders were eager to have nonmilitary entertainment groups come and perform for their troops. WCB made a deal with the U.S. Army for his choirs to tour these military posts if the Army furnished the transportation. The Army had all the gasoline and tires it needed so the NTSTC A Cappella Choir continued to tour during W.W. II. under the auspices of the U.S. Army. Though the male population of the school grew fewer, WCB was not willing to discontinue performing the larger choral masterworks with the Grand Chorus. He “invited” the male faculty members to join the chorus. The “invitation” was presented in such a way that, though they complained behind his back, none of them declined. A performance of the Bach Passion According to St. Matthew was scheduled. The work calls for a double choir and a double orchestra. There were enough women to accommodate two choirs, but only enough men for one choir. Since, for the most part, the choirs sang antiphonally he placed the men in between the women of the two choirs, and had them sing both choir parts. There always seemed to be a way to continue performing great music in spite of a world war and depleted forces. Some four and a half years after Pearl Harbor, W.W. II came to an end and by the grace of the G.I. Bill of Rights, a flood of veterans enrolled in colleges and universities all over the country. NTSTC was no exception. These were unusual freshmen. Men from 20 to 30 years old who had been ship commanders, piloted war planes, lead troops into battle and even some who had been prisoners of war, enrolled as music students. These were men with a purpose. They knew what they wanted to do with the skills they were developing. Many new faculty members were added to accommodate the burgeoning student population. To give some idea of the flurry of vocal activity within the school, in addition to regular music classes, in 1946-1947, the A Cappella Choir: 1) toured a memorized choir program (for two weeks) throughout Texas and New Mexico; 2) performed the choruses from Gluck’s “Orpheus” with the Houston Symphony with Anna Kaskas from the Metropolitan Opera, in the garden of Miss Ima Hogg’s estate in Houston.

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The Grand Chorus performed: 1) the Bach B minor Mass with the Houston Symphony; 2) the Brahms German Requiem with the Dallas Symphony; 3) the Verdi Requiem with the Dallas Symphony. 4) The Opera Workshop presented Gounod’s Faust to a Denton audience, then toured the show to a number of different towns. Considering that the entire A Cappella Choir was also in the Grand Chorus, and were, basically, the entire Opera Workshop, this is an astounding amount of music to have performed in one year, while taking enough classes to earn from 15 to 18 hours of college credit! In the spring of 1947, a rumor was heard, then verified that Wilfred Bain had accepted a position as Dean of the School of Music at Indiana University. Their offer doubled the salary he was making at NTSTC. The School of Music he developed for Indiana University is a matter of record. In the nine years he headed the Music Department in Denton, the department grew from 25 to 450 music majors. The solid foundation he laid has sustained a growth that has made the UNT College of Music one of the largest music schools in the United States. He had high standards and expected faculty and students alike to uphold those standards. Those who adopted the standards he set were among those who had an impact upon the choral climate in the State of Texas, and beyond. His work was significant and should not be forgotten in the grand scheme of the history of choral music in Texas.



Wilfred C. Bain Wilfred C. Bain Remembered by Charles Nelson The sources of life’s influences are often obscure and frequently complex. However, sometimes a stimulus that causes a certain consequence stands out in ones life in bold relief. It is easy to trace the inspiration for the work I did, in forty-eight years of teaching, directly to North Texas State Teachers College (North Texas State College/North Texas State University) in Denton, Texas and Wilfred. C. Bain. During the 1939-1940 school year, while living in Fort Worth, my sister and I heard that a choir from North Texas State Teachers College in Denton, was going to give a concert at the First United Methodist Church and that we should make an effort to hear this fine choir. At the appointed time we were seated in the sanctuary watching forty singers, dressed in purple velvet choir robes, process onto the risers, followed by their conductor, an elegant gentleman dressed in a tail coat and white tie. It was the most impressive choir I had ever seen in all my thirteen years. Their singing lived up to the impressive picture they presented. Their distinguished conductor gave a verbal introduction to each piece they sang, in a vibrant bass voice. To me, he looked and sounded like a giant! When my family moved to Denton in October of 1940 I registered as a fourteen year old sophomore in the Demonstration School at NTSTC. Since I had taken violin lessons and singing lessons, I joined Margie Stafford’s choir, which was superior to the choir I had sung in at Handley High School in Fort Worth. We got to sing in the big Bach Festival the NTSTC Music Department presented the following spring. During that festival I heard the great choral masterpieces, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and B minor Mass, for the first time. It was the beginning of a life-altering experience. That Bach festival had been conceived, promoted and accomplished by that “giant” I had seen and heard in Fort Worth a year or so earlier. The next big change in my life came when my sister, who was a music student in

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college, insisted that I continue studying singing. The first week of school, she made an appointment with a new voice teacher on the faculty, Frank McKinley. Following my audition, he agreed to take me as a voice student. After my first lesson, he invited me to sing in the college Chapel Choir which he was conducting. I was ecstatic. Following the Thanksgiving holidays, there came an opening in Dr. Bain’s A Cappella Choir. I won the audition for that position, and continued studying singing with Frank McKinley. Between September 1941 and August of 1944, besides learning the great motets of Palestrina, Victoria, Bach and Brahms, and other choral music for concert tours, I learned and performed great masterpieces like Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’ German Requiem, Alto Rhapsody and Schicksalslied, Rachnaninoff’s The Bells, Verdi’s Manzoni Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Fauré’s Requiem, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and participated in singing a Bach Church Cantata over the Texas Quality Radio Network every week for six months. We sang the first choral/orchestral work the NTSTC Grand Chorus sang with the Dallas Symphony, a collaboration which lasted for decades. We also sang with the Houston Symphony. I know of no other place in the country where one could have sung this volume of choral masterworks in three years. It was an experience which left me giddy with excitement for singing. Following two years in the U.S. Army (1944-1945) I returned to Denton and earned two degrees in music. Because of the flame Wilfred Bain lit within me, I chose to dedicate my life to the discipline and integrity involved in reproducing magnificent choral art and continued to sing it’s praises to anyone who would listen.



Wilfred C. Bain Respectful and Grateful Memories of Wilfred C. Bain by J. Carter Murphy Prof. of Economics Emeritus Southern Methodist University • December 5th, 2003 If I have made any mark at all on the history of my time, it has been through my work as an economist, in academia and in government. Certainly it has not been as a musician. On the other hand, of all the years of formal education that prepared me for my career, those that made the greatest mark on me may have been my final two years as a college undergraduate at North Texas State College where I was a major in music and a member of Dr. Bain’s A Cappella choir Throughout my youth I sang. On the small farm to which my family had retreated in the Great Depression, I sang to myself in the barn and on my horse. In church I sang. As a freshman and sophomore at Texas Christian University, I sang in the Glee Club. My education had no direction. When I was a college freshman and was asked about my degree plans, I answered “business”, since that didn’t seem to be much of a commitment. In the second year, I could reply more bravely, “premed”. But some where in the second year I began to think that what I really wanted to do... the only thing I really wanted to do...was sing. The choir of Trinity University came to Fort Worth, and I was thrilled. The St. Olaf choir appeared in concert, and I was in electrified. Then the A Cappella Choir of North Texas State came, using a picture of the robed choir in the shape of a cross on the cover of its printed program, and I was convinced that maybe, just maybe, I could, with proper training, make a career of directing such a choir in a college setting. In the fall of 1941, I transferred to North Texas State in Denton and declared myself a music major. My father was displeased with my decision, but he tolerated it because the costs of educating a son were so much less at a state than a private school. The three floor music building had just been completed on the Denton campus, and the top of floor was in use as a men’s dormitory -- a financing arrangement to fund the building. I moved into the third floor and joined the company of men as diverse as the lovable pianist who tried suicide twice but who otherwise consoled himself playing eerily romantic and beautiful midnight piano music in a practice room on the

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second floor, to the more stern and ambitious baritone who could not tolerate the high jinx that frequented the long hallways. It was a good fellowship that had one powerful bonding agent-- music. What was instantly clear to me was my lack of musical training. A high achiever throughout my high school and early college years, I was now a babe in the woods, years behind my cohorts in professional skills. But I wanted to sing. Places in the A Cappella choir were filled, and there were many voice major seeking to join. Those of us in waiting were assigned to the Chapel Choir under the direction of Frank McKinley. Mr. McKinley (his easy-going nature made it easy to call him Frank, although the serious Wilfred Bain was always Dr. Bain) was a voice teacher to most of us, and presumably made suggestions to Dr. Bain when he thought a student might be useful for the a cappella choir. It was sometime in the spring that I was invited to in to join at the top Choir, and I couldn’t have been more proud and relieved had I won election to a major political office. I could master music theory, music appreciation and musicology and could stumble through Piano and amusedly experiment in the requirement courses in strings, but I mostly wanted to sing, and joining Dr. Bain’s choir was fulfillment. Wilfred Bain was a distant authority to most of us in the music department. He was like a military officer who inspired but did not over fraternize with his troops. It was Mary, his wife, who was his soft glove, taking a caring interest in us all. In daily choir rehearsals, however, all eyes were riveted on Dr. Bain, and there was a kind of flow of energy between him and every singer. He was a severe taskmaster, finding nuances in the polyphony and brooking no sloppy phrasing or careless entrances. When the choir tuned, we held the chord until the overtones throbbed. A choir “secret”, like the fraternal handshake, was the dissemination of the opening pitch. I shall not even now revealed the “secret”, but it was the source of amusement to many in our audiences who inquired about the techniques of a cappella singing. On several occasions, when the choir’s work at practice seemed undisciplined, Bain required everyone to come down from the choir stands to do pushups on the choir room floor. The two years I was in Denton were exciting ones. The big production in my first year was the Beethoven 9th which we did with the Houston symphony. In the second year, the great production was the Brahms Deutsche Requiem, which I believe we per-



Wilfred C. Bain formed with the Dallas Symphony. On tour we opened with the great Bach Motet “Sing Ye to the Lord”. On hearing recordings of these massive compositions, I still find myself humming, or imagining, the tenor lines. I remember, too, the excitement of working on a new Bach cantata every week for many weeks, each for a one time Sunday broadcast. While I subsequently sang in the Midshipmen choir at Riverside Church, New York, was cantor in the choir for Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago, and joined a small professional group at Chicago's First Unitarian Church, never again did I enjoy such a richness of musical experience as I did in those Denton years. Wilfred Bain’s use of his A Cappella Choir and a Great Chorus to attract attention to his burgeoning program at North Texas, garnered many of us who yearned to be part of a fine choral instrument and who had a few other choices in those years. Sometime during World War II, I abandoned the idea of seeking a profession in music in favor of becoming a student of international affairs and public policy. But I shall ever bear the imprint of fine fellowships and musical discipline that I found at North Texas. Bain’s transformation of the North Texas program in only a few years was a feat of academic entrepreneurship at its best. I believe he helped lift and refined tastes and expectations of many Texans who previously had accepted glee club renditions of popular tunes as the norm for university music. His high performance standards, and his flair for marketing them, probably lifted academic norms and expectations in other departments at North Texas State College now University and helped propel the institution along the path to excellence it has since followed. I am convinced that talented academic leaders make a great difference in quality, as well as size, of institutions they serve. Wilfred Bain built a great music program from scratch at North Texas and in doing so, changed his university, the state and the region. A great many of us are the beneficiaries of his legacy.

Wilfred C. Bain Close Up of Wilfred Bain 1947-1948 by Herbert L. Teat “ Wilfred Bain ... when I think of Wilfred Bain, I see a highly dignified, handsome man of great bearing, walking on the stage in front of the greatest choir sound I’d ever heard...” Thus spake Euell Porter, a legend in choral music in the State of Texas. I visited Mr. Porter in his retirement home in Waco. Friends told me not to expect him to remember anything when I go to visit. Sure enough, when I said ,”Euell, remember... " Right away he waved me off and said, “Herb, I never can remember anything." Not satisfied, the next visit I avoided the word “remember” and said, “I was thinking of Wilfred Bain the other day, and I ...” Right away, Euell said, “Wilfred Bain... when I think of Wilfred Bain, I see a highly dignified ...” It was the same with me, and I dare say many, who got the same impression. In 1941 as a senior in Ysleta High School in far west Texas, I went to a choir concert at the auditorium one evening. The curtain opened on a robed choir beyond anything I had seen before. A very suave director in a cut away tuxedo came forward to introduce and conduct the program. His presentation and the choral singing was beyond all I had experienced, and proved unforgettable. Being of typical high school mentality, all I remembered factually was a great choir from a college in Denton, Texas. The name of the college, the name of the director and the repertoire escaped me with the exception of one composition, Ballad for Americans. Like many young American men in 1946 I went back to college to find my place in the sun. I transferred my prewar credits from Hardin-Simmons University to North Texas State Teachers College. I abandoned the dreaminess of a composer for the more accessible employment in the field of instrumental music education. Biased though it may seem, I could not have attended a school anywhere better than what we had at North Texas. Dr. Bain had the most progressive ideas of any music educator ever to come to the State of Texas. After an interview with him as to my sta-



Wilfred C. Bain tus in light of the two years of music I had studied at Hardin Simmons University before the war, he classified me as a Junior, and I was off and running, and I do mean running. As an undergraduate, I took the required courses in conducting. Dr. Wilfred Bain, Dean of Music, required everyone to take both choral and instrumental conducting. He taught the choral conducting and had a peculiar way of testing for the final grade. We students often referred to him as Mr. God, so you can imagine my level of nervousness. I presented myself at the appointed time in his office. He instructed me to go to a music stand across the office from his desk with a piece of choral music on it, closed. As per his instruction, I opened the piece of music and studied it for a short prescribed time. "If you're ready, Mr. Teat. Please conduct the piece," he said from across the room. I took a deep breath and imagined a choral group before me, waiting for me to lead them through the music. Dr. Bain observed the way I acted out conducting the piece as a finished product. As if his observation weren't enough, I had to conduct a piece of music I had not seen before. What I saw appeared to be written by a starving composer who was still starving. But Dr. Bain allowed me no time for intimidation. The music had multi-metered measures that began in four, followed by measures of twos, or fives, threes, fours, sixes and more mixed meters. All the hours I poured into building those conducting patterns into my motor memory came to my rescue. I could not have done it with anything less than complete abandon. When I finished, I closed the music, stood drained and heard Dr. Bain say, with a satisfied smile, “You’re a choral man.” "Thank you, Dr. Bain, but I’ve invested much in the instrumental area of my training.” "That may be, Mr. Teat, but I maintain that you're a choral man." I left his office that day, at first reminding myself of my love of band, of the instruments and the drama of band music, but I found myself contemplating Dr. Bain's words. For the first time I began to think of the human voice as an instrument as well. From Bain's insight and to paraphrase, “our nature will out”. Within four

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years my transition to choral music education ensued. On another day, I asked Dr. Bain, "How is it that you get everybody to do so much?" "First, you get them to want to," he said, following a satisfied chortle, "and balance that with afraid not to." "Beyond that," he continued, "If you have time to think and realize how much you are doing, you might be afraid you couldn’t do it, and you’d quit." At the beginning of my second year, during the registration process I saw how Dean Bain cared for each individual among his 400 music majors. When I completed my schedule with a required course in the Education Department, I presented my registration card to Dr. Bain for his approval. He showed his disapproval of an Education course when he got up and walked over to have a chat with the Dean of Education. His secretary explained that they scheduled me for observation of a teacher in the Demonstration School. Dr. Bain proposed that music majors take a Psychology course instead. The upshot of the Deans’ conversation resulted in my taking the course "Seven Schools of Psychology,” that contributed greatly to my approach to the teaching / learning process. A neutral time in Music Building activities came every afternoon at 5 o'clock. You might hear a couple of pianos practicing, but even Dr. Bain appeared at the front entrance to be picked up by Mrs. Bain. Occasionally I stood waiting there, and once heard Dr. Bain carry on a conversation with the janitor, Mr. Key. He revealed how he conducted his personal business when he told Mr. Key he bought his new Chrysler in Krum. Maybe it's the sound of the word, but I found it incongruous when I imagined that Mrs. Bain bought her clothes at Neiman Marcus in Dallas, and the elegant Dean Bain bought his car from a dealer in Krum.



Wilfred C. Bain Wilfred Bain Remembered by J.W. (Jubby) Johnson I was a senior at Denton High in the spring of 1939 and my piano teacher, Miss Mary Anderson, thought I should consider majoring in music. There was a new department chairman at NTSTC named Dr. Bain. I got an appointment with him, and since I had roles in the high school musical, I sang for him. He gave me a work scholarship for half of my tuition. That was fine with me because I already had a half grant from the tennis team. I was in the A Cappella choir as a baritone my freshman year. Frank McKinley came in the fall of my sophomore year and was my voice teacher. He put me in the Chapel Choir which he had formed and from then on I was a tenor. Through my junior and senior years I was in Dr. Bain's choir. During those years several of us from the choir sang in pop vocal groups. I wrote (or copied) the charts. By my junior year I was playing piano in “Fessor” Graham's stage band and we appeared occasionally on the Saturday night stage show. In the spring of my senior year, 1943, Dr. Bain was booking the choir at various military bases. He asked me if I would write "something popular" for these performances. I wrote an a cappella arrangement of "Stardust" and he liked it well enough to use it. I went on active duty in the Army before he used it and never heard it performed. After discharge from the Army in January of 1946, I went by the music building to visit. I was given a packet of music and in a few days was on tour with what was then called the North Texas State College Choir. After the tour I started work on a master's degree which I received in June of '47. With the graduate study I also taught secondary piano and directed the stage band and the Saturday night stage show in the summers of '46 and ‘47 I taught at Wharton County Junior College from 1946 to 1953 and Tyler Junior College from 1965 to 1998. I have said many times how incredibly lucky all of us were at the time we were at North Texas. We were taught and influenced by such outstanding, talented people as Wilfred Bain, Frank McKinley, Floyd Graham, Walter Hodgson, Myron Taylor and

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Walter Robert. And then there was blessed Mary Anderson, who took a skinny little left handed tennis player and put up with him through junior high, high school, college and graduated school.



Wilfred C. Bain The Influence of Dr. Wilfred Bain by Bob Irby In the early 1940s Plainview High School brought Ms. Herman Vaughn to our school to teach Choral Music. She had just graduated from North Texas State Teachers College where she had been a member of Dr. Bain's A Cappella Choir. At P.H.S. there had been very little student participation in the Choral Music program. Ms. Vaughn did a masterful job of recruiting, enlisting football players, cheerleaders and other popular students. Many of us who were not in that category rushed to join to be with the, “elite”. This was my first time to sing in a group that the director required musical discipline. To me the music we produced was wonderful and I was, “hooked”. She selected me to sing in small ensembles and at church I was asked to sing my first solo. Even the football players and the cheerleaders seemed to take me into their circles, which gave some much needed strokes to my self image. All this was an early turning point in my life. In 1944, my senior year, I was informed by my choir director that the North Texas State Teachers College Choir was going to present a concert in Plainview. As I sat and listened to the most beautiful music I had ever heard I decided that I was going to North Texas and maybe someday get in that choir. I was also greatly impressed when a young baritone soloist stepped out from the choir and sang, “The Ballad for Americans”. It “knocked me out”! That soloist was Charles Nelson. I didn’t know it at the time but Charles was still in high school and traveling with the choir. We were the same age. In January of 1945 I graduated from P.H.S. and enrolled immediately in the Music School at North Texas where Dr. Bain placed me in the baritone section of his A cappella Choir. It was such a valuable experience to have had the opportunity to sing under his direction the last full year of his teaching at North Texas and to be in the choir for his last tour prior to his leaving the school.

Wilfred C. Bain Wilfred Bain Remembered by Rowena (Turney) Taliaferro Dr. Wilfred C. Bain was most certainly the dominant figure in my four years as a music education major at the North Texas State Teachers College in Denton, Texas. As a freshman in the fall of 1942 I arrived in time to sing in the Bach Cantatas on the radio on Sunday mornings and to this day, it is easier for me to sight-read Bach than any other composer. We were divided into two choirs and thus had two weeks to prepare a cantata, but it still took all our sight-read skills to perform them for radio. With this beginning activity, my music education progressed, ala Bain, until graduation with a Bachelor's in the summer of 1946. Whatever Bain advised me to do or take, I did, never occurring to me to question him in any way, but then no one else did either. We all respected him as a musician, as a Dean, and as a man of great ability and energy. That energy transferred to us in A Cappella Choir. The boys had to do push-ups on the floor, and we females had to push-up against the wall. That gave us strength and aided in the breathing of long phrases. We even became capable of standing for 2 hours at a time for rehearsals and performances. From then on I expected my own choral students to be strong in the diaphragm area as well as open their mouths. Our repertoire always was of the highest standard which again remained with me during my teaching years, even to the point of having my choirs sing such numbers as Deep River and of course, every concert ended with The Lord Bless You and Keep You. I will always love it and my students felt the same way, even the junior high choirs learned it as well as Lamar High School Varangian Choir (I have already requested that it be sung at my memorial!) The choral sound that originated with the Westminster Choir College, but altered somewhat, stayed with me. Naturally, I could not expect very young voices to completely imitate the more mature sound, but my choirs were encouraged to cover their tone, especially for some repertoire. This also helped the blending of the voices which Dr. Bain always obtained with his choirs. Other than the choral experiences, Dr. Bain insisted upon an all-round good



Wilfred C. Bain music education. With the faculty he hired: Walter Robert (piano and theory) Dr. Walter Hodgson (theory and composition) Mary McCormic (opera and voice) Myron Taylor (voice) Dr. Ralph Appelman and Dr. George Morey (symphonic literature who later became my husband Lloyd's major professor in composition), were all very instrumental in my education. I will always appreciate these wonderful faculty members for their knowledge and helpful friendships. And those choir trips! Singing for military installations and the civilian concerts provided each of us experiences that could not be matched anywhere. What a great idea to work with the U.S. Army so that not only did we do our patriotic duty to perform for the "boys in uniform" but we could advertise North Texas all over Texas and parts of New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Many a young high school student decided to major in music at North Texas after hearing us sing in concert. That alone started the movement to further and improve the cause of choral music in Texas. When Dr. Bain resigned to become Dean of Music at Indiana University, we all thought the end had come, but he left North Texas in good hands and a formidable music program established. We gave a party for him and presented him with a new car and all our well wishes and grateful thanks for a job very well done. With this background it was natural that all my choirs would benefit from my own experience and efforts. I know that any success that came my way was partly due to Dr. Bain's wonderful influence and energy.

Wilfred C. Bain Wilfred Bain Remembered by Ira Schantz Dr. Bain opened to me a new standard of excellence in choral music and its performance that I never dreamed of. Because of Dr. Bain, I was introduced to great choral masterpieces of which I had never heard, especially the Bach Passions and the Mass in B minor, etc., which would later play a big part in my vocal and musical development. Dr. Bain helped me to build my personal and musical confidence by assigning me a solo in one of the pieces the North Texas State Teachers College A Cappella Choir sang on its autumn tour, 1946, a solo which I would not normally have expected to be given since I was a freshman and it was my first tour with the choir. I appreciated not only Dr. Bain’s outstanding ability as a choral conductor but also his equally excellent expertise as an administrator in his capacity as Dean of the North Texas State Teachers College School of Music. His record at North Texas and later at Indiana University, speaks for itself.



Wilfred C. Bain Wilfred Bain Remembered by Ann Everett Everest My first and foremost debt to Dr. Bain was the way he took an interest in my performance attitude. I must have been somewhat of a simpering wimp, and he thought, "Something should be done about that." He taught me how to present myself, with poise and assurance when I sat down at the piano. His very manner was so dignified. I shall never forget the first time I saw him. It was on campus on his daily walk to the music hall. I had never seen a man in a homburg and come to think of it, not one since. Had it been an alien from outer space I couldn't have been in complete and total awe! I am grateful that he took the time to coach me on my mien. He stressed first, complete control of my material (and I know he gave the same consideration to his voice students) then develop a calm and assured air. To this day I feel his beautiful presence when I perform and it has helped me through a lot of nervous moments before a performance. In 1943 we sang the Beethoven 9th with the Dallas Symphony and Houston Symphony. When we went to Houston for our performance, I came down with a terrible case of laryngitis. Not wanting to miss the chance of a lifetime, I swore my friends to secrecy and did a super lip-sync job. Dr. Bain, I'm sure, was not fooled for a minute, but, being the kind and gracious person that he was, he let me go on. (An afterthought: what if we had all had laryngitis!)

Wilfred C. Bain Wilfred Bain Remembered by Kay Smith Any success my various choirs have experienced is due largely to what I learned from Wilfred C. Bain. Here are some of the things he preached that I tried to practice. Every person in a choir is important. The total sound is a blend of individuals trained to listen and fit themselves into this blend. Learn to manage breath easily and noiselessly. Relax while inhaling to match speed of intake to speed of output and to not take more breath than you need. Over breathing is a common fault. Good diction insures good tone. Learning to sing a foreign language helps us recognize and control our colloquial speech habits which can so easily wreck the choral tone. Good music encourages good singing. Choose from the best of choral literature if you want to best from your choir.



Wilfred C. Bain Wilfred Bain Remembered by Jesse Hensarling 1944-1945 Dr. Wilfred Bain was the reason I attended North Texas State Teachers College in 1944. I had heard the A Cappella Choir and wanted to sing in it. Encouraged by my high school choir director, Euell Porter, I enrolled as a Music Education major and did get accepted into the choir. Through the Choir and Grand Chorus I had opened up to me choral literature and orchestral music that I had never heard or dreamed of. I learned discipline to stand and sing with my hands at my side no matter what happened, the importance of physical condition, and many other valuable lessons. Dr. Bain used me in the bass section but encouraged me to expand my range to baritone in personal studies. I did not become a professional musician. My vocation turned to accounting and ministry. But Dr. Bain prepared me for a lifetime of enjoyment through singing and gave me an appreciation good choral music. I am grateful and desire to honor him.

Wilfred C. Bain Wilfred Bain Remembered by Cecelia (Cunningham) Box I almost missed the A Cappella Choir. I was a senior music major when Dr. Bain arrived at NTSTC in 1938 and announced a new choir that required actual auditions. Scared to death, I went in to audition for the alto section, but he convinced me to sing soprano. I was ecstatic! My musical memories began with the sound of my father leading the singing in church. Growing up, music always just seemed where I was going. Now, I realize more and more that music tells the story of where I've been. I can't imagine a life without music. Even the saddest tune soothes the heart and joyful music is irresistible. But joining voices to make beautiful music puts you right next door to heaven. My teaching career involved positions at St. Jo and Sherman, Texas. The training I received at North Texas gave me the confidence to lead my student choirs to the district championship in 1940. Following World War II my husband, Joe Box, (SMU '40) and I moved to Grapevine, Texas where he was in the Banking business for fifty-two years. Three of Dr. B ain's F amo us Admonit ions 1. Keep your ey es on me. 2. B efor e you f aint, s it down. 3. Us e mum!



Wilfred C. Bain Wilfred Bain Remembered by Wilma (Thiele) Dorsey During World War II we could only get transportation to travel courtesy of the government by singing concerts in Army camps, as well as in schools and churches. On at least one tour, the bus was a trailer which had long bench seats down either side of the aisle so we faced each other all day. As Bill Sparks would say, "That was so boring!" Once we were in Amarillo when they had a heavy snowfall. We all had to get off the bus and the male choir members had to push it when we got stuck in the snow. Singing in Dr. Bain's choir enriched my life immeasurably. I spent four years (1947-1951) teaching at John Tarleton College in Stephenville, Texas. I married Harold Dorsey in 1948. We moved to Waxahachie when Harold became the band director there in 1951. I was an independent piano teacher in Waxahachie for many years. Both our daughter and our son have earned degrees form NTSU.

Wilfred C. Bain Wilfred Bain Remembered by K.C. Newell Singing choral music with Wilfred Bain gave me an appreciation for music which, through the years, has not waned. I’m still singing in all male choruses affiliated with Ben Hur Shrine Temple in Austin, Texas. I spent 30 years with the Texas Department of highways, an engineering organization, retiring in 1979 at the age of 53. I began my brief but memorable experience with the College of Music in 1946 right after being discharged from service following World War II. Although my major began with pre engineering courses, I still found time to take voice lessons under a very capable Thomas Hardy and piano lessons under Ray Haney, a graduate student who was then pursuing a master’s degree in music. I also took a course in music appreciation but can no longer remember who taught the course. It was through this exposure that I became interested in singing in the Grand Chorus. This interest was expressed to Dr. Wilfred Bain who was Dean of the School of Music as well as director of the Grand Chorus and I believe the A Cappella Choir as well. Dr. Bain suggested (insisted) that I audition for him and a time was set up for this purpose. At the appointed hour I entered a large practice room in the music building which was void of all furniture except for one very large concert grand piano and Dr. Bain seated on the bench. The good doctor then handed me a sheet of music and told me I was to sight read this as he accompanied me on the piano. I was simply petrified because I never considered myself to be an accomplished sight-reader. Apparently I did well enough as I was told to begin attending rehearsals. The first performance the Grand Chorus made while I was a member, was with this Houston Symphony Orchestra. We performed Bach’s B minor Mass. We were all very excited about this opportunity to sing with such a renowned orchestra led by conductor Ernst Hoffman. We became even more excited when we learned that the famous and wonderful contralto Marian Anderson, diva with the Metropolitan Opera, was in the audience. We performed well and received rave reviews in the Houston papers. Our next performance was with the Dallas Symphony, then conducted by Antal



Wilfred C. Bain Dorati. We performed my favorite of all choral works, the Brahms Requiem. Just to be in the chorus singing this exquisite piece of music by such a masterful composer, was an emotional experience that I will never forget. Following the performance however it seemed that the entire chorus wanted the autograph of conductor and Antal Dorati who willingly obliged, using my pen to sign his name. I still have the pen which serves to bring forth many delightful memories.

Wilfred C. Bain Wilfred Bain Remembered by James R. Nance The first time I saw Dr. Bain was the fall of 1943 or spring of 1944, my senior year in high school. Amarillo Air Force Base was one of several military bases included on the itinerary of the North Texas A Cappella Choir tour that year. Fortunately, Dr. Bain arranged for the choir to perform a short concert for Amarillo High School during morning assembly time from the usual thirty minutes to a little over an hour. I had never heard any musical organization perform as professionally as the North Texas Choir. I had never been so moved. The concert was more than inspiring to me, I was awed and at that time I didn’t dream that one day I would be a member of that great choir. I don’t remember everything the choir sang but I do remember two selections. The “Ballad for Americans”, two years later I learned Charles Nelson was the soloist, and we became friends. The choir closed the concert with “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.” Following high school, like most young men in those World War II days, I spent two years in military service. I volunteered for the navy. Following my discharge, I decided a college degree should be my next challenge. The question was, just what should be my major? I came from a family who loved music. My parents played the piano and sang. Both my sisters and I started piano lessons at an early age and we sang in church and school choirs. My main interest in music however became the trumpet. I began playing trumpet in the fifth grade, played in our Junior High School Band, High School Band and our local Symphony Orchestra. During my sophomore year in high school I began playing in dance bands six nights a week. I quit the school band in my senior year but was a member of Mrs. Dean’s A Cappella Choir. During my last year in the navy, I sang in a Navy Church Choir. My short-term goals were to enroll in North Texas as a music major, and if at all possible, qualify for the choir which meant dropping trumpet and concentrating on voice. The first time I met Dr. Bain was at my audition for the choir in late August 1946. It was immediately apparent that Dr. Bain was a confident, very well organized



Wilfred C. Bain man who knew where he wanted to go, what he wanted to do and how to do it. Before saying a word his powerful personality was like an aura surrounding him and filled the small studio room used for auditions. A young lady was sitting at a table next to him and another was at a piano. I did not realize it was customary so I had nothing prepared to sing. Dr Bain, in his rich, resonate voice. said “Well, let’s test our range.” After being led by the pianist throughout a series of vocalizations, my sight-reading skills were tested. The next day I was notified to be at Choir practice that afternoon. The choir tour that year began in Late September or early October, allowing just a few weeks for the new members of the choir to memorize all the music. Many of the choir members were previous members of the choir, and attended summer school and had some of the music memorized before the new members were selected and invited to join the choir. Dr. Bain informed the new choir members that memorization meant knowing the music well enough to be able to write out our parts and that we would be tested as the final qualification to go on tour. I believed him. Initially I doubted I would be able to achieve this feat, but after many hours of daily choir practices, plus additional preparations on my own, I was confident I could meet this requirement. Whether Dr. Bain was satisfied we knew our music, never really intended to test us, or just ran out of time, the test never occurred. There were many things I learned that single year before Dr. Bain left North Texas to become Dean of Music at Indiana University. I was introduced to music I had never before heard or performed. In addition to the A Cappella Choir, I participated in the Grand Chorus which sang “Verdi’s Requiem” with the Dallas Symphony, and I also sang in the chorus of Gounod’s opera “Faust”, produced by Mary McCormic and directed by Dr. Bain. I met many of the “old Masters” that first year at North Texas on a level I had never before experienced. In addition to music, I received my first lessons in serious planning, organization and preparation from Dr. Bain, who was a master of each. These prove to be a valuable foundation for my later business studies and career.

Wilfred C. Bain Wilfred Bain Remembered by Eddie Lou (Haug) Neel I feel Dr. Bain deserves every honor and recognition and that can be bestowed on a music educator of his stature. I had the honor of having him as a professor and director at the then North Texas State Teachers College in Denton, Texas. I was enrolled at North Texas State Teachers College from 1941 to 1945. I received both a Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education degrees with a concentration in voice and piano. Almost immediately my love became choral music. Dr. Bain was the Dean of the Music Department and the choral director of the top A Cappella choir. I was fortunate to make his top choir my freshman year and was a member until my graduation with a bachelor and master of music degrees in 1945. Dr. Bain was a tough and demanding director and highly respected by the staff and students. He demanded respect and dedication. Choral rehearsals were two hours long in addition to physical warm-ups which included a hundred push-ups from the men and 50 modified push-ups from the women. All the music assigned daily was to be memorized before the next rehearsal. Testing was conducted over the assigned literature daily in quartets. One memory of interest I have in the conducting class. I am left-handed. In conducting class he moved me into another room and changed my conducting habit from left to right. I thought I might be terminated but the private sessions made me a very good conductor and the second semester I was able to join my classmates. Dr. Bain spent very little time in his office. He was very visible and ready to share your problems, physical as well as academic. If you could not obtain the standards required by the music department, after several conferences, you were advised to change your major field. He had a yearly schedule for major performances and weekly schedule for major works that were performed with major artists and the Dallas Symphony. We did not travel out of state due to limited transportation during World War II. We broadcast Bach’s cantatas weekly on Sunday with a radio hookup in the rehearsal hall.



Wilfred C. Bain Dr. Bain was constantly upgrading the School of Music, bringing in new professors in performance and research. The stage band program was phenomenal! Other universities, both in state and out of state, were seeking to draw him away from North Texas. I’m sure he had additional goals of achievement for the Music School of North Texas before he left for Indiana University. In conferences with him during my college days he only made one impossible demand of me. At 5’6” and 106 lbs., he insisted that I come back to school in the fall with an added 15 lbs. In September during registration each year he would only look at me, shake his head and sigh!!! In 1985 a special banquet for ex-members was scheduled at the North Texas homecoming event. There were quite a few of us present and a special recital was scheduled featuring Charles Nelson. At the banquet I met with Dr. Bain and remarked, “I finally gained those 15 lbs.” He was quite amused! I am a retired Music Supervisor from the San Angelo Independent School District in San Angelo, Texas. My teaching experience spans 52 years at every level. I retired with 36 of those years as Supervisor of Music. I feel I owe my success as a music educator and supervisor to the training and self discipline Dr. Bain demanded. What an educator and model for future performers and directors.

Euell Porter Material prepared by Maurice Alfred


Euell Porter Biographical Sketch of Euell Porter 1910-1998 by E. Maurice Alfred, Ph.D. Edwin Euell Porter was born October 10, 1910 near Franklin, Texas and died September 23, 1998 in Waco Texas. He was the last of six children born to George W. and Alma Parker Porter. His parents worked a small farm outside of Franklin in Robertson County. George W. came from Missouri and was a second generation Irish immigrant. Euell’s mother was of Cajun descent with hair as “black as coal.” His twin sisters, Addis Mae and Gladys Faye, and his brothers, Richard Bland, Samuel Lewis, and George Felton, took care of their little brother almost from his birth. When Porter was about six, his mother became bedridden with influenza and he remembered his mother saying “bring that baby here and let him stand by the bed and sing for me.” Though his mother was ill, the Porter’s sang and made music each night, with his sister Addis or his brother Sam playing the piano, and the rest of the family singing. His mother’s illness became progressively worse, and she died when he was eight. After her death, the family moved to a farm near Pettaway, Texas. Their new house and farm were much larger, with one room set aside for music. In the music room there was a pump organ and a five pedal upright piano. The family continued its tradition of singing, with his sister Addis Mae playing the organ and brother Samuel Lewis playing the piano. In the early 1920’s, Porter attended a singing school in Boone Prairie and it was there he learned to read shaped notes. Porter’s father remarried and moved back to Franklin with his new wife. At this time Euell went to live with his oldest brother Richard and wife Irene Porter. The following year, Porter moved to Calvert where he attended high school, living with his sister Addis Mae and her husband, Edward Lockett. His main interests were basketball and football, but he also took four years of Latin. The Latin teacher was school superintendent J. I. Moore. Porter said his studying in Moore’s Latin class was when he first began to enjoy language and poetry. He said he learned more about English in the four years of Latin than in any English classes in high school or college.

Euell Porter

Superintendent Moore took an interest in the young Porter, and tutored him throughout high school. Porter also played basketball and football at Calvert. Moore was the basketball coach. Porter described Moore as a “hump-shouldered, ugly faced man who later became his best friend. In 1925, Porter became a Christian at a tent revival and then joined Calvert’s First Baptist Church. There he met Mrs. Peeler, a Sunday school teacher and new friend. While listening to him sing hymns, she was impressed by the quality of his voice. Just as he had sung with his family and in church as a boy, he now was singing in church as a tenor. Peeler and Moore encouraged him to take voice lessons from a local teacher and Euell’s brother-in-law, Edward Lockett, arranged for the lessons with Miss Stella MacIntosh. Porter was quick to point out that his playing sports kept the other kids from thinking singing was “sissy.” Porter continued to be active in church and school activities until his graduation from Calvert High School in 1928. The Lockett family did not have the means to send Porter to college and he began to work in the local Calvert grocery store. In December of 1928, Superintendent Moore came to Porter and asked, “If I get you a scholarship to Simmons College, will you go?” Moore was a graduate of Simmons College and had family in Abilene. In early January of 1929, Moore returned from a visit to Abilene having arranged for a full scholarship for Porter to attend Simmons College. The next week, Porter went to Simmons College to study English and walk on as a basketball player. As it was too late to make dormitory arrangements Porter boarded at the house of Mrs. S. O. Reister. He also found a job in a grocery store and began classes at Simmons. Though it was unknown to Porter, Superintendent Moore contacted William James Work, chair of Vocal Music and Choirs at Simmons. During the first few weeks of school, Work came to Porter’s boarding house and said “You, come and go with me.” They went to the music building and Work convinced Porter to major in music. Work and his wife took a special interest in Porter, and treated him as their own child throughout Porter’s years at Hardin-Simmons. Mrs. Work accompanied the choirs and taught basic theory and music history. Porter believed that Work taught him to utilize small groups to build a choir. In the 1931-32 school year, Porter sang first tenor with the Simmons University Male Quartet, along with Bernard Richards,



Euell Porter second tenor, Mack Carden, baritone, and Tyler Cagle, bass. This was during the depression and Porter found himself working all night in a filling station, working in the Post Office in the morning and jerking sodas in the afternoon one summer in order to be able to attend school the following fall. Porter was a popular student and was elected president of his junior class. He had also been vice president of his sophomore class. In his senior year, 1933, the quartet was Porter, Richards, Guy Shaw and Cagle. These quartets sang in Baptist churches throughout West and Central Texas, and at the Texas Baptist Conventions in 1930 and 1932. The 1933 quartet went to the World’s Fair in Chicago; Shaw said they left Abilene with $10 between them and sang in churches for food and overnight lodging. Shaw also said they had more money when they got back than when they left. Porter thought Work’s method of teaching the basics of vocal production, primarily breath management, was worthy of emulation. Work encouraged Porter to conduct choirs. During his junior and senior years, Porter was the primary soloist for the University Choir, President of the Debate Squad and active in the Baptist Student Union. Though he never played basketball for Hardin-Simmons, his intramural basketball team, (the quartet and two other musicians,) won the intramural championship in 1932 and 1933. He graduated in 1933 with a major in voice and a minor in English. Porter’s older brother Sam lived in Hearne, Texas, which was twelve miles south of Calvert. Sam made arrangements for Porter to teach five classes of English at Hearne High School and direct the music at Hearne First Baptist church. Porter convinced the high school principal to approve the formation of a male chorus, girls’ chorus, male trio and girls’ trio, which would be considered extracurricular activities. His first recruit was the all-conference center on the football team. After that, Porter always had plenty of boys in the choir. He was allowed to rehearse the choirs before school and during study hall. There were about 200 students at Hearne High School, and 150 of them showed up for auditions. Porter chose thirty girls and thirty boys for the first chorus groups at the school. Using the pattern he had learned from William James Work at Hardin-Simmons, Porter formed a girls’ trio and a male trio from the

Euell Porter

choruses to sing in the community and at school functions and community churches. The glee clubs were successful, and they and the trios performed throughout Central Texas. Their repertoire included cowboy songs (ballads), hymn arrangements and novelty songs, accompanied by a piano.[21] Porter, in addition to his other duties, coached basketball and baseball in the afternoons. His baseball team won the state championship and the basketball team took regional honors. Porter also created the Hearne Community Chorus. It was comprised of the town’s Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian Church choirs. The chorus was formed for a town revival in the spring of 1935, and after the revival, the choirs met annually for town hymn singing festivals. They would perform at the school auditorium or at First Baptist Church, singing hymn arrangements exclusively. When Porter was a senior at Hardin-Simmons, he was invited to lead the singing for a revival in Muleshoe, Texas. On the first night of the revival, he met Christine Dennis, a sixteen year-old junior in high school, and a friendship developed. After graduation from high school, Christine enrolled at Hardin-Simmons University in the fall of 1934. Porter would visit her while working in Hearne, and at the beginning of her junior year, Christine and Euell drove to Shreveport, Louisiana, eloping August 26, 1936. Rev. H. M. Ward, the pastor who introduced them in Muleshoe, performed the ceremony. When Hearne High School did not place the choirs in the normal school day for the 1937 academic year, Porter moved to Bryan, Texas as the new choir director at Stephen F. Austin High School. Miss Wesa Weddington, high school principal, had heard Porter’s Hearne glee clubs perform at First Methodist Church of Bryan and she wanted her school to have a choral program. Porter also became the Music Director at First Baptist Church. Porter taught four classes of English while the choral program was being developed. He began by creating men’s and girls’ glee clubs that met before school one day a week. On Fridays, a large number of students had study hall, and Porter chose fifty of those students to be in a mixed choir. The remaining one hundred students had to sit in the auditorium while the choir rehearsed on stage. Porter said he would not even call this group a choir; they were just a true mixed chorus. Then, in September,



Euell Porter Porter and his wife Christine attended a concert by the North Texas State Teachers College Choir under the direction of Wilfred Bain. Bain had brought the style of the Westminster Choir and its director, John Finley Williamson, to North Texas. Porter said that he had sung in glee clubs and mixed choruses before, but he had never heard a choir like this one. The choir’s diction was clean, the tone was full, dark and resonant, and they rarely used the piano. Porter said to Christine, “I’d like to have one of those.” On the following Friday, Porter began rehearsing a sacred song “Blessed Be the Tie.” He had the tenor, Edward Carson sing a descant with the choir singing on the vowel [u]. He worked on balance, to keep the female voices from overpowering the male voices. Then, without a piano, they put the piece together with an opening solo while the choir sang the four parts of the hymn on a [u] vowel. Then the choir sang the second verse using the text of the song and closed by singing with a tenor descant floating above the choir quietly singing. The hundred students in the auditorium began to applaud, and Porter went to the office and asked the school superintendent, Topsy Wilkerson, to come and listen. Mr. Wilkerson had been the football coach when Porter played football at Calvert High School. Following his years at Calvert, Wilkerson went to Reagan as a school principal, and then came to Bryan as Superintendent of Schools. He only knew Porter as a football and basketball player. As he listened to the choir, tears began to come down his face, and he said, “Do it again.” Porter identifies this moment as the beginning of his first a cappella choir. Wilkerson gave Porter the funds necessary to send the choir to a competition at Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos, Texas. The contest was five months away and the choir began to practice. They earned the highest score at that contest, and principal Weddington made plans to make choir a part of the class schedule for the next year. The new A Cappella Choir began before the 1938-39 school year, rehearsing between football practices twice daily. This choir is credited with being one of the first high school a cappella choirs in Texas, and by 1940 Porter had five choirs and 300 students involved in the choral program.

Euell Porter

Richard Euell Porter was born in March of 1940. Prior to the birth, Christine developed diabetes. With complications from the diabetes and not receiving enough oxygen during delivery, the baby was born prematurely and severely injured. A blood clot from the cesarean section caused Christine to have a stroke which resulted in brain damage and partial paralysis. Christine was now totally dependent on outside help to do the simplest of tasks and her mental capacity was that of a child. Richard died one day later. With help from friends, Porter continued to teach and care for Christine, while filling the next two summers with course work at Texas A & M University. He completed a Master of Education Degree in Social Studies in 1942. In 1941, Porter began a choir program at Bryan Junior High School. Here, he also continued the practice of forming trios and quartets from the chorus. With his choral music programs gaining regional and state recognition, Archie Jones invited Porter to study at the University of Texas in Austin. Porter stated that Archie Jones was the person who most affected his approach in running a choral program. He attended the University during the summers of 1943, 1944, and 1945, but did not complete the degree. He studied privately with Jones, and did course work that included choral literature, conducting, choral methods and Baroque and Renaissance literature. The Stephen F. Austin A Cappella Choir toured throughout Texas, and Porter introduced plays and operettas to his high school students and audiences in Bryan. In 1944, the choral department presented Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. The Choir was invited to sing for the opening of the February (1945) session of the Texas State Senate and was recognized as one of the most outstanding choirs in the state (Texas State Senate Resolution No. 14.) In the spring of 1945, Archie Jones recommended Euell Porter to the President of Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville, Texas. The SFA A Cappella Choir received top honors at the choir contest in March 1945 at Sam Houston. After the contest, the president of the college came to Porter, inviting him to be the voice teacher and choir director at Sam Houston. Porter accepted, and after twelve years of public school teaching, he and Christine moved to Huntsville. In addition to his duties at SHSTC, Porter was also appointed Music Director at First Baptist Church.



Euell Porter The pastor was Rev. H. M. Ward, the same man who introduced Euell and Christine in Muleshoe and married them in Shreveport. Porter taught at Sam Houston for three years (1945-1948). He was hired to teach voice and direct the Sam Houston Mixed Chorus. He changed the name from Mixed Chorus to the A Cappella Choir of Sam Houston State Teacher’s College. He continued his practice of forming ensembles from the choir. In the first year (1945-46) there was a “Girls’ Quartette” and a “Men’s Double Sextet.” The A Cappella Choir made trips to the Texas Capitol, Houston, and toured the valley in the spring. In the spring of 1947 (second year at SHSTC) the Choir sang 17 concerts on a ten day tour of West Texas and New Mexico. Leaving Huntsville on March 6, the choir sang an afternoon concert at Fairfield High School and an evening program in Mexia’s First Methodist Church. Other performances included Gatesville, Brownwood and Coleman on March 7; Abilene Christian College, March 8; Presbyterian Church and First Baptist Church, Abilene, March 9; Merkel High School and First Baptist Church in Snyder, March 10; Lamesa High school, Brownfield High School and Eunice High School, New Mexico, March 11. The singers took a day off on March 12 to visit Carlsbad Caverns. The return trip included programs at Grand Falls High School and First Baptist Church, Big Spring March 13; Winters High School and Lampasas High School March 14. Euell Porter had an unusual ability to book choir tours that were exceptionally enjoyable for his students. And he could do it without cost to the singers or the necessity for non ending fund raising drives for the students. The following is a quote from Charles Downey on his experiences at Stephen F. Austin High School in Porter’s choirs: “He was always able to raise money to send his groups on tours without a penny from the student’s pockets. The community loved Euell Porter and would cheerfully participate financially and in any other way to see that his choral programs were well supported.” In the spring of 1947, the a cappella choir was also invited to present a concert for the prestigious Lyceum Concert Series at the University of Texas. This series was usually reserved for professional performers.

Euell Porter

Dr. Porter always formed smaller ensembles from within the large choir. In his third year (1947-48) at Sam Houston, he had two male quartets: the Freshmen Quartet (four freshmen, all from Bryan) and a Sophomore Quartet. Also during this year, Porter became the first choral director to be elected President of the Texas Music Educators Association, serving in that position for the school year 1948-49. In previous years this office was always filled by a band director. During this third year, Porter accepted the position of Chair of the Voice Department and Director of Choirs at Hardin-Simmons University. He had been offered the job of choral director at H-SU in 1945 by President Dr. Rupert N. Richardson. Porter did not accept because of a philosophical conflict with the Hardin-Simmons Chair of voice. When the said chair left in 1948, the president combined the vocal chair and choir positions and again offered the job to Porter. His words to Porter were, “I remember your quartet from 1933 and I’ve heard your choirs in Houston and Dallas. I want a great quartet like that, and I want a choral program.” So Porter accepted the position, and brought fourteen of his Sam Houston students with him, including what was to be the University Male Quartet. It was made up of the bass and second tenor from the Sam Houston sophomore quartet and the baritone and first tenor from the freshman quartet. During the summer of 1947, Porter began an association with Dr. John Finley Williamson, attending the 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1950 summer sessions at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. During the summer of 1948, he brought Williamson to Hardin-Simmons for the first of a series of summer choir clinics. Also during that summer (’48), with the help of H-SU President Richardson, Porter became the new Minister of Music at First Baptist Church, Abilene. Porter considered the strong link between H-SU and FBC an important part of his plan. The H-SU School of Music began a strings program and diverted most of the scholarship money to orchestral students. The association with FBC solved the scholarship problem by giving Porter access to community resources needed to recruit students for the H-SU choral ensembles. Two of his new choir members at FBC, P. A. Hooker and Wendell Foreman, developed a strong friendship with Porter. Both were interest-



Euell Porter ed in strong choir programs at both the church and the university. Porter asked Hooker to manage the financial elements of the FBC Sanctuary Choir and the soonto-be Hardin-Simmons A Cappella Choir. Foreman offered funding, and Porter thereby created several scholarships for H-SU student singers at FBC. Following is Porter’s plan to build a Choral Program at Hardin-Simmons as listed in the excellent doctoral dissertation on Euell Porter by John Simons: 1.

Create small ensembles: University Quartet for men and University Trio for women. 2. Use financial support from private sources to offer scholarships to the quartet and trio members. 3. Have the quartet and trio perform throughout campus, at athletic events, and in churches. 4. Recruit students and strengthen the men’s and women’s glee clubs. 5. Disband current mixed chorus. 6. Select a new mixed group called the Hardin-Simmons A Cappella Choir and organize choir officers. 7. Perform music with all the ensembles and choirs that appealed to the students and the community. 8. Plan recruiting tours to schools and churches. 9. Create events for public school and church musicians. 10. Give lectures and workshops throughout the state for public school and church musicians. 11. Become involved in the community.[45] The success of the small ensembles (quartet and trio) gave Porter immediate credibility with the administration. When he held auditions for the A Cappella Choir, there was enough student interest to build a balanced forty-six member choir. After the ensembles sang on campus, the choirs received the funding needed to tour. In the fall of 1949, Porter created a forty voice Chapel Choir and the A Cappella Choir became a sixty-voice ensemble.

Euell Porter

Between 1948 and 1950, the Hardin-Simmons A Cappella Choir sang at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Conference of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and the Texas Music Educators Annual Convention. In two years, Euell Porter had moved the Hardin-Simmons choral music program from obscurity to regional and state prominence. In addition to being president of TMEA during 1948-49, Porter was also Vice President and Vocal Division Chairman of TMEA from 1948-1951. As Vocal Division Chairman, Porter brought John Finley Williamson to direct the Texas All State Choir at the TMEA 1950 Convention in Mineral Wells. Porter’s H-SU A Cappella Choir also sang a one hour concert at that convention. In 1951, Porter again brought in Williamson to direct the All State Choir at the state convention, this time in Galveston. Porter’s affiliation with TMEA and his H-SU summer choir schools provided a great connection with public school music. He used Baptist conventions, state and national, singing schools and church service appearances as a platform for church music. The Hardin-Simmons A Cappella Choir became the standard performing group for the Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas from 19511955. As Porter’s reputation grew, both Howard Payne and Baylor attempted to gain his services as their director of choral music. After hearing the H-SU choir at the 1950 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Chicago, Baylor president W. R. White communicated continually with Porter trying to convince him that he could do more to promote his ideas of choral music and to improve church music by working at Baylor. At a meeting following the 1954 Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, White persuaded Porter to move to Baylor. Porter left Hardin-Simmons University in July of 1955, joining the faculty at Baylor on September 1 as a professor in the Department of Sacred Music and also becoming the new minister of music at Seventh and James Baptist Church. Porter asked President White to find a job for P. A. Hooker, his long time friend from Abilene and White responded by giving Hooker a job as Porter’s business manager. There were still two major problems to overcome: Porter was placed in an adversarial



Euell Porter role with some of the music faculty members because he was hired without their knowledge or consent, and he could not implement any changes to the choral area because he was neither a department head nor conductor of a School of Music choir. Richard “Pop” Hopkins directed the A Cappella Choir, Martha Barkema directed Bards (men’s choir) and Rhapsody in White (women’s choir), and Dean Daniel Sternberg directed the Oratorio Choir. According to Sternberg, Hopkins and Barkema did not work in any coordinated way and refused to work with Porter.[51] During the first quarter, Porter taught choral literature and choral methods, and at the end of that quarter he asked the university president’s office to fund a new choir. Permission was granted and he created the Chapel Choir and male and female small ensembles. The Chapel Choir sang at Baylor’s daily chapel service and in local Baptist churches. Then Porter arranged for the Chapel Choir to sing at the Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. By the third quarter, the Chapel Choir had over 100 members and was the largest choir on campus. The next year, Porter persuaded Sternberg to make Chapel Choir an official ensemble of the School of Music, and he brought his Summer Choir School to Baylor and Seventh and James Baptist Church. Hopkins died in February of 1957 and Sternberg chose Porter to reorganize the A Cappella Choir in the fall of 1958. The officers for the reorganized choir came from transfer students from HardinSimmons, including the new president, Jakie Shirley. With over 150 singers auditioning for the new sixty-voice A Cappella Choir, Porter channeled all freshman and lessexperienced upper classmen into the Chapel Choir. The new choirs first year included joint Christmas and Spring Concerts with the Chapel Choir and performances at the annual meetings of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the Texas Music Educators Association and a tour to Florida with appearances on two television programs and the Annual Meeting of the Baptist World Alliance in Miami. In 1959, Porter was named Director of Choirs. He established a self-supporting system of mixed choirs that stayed intact from 1960 to 1974. In 1960, he created the Freshman A Cappella Choir, changed the membership of the Chapel Choir to include only sophomores, and changed the A Cappella Choir to a junior, senior and graduate student choir. All of the choirs toured twice a year and sang at countless

Euell Porter

Baptist meetings and conventions. The combined choirs gave annual concerts at Christmas and at the end of the spring quarter. During either the Christmas or summer vacation, Porter combined his Seventh and James and Baylor choir members for international tours. Porter’s wife Christine, an invalid since her stroke in 1940, was at his side until her death in 1976. He arranged his collegiate teaching schedule so that he could go home to see her numerous times during the day. He brought her to concerts, football games, choir schools, lectures, etc., and she even traveled with the choir on continental and European tours. He was genuinely admired by students, colleagues and friends for the tender, loving care he provided for his wife. In 1978 Dr. Porter was given the Texas Choral Directors Association’s first Distinguished Texas Choirmaster award in appreciation for his service to his profession and his accomplishments in choral music. He was a past president of the Texas Music Educators Association and a member of the Choral Conductors Guild of America, the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Porter announced his retirement at the beginning of the 1979-80 academic year. From 1955 to 1980, Porter’s Baylor choirs sang in more than forty states and ten foreign countries in such places as Carnegie Hall and Town Hall in New York City, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Cobo Hall in Detroit, the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City and Jones Hall in Houston. He received applause and recognition during his last concerts at the Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the Texas Music Educators Association and tour to New York. At his final concert in the spring of 1980, Porter received proclamations from the Governor of Texas, the Mayor of Waco and Baylor University. During the summer, he led an alumni tour of Europe with performances in Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Zurich and Oxford. After retirement, Porter led Baptist workshops and served as interim minister of music in area churches. In 1983, with a new Dean of Music (Robert Blocker) and a new Director of Choral Activities (Hugh Sanders), Porter developed the Baylor University Senior Adult Choir as a community-based senior adult choir funded by a university. In cooperation with First Baptist Church and the Baylor University School



Euell Porter of Music, the choir had free rehearsal space and publicity to announce the choir’s formation. Porter began this choir with three goals: never sing slow songs, produce quality choral music and never sound old! Shortly after retiring from the Baylor University Senior Adult Choir post in 1994, Porter suffered a series of strokes that diminished his mental and physical abilities. He was moved to the Ridgecrest Retirement Center of Waco in November of 1995 and he died September 23, 1998.[59] Euell Porter conducted choirs from 1933 until 1994, touching the lives of thousands of students and inspiring many generations to love the art of choral music. It seems appropriate to end this discourse with the anonymous poem that Dr. Porter seems to have quoted to every choir that he directed, sometimes in rehearsals, sometimes in concerts and sometimes at professional music meetings. For the common things of every day, God gave man speech in a common way. But for higher things men think and feel, God gave the poet words to reveal. For height and depth no tongue can reach, God gave man music, the soul’s own speech

Euell Porter Biographical Sketch Sources and Acknowledgments • Simons, John A. "Euell Porter, Profile of a Choral Musician: An Analysis of His Musical Philosophies, Techniques and Leadership Style." DMA dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1999. • A very special gratitude is extended to Monte Ray Porter West (Dr. Porter's niece) and her husband Farris for the hospitality extended to me at their home. She provided access to sound recordings of Dr. Porter's choirs, as well as letters, photographs, marriage licenses, citations and awards. • Theiss L. Jones, retired Minister of Music at First Baptist Church, Tyler, Texas, provided concert programs and lists of choir members from Dr. Porter's last years at Hardin-Simmons and from 1955-1959 at Baylor University. • Kevin Hays, Director of Alumni Relations at Sam Houston State University and his staff were very helpful. Leah Winfield spent time locating information about Dr. Porter during his days at Sam Houston. Barbara Kievit-Mason, University Archivist at Peabody Memorial Library sent many programs and photographs of Porter's 194548 choirs at Sam Houston State Teachers College. • Brit Yates Jones Assistant Vice President for Advancement and Director of Alumni Relations at Hardin-Simmons University, and her staff helped with articles, programs and other research material from H-SU. Carol Hamner at the Richardson Library History Center furnished a great number of articles about Porter from the H-SU News and Views, the Baptist Standard, the H-SU Brand the Bronco yearbook and the Abilene Reporter News. • Dr. Randy Lofgren, Vice President for Alumni Affairs at Baylor University was most helpful in locating alumni that they might participate in the letters of tribute for Dr. Porter. • Thanks to the many students, friends, and colleagues who sent letters sharing their memories to Dr. Porter.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Charles Nelson As I recall, Dr. Porter told me that he was a Latin teacher in Bryan High School, teaching five sections of Latin, when he formed an extra curricular choir. Within my range of knowledge, this was one of only two high school choirs which established a reputation outside their own communities. (The other was Amarillo High School choir directed by Julia Dean Evans). His excellent work brought him to the attention to the Music Department at Sam Houston and they hired him to be their choir director. From Sam Houston he went to Hardin-Simmons and then to Baylor where he finished his teaching tenure. When I began my teaching career at Carthage High School, Euell Porter was the TMEA State Vocal Chairman. I had heard of him and his work, but did not know him personally until the TMEA State Convention in 1952, when several of the ambitious, hot blooded young choral directors, in our 20s, decided that TMEA was treating the choral division like a step child. At the business meeting at that convention, it was moved that the Choral Division withdraw from TMEA and continue under our own auspices. Dr. Porter (and cooler heads) prevailed and our “insurrection� gleaned only three votes. With so many impetuous young men flooding the choral field, it was a good thing for our profession that there was a seasoned man of good judgment, like Euell Porter, at the helm. As I grew to know him, and his students, I became aware of what a tremendous influence he and they had in the propagation of choral singing in the public schools of Texas. He was able to convey his passion for choral music to those young men and women who availed themselves of his pedagogy. His reputation as a human being was legendary. His gentleness and compassion was unsurpassed. His life was a model for us all. I consider it an honor to call him a friend and colleague. All young choral directors could use him as an example of how to conduct themselves toward their students and colleagues.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Broadman Ware It is with great joy that I participate in this remembrance of our friend and mentor Dr. Euell Porter. Dr. Porter enjoyed the thought that he, along with members of the 1955 Chapel Choir, was a freshman at Baylor University. It was at this time that I, a true freshman, began my learning experiences with choral music and vocal production. Dr. Porter was my conducting professor, my voice teacher, and the flame that brought light and warmth to both. I would like to highlight two of Dr. Porter’s teachings that have been life changing for me. First, he taught that you sing with your total self, not just your voice, but with your heart, your eyes, and your total countenance. Much great solo and choral music is ruined by poor interpretation and performance by the singer or singers. Second, he taught that the conductor’s hand should remain in a relaxed position and that you should confine your motion to a “small box” area. He felt that too much arms and body movement took away from the over all beauty of the performance. Most of all, Dr. Euell Porter was a great inspiration to all who knew him. He loved his Lord and felt blessed to present Him to any and all. Thank you for your contribution to a great teacher and friend. Thank you for your continued contributions to music that touches the heart and changes lives. The following is one of Dr. Porter’s favorite poetic thoughts: For all the common things of everyday, God gave man speech in a common way, For higher things men think and feel, God gave poets words to reveal; But for heights and depths no tongue can reach, God gave man music the . . . the soul’s own speech.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Francis Bryant Simpson Baylor Class of ‘69 I could write all day about adventures with Dr. Porter but I'll try to be brief and tell you some that are dearest to my heart. We were the great freshman class of '65 and or course one of the largest that had come to BU in a while. My high school days of choir had been in girls chorus because Clyde Wolford could not fit us into his schedules for choir and I had been terrible disappointed about it so when the same thing began to happen at Baylor, I almost just walked away. There were 150 of us in freshman choir but he managed to get us all in and keep us in for several years. I was scared to death of him and never opened my mouth until the first Christmas program in Waco hall. Everyone had the "jumps" and rounding all of the choirs up was a rodeo for sure. The alto next to me, one of his favorites, sang over a note because she wasn't paying attention and I just turned to her and said way to go, Kay or something and he pointed at me and started yelling, get out, you, get out!! Now I was of course on the back row and had to wind down all of those steps, walk across the stage, down the steps, down the aisle and out the swinging doors while he continued to yell at me!!! I wanted to die of course and was so hurt because I really wasn't the trouble maker to begin with but I gutted up and went to see him the next morning. Of course, I had been used as the scape goat to quiet the masses and there wasn't a peep out of anyone else the entire rehearsal and he proceeded to tell me so and how sorry he was that it came to that so he and I jelled after that and of course Christmas was always the highlight of the year for me. My next set of butterflies in the stomach came when I drew Dr. Porter for my first voice test at the end of the semester but I think he found out I could sing a lot better than he thought!! My choir director at FBC in Tyler, Joe Carrell, was not one of his favorites and now I know why he favored all the kids from Bryan and Abilene!! Anyway, I learned so much from him and the importance that memorizing poetry and piano pieces in childhood would play in my music career. He took the freshman choir on tour with two buses and found homes for us to stay in all the way to St. Louis where we sang on television and Colorado Springs for the nation-

Euell Porter

al music convention and all over Texas and the opening of Jones Hall. What a place it was for this East Texas gal to see and sing in. I'll never forget how he would pass out music and about three weeks later he would take it up and call us up by groups of 6 or 8 to sing it by memory. I never got called up but I always knew my music--------even the whole score of The Peaceable Kingdom!!! I can see it now with all the animals in green. You had to constantly keep your eyes on him because he directed with his hands in front of his stomach but we really were an awesome group to be so large. Even after we left Baylor, we heard he talked about us all the time!!! I loved the old choir room in Waco Hall and the quaintness of Baylor during 1965-1970. I had to stay an extra year because I flip flopped my major and minor but those memories are etched into my heart and soul forever. I did come back to live in Tyler and joined a wonderful group called Tyler Civic Chorale directed by Richard Herr. I was with him almost 30 years and he has now moved on to Buffalo and Westminster Presbyterian Church and my heart and soul may never be the same again. Times change for the masses but not for those of us who know what good music is all about. Even though the group has changed it's name to Tyler Chamber Chorale, it's young director was mentored at SMU by Lloyd Pfautsch, as was Richard Herr, so we are in pretty good hands. He is also the music director at Marvin United Methodist Church and I sing with him for special events. I've been asked to sing with First Christian Church this spring so I stay busy inspite of what's happening at my own church!!! I do hope this sheds some light about choir days and Dr. Porter. Just wish he could have heard me sing as an adult but maybe he knew what potential I had and that's all that mattered to him. I cannot hear Lutkin's The Lord Bless You and Seven Fold Amen without tears running down my face and remembering it all as if it was yesterday. Thank you for this project so we never forget all of these wonderful people. I have also sent you E-mail addresses for Richard and Fred in case you want their input about Pfautsch. Oh, I did want to mention that my very FIRST encounter with Dr. Porter was in Jr. High when Joe Carrell took us to Waco to the state Jr. Choir Festival and we met kids from all over Texas and most of us ended up in this freshman choir together. Dr. Porter would finally get us all still and he could tell if you had gum or candy in your mouth and he'd send you out even then!! I think the big group piece we did was Let All Things Now Living and



Euell Porter I can still sing the descant part of that to this day!! Oh, and staying in the old Raleigh Hotel!! Oh my, what memories-----well, one more link in my musical career I'll not share with you today!! My piano teacher was Nina Overleese if you have a recollection of her. Oh, the stories there!! Better run on for the day and it's going to be a gorgeous one

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Ed Nichols Hardin-Simmons University ‘53’ I am sure that all of us who shared the special experience of singing under Euell Porter (as I did at H-SU until graduation in 1953) can still feel what it was like. There was a sense of subtle energy and never-shrill controlled intensity and same wavelength dynamics that characterized that sublime musical blend Mr. Porter (he wasn’t Dr. Porter then) was able to elicit from his a cappella singers that almost raised us to our toes (or brought us to our knees). And, as it has stayed with us, we have tried to convey some of that same sense of energy and controlled, unshrill intensity to those with whom we have worked musically, a kind of passing along of the Porter torch. I always appreciated Mr. Porter’s solicitous attitude toward his fragile wife, and I remember this anecdote: Once at some sort of banquet in Abilene where Mr. and Mrs. Porter were present, perhaps as honorees, he was invited to sing a love song, and he began to sing “When I Grow Too Old To Dream.” No sooner had he completed the first phrase than Mrs. Porter broke down into deep, uncontrollable wails and sobs. Mr. Porter not only immediately stopped singing; he cradled his wife in his arms and walked away from the hall with her and never looked back. The poem Phil Briggs referred to – ‘For the Common Things ….’ Has also stayed with me for these fifty-plus years, and I’ve used it myself time and again. I also hold fast in my memory the unusually haunting poem turned choral composition ‘I Am Music’ by Macon Sumerlin which Mr. Porter had our a cappella choir to sing. I hope others remember it as well. Euell Porter was an uncommon man who had a certain genius for choral music. Like most of us, he was not incapable of bias or favoritism. But he gave us wonderful music and lasting memories. It is good for us to remember him together.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Martha Brittain Pausky, Baylor class of ‘59 My memories of Dr. Euell Porter take me to my freshman year and his first year at Baylor. Before I came to Baylor I received information about the new choir which would be forming, and how I could audition. I was extremely excited to have an opportunity to be in a choir at Baylor. I had not heard of Dr. Porter, but learned quickly what he was like as I auditioned for the Chapel Choir. I was extremely nervous and excited. I did not make the cut as far as selection for the first 62 who would be in the choir, but I was named as an alternate. I was told that I could attend rehearsals if I wanted to. Did I ever! I attended every rehearsal and stood in the wings ready to step in every time the choir performed at chapel. I guess my faithfulness and eagerness counted, because it was only a couple of weeks before Dr. Porter put me in the choir as a permanent member. What an experience! It is one that will be with me for all of my life. You knew you were doing something special, and that Dr. Porter was someone special. It was obvious that many people thought so, because of the students and staff that followed him from Hardin-Simmons. You did not “fool around.” He knew if your eyes were not on him during rehearsal. He was serious, but it was fun. Other than the thrill I always felt when we were performing, there were three things in particular that I remember. The first one is the feeling I got when Dr. Porter would direct the choir without using his hands. After starting us out, his hands would drift to his sides and he would direct you with his eyes and a slight movement of his body. Second, to this day when I sing “Beautiful Saviour,” I remember the way we sang it at the end of every concert and the way he directed it. Third, the choir always had fun. At performances in schools, especially, the trio of Hugh Sanders, Ralph Gibson, and Bill Hardage would sing “Earth Angel.” I’ll never forget how funny they were. Much to my regret I had to move to Dallas the next year because I was a nursing student. I hated to leave the choir. It was the best memory of my freshman year. Dr. Porter has always had a special place in my heart and memory because of his love for Christ and the way he expressed it through his work with the choir. I was in the Baylor Chapel Choir of 1955-56. Thank you for asking for my memories.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Wyley M. Peebles Baylor University, 1964-1969 The first time I heard one of Euell Porter’s Choirs, I was there because I loved choral music, and I knew someone in this choir from Hardin Simmons. The music was wonderful, and I was impressed. I found myself wishing that I had had the privilege of being in one of his choirs. I had already graduated from Baylor and was on my way to a career in church-related vocations. Fourteen years later I found myself re-entering Baylor as a freshman in church music. This turned out to be the most important step in my life. I was scared, but I found Euell Porter not only to be the teacher and choral director I expected, but he was soon my confidant and friend. Dr. Porter had an amazing supply of practical experiences that seemed to cover any situation. I also took voice from him, so I found it easy to ask questions about many of his techniques. I remember one particular time when we were on tour. He inspired the choir so much in the warm-up with a certain method that we went into the church and sang our hearts out. I wanted to know more about it after we returned to the campus the next day. “You can do that with junior high and high school choirs about as often as you need to,” he said,” but you have to be careful about using it with college and adult choirs.” I never knew of his using it again. There was a time in graduate studies that an undergraduate student asked me to take over his church choir for the summer, while he toured the revival circuit. I went one Wednesday to meet with the choir and to rehearse them a bit. On our way back to the campus he paid me one of the finest compliments I ever received. “You reminded me of Dr. Porter,” he said. How many former students are out in the world through whom Dr. Porter still works and inspires? During twenty-five years as choral director at Cisco Junior College and twentyone years as minister of music at First Baptist Church, Eastland, Dr. Porter was often by my side. For this I am truly grateful. An unusually fine choral conductor, a teacher, a friend, a Christian gentleman, that was Dr. Euell Porter.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Paula Constantine Perron I was grateful for the opportunity to sing in Dr. Porter’s Chorale at Baylor University (in 1959 and 1960). I am very glad he is being honored.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Sam Prestidge Euell Porter made a tremendous contribution to the growth and effectiveness of Youth Choirs in Texas Baptist Churches as he directed State Youth Choir Festivals on the Texas Baptist College Campuses beginning in the late 1950s and continuing on into the 1970s. These Festivals and Camps were planned and sponsored by the Church Music Department of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Many of these festivals brought together over 2,000 youth for a two-day event and it was something else to see the 2,000 youth sitting or standing in rapt attention and responding to every meaningful motion and suggestion from Euell Porter. These choirs returned to their home churches rejuvenated and inspired to make a greater contribution to Worship. These festivals were not only exciting experiences for the youth but a great laboratory learning experience for the directors. Many Young People made life changing decisions as a result and many of them determined to attend a Baptist College. I am told that when Dr. Porter moved from Hardin Simmons to Baylor he had over 400 students audition for his first Chapel Choir. Wonder why! Dr. Porter was very active in Texas Baptist Music Camps started by J.D. Riddle at Lueders’ Baptist Encampment (now Big Country) in the late 1940s and continued by V.F. (Pete) Forderhase as these camps grew from one to eight during the fifties and sixties. Paisano Music Camp, in the big bend country, became a tradition for many Baptist Music Groups from all over Texas. When the Senior Adult Choirs started coming into existence in the early seventies who do you think was at the forefront in influence and leadership? You are right – it was Porter again leading the way to becoming bigger and better. Because of Euell Porter’s keen insight and understanding of Choral Music and because of his wisdom and knowledge of Churches and because of his untiring ministry and influence, we have all been blessed. May God continue to bless the memory and influence of Euell Porter



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Fern Wiese Quebe Sam Houston Choir, 1945-46 & 1946-47.

Euell Porter was responsible for some of the happiest hours that I had at Sam Houston. He instilled in us a love and appreciation for music and harmony in our lives. We looked forward to daily choir practice, concerts and those wonderful choir trips. So many friendships were made that still survive today. When asked to perform for us on one of our outings he sang “Without a Song.� How true those lyrics are. He certainly put a song in our hearts. It was a privilege to be in a choir under the direction of Mr. Porter.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Lora Thomas Robison BME ’67 Baylor Universtiy I was a student of Dr. Euell Porter’s at Baylor University from 1963-67. During that time I can say that his life had a profound influence on me. Dr. Euell Porter was foremost a dedicated Christian whose busy music career never interfered with his loving care of his beloved invalid wife. In this care all of his students learned about a “servant’s heart.” We saw and experienced this in the life of Euell Porter. Dr. Porter always upheld the character of “excellence” in whatever musical project we were working. He never ceased to be excited about the next concert whether it was for the students at the Methodist Children’s Home, the local or nearby Baptist church, or our once-in-a lifetime concert at Carnegie Hall! He inspired all of us with his wonderful sense of humor as well as his depth of sensitivity in his artistic approach to understanding the music we were singing. He was a gifted musician who always had a goal of ministry in his music. How grateful I am to have had him as choral music director and instructor of conducting!



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Carolyn Pittman Sager, PLS CLA CLSS In January 1950, I was a sophomore in high school at Lutcher Stark High School in Orange, Texas. At that time, the high school was privileged to employ Maurice Alfred who had just graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. This was my first introduction to the then Mr. Euell Porter who was head of the Choral Department at Hardin-Simmons. During the next two years of my high school days, Mr. Alfred saw that all members of the high school choir became acquainted in some manner with the teaching methods and techniques employed by Mr. Porter in his conduct with his students. During that time, I was privileged to attend a summer choir camp in Abilene where I auditioned for a scholarship at Hardin-Simmons. I was accepted for the scholarship and enrolled in September 1952. These next two years were the best years of my college life. Mr. Porter was a strong willed person who set high standards for his students and achieved amazing results. During his years at Hardin-Simmons, the choir became nationally known and traveled extensively. The tours were great fun and much hard work. Fifty years have passed since I was privileged to work with Mr. Porter but my memories of him remain strong. I don’t remember all the places we traveled but I do remember the fun that was had by all choir members who were chosen to travel with him.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Rinky Sanders This time of year we hear “give the gift that lasts,” or “give the gift that keeps on giving.” What could this “special gift” be? One man in particular comes to mind. He is one who has given of himself to others throughout his lifetime. He is now 82 years young and continues to be of service. This same man helped my husband receive a college education. Whenever time came for registration, and there wasn’t enough money, my husband would go to him and he would simply hand him his billfold. This single unselfish act not only affected my husband, myself and our children, but also affected the lives of hundreds of students my husband has taught and influenced through the years. He was best man in our wedding. During the holiday period, and many other times through the years, there is a place set for him at our table. Our son loves to talk sports with him. I once accused him of knowing more sports trivia than Howard Cosell. He is lovingly accepted as a member of our family.When our daughter came to Baylor as a freshman, he once again said he wanted to help. The gift was to be anonymous, as always. Who knows how many students he has helped through the years. A few years ago, my husband was going to attend a music conference in Vienna, Austria. This same man came forward and said, “I think you should be able to go to Vienna with Hugh.” He wrote a check for the amount of my plane ticket. He goes around daily helping senior adults all over this community. It may be taking them a meal, driving them to the doctor, or simply taking someone for a drive so they can get outdoors for a while. He gives new meaning to the word, sharing. I don’t think I have ever seen a more loving and caring husband. His wife Christine has been gone many years now. But I think everyone who ever knew them, knows he did everything humanly possible for her while she was alive. He not only made her comfortable, he made her happy. This man’s name is Euell Porter. I know of no one on this earth who has affected more lives in a positive way. He has been my example for years. He has shown me



Euell Porter what is really important in life. His Christian charity is an inspiration to us all. I think I can speak for all the many churches, schools, communities, ex-students, and a multitude of friends, in saying we love, respect and admire him. This world is truly a better place because of his example and spirit. I believe it is his intention that no person, regardless of their station in life, be lonely or uncared for. If you count currency with the heart, he is a millionaire. God must be very proud. He gave, and continues to give, the gift that keeps on giving.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Andrea Hall Savage Freshman choir, ’64; Chapel choir, ’65; A Cappella Choir, ’66 What I remember most about Dr. Porter is his expression: he had a glint in his eyes and wanted us to, also. He often said “No dead eyes!” Another favorite memory is singing a 16-part Heinrich Schutz number, standing in groups of 4 (I believe I stood close to tenor Bruce Teel, among others). After that, I could always carry my part no matter who stood next to me.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Robert (Bob) Segrest, Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes Good choral music has been an important part of my life largely due to the positive influence of Dr. Euell Porter. My initial introduction to his kind and sensitive Christian spirit came as a young person at 7th and James Baptist Church in Waco, Texas when he was called as Minister of Music. Dr. Porter was a bivocational minister who shared responsibilities with the church and the Music Department of Baylor University. Since I had been involved in choral music at University High School in Waco, Dr. Porter invited me to join the Sanctuary Choir at 7th and James as a tenor. That was an extremely “heady” honor for me to become a part of that excellent choir as a teenager. I felt I was sitting under the leadership of a master, and truly was. Quickly I learned the disciplines necessary to be a useful part of an excellent choir. Rehearsals and the weekly presentations of our choir were spiritual experiences for me. Dr. Porter led the choir with loving dignity. He knew what he wanted from us and knew how to motivate us to always give of our best to the Master. Upon graduation from High School, I continued my education at Baylor preparing for the Gospel ministry. One day Dr. Porter came to me at church and asked if I would like to be a member of the Chapel Choir at Baylor he directed. I was honored beyond words and readily accepted his invitation. For two years I sang in that large choir and served as choir president for a year. We were not just a choir. We were ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ as we sang to His glory at school and on various tours. In my junior year at Baylor, Dr. Porter invited me to audition for the A cappella choir. Somehow I passed the audition and began a new and thrilling adventure of singing with the master for the Master. In my mind I can still see Dr. Porter standing before the choir dressed in his black tux. From time to time he would drop his hands and lead us with his facial expressions. I never hear “Beautiful Savior” sung that I do not see him leading us to close a concert. Not only was Dr. Euell Porter a godly choral director, he was a godly man. I

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watched with deep admiration as he lovingly cared for his afflicted wife. His commitment to her helped me understand the depths of love a man is to have for his wife. His influence as a silent mentor in marriage has helped me in my 40 years of loving commitment to my wife, Barbara. Dr. Porter will always be one of the most important Christian men in my life. Today, some 42 years after graduating from Baylor and spending 30 years in pastoral ministry, I am once again singing in an excellent church choir in Chattanooga, Tennessee where I serve as Regional Vice President of the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, Inc. My ability to make a contribution to the tenor section of my current choir has much to do with Dr. Euell Porter who taught me to love quality choral music and to glorify God while singing it. May our Lord richly bless Dr. Euell Porter. His life has made a lasting contribution for Jesus Christ in so many lives for so many years, mine included!



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Jakie Shirley My first association with Dr. Euell Porter was in the summer of 1954 when I traveled to Abilene with my parents and church pianist to audition for a voice scholarship with Dr. Porter. After the audition, he asked me how much I weighed and said, “Young man, you need to gain some weight.” Well, I will never hear that again. After that first year, he announced that he would be taking the position at Baylor University. There were four present choir members that transferred with him to the new position. They were: Ralph Gibson, Barbara Ralls, Hugh Sanders and I, Jakie Shirley. Some who had been with him before and had gone to the military came later. How well we all remember his unusual but effective techniques – the “duck walks” around the auditorium, the hot potato in the back of the throat and the strict attention to keeping our eyes on the director. At his recommendation, I became the minister of music at First Baptist Church of Lampasas, where I served all my Baylor days. Mrs. Porter’s parents lived in Lampasas where we visited on some occasions. He had a fond affection for every choir member, remembering our names and our hometowns. He seemed to have a fond affection for our age for we would have been about the age of the child he lost. We were humbled and blessed by the careful attention he gave Mrs. Porter on the choir tours when she could go. Because we knew his heart, we were often brought to tears when he sang “How Tedious and Tasteless the Hours when Jesus no Longer I See.” I began to totally understand the meaning of those words when we lost our own daughter two years ago. I was student conductor of the Chapel Choir in 1957-58. He would often remind me “not to sing with the choir,” a suggestion that I followed all my forty six years as a minister of music. After the reorganization of the A Cappella Choir, I was president in 1959. We never had discipline problems in rehearsal or on tour. We had such a great

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respect and love for Dr. Porter that no one ever wanted to be “out of fellowship� with him or each other. He had control. He had our attention. He often directed the choir with his eyes. We did not realize it then, but those were indeed some of our finest years. The world needs the influence of great men like Dr. Euell Porter.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by DeAnna Venable I am proud to be one of the many young people taught by Dr. Euell Porter. He was a grand man and a marvelous teacher. I graduated from Baylor University in May of 1960 with a degree in music education. I have now retired from 32 years of teaching in the field of public school music education, and I am currently the Children’s Choir Coordinator at First Baptist Church in Garland, TX, a position I’ve held for the past four years. During the years since I left Baylor, I have drawn heavily from the wealth of experiences I received from having been in Dr. Porter’s first A Cappella choir the last two years I was at Baylor. Trying to describe and enumerate all he taught me is very difficult. There were so many things I observed and admired about him, I feel quite inadequate to recall them all. I am sure his life affected mine in ways I don’t even realize. I loved him as a remarkable man…. The love he had for Mrs. Porter was so impressive. He was a kind and thoughtful man, a godly man. I’ll always remember the twinkle in his eyes and his little smile. We loved and respected Dr. Porter unreservedly. I remember the fun and excitement of the choir tours. I have many, many happy memories of my time with Dr. Porter. Dr. Porter was without a doubt the most memorable teacher I had during my four years at Baylor. He was more responsible than anyone else for developing in me the skills I have used as I have worked with my own choirs over the years. I can still see him in my mind’s eye…. so controlled and intense as he stood before us. He taught us what excellence was. He showed us how to give our very best to perfect the gift we presented to those who would hear us sing. I owe a lot to Dr. Porter. I am pleased to be a part of this project to honor Dr. Porter as a truly outstanding teacher and an honorable Christian man.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Sharon Vickrey When I think of Dr. Porter and I always called him Dr. Porter, I think of - his students – What a legacy! Our family was blessed by Maurice and Glenna Alfred who came to our church as part-time minister of music when I was in the 4th grade. Only there a year I got to sing in Mrs. Alfred’s children’s choir. Her blessing of my voice is one of the pivotal points of my childhood. Dr. Alfred was choral director at Odessa High and Mrs. Alfred taught elementary music. In high school and junior college I sang in Dr. Alfred’s choirs and many times Mrs. Alfred helped me with singing. Our family considers them a rich treasure. A place for everyone- I never sang in Dr. Porter’s Baylor choir even though I am a vocal performance graduate of Baylor. That did not matter. Dr. Porter got me a music scholarship and a job accompanying in the music school. Anyone who wanted to sing, could find a place in one of his choirs. I was amazed at how many ‘‘barely able to sing” people filled his choirs and how he made lovely music with them. Encourage your gift – I sang in Dr. Porter’s 7th and James Baptist Church choir. They were so many gifted composers and singers. Dr. Porter used everyone all the time. He seemed to attract talent, encouraged and grew it. When I started teaching voice privately he sent me students. The next year two of these students decided to become music majors. When they auditioned for voice scholarships, Dr. Young, head of the department, looked at me and said “Where did you get these students?” Pageantry - Christmas concerts and special events. I remember my first Christmas concert at Baylor the stage was covered with greenery and poinsettias. The choirs sang beautifully then processed out and caroled us as we left. The Dr. Porter touch! Processing- The 7th choir always processed in. The last time I sang in Dr. Porter’s choir I was 9 months pregnant with our first son. We ran up the stairs to the balcony to sing the call to worship and then back down during the introduction to the first hymn. How many times did we all do that? What a blessing! We will never forget!



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Marilyn J. Walker, Ph.D. 1953 Graduate H-SU My first awareness of Euell Porter was when as a freshman, I attracted his attention by singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,� at some kind of talent show, and subsequently was invited to join the A Cappella choir. What a thrill for me. I have many happy memories of touring with that group, sometimes as a soloist. I enjoyed his sense of humor. Once during a concert, I surprised him by clucking like a chicken. Thou surprised, he smiled and walked over to pet my head like it was planned. From then on, that was part of the show when singing that particular song. What a fine man. I especially admired his loyalty to his handicapped wife. Thank you, Euell Porter. One of these days we will all sing with you again.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Bobby Watkins Dr. Porter was my mentor at Baylor University from 1969-1974. I was student conductor of a cappella choir for two years under his leadership. Dr. Porter taught me much about the art of music and conducting, but more importantly he showed me how a Christian man should live. He made Baylor for me.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Andrew White Dear Euell: As you already know, one of the first things that came to my mind when I was considering the option of joining the faculty of the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati was “Where can I ever find a friend like Euell to go with to the ball games”. Ever since first meeting you a number of years ago at Glorieta, New Mexico, during Music Emphasis Week, it has been a privilege to know you as friend and colleague. The numerous oratorios that I have sung with you were always an inspiration to me, and the versatility that you displayed at Paisano made me appreciate you even more. You allowed LaRue and me into the inner sanctum of your friendship and into the wonderful fellowship of your home life. I know that you recognize the depth of feeling that we and our three daughters have had for you and for Christine. The beauty of yours and Christine’s love has been reflected countless times in the lives of those you touched. God bless you in your new work, and let me close with a thought by Beecher, “Tears are often the telescope through which men see far into heaven”. LaRue joins me in wishing for you the best, and always know that our home is your home. Cordially, Andrew B. White, Dieterle Professor Emeritus of Music Professor Emeritus of Voice

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Kay Norsworthy Szenasi I graduated from the music department of Baylor University in 1959. I had a conducting class under Dr. Porter my sophomore year. It was a very large class of about 50 or more students. He always wanted us to stand up, first as an entire class, and conduct with him, and then in groups of 3 or 4, and finally as solo. I remember that I was petrified to stand up in front of the whole group and conduct and I felt very inadequate in comparison with others. However, Dr. Porter always tried to help me feel at ease. He was so great I always wished I could take that same class again. Whenever I saw Dr. Porter anywhere in the music building he always knew my name and chatted with me. He knew my uncle and some of my family from Wichita Falls, where my cousin was a long-time Baptist pastor at Lamar Baptist Church and his father was a music conductor there and in Oklahoma City. So we first had a conversation about them, because Dr. Porter recognized my name. My memories of Dr. Porter are very pleasant and happy ones, and I will always remember him as a great teacher, conductor, Christian, and friend.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by C. Bruce Teel, Class of ’67, Baylor University Dr. Porter taught his classes with strength and serene joy. Once he quoted someone to us, and I’ve never found the source, “Music is the language of the soul.” He gave us a brief explanation of this, and immediately I had a newer, deeper and truer appreciation of music in all its forms than ever before. Now I could see how important my small part in that choir would be. I would be speaking mysteriously to the innermost depths of those who would hear me sing! What imprint would I leave? How would I touch their souls? How important for me to do my best! Your best. Dr. Porter could bring that out in you, if only you would let him. He was not sternly demanding or forced. He had that compelling persuasion which only comes from a gentle, kind spirit but one who strives for the best in himself and his pupils. Many have prayed, “God grant me serenity.” God had granted him serenity long before I crossed his path. Even so, he taught me that music is manly, as least for men, and that every man should develop his musical sense to be fully a man. He always conducted himself and his choirs with gentlemanly calm, keeping his hands near his face, close to his mouth and at times beside his face so that you looked into his eyes. There, in his hands and his eyes you read the directives: the soul of the music you were singing. You were swept up into joy, power and beauty of the music with him and your fellow choir members. Yes, you felt, you knew you had done your best, and it was wonderful. How wonderful, too, the music Dr. Porter led us into Heinrich Schutz, Palestrina, Bach, Handel and modern giants of Choral splendor such as Ralph Vaughn Williams. We even sang a musical version of some of Robert Frost’s poems. That gave me a much greater love for and insight into Frost’s poetry. Indeed, singing for Dr. Porter was always a learning experience. And in his lessons… we learned about the best life has to offer.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Charles Downey, Stephen F. Austin High School Euell Porter came to the Bryan Public School System in the late thirties or early forties. His background before coming to Bryan was in Athletics as a coach and as a Latin Teacher and as Choral Director. In Bryan, he taught Latin and Choral music. His wife Christine had suffered catastrophic complications in childbirth, in which she lost the child. This event left her totally disabled and dependent. In addition to his duties as a school teacher and also as choral director for the local First Baptist Church, he always faithfully cared for his wife with great affection. Dr. Porter was not only interested in Choral Music. He was a regular at all the athletic events and was always a favorite on the sidelines. He loved sports almost as much as he loved music. He developed choral organizations in the junior high and the high school as well. He was a pioneer in a cappella singing and most of his choirs were unaccompanied. Since he was interested in sports, he was always able to attract the athletes to his music programs which was a miracle in itself. The "back row" of his choirs always included burly football players, basketball players and athletes from every sport. He had a well-rounded program. He had groups for the talented and groups for the less talented. No one was left out. In addition to choral concerts, his program also always included choir trips and the presentation of operettas as well. He had an uncanny ability to communicate the subtle nuances of choral singing to his students. They knew about intonation, blend, phrasing, breathing and all the rest. The result was that he produced some of the finest a cappella choirs which were always top rate winners in regional and state adjudications. The quality of his main choir at the high school brought an invitation for them to sing at the Lion's Club International Convention to be held in San Francisco in 1947. He trained them and prepared them for that great trip, but because of his move to Hardin Simmons University, he was unable to accompany them on the trip, which was made (through his planning) by charter train! He always was able to raise money to send his groups on tours without a penny



Euell Porter from the student's pockets. The community loved Euell Porter and would cheerfully participate financially and in any other way to see that his choral programs were wellsupported. These were truly his formative years. He moved from being a sometime coach, sometime Latin teacher and part time choral director to being one of the leading choral directors in the state as well as in the nation producing high school choirs that were models for other choral directors and the envy of all. That he was a man of great stature in his field was obvious to even the casual observer.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by C. William (Bill) Thomas Participating in Dr. Porter’s choir program at Baylor University from 1965 (my freshman year) through 1967 (my junior year) represented the closest thing to formal vocal training I ever received, although I have been singing constantly since age 10. I grew up in Granger, Texas (a small town about 70 miles south of Waco on the Central Texas Prairie). I attended the First Baptist Church, and our organist, a Baylor graduate, worked with me as a youth to help develop my talent and skill. My older sister, Lora Anne Thomas, now Lora Robison was a music major at Baylor, and had been a member of Dr. Porter’s choirs since she went there as a freshman. My mom and I used to drive to Waco for Dr. Porter’s traditional candle-lit Christmas concerts, a spectacle that we had never seen before. We were awestruck at their beauty. Partly for that reason, I decided to attend Baylor, rather than North Texas State University. My sister arranged an audition for me for Dr. Porter. After hearing me sing, he asked me to join Freshman A Cappella Choir. I was thrilled. Although I was an accounting major, singing was then, and still is, my passion. Some have said I have a “gift”. Dr Porter was not as profuse in his praise as others. He didn’t single me out for solos, always being careful to ask the music majors to do that work. Nevertheless, choir was one of my favorite times of the week. I loved watching Dr. Porter direct. He could do more with his eyes than most men could do with their arms. Although he didn’t much like horseplay when we had work to do, he had a great sense of humor. I can still see that wry grin whenever someone cracked a joke that he just couldn’t ignore. One time during the spring semester of 1966, I had the flu and went to choir sick. I passed out about halfway through the rehearsal. I can still remember waking up, flat on the floor, with Dr. Porter hovered over me. He could be gruff at times, but it was at times like this when I saw beneath that exterior to one of the most warm hearted and generous men I ever knew. I still remember his kindness with his wife, who was an invalid. He adored her, and his countenance totally changed whenever he was around her. I worked hard for his approval because I had so much respect for him.



Euell Porter I could tell that Dr. Porter liked my voice when, during the fall of my sophomore year, an opening occurred in the Junior/Senior A Cappella Choir (a select group) and Dr. Porter asked me to join them. They were planning a trip (Baylor’s first) to Carnegie Hall in New York City, in the spring of 1967. My sister, a member of the A Cappella Choir, was ecstatic that I had been asked to join the group. She had been selected as one of the pianists to accompany the choir, as well as a member of the second soprano section. I was a second tenor. We worked hard that whole fall and winter season, honing our intonation and pitches, practicing difficult pieces, and taking short tours to what seemed an endless stream of Baptist churches, raising “love offerings” to help defray airfare and hotel costs. Our mother attended several of our concerts, anxious to see her kids do well. Our family didn’t have much money. Our father had retired from the Navy about 8 years before I entered Baylor. Both of my parents sacrificed greatly, borrowing on dad’s life insurance, skimping on personal things for themselves, so that we could attend Baylor without incurring debt ourselves. Our father had to take a job out of state to help make ends meet. In the summer of 1966, at age 63, he had a heart attack, which prevented him returning to his job. Things were tight at home, but our parents were determined to scrape the money together so we could have our big chance on the big stage at Carnegie Hall. We had a generous aunt and uncle who lived in Washington, D.C. who were better off than we were financially. Secretly, without my sister and I knowing, they sent our mom the money for airfare to Washington. Then they drove her to New York. Just after we arrived at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, we turned around and saw mom as she emerged from behind a marble column to surprise us. Dr. Porter was standing beside us, and I’ll never forget his face as he saw her come up to us. I still remember the love and affection in his eyes as he saw us tearfully embracing our mom. This trip, getting to sing in Carnegie Hall, knowing that our mom and family members were in the audience watching us, was one of the most memorable occasions of my life. Our final song of the concert was “Choose Something Like a Star;” a hauntingly beautiful piece. I felt that was just what I had done. I will never forget that song. Through my adult years, I have been a member of many churches in many cities,

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and I have never failed to join the choir in any one of them. I am still singing, and I believe, singing pretty well for a 57 year old man, still using the vocal techniques that Dr. Porter taught me. Although I have had many directors, Dr. Porter has stood out in m mind as the best of them all. His life and dedication have helped shape my own in ways I never imagined. I thank God that my path crossed with his almost 40 years ago. I have now been a member of the faculty of Baylor University for 28 years, not in music but accounting. Euell Porter and professors like him were role models for me. They inspired me to become a professor myself, and to continue the tradition of influencing young people from humble backgrounds to “choose something like a star.” I believe that Dr. Porter embodies the spirit of Baylor University that we still strive to keep alive today? “To light the ways of time.”



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Frances B. Thornton When I entered Sam Houston, I had had nine years of piano lessons, but very little experience singing in a choir. Dr. Porter expressed his confidence in me which made me feel comfortable and welcome. I was impressed with his hard work and dedication. His attitude has stayed with me in all things I have done. It was an honor to have been a part of his choir and to have known him

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Elena Ann Donald “FOR THE COMMON THINGS OF EVERYDAY, GOD GAVE MAN SPEECH IN THE COMMON WAY, “FOR HIGHER THINGS MEN THINK AND FEEL, GOD GAVE THE POET WORDS TO REVEAL, “FOR HEIGHT AND DEPTH NO TONGUE CAN REACH GOD GAVE MAN MUSIC, THE SOUL’S OWN SPEECH.” Those six lines came to mean so much to me because in many ways, they explain the depth Mr. Porter gave his students, not only in music, but in life. Of course, many of you remember that when he finished quoting this poem, the touching strains of Beautiful Savior followed and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Why did I come to be so moved by all of this? In the course of less than four years, Mr. Porter came to be one of the most influential people in my professional life. When I enteredHardin-SimmonsUniversityin the fall of 1951, I had never even heard of Euell Porter. It takes quite a while for news to get from Abilene to Goodnight. If you ever saw the bus that went from Abilene to Childress – where my mother would pick me up – you would understand the slow communication and news’ delivery. I was a music major but I didn’t really know exactly what my concentration of study was going to be – I had to be in an ensemble, so he let me be in Chapel Choir. At that point, I would not have dared to even think about auditioning for the A Cappella Choir. I muddled along for a couple of years and my knowledge of Mr. Porter was pretty well limited to Chapel Choir rehearsals and that short tour each spring. I did make points with him on those tours when he found out I was a pretty good “42” player – what else was there to do in Goodnight,Texas. By my junior year, I had mad THE choir and what a joy that was. I had gotten to the point I was taking some courses from Mr. Porter and was studying voice with him. I was beginning to see just how special he was and what a positive and inspiring expe-



Euell Porter rience it was to be around him. The more I was around him, the more I appreciated him and all that he was. My senior year was the one that really brought me to the realization of just how much I was benefiting from the opportunity to learn from him in so many ways. I didn’t have to carry a very heavy course load and as a result, I was asked to accompany quite a bit for his voice lessons. I was able to observe him while sitting on the piano bench. I felt like I was in a Seminar all the time. He had accepted me as more than a student and I was deeply honored and grateful. I vividly remember him giving me his car keys one day and asking me to go to the beauty shop and pick up his wife Christine and take her home. I was so glad he trusted me enough to ask me to do that errand, but I was also quite nervous about it. Everything went well, thankfully, and I was so pleased that he felt comfortable enough to ask me to do such a personal errand. His love and devotion for that dear lady was beautiful to behold and it showed what a tender and caring man he was. During the summer of 1955 – after I had graduated – he called me at my parents’ home and invited me to join him at Perryton and participate in a workshop he was directing at the First Baptist Church there. What fun that was. Of course, my ego got fed quite well with his invitation to participate. I’ve sprinkled several special memories into this piece and there is no way I can really explain just what he meant to me professionally. He showed me in so many ways how music can reach people and how important it is to believe in your craft. He also taught me that you couldn’t succeed in teaching music to young people and how important it is to believe in your craft. He also taught me that you couldn’t succeed in teaching music to young people if you can’t get yourself out of the way and let music be the important thing. I’ve proudly told people for years that Euell Porter is one of the most influential people in my life and I would never have gone into teaching choral music had it not been for him and the influence he had on me while I was a student at Hardin-Simmons. I truly thank God I had the privilege and pleasure of being one of his students.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Dorothy and John Bates During each of the years from Baylor Summer Music Camp, 1963,through Baylor University Graduation, 1977' you had one or more of our four daughters with you in both Baylor Summer Music Camp and Baylor University. John and I appreciate so very much all you did to provide thebest of musical training and experiences for each of our daughters. We appreciate too, your personal dedication, your standards of excellence and. all your personal interest in the life of each student. Your Christian witness (and. that of Mrs. Porter during her lifetime) in both words both in words and by example, continue to serve as an inspiration to all. Thank you for many wonderful memories, and be assured, that our prayers and best wishes are with you always.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Charles Fuller After my roles as husband and father, the highest and most undeserved privilege of my life has been to be mentored and befriended by both Euell Porter and Hugh Sanders. My wife, Cindy, and I first met singing in one of Dr. Porter's choirs. He became friend and family to us and a shining example of both faith and excellence. I sang for Dr. Porter from 1976 through 1980. I served as his last graduate assistant during his retirement year of 1979-80. He showed me how to deal with loss. He lost his dear wife, Christine, during my first year of singing for him. He showed me how to prepare for change as he finished his career and transitioned to an active retirement. He showed me how to challenge people without alienating them. He challenged us toward excellence in our music and in our lives, sometimes with great intensity, but always with the intention that it was our best interest he had in heart, not his own glory or reputation. Dr. Porter's life was a model of excellence, both in challenging us to do our best and to use the very best musical materials. He challenged church choirs to do the same. He understood the importance of meeting church people at their musical taste, but always took them toward better music. He loved people with a genuine love and challenged us to be better as people as well as musicians. He never hesitated to tell you what he was thinking. If he thought you were headed in a direction that wasn't in your best interests, he would certainly tell you, but even when we were talking about "see the blazing Euell before you," we knew that that special grin with the twinkle in his eye was just under the surface and would return soon. Dr. Porter was a man of genuine faith whose faith empowered him to face the challenges of life: the challenges of tragedy and the challenges of "raising" countless young people who sang in his choirs. It's almost silly for me to talk about how I try to emulate him because his influence on me was like a father, it's so much a part of who I am that, after almost thirty years, I can no longer separate what I was before from what I've become since knowing him. He was quite simply, the finest man I've ever known.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Jack Yates '51 Hardin-Simmons Range Rider, Winter, 1998-1999 The Abilene Reporter-News for September 25, 1998, carried the news of the passing of Euell Porter, former Director of Choirs at Hardin-Simmons University and First Baptist Church of Abilene, choir director extraordinaire. The obituary referred to him as Dr. Porter, an honor accorded to him by two universities, but the title with him somehow seemed superfluous. Euell Porter needed no "Doctor" in front of his name to command respect. You merely had to listen to one of his choirs to know his stature. Mr. Porter and I came to Hardin-Simmons at about the same time, in the late 1940s, he as Director of Choirs, and I as a student. He was a graduate of HardinSimmons and had met his beloved wife there, and he had greatly desired to return to HSU as choir director. When he came from his position at Sam Houston State College, he was held in such high esteem by the members of the choir there that a large number of them transferred with him. He never had to build or rebuild a choir program at HardinSimmons. The choir arrived virtually full-blown with him. As a young man (and also as today) I loved good choir music. The late 1940s were something of a golden age for collegiate choirs. There were many of excellence. A national radio network had a weekly series of programs featuring college choirs from around the country. First and last I heard in person, by radio, and by record many great and noted choirs. With that background, the first time I heard a Euell Porter-directed a cappella choir, I was simply enthralled, and although I later heard scores, perhaps hundreds, of performances by his choirs, that feeling never left me. They sang as with one voice, and the tones and cadences that his choirs produced were magnificent. Mr. Porter was at that time in his thirties. He was handsome and had the build of an athlete. When he directed a choir, it was like poetry just to watch his rhythmical and fluid directing. He never liked the style of conducting used by some



Euell Porter very good directors who used large, dramatic flourishes. With him, that was unnecessary. It was not so much discipline (although his choirs were disciplined), as it was that his choirs were devoted to him, and gave him their undivided attention and best efforts. Part of this devotion arose from Mr. Porter's care for his wife. Not long after their marriage she had suffered an illness that left her unable to have children and disabled for the rest of her life. He was always extremely sensitive to her needs and feelings. Part of this devotion arose from his being a dedicated Christian. His choir programs revealed that. There was such an aura of devotion to Jesus Christ in his concerts that, even though the sounds of the choir were wonderful, you always were aware it was first of all a Christian choir that you were hearing. He loved the classic anthems of the Christian faith by the great choral composers. Such songs never grew old with his choirs singing them. Every concert ended with the song "Beautiful Savior," also known as "Fairest Lord Jesus." The Hardin-Simmons choir sometimes rehearsed in Behrens Chapel. Occasionally, as an audience of one, I would sit in during rehearsals just to hear them sing. He also directed the choirs at Abilene's First Baptist Church. I was not a member there, but I always enjoyed going there, for I knew I would hear an outstanding choral selection. Since he also directed the congregational singing, I also would have the privilege of singing under his direction. In 1955, Mr. Porter moved to Baylor University. I do not think he ever wanted to leave Hardin-Simmons. Circumstances had come about, however, that made the move a good one for him. Hardin-Simmons' loss was truly Baylor's gain and that of Texas Baptists, since the Baylor position gave him a much wider influence. Thus it was in churches all across Texas and the Southwest that the Porter "sound" became known. I think he left a big piece of his heart at Hardin-Simmons, however. When he was interviewed by the Baptist Standard, shortly after his retirement from Baylor, and asked which one of all of his choirs was his best and favorite, he remembered his 195051 choir at Hardin-Simmons as his finest choir. It has now been 50 years since I first heard a Euell Porter choir. Many of the

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singers from those choirs, such as the ebullient Charles Downey '51, the tall basses, Jimmy Loden '50 and Maurice Alfred '50, Cooper High School's Jack Glover 51'/'66 and Bobbie Noles Summerlin '51/71 themselves went on to be outstanding choir directors, and they are now reaching or have reached retirement age. But in my memory I can still hear the inspiring sounds of those first choirs at Hardin-Simmons. Of all the good and great choirs I have heard throughout my life, and there have been many, in my judgment few if any have surpassed those at Hardin-Simmons, beginning in 1948 and I will agree with Mr. Porter that they were my favorites. Euell Porter has now passed from the earth at the age of 87. He is now reunited with the beloved bride of his youth, who has been released from that disabling illness from which she (and he) suffered during most of their marriage. Most significantly, he is now in the presence of the one who was always the focus of his choirs' concerts, his "Fairest Lord Jesus," and somehow I feel that the music of heaven has just become a little sweeter.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by O.D. Hall Jr. BM Baylor 1957 Dr. Porter came to Baylor when I was a sophomore music major. He changed everything. Euell Porter was the greatest single influence in shaping my standards of choral performance, my conducting style, and my convictions related to the Ministry of music. In the spring of my senior year I enjoyed the great honor of serving as a costudent conductor with Hugh Sanders. What a thrill to stand before the choir and conducting and singing “Rejoice" in the final concert! Twenty years later it was an even greater thrill to send my daughter Debbie (BM '77) to sing in the Baylor A Cappella Choir under Dr. Euell Porter.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Rence Fast Heathclott, Baylor 1968 I had one year of Choir under the direction of Dr. Euell Porter. That has been 40 years ago. Every time I sing, even today, I refer in my mind to the principles and techniques of singing I learned under Dr. Porter. It was a wonderful year. I respected him greatly for his unending devotion to his wife never, but never complaining. There could not be a better caregiver. He loved her to the end.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Alton and Patricia Berryhill Hassell, Baylor 1969 I was in a Porter choir for five years ('64 to 69) at Baylor University while I got my chemistry and physics BS degree. My wife, Patricia Berryhill Hassell, sang with him for two years. We were also in the choir at Central Baptist Church at Bryan when he was interim director in the '70s. How do you describe a man who was such an inspiration? He demanded that you did each thing to the best of your ability. If you sang with him long, you learned how to push yourself, how to work with others, how to be responsible for yourself and your actions and you learned to sing and appreciate music, good music. You also learned how to treat others with respect, how to behave in public and how to have pride in doing things well. He had a major part in taking the rough edges off of a lot of us country kids. He took us on tours so we could see new places and grow. He came to Roscoe and sang for our wedding. Patricia lost her voice. He doctored her so she could sing with me at the wedding. I know he never understood how special that was to two young kids. Not a week goes by that I don't think of him, or something that I learned from him. I have my Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry and teach chemistry and archeology at Baylor. My wife teaches in the Family Consumer Science Department also at Baylor.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Dorothy Bernson H-SU 1953-1956 I had the privilege of singing under Dr. Porter for two years. I was in the chapel choir at H S U during '53 - '54. I was in the A Cappella Choir '54 - '55. Mr. Beachy directed the choir the next year. I also sang in the choir at the First Baptist Church, Abilene and Dr. Porter directed that. It was an inspiration to sing under him even if it was a lot of work. I remember one amusing thing. I have a twin sister named Norma and we never have looked alike. When I was trying out for the A Cappella Choir, Dr. Porter looked at me and said: "Now I know what is alike about you and Norma the expression between your eyebrows". I remember how Dr. Porter was so considerate of his wife in poor health.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by John Magee Euell Porter was my teacher, mentor, role model, friend and was like family. I first met him when I enrolled in Sam Houston State teachers College September 1945. It was his first year to teach there and he had been promised that band music majors would be allowed to audition for the choir if their schedules allowed the time. I did audition, made his choir and my life took an entirely different path. Next to family, choral music became most important as my life's vocation. I think that these were "golden years" of choral music in Texas public schools and Euell Porter, Archie Jones, Frank McKinley, and a few other great men, should be given credit for the advanced training that they gave their students at that time, as school and church choir directors. Mr. Porter placed scores of his students from Sam Houston, Hardin--Simmons and Baylor in schools and churches of Texas and other states as well. He didn't just graduate us, give us a degree and send us on our way but stayed in touch, wrote letters, telephoned, gave clinics for us and our neighboring schools. He brought his university choirs on tours of our school and churches helping us instill the love of beautiful choral music in people and choirs. World War II ended August 14th 1945. My wife, Agnes and I, entered Sam Houston that fall and our lives changed after meeting Euell Porter. He helped in finding us housing and gave me a job the next summer painting his house. He came walking up to our front door one day with a stack of dress shirts of his (it was just after the war and you could not buy a dress shirts anywhere) which he gave Agnes to give to me. At the beginning of Christmas recess the following year, he asked us to call him collect when our first child was born. Well, our daughter was born December 22nd and first person I called was Mr. Porter (collect). She grew up and entered Baylor in the fall of 1965 where she sang in his A Cappella Choir and served as one of his accompanists. I recall that just after the great storm "Carla" had raked the Brazos port area,

Euell Porter

where we were teaching at the time, Dr. Porter (as well as I knew him, I never called in anything other than Mr. Porter or Dr. Porter and never shall) came home to find his wife Christine packing a box of his and her clothes to send to John and Agnes. She was thinking that the storm had wiped us out. He invited my Brazos port high-school choir to take a singing tour of Greece with his university group. We were to join them in performance of Handel's Messiah. He instilled the importance of selecting good literature that would be worth our efforts in teaching and that would make us and our students better persons. Dr. Porter was professional and worked in all of our professional organizations. He thought most highly of TMEA, TCDA, national music organizations and the University Interscholastic League. He served as an officer in many of these organizations. He also served as an adjudicator for many years for the U I L. He encouraged scores of directors and thousands of students with his most positive written and spoken comments and criticisms. Yes, he is gone but will not be forgotten. Thank you for the chance to write something about this great teacher.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Marion E. Luper Jr. Sam Houston State Class of 1946 While attending Lamar Jr. High School and Stephen F. Austin High School in Bryan, Texas I sang in choirs directed by Euell Porter along with my sister Duretta Luper Gilchrist. After this, we were both elated when Dr. Porter came to San Houston State in Huntsville, Texas to organize and direct the A Cappella Choir as well as other vocal groups. One of these groups was the men's double sextet of which I enjoyed being a part. Many lasting friends were made through the associations made in these organizations. Among them are Virginia Irvin, John Warren Smith, Robert A. (Bobby) Moore, Doug and Bess McDermott Osborne, Louis Gentry, Espy Watts, Fern Wiese, Velma Hand, and Sundell Harris as well as many others. Euell Porter was an inspiration to all of those who had privilege of knowing him and being a part of one of his choirs. I later had the privilege of singing in various church choirs, one of which was the First Baptist Church Choir in Austin, Texas where I had the privilege of singing with Maurice and Glenna Alfred who had been in Dr. Porter's choirs at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. In addition to the church choir in Austin, I have also have sung with the Austin Symphony Chorale, First Baptist Church Choir and River Oaks Baptist Church Choirs of Houston, the Houston Symphony Chorus of and the First Baptist Church Choir in Odessa. Euell Porter left a lasting impression on all who had the privilege of knowing him.

Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Maurice Alfred SHSTC 1946-1948 H-SU 1948-1950 Euell Porter came to Sam Houston State Teachers College in the fall of 1945 and I first met him when, as a freshman, I auditioned for the Sam Houston A Cappella Choir in the fall of 1946. Dr. Porter had an amazing ability to inspire his students and to give them a love of choral music that would last a lifetime. He could discipline in a manner that instead of making you mad or unhappy, made you want to try again and do better." There was no wasted time in rehearsals. The instant he finished one portion of the music he was telling you the page and the measure where we would start anew. His rehearsals were very fast paced, but also very enjoyable. Whether he was directing a church choir or a college or high school, there was no talking and if you did interrupt you probably got a stern look from those eyes, or you might be invited to leave the rehearsal. But he also had a wonderful sense of humor and a great smile! In his choral methods class, Dr. Porter did a great job of giving to his students the "nuts and bolts" of putting together a choral music program. You were wellequipped with a single copy of many pieces of the great choral music, the knowledge of how to recruit students, prepare a budget, order music, book tours, prepare programs, etc. He made great use of the officers elected by his choirs. They worked, but it was great training for them as he gave them many responsibilities. I remember the first time I heard him sing "When I Grow Too Old to Dream". It was at a choir party at S H S T C when he sang, his wife Christine began to hum along with him. He always took great care of his invalid wife. He was a fine Christian gentleman whose life was a wonderful example for all his students. In the summer of 1948 Dr. Porter left S H S T C and went to Hardin--Simmons University in Abilene. Fourteen of his S H S T C students went with him. It was certainly because of Euell Porter that I directed choirs in high school, college and churches for 51 years before my retirement in 2001. He was my inspiration, mentor and teacher.



Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Jess Hensarling Stephen F. Austin High School Bryan, 1944

Euell Porter, handsome, lyric tenor, native Texan from Muleshoe, graduate of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, was teaching school in Bryan, Texas, when he heard an a cappella choir. It may have been the one from North Texas State Teachers College in Denton. He said to himself that he wanted one of those. He went to W. D. Wilkerson, Superintendent of Schools, and made arrangements to organize an A Cappella Choir at Stephen F. Austin High School. His students understood that it was the first such choir in Texas. He also directed at Lamar Jr. High and recruited and began training singers who fed into the high school choir. This was in the late 1930. He worked diligently to upgrade the taste and exposure of both his students and the community. Favorites of the choir included Adoramus Te by Palestrina sung in Latin, Beautiful Savior and Lost in the Night arranged by F. Melius Christiansen, hymn arrangements and spirituals. The closing of every concert was Blest Be the Tie That Binds. Everything was sung without accompaniment. Choir became so popular that some students stayed for postgraduate high school study, just to sing in the choir. The choir was robed similarly to the choir at North Texas in velveteen floor length robes; the girls wore satin vestments which covered their hands, and everyone sang in black socks with no shoes. Because the choir was a rarity among high schools, it got to travel throughout the state singing in high school assemblies where the football player singers were pointed out. Lodging was usually in homes, but hotels were an occasional treat. World War II gasoline rationing restricted travel, but enterprising parents provided transportation by car to nearby towns. After the war, the choir traveled, by invitation, to the Northwest Pacific coast to sing for the International Lions Club Convention. Mr. Porter, as he was known then, took the choir to Houston to hear the St. Olaf choir, arranged for them to hear the North Texas State Teachers College A Cappella choir, under Dr. Wilfred Bain, and encourage them to hear Bidu Sayao in recital at

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Texas A&M College. Choral clinic shared with Marlin high school singers were held frequently. He offered free voice lessons to several. Euell Porter endeared himself to the entire Bryan community when in spring of 1940 (or 1941) he had to hurry back to Bryan, from a musical contest in Huntsville, for the birth of his only child. Mrs. Porter's pregnancy and delivery were difficult because of her diabetes: the infant was born with water on its brain and did not live; she suffered the loss of the ability to form words. He lovingly cared for her all her life. Some years later, he was pleasantly surprised to return from a trip to find that friends had taught her to say "oui" to greet him. From Bryan, Euell Porter went to Sam Houston State Teachers College, HardinSimmons College and later to Baylor University where he achieved wide spread admiration.


Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Ken Armstrong

Dr. Porter arrived at Baylor in the fall of 1955. After auditions, he formed the Baylor Chapel choir. He brought with him several outstanding singers from HardinSimmons Hugh Sanders and Ralph Gibson came to mind. At the same time, he had competition on the campus. An old Welchman, Pop Hopkins, was a longtime conductor of the A Cappella Choir and Martha Barkeman directed a fine group which performed light choral music. The Chapel Choir met in the 7th and James Baptist Church choir room each afternoon for rehearsal. This represented quite an investment of time for me since I was a religion and English major and we received no semester hours for choir. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed singing with Dr. Porter during my sophomore and junior years: indeed, it was one of the highlights of my days in Waco. After being elected president of the Baylor Ministerial Alliance, I felt that I had to give up choir during my senior year and this I did with great reluctance. My memory of Euell Porter is very clear. On one hand he was a kind, even sweet person. As a friend recently said, he was something of a father figure for many of us. Yet, he could be firm and something of a taskmaster. I thought of him as a perfectionist. He was quite demanding of us in terms of learning the music and producing the tone he wanted. He called names and identified miscreants'. Yet, he was never unreasonable: as a professional in the choral music field, he wanted the Baylor Chapel Choir to be good, and we were. In concert and on tour, I was immensely proud to be a member of the choir. It was my good fortune to take Dr. Porter's conducting class. In it, he largely worked with students who planed to be music directors in Baptist churches throughout Texas and beyond. Dr. Porter also serves as the music director at 7th and James (across the street from BU and the largest Protestant Church in America). Sunday after Sunday he teamed with our pastor, Dr. Charles Wellborn to produce memorable worship services and he was much loved in this capacity. Sometimes, I think . . . this is the real Euell Porter . . . providing musical leadership to Baptist churches. It is true

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that he traveled all over the state conducting choral clinics for churches. So don't omit this important ministry, for it reflected his Christian faith. One day in the conducting class, an older fellow asked what he should do in his present assignment. The church where he served loved Stamps music and sang from shape notes. Dr. Porter spent time with that question, and conferred with the man throughout the quarter. His idea was to take the church and choir where it was, and over a period of time, seek to elevate their musical taste and expression to God. Several years later, I used Dr. Porter's go-easy approach in a church where the pastor considered the doxology as high, fancy music. I often thought of Dr. Porter the year I serve that church. As I think of Euell Porter, I recall a man who worked with college students and churches to produce beautiful music. By all measures, he succeeded handsomely.


Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Lena Sue (Pinky) Chilton Murry Sam Houston State Teachers College 1947-1948 Hardin-Simmons University 1948

I met Euell Porter in the fall of 1947 when his choir from Sam Houston State Teachers College was touring and played a concert stop at Lamesa High School. Since I attended school half a day, I missed the presentation but was called at my part-time job by the principal of the high school, to come to be interviewed by Mr. Porter. I was a poor girl with hardly any hope of attending college, although it was my dream to do so. Mr. Porter asked me to sing for him and from there the story of his influence is indelible in my life's book of treasured memories. I was invited by him to come to Sam Houston on a scholarship. When he accepted a position in the music department at Hardin-Simmons University, he invited me to go with him, also with a much-needed scholarship. That was the beginning of his influence in my life. His personal interest in me and his gracious consideration of my needs was the door through which his life caused me to see more than a professor/teacher but a man who loved the Lord Jesus. That was demonstrated in his daily walk and relationship with his students. I saw, for the first time in my young life, a spiritual giant. His humility and gentleness, with meekness that pronounced itself in a demeanor as he conducted the choir in rehearsals and concerts with a strong hand of quiet authority, showed me what God meant when he said Moses was the meekest a man on earth. That strong hand of authority was framed by love for the music and for the singer and he lead us to be aware of the matchless ONE we were singing about. Dr. Porter's Godgiven ability with music brought into the lives that were under him, and seen with eyes of a learning student, lessons that have had their far-reaching influence on many others. His faith was evident as he lovingly took care of Christine who, he said, gave her life to bear him a son so he would give his life in meeting all her needs that he possibly could. He did that magnificently! There are no words adequate to express what my association with him has meant

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during the intervening years and no way that I could have ever repaid him. He taught me more than music, and for that I am eternally grateful. His one favorite song, "How Tedious and Tasteless the Hours When Jesus No Longer I See", is only a memory of him as he now stands at the throne and sees Him face-to-face. I look forward to that grand reunion when we get together and lift our voices of true praise to HIM face-to-face who graciously planned and directed it all. To God be the glory!


Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Pat Agnew Kincaid

It is a privilege to have a part in this tribute. Ted Nichols wrote so eloquently of Euell Porter and the feelings the choir members shared. Dr. Porter came to lead the music in a revival at the First Baptist in Cisco when I was in high school. I was impressed with him not only as a musician but as a dedicated Christian. After graduation from Cisco Junior College, I transferred to H S U and became a member of the A Cappella and First Baptist choirs in 1952-1953. I married in June of 1953 and we committe three days a week to complete our senior year. Even though I was in choir only one year there are many memories. It was at a party in the Porter's home that I first heard him sing "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" to Mrs. Porter. I was going to sing it to Don at our 50th anniversary celebration but there were just too many emotions remembering the Porters. What a special love he showed for God, Mrs. Porter's and his music!

Euell Porter


Euell Porter Remembered by Edward Barnes Hardin-Simmons University 1955 My family moved Abilene in the summer of 1948 when I was going into my junior year in high school. I had been used to singing in an adult choir in church and so ask Dr. Porter if I could sing in his choir. Since it was summer and most of the Hardin-Simmons students were gone, he let me do so, but in the fall when the college kids all came back and filled up the choir, he shuffled me back to the youth choir. That was an interesting experience. He lined up all the boys on the back row and came behind us feeling our throats for and "Adam's apple" I suppose. When he got to me he got real excited and rushed me up to the piano and ran me through some scales to see what my range was. That was the first time I really knew that I was a bass. I stayed in the youth choir through the first nine weeks of school and then my folks moved to Orange were I finished high school. As soon as possible I went back Abilene to attend Hardin-Simmons. Since I was, by that time, an adult, Dr. Porter allowed me to sing in the "big choir". I wanted to sing in the A Cappella Choir at HSU, but I was a chemistry major and my labs fell at the same time the choir rehearsed, so I was unable to sing with it. I did tryout to sing in the male quartet however and therein lies a tale. I sang in a male quartet in high school in Orange, under Maurice Alfred and really wanted to continue that at HSU. My best friend Eddie Hebert had also sung in the quartet, and he went with me to Abilene. We wanted to sing together so badly that we made a pact: if both of us were selected, we would sing together in the quartet. If either of us didn't make it, the other would not sing in it either. When Dr. Porter called us all together for the first audition, and Eddie and I both tried out and felt like we had a good chance. When the second audition came around however, I was called back but Eddie wasn't. So I lived up to the pact and didn't go back the second time. Now at the time, I lived off campus in the home of one of the professors, and Dr. Porter lived a few blocks down the same street. As I was walking home from the campus the next day, a car came up behind me and stopped. Dr. Porter told me to get in.


Euell Porter

He was not pleased. It was the only time I can remember ever seeing him upset - and it was with me - not good. He had planned, he said, to give me the bass spot in the quartet, but since I didn't show up, he gave it to someone else. Well at least we know he was capable of being upset, but I never saw that again. I continued to sing in his church choir until I had to start working at night and was unable to go to rehearsal. Even so, he often gave me rides home from the campus and he became a good friend. After graduation from Hardin- Simmons, I went into the Army and he moved to Baylor. I was stationed at Fort Bliss in EI Paso for most of two years and then stayed there working for another 10 years after I got out. During that time I sang in the church choir at First Baptist, EI Paso. Twice during that time, we had Dr. Porter come out for a week-long choir clinic; once by himself and once when he brought his wife. I treasure the time he spent with my wife and me in our home as well as the association I had with him in the choir. Since then, until his death we would exchange Christmas cards and write occasionally, and at least once, I talked with him at length on the phone when he was in the retirement center. My wife and I attended every Baylor A Cappella Choir concert that happened in the Houston area while he was directing. We enjoyed the choral mastery that he and his choirs exhibited. I counted Dr. Porter not only a good friend, but the finest choral director I've ever sung under, and I've sung under several who were and are really great. His death was a personal loss to me as it was a professional loss to all choral musicians who knew him and have sung under him.

Euell Porter


Remembering Euell Porter Randy Adams H-SU '55 BM In the fall of 1953 I was destined for a University other than Hardin--Simmons. For some reason I stopped by to talk with Dr. Euell Porter before leaving my hone in Abilene. The outcome of that meeting was a scholarship and an opportunity to work with one of the three Professors at H-SU who were instrumental in the development of my future. Dr. Porter was a caring and loving person exemplified by his complete devotion and concern for his life partner. He was an exemplary choral conductor who was able to unify an extremely diverse group of people into a rich choral sound that expressed life qualities no other musical art can claim. This writer has always felt our lives are truly orchestrated by God, and we are His instruments. Compassion, devotion, and commitment to his faith through choral music and teaching: the instrument on which Euell Porter so masterfully performed. Truly an instrument orchestrated by God.


Euell Porter Remembering Dr. Euell Porter by Dewayne Beaty

Upon entering HSU in the fall of '54, I had hopes of becoming a member of the A Cappella Choir but 1 had no formal vocal training. I asked and received an opportunity to "tryout" for Dr. Porter. At the end of the "tryout" I remember him saying to me, Beaty, I want to put you in our Chapel Choir and help get that fine voice God has given you trained and then we will be ready for you in the A Cappella Choir. I was greatly disappointed, but he was right (as usual). So I had one year to sing under his direction and what a year it was! Lyndal Bingham, J.E. Boggs, Vernon (my roommate), Ralph Gibson, Pat Kirita, Barbara Ralls, Carol Scott, Sarah Willis, Becky Kelmer, Sue McCown, Peggy McKibben, Lynn Meeks, Patsy Tidwell, Richard Fancher, Veril Price, Jackie Shirley, Bill Moore, Lawrence Webb, Jackson Williams, Don Scargall, Nanallene Miller, and Betty Baty are some that I remember in the Chapel Choir that year. The Four Flushers Quartet: Lyndal Bingham, Ralph Gibson, David McPherson and Hugh Sanders were a part of our touring program. We sang all over West Texas. It was during that tour I, along with all the other members of the choir, learned some very valuable lessons from Dr. Porter. Before our last concert in a church worship service on that tour, the choir was eating a meal and enjoying a relaxing time before the service when someone went to a piano and began to play some "jazzed up" versions of several hymns. Soon most of the choir joined in. Then Dr. Porter come rushing into the room and addressed the entire choir for about 15 minutes or more. During that lecture I learned three very important theological truths: 1) The fear of God! 2) Reverence for God and God's House and 3) A deep respect for the privilege, honor and responsibility of singing praises to the Lord and leading congregations in worship. During our presentation that evening, we sang many of our songs without Dr. Porter having to use his hands, only his eyes. It was a very moving experience. I can assure you that many times, in many types of worship experiences, in many countries 1 have remembered that lesson learned from Dr. Porter in a fellowship hall in a small West Texas Town on a spring Sunday evening. Thank you Dr. Porter, I will be forever grateful!

Euell Porter EUELL PORTER Thoughts of Lyndal Bingham First thought: One of God's choice men in choral church music. A friend - From the first time I saw him direct his Chapel Choir from HardinSimmons at 1st Baptist in Spur, TX, I knew he was so much more than just a very polished choral director. He was so warm to invite two really country boys, Ralph Gibson and myself to come to Hardin-Simmons and musically fulfill our God calling to church music ministry. Second thought: The more involved I became at Hardin-Simmons, the more I realized, by observation, what a great choral interpreter he was. He always knew exactly the sound he wanted from each piece of music. All of this came from his facial expression, his eyes, and even the exact way he held his fingers on his right hand. Intonation and wording. "Always make sure the people on the back row can understand the words and appreciate the exact intonation of each note." Last thought: I always wanted to stand, to interpret, to understand the musical message and try my best to emulate the exact presence of Dr. Euell Porter. My church music calling was always on a little higher plane because of him.



Euell Porter Remembering Dr. Euell Porter by Jack Bottoms

My first knowledge of Mr. Euell Porter (as he was known back then) came when I enrolled at Sam Houston State Teachers College in the fall of 1948. Soon after I arrived on campus I learned that Mr. Porter had accepted the position of Choral Music Director at Hardin-Simmons University. So, he had departed Sam Houston at the end of the spring semester of 1948 and I had just missed him. However, as I began attending church at the First Baptist Church of Huntsville 1 became acquainted with a host of people who spoke very highly of Mr. Porter and of their sorrow at losing their Choir Director, at First Baptist and at the college. The Pastor of First Baptist tried his best to get me to leave Sam Houston and follow Mr. Porter to Hardin-Simmons. However, I could not afford the expense of attending a private college and gave up the idea of moving to Abilene. I completed two years of work toward a degree in chemistry before withdrawing from college to enlist in the United States Air Force. 1 returned to Sam Houston on a TDY assignment from the Air Force and received my degree in the summer of 1953. 1 returned to the Air Force and in the summer of 1954 married a wonderful young lady 1 had met during my final semester at Sam Houston. We moved off base in San Antonio and lived there until I was discharged from the Air Force in December of 1954. Throughout the six years following my initial enrollment at Sam Houston 1 was constantly coming in contact with someone encouraging me to "go study with Mr. Porter" and, as a result of a life-changing decision in the fall of 1954,1 contacted Mr. Porter (now Dr. Porter) about attending Hardin-Simmons in the fall of 1955. 1 will never forget his response. He wrote, "I am sure Hardin--Simmons would love to have you attend there and 1 will help you in anyway 1 can to contact the right people. However, I need to tell you that I will the teaching at Baylor University, beginning with the fall semester of 1955." I was overjoyed at hearing this news because Waco is only 60 miles from my hometown of Jewett. So, June and 1 moved to Waco and I enrolled at Baylor in the summer of 1955.

Euell Porter


Beginning in September of that year Dr. Porter became my Choir Director at Seventh and James Baptist Church in Waco and at Baylor University. What a joy it was to finally work under the direction of the man 1 had heard so many wonderful things about. We had some great times during the two short years 1 was at Baylor and I will never forget the help Dr. Porter gave me as a wonderful friend and teacher. 1 loved him dearly and admired him so much for the Christian example he lived. This was very evident in his relationships with his students and in his devotion to his wife, Christine. I realized very early in our relationship at Baylor that all the wonderful things 1 had heard about this man over a span of almost ten years were true. No wonder so many students down through the years have continued to speak of Dr. Porter with love and admiration. He was loved by many, many people as was evidenced by the number of former students who attended and participated in his memorial service. I have mentioned what a great teacher Dr. Porter was but have yet to give credit to his wonderful talent as a Choral Director. I know that every director has his own way of directing and there are those whose techniques were very different from those used by Dr. Porter. I have sung under the direction of several men since my years at Baylor and have yet to find one who comes even close to the stature of this man where choral conducting is concerned. I guess this was due, in large measure, to the wonderful talent he had in leading young people in the realm of choral music, especially sacred choral music. He was a dedicated Christian and this was always evident in the way he conducted. It was a day-by-day learning experience to sing in one of his choirs. I owe what talent I possess as a choral director to the leadership of Euell Porter. Dr. Porter was always anxious to help his students even after they had graduated and moved on to their life's work. Upon completion of my degree at Baylor I taught chemistry in high school for two years while I waited for a job to open up in choral music. In the summer of 1959 Dr. Porter recommended me for the choral position at Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur, Texas. After teaching eight years at Thomas Jefferson our family moved to Boulder, Colorado where I began work on a doctorate degree. I didn't get a chance to visit Dr. Porter very much during these years but I never forgot him and his influence on my life and the lives of my Wife and five children. When I wrote my dissertation he was one of the three people listed at the


Euell Porter

beginning of the paper as having been a special inspiration to me. We moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1972 to accept a teaching position at Missouri Baptist University. At the completion of eight years at Missouri Baptist I was asked to become Dean of the School of Music at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, having been recommended for that position by Dr. Euell Porter. I retired from Howard Payne in 1993 and moved back to my boyhood home in Jewett, Texas. I was able to visit with Dr. Porter from time to time and each time we spent precious minutes remembering those great days at Baylor. I was saddened when I received the call that he had passed away and was glad, as I have mentioned previously, that I was able to sing in the choir at his memorial service. My sadness that day was made more bearable by the knowledge that Dr. Porter had joined his beloved Christine in that celestial home in Heaven. I will always cherish the memory of this wonderful man.

Euell Porter


Remembering Dr. Euell Porter by Phil and Jennette [Crouch] Briggs H-SU Maurice, thank you for including me in the Euell Porter tribute. Dr Porter was probably the most influential person in my life after high school. I entered H-SU in the fall of 1951 and sang in the a cappella choir all four years, serving as president in 54-55, Porter's last choir in Abilene. He was my voice teacher and several courses in music, conducting etc. (also sang under his direction at FBC, Abilene for one year. He recommended me to my first church, FBC, Munday, TX following Bill Hardage! (later taught voice, hymnology and founded the Men of Midwestern choir from 6571. Porter's guidance even after his move to Baylor remained a main resource for me. The guidance he gave those of us who were soloists or in vocal groups was without peer. My strongest memory includes many of the names listed in this email, Bill Denton, Bill and Delana O'Brien, P. J. Newsome [Baylor & Midwestern Seminary], John Bullock, Britton Wood, Ed Wiggins, Ed Nichols, Dick Waters, Peggy Muston, The Hardy Twins, Norman Ward, Tommy Adams, Ron Bates, Loretta Guillette, etc. I will be retiring from SWBTS, 8/04 after teaching for 40 years. Hardly a day goes by that Euell Porter does not cross my heart/mind. Beautiful Savior will linger forever in my mind and on my tongue since I still sing and enjoy music. Jennette can still smell the fumes of the bus rounding the corner from a concert or tour. Dr. Porter visited us in the 60's Little Rock and while turning through our scrapbook, he remarked that his 51-52 was probably his best one. Now all the rest of you can argue about that, especially you Baylor folk. Do you remember the poem, "For the common things of every day, God gave man speech in the common way, And for higher things men think and feel, God gave the poet words to reveal, But for heights and depth no tongue can reach, God gave man music, the soul's own speech. Blessings and Prayers thanking God for the gift of memories.


Euell Porter REMEMBERING EUELL PORTER by Bill Davis, Retired Director of the sanctuary choir at Lake Rayburn United Methodist Church

I was privileged to be in Euell Porter's choir at Baylor University for the one year I attended. I found a great number of talented musicians in that choir due to Euell's recruiting ability. Dr. Porter was quite gifted in his selections of music. The choir always sounded chorally proficient and the music pleasing. It was my privilege to hear his final performance for T. M.E.A. I was amazed at the excellent quality of the vocal production, and his choice of music was the best I had ever heard from his choirs. Yes, Euell was a great Christian influence on many young people who worked under him, myself included.

Euell Porter


Remembering Euell Porter by Mary F. Fitzgerald (Day) H-SU 1950-54 The highlight of my college days was having the privilege of singing in Chapel Choir the first year and the A Cappella Choir the other three years. The music truly came alive for me, thanks to Mr. Porter. The verse he quoted sometime during every concert truly became the way I felt about music: "For the common things of everyday, God gave man speech in the common way. For higher things men think and feel, God gave the poet words to reveal. For height and depth no tongue can reach, God gave man music, the soul's own speech."


Euell Porter Remembering Euell Porter by Priscilla Lawhorne Hyson Hardin-Simmons University 1953-1957

Dr. Euell Porter was a gigantic Christian mentor to many young men and women who sang in the choirs he conducted over the years of his teaching and beyond his formal teaching career. Those who sang in the choirs he conducted shall always remember "Fairest Lord Jesus," and the ethereal feeling that came over their spirit as they sang with his direction. You would hear and feel the Holy Spirit within and see Him shining in the eyes of those who expressed the depth of their salvation while singing together this beautiful hymn of Faith. We knew we were all united forever in our love for Christ. Yes, we learned "music is the soul's own speech." Our respect and love for Dr. Euell Porter lives on today through his many student friends. His influence shall survive for years to come. His gentle kind personality exemplified Christ's in the eyes and minds of those who knew him. He probably was not a perfect man, but to us at that time in our lives, he seemed the perfect man. He was a father figure to many students. We learned people should be gentle and kind to all they meet when at all possible.

Euell Porter


Remembering Euell Porter by Melvin D. Jasek, BA 1956 Hardin-Simmons University Thank you for letting me be a part of Dr. Porter's recognition celebration. As for so many others, he was such an inspiration to me, a mentor and a person for which I am truly so thankful to have known. The time that I spent with him at HardinSimmons and at First Baptist Church in Abilene set my standard for choral music and appreciation of the wonderful world of choral music he exposed me to. Even now after fifty years, I hear the sounds of his choirs and I search continuously for those sounds in music today. I was a student in high school in 1950 or 1951 and Dr. Porter was the clinician at choir contest. In a few spare minutes he listened to a male quartet and as a result offered the four of us scholarships to Hardin-Simmons. Two of us accepted the scholarship and sang in the A Cappella Choir under Dr. Porter's direction from September 1952 through May 1955 when he left for Baylor University. We also sang in a men's quartet and in the choir at First Baptist Church. While Dr. Porter was a strong disciplinarian in his rehearsals, he also enjoyed a good laugh. During a dress rehearsal of the anthem "The Creation" by Wiley Richter, a choir member, Bill Hardage who was the soloist pulled a stunt during his solo, which totally wrecked the rehearsal. Dr. Porter dismissed the choir with tears of laughter. In the three years with Dr. Porter, I don't remember any other rehearsal being interrupted by a choir member. I remember the choir tours and the annual concerts in Behrens Chapel at Hardin-Simmons, but most of all I remember the thrill and joy of the music and the spiritual experience of just being a part of a choir directed by Dr. Porter. I can still see his face and eyes, the small movement of hands in conducting and the love of God he shared with his students. I have enclosed some articles, pictures, and programs, which I hope you can use. The article from the Range Rider, "A Personal Tribute to Euell Porter" by Jack Yates, really sums it all up. How fortunate we are to have known Dr. Porter.


Euell Porter Remembering Dr. Euell Porter by Virginia Lee Allen Lewis

Thank you for making this tribute to Dr. Euell Porter. I was only in his Chapel Choir for one year in 1957-58, but found that it was one of the best years in my singing career. He was an excellent director and one of the finest gentlemen that I have ever known. He was responsible for making some of the best memories of my Baylor days. My years at Baylor were from 1957 to graduation in 1959.

Euell Porter


Euell Porter: My Great Mentor in Choral Music by James T. Loden Euell Porter's Christian character, his dedication to choral music, and his personal concern for others were the defining attributes of his life. My first encounter with Euell Porter was at an Interscholastic League Contest where I won a First Division in Solo, and he was quick to persuade me to come to Sam Houston State. His genuine interest and invitation met with my Methodist preacher father's approval and thus began four years, not only under his baton, but under the influence of one of the most dedicated Christians I have ever known. He expected and demanded much of his students in choirs as well as elsewhere. Respect and concern were two lessons taught and learned well. Porter's music in those early years was driven by a desire to create a choral tone that could be described as lush, dark, and organ like. He selected voices that he could train to produce that quality and thus he chose mostly sacred music that lent itself to this quality. His interpretations were very personal and always suited to the texts. Students were expected to memorize the music by the second rehearsal of a piece which required a great deal of discipline. Rapt attention was given to his directing and interpretation. Music was never held in performance. His choirs had a great appeal to audiences and getting 50 or so singers to sound like one was an interesting mystery to many listeners. Porter's dedication to his ideal was unwavering. Dr. Porter was very involved in choral activities at the state level, and throughout the years probably recruited more students to attend Sam Houston State University, Hardin-Simmons University, and Baylor University than any other single person. He sought help for many students who could not afford the cost of a higher education. Shaping lives and building character seemed to be as important to him as producing a perfect choral tone. He had many followers and admirers, and through his motivating leadership he influenced many to follow choral music careers in colleges, churches, or public schools. I owe great thanks to Euell Porter for my career in church music and the influence he had in my life. He was my great mentor!


Euell Porter

Dr. Euell Porter, Gone But Not Forgotten Donna Magee Lunsford, Baylor University 1965-1968 My earliest memories include Dr. Euell Porter. I had a unique family relationship with him, as my father had studied music under Dr. Porter in the 1940s at Sam Houston. In fact I was born while my dad, John Magee, was a student there and was president of the choir. He and Mrs. Porter were friends with my parents through the years. My dad settled in the Brazosport area, where he taught choral music for 36 years. I remember once during one of our infamous Gulf Coast hurricanes, Dr. Porter called to check to see if we were okay-the phone call was by orders of Mrs. Porter! When Dr. Porter taught at Baylor, his choir camps in the summer became quite popular. I went to these camps every summer beginning in junior high, and looked forward to them all year long. I loved music, and I loved singing under Dr. Porter's direction. We who were students from the Brazosport area (Lake Jackson, Freeport, and Clute) enjoyed getting to know other students from different areas in Texas who also came year after year. My love of Baylor grew through the years and I just never considered going anywhere else but there. It was as a freshman at Baylor in 1965 that I first got to sing in the choir under the direction of Dr. Porter just as my dad had done when he was a college student! My sophomore year, I started out in the Chapel Choir and got promoted to the A Cappella Choir, the choir that got to go to New York and sing at Carnegie Hall in 1967. I remember how hard I had to work to learn all the music because I was put into A Cappella Choir later than everybody else. At one point I got so stressed out and tired that I sat in his office and cried. He was so kind and just listened to me, which is all I really wanted him to do. Then I went back to a practice room to learn more music! I got over my stress and had the time of my life in New York City on that tour! We sang a wonderful concert and got to experience an opera and a Broadway show and eat in nice restaurants. Some of us even went to coffee house in Greenwich Village, where we sang some of our music from "Man of La Mancha." It was the first time in

Euell Porter


my life that I felt like an adult- no curfews- Dr. Porter just expected his students to behave as he knew we would and be where we were supposed to be at all times! He trusted us. That was part of his special personality. Years later, in 1975, after I was married and living in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Porter brought his choir there on tour. My husband and I kept a couple of boys from our hometown who were in the Baylor choir. We also had Dr. Porter over for dinner. I have a picture of him holding my daughter who was just a few months old at the time. He was just like family to me. That daughter of mine, Julie, also went to Baylor in 1992, but Dr. Porter had retired by then. He was such a great man, who left a legacy to many of us. Dr. Porter was toughbut kind. He was strict-but he trusted us to live up to what he expected. All of us who sang under him knew he got a very special choral sound that was exceptional. I'm sure many of his students (like my father) went on to honor him by becoming excellent choral directors as well. And many others of us have continued to. honor him by letting choral music be a part of our lives in one way or another through the years. I will never forget him or the fabulous music that I learned while I was in his choir. God bless his memory.


Euell Porter Euell Porter Remembered by Anita Mobley Gilchrest

I was in Dr. Porter's freshman choir 1965-1966 and the A Cappella choir 19661967 at Baylor University. He was a tremendous teacher and got the best from all of us. He was tough and expected us to give him our best. We were expected to work on music on our own and to memorize what we performed. His musical programs always attracted full houses. The A Cappella Choir received a standing ovation at the Music Educators National Conference in April of 1967. I would have continued to tryout for places in his choir's after my sophomore year, but I was in the School of Nursing and spent my junior year and senior year at the Medical Center in Dallas. I truly missed singing in the university choirs after going to Dallas. Dr. Porter encouraged us to participate in other special musical groups opportunities such as the B R H choir, the opera chorus, etc. He was genuinely loved and respected by his students. In the year since graduation from Baylor, I have sung in many church choirs. The things that I learned from Dr. Porter are still part of what I bring to the choir. Choral music is still one of my loves.

Euell Porter


Dear Dr. Porter, Echoing the thoughts of countless others, I want you to know that you are the reason I chose Baylor for my source of higher education. Even during those short years when you would suggest your retirement, we would plead with you to wait until we graduated and then it would be okay! I’ve wondered how last year’s underclassmen felt knowing you wouldn’t be there next year. I’m thankful you did stay until I left. You’ve made such an impact on every area of my life and in turn, I hope I am passing these values to my children. It is impossible for me to participate in my musical activity, whether performing or listening, without doing it with “Porter scrutiny.” (Remember the time our choral conducting class was adjucating high school choirs for practice, and you and I suggested that a soprano in one of the choirs be sent to PE class instead of singing? Ha!) I thank you for your influence. It has become a means of facilitating enjoyment and accomplishment. My only regret from having been under your leadership is that every choir director and church musician have not nor will have the opportunity to learn from you. It is difficult not to judge others by the standards you’ve set for yourself, as well as those instilled in us who have worked with you. Your ways are our ways in as many ways as possible to imitate you. Thus, my life is much fuller and satisfying because of you. Thank you. With much love and respect, Eloin Bradley Bates

Julia Dean Evans Material prepared by James R. Nance


Julia Dean Evans Biograhpical Sketch Julia Dean Evans Amarillo High School • 1939-1950

The fall of 1939, Julia Dean arrived in Amarillo, Texas, to accept the position of A Cappella Choir Director at Amarillo High School. Amarillo was the hub city in the Texas Panhandle, a town of approximately 40,000. Amarillo High was the only high school where sophomores juniors and seniors came from all over the city and several nearby smaller towns. At the time it was considered a large high school and was best known for its football team, the Amarillo Golden Sandies, several times state champions. Amarillo High was soon known for something else. Its outstanding A Cappella Choir program. Julia Dean was a young, attractive, petite, enthusiastic lady with big ambitions and the determination and dedication to fulfill her ambitions. Her magnetic personality quickly attracted the students of the high school and by the end of her first year she had 44 students in her choir. During her 12 year tenure as the Amarillo High School Choir Director the choir program grew to eight large choirs with over 430 members. In 1943, during the World War II years, the male band director was drafted into the service and Julia Dean directed the state renowned 80 member Golden Sandy Band, in addition to her choir work. After the war, when a full time band director was hired, Julia returned full-time to developing her choir program. Julia Dean was born in Oklahoma, attended Clarendon College, West Texas State,The University of Southern California, Juilliard School of Music and North Texas State University. Her quest for improvement in excellence as a choral director demanded continuous advanced education. Beginning in 1945 a selected choir would tour throughout the state of Texas performing before school, church and civic organizations. Julia Dean found the annual tour stimulated great interest in her group and also found that their appearance encouraged other schools to either organize choirs or improve and upgrade their own choir programs. In addition the choir was selected several times to serve as the

Julia Dean Evans


demonstration choir for the Texas Music Educators Association. The highlight for the A Cappella Choir under Julia Dean’s direction, was a trip to New York City in a July 1948. Chosen by the Lions Club of Texas, a 50 voice choir represented the state of Texas at the Lion’s International Convention. Performances in New York City included a concert at Madison Square Garden, a Sunday morning and national radio broadcast over N.B.C. and an appearance on the Maxwell House coffee television show. While in New York City, the choir was invited to a rehearsal of Fred Waring’s famous choir “The Pennsylvanians” at his estate at Shawnee, Pennsylvania. After the rehearsal of Mr. Waring’s choir, he asked if the Amarillo high school choir would perform for them. Mr. Waring kept them singing for 37 minutes after which he stated, “This is the finest high school choir I have ever heard”. Julia Dean resigned from Amarillo high school in 1950. During her 12 years in Amarillo she had over 1500 boys and girls in her choirs. Several members of her choirs, some whose first introduction to music was as a choir member, became choir directors. After Amarillo, she taught at Marshall High School in Lubbock, and South Oak Cliff High School in Dallas, before retiring. Julia Dean married Bill Evans in 1945. Following his death she married O’Dell Simmons. Julia Dean Evans Simmons died in Dallas in 1976. Julia Dean Evans influenced the lives of many young men and women who attended Amarillo high school, sang in her choir, played in the band under her direction and just had the privilege of hearing her musical organizations perform. Below are comments from several of the many who responded when asked to share the influence Julia Dean Evans had on their life and their appreciation of music.


Julia Dean Evans Julia Dean Evans Remembered by Lynn Whitten Class of 1948

I was in the AHS A Cappella Choir from 1946 to 1948. During the second year, the city of Amarillo and Texas Lions Club underwrote a train trip for the choir to perform for the Lions Club International Convention in New York City. My fondest memories are from that trip. I had been no further away from home than Canyon. The trip included New York of course, Toronto, Niagara, and the highlight for me, Fred Waring’s estate/workshop at Shawnee on the Delaware. There we sang with and for the Fred Waring singers and attended a taping of one of their radio shows. Singing with Julia Dean Evans had a tremendous impact on my future as a choir director at Dumas, Texas Junior High and High Schools for six years, and as choirmaster/organist at First Presbyterian Church in Amarillo, for three years, and most recently, 30 years as director of Choral Studies at the University of Colorado. Julia Dean Evans impeccable ear and love of music making are always goals for me. And her putting Amarillo on the musical map gave endless thousands the pleasures and the feeling that music can bring. (Lynn Whitten married Evelyn Dean, a niece of Julia Dean Evans.)

Julia Dean Evans


Julia Dean Evans Remembered by Charles Nelson I’m not sure what a fifteen year old boy, who has spent his whole life in just two North Texas counties, should know about the world of choral music, but I had played in a school orchestra and sung in school choirs and had listened to world class music played by world class musicians over airwaves broadcast from NBC and CBS. In March of 1942 I heard the Amarillo High School Choir directed by Julia Dean Evans and could hardly believe my ears. I was acquainted with a college choir, whose men’s section had been decimated by losing men to the armed services. The men’s section in this high school choir sounded as good (or better) than the college choir. That choir sang so far above the level of my own high school choir that they could not be considered in the same class. It was a real eye opener (or ear opener) to this young lad who had an interest in singing, but as yet, had no aspirations to direct a choir. I had seen the musical possibilities of a group of 15-17 year old children who had experienced good vocal and choral instruction. As years passed, a stream of students from Amarillo High School found their way to the Music School in Denton. All these music students were influenced by Julia Dean Evans and her choir. I was glad, that in later years, I got to know this dynamic, talented person. Her work introduced me to possibilities I didn’t know existed.


Julia Dean Evans Julia Dean Remembered by Alice Lee Gist Federer Class of 1944

Singing at the Easter Sunrise Services, held at Palo Duro State Park, is what I remember most as a choir member. Two songs I remember singing were, Fairest Lord Jesus and an original composition written and arranged by one of Julia Dean’s relatives. I think it was her brother. Singing in that wonderful choir as the sun rose over the canyon was one of the most inspirational experiences of my life.

Julia Dean Evans


Julia Dean Remembered by Jim Clifton Class of 1949 I was a member of Julia Dean’s A Cappella Choir in 1948 and 1949. I was woefully short on musical talent, but long on appreciation for those who possess it. Julia Dean assuredly possessed it, and sought and nurtured it in every one of her students. I recall with fondness singing Peter J. Wilhousky’s arrangement of “In Solemn Silence”, Fred Waring Dry Bones, and of course, The Battle Hymn of the Republic. I also recall with great sadness the choir singing Fairest Lord Jesus at the funeral of Carolyn Kelley. She, Bob Lacey and a journalism teacher Dorinda Bond were killed in a car wreck as they returned from Canyon, Texas after working on our school paper “Sandstorm”. The choir’s Christmas concert was a personal favorite of mine. One of my joys is being associated with the publishing of A H S class of 49 newsletter. I include here an excerpt from the 2003 editor’s corner relating to the choir Christmas concert. “I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but I can remember when I first heard “Oh Holy Night”. It was a holiday season, perhaps 1947. We had gathered for the choir’s Christmas program, in a festive mood and noisy, until the music began. Sue Johnson, spotlighted on a darkened stage, that tiny figure standing in front of the choir, with that sweet soaring soprano voice filling every corner of the auditorium held us absolutely spellbound for a magic moment. I’ve thought of that moment many times since, and have regretted the passing of so many years without having told her how special it was. Now I get to say thank you Sue.” In “To Kill a Mockingbird” Miss Maudie says, “Mockingbird’s don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy but sing their hearts out for us.” (Jim Clifton graciously furnished a CD taken from a 78 rpm recording made of Julia Dean’s 1948 choir. Included on that CD is Jim’s favorite song the choir sang “Madam Jeanette”.


Julia Dean Evans Julia Dean Evans Remembered by Texas De Sautell Pasetti

As many, many more were, I was in Mrs. Evans choir all my high-school years. What a wonderful choir and what a great choir director!! We all loved her. Believe me that was big time for Amarillo in the early ‘40’s.

Julia Dean Evans


Julia Dean Evans Remembered by Charles Jeffress Class of 1944 I didn’t sing in the choir directed by Julia Dean Evans, but I was in the AHS Band she directed. I remember her as a very talented lady, a good leader, a good musician and a lot of fun. I’m reminded of an anecdote that happened one time during band rehearsal. She stopped the band in mid-tune to review some sections of the music which had lettered reference point A, B, C, etc. She called out “Go to H . . . No! On second thought Go to L”. Of course all this brought loud laughter from the band members who immediately thought their days were numbered. Ah, fond memories!!


Julia Dean Evans Julia Dean Evans Remembered by Jim Nance Class of 1944

I remembered Julia Dean fondly. My first year at AHS I played cornet in the band. Julia Dean was the director. My second and last year I sang in her A Cappella Choir. She also began a small vocal group called the “Four Hits and a Miss”. I was fortunate enough to sing bass in the group, which, if I’m not mistaken, was the year Julia Dean formed the group. The other members of the group were, Hoyt Mulkey, tenor, Bob Andrews, second tenor, Clarence Kincaid, baritone and our star was Jane Whicker, our ‘Miss’. Donna Autrey was our pianist. In 1944, Julia Dean arranged for the University of North Texas A Cappella Choir to sing a concert at the high school. I later attended the University majoring in voice and choral conducting. While I ended up in business, I thank Julia Dean, as well as others, for inspiring me to attend North Texas to study music and participate in some most inspirational music presentations. My real appreciation of music began under Julia Dean. She challenged the choir members with difficult music but made it fun to feel that sense of accomplishment when we finally neared that point of excellence to which she so strived. Everyone who had the privilege of participating in and or hearing her choirs, over the dozen or more years she was director of the Amarillo High School, was fortunate. She brought a new medium of entertainment, art and music to the entire area.

Julia Dean Evans


Julia Dean Evans Remembered by Cloys Webb Class of 1946 As a student in an Amarillo High School, I was privileged to sing in Julia Dean’s A Cappella Choir for three years. I did not realize, until many years later, after I became a choir director myself, what really outstanding choirs Amarillo had in those very early years of music education in Texas. In addition to being a member of Julia Dean’s choir, I can also claim her as a mentor. She was a person who got things done! My parents were loving and supportive, but they had neither the vision of a college education for me, nor the finances to make one possible. Knowing these things and feeling that I had some musical talent to offer, Julia Dean stepped up to the plate. She called me into her office in 1946 and announced that I was the recipient of a music scholarship at the University of North Texas in Denton. She also told me that she had found a dormitory room for me and a job which would provide enough money to pay my room and board. Though I had to drop out and work for a semester to help pay expenses, I eventually earned a B.S. in music and a Master of Music Education from North Texas. I’ve often wondered if I would have attended college were it not for Julia Dean Evans. Of course, I’ll never know the answer to that, but I do know that because of her I did and because of her I became a choir director and was able to teach all levels of choral music education for 33 wonderful years. I wish she were here for me to give her my personal thanks. (Cloys was A Cappella choir director at Perryton High-School, McAllen High School and Texas Christian University.)


Julia Dean Evans Julia Dean Evans Remembered by Nancy Fields McClintock Class of 1948

I was one of the lucky choir members that got to go on the New York trip sponsored by the Lions Club of Texas, the summer of 1948. One highlight of the trip was our audition for Fred Waring at his beautiful estate on the Shawnee in Pennsylvania. I made a scrapbook of our trip and have all the articles that appeared in the Amarillo Globe News about our trip. I will be happy to contribute copies of all I have about that trip and the choir, including pictures and a program of our 1948 a cappella choir spring concert, because Julia Dean was an exceptional talent and contributed enormously to the lives of every student she taught. (Sincere thank you to Nancy fields McClintock for making available so much material about the choir, the New York trip and Julia Dean Evans.)

Julia Dean Evans


Julia Dean Evans Remembered by Ken Kohler Class of 1948 As a junior at Amarillo High School in 1946, I first came in contact with Julia Dean Evans. I was playing in her band, but was attracted by the wonderful sounds Julie got from her choirs, so I tried out and made the choir. From that time on, Julie became my best teacher-friend and most revered teacher. We went all over the Texas Panhandle singing in schools, in churches, wherever she had a request. Once, when we were singing at the old Municipal Auditorium, we were a warmup group before an appearance of beloved comedian, Bob Hope. I was standing in the wings with Julie and we happen to be next to Bob Hope as he waited to go on. I was wearing a black and gold “Sandy” jacket. He hurriedly asked me to give it to him as he shed his own coat. Hope strode out on the stage in the black and gold AHS jacket to the delight of the audience. He made a few jokes and ask me to come out on the stage. We traded coats and I exited to a very excited Julia Dean Evans. She was so glad for me to get to participate in such a manner. After AHS, five years of college and two years in the Army, I returned to Amarillo and joined a small Bible church. There was talk that we should have a choir, but we had no choir director. I thought, well, I’ve watched the best in action, why couldn’t I at least do what I saw Julie do? There started a life long joy for me, leading choirs. Since that time, I’ve lead choirs in many churches in many locations. In 1947 I went to Costa Rica to learn Spanish. In the eight months I was there, we had a choir made up of students of Spanish who sang in Spanish-speaking churches throughout San Jose. After that, I went to Mexico City. In two years there, I had choirs from the Wycliffe Bible translators staff, from the Mexican workers at the center and at a Spanish-speaking church I attended. Julia was such an inspiration to all of us who sang in her choirs. She was tough, fair, fun, but always correct. She was a magnet in our school, attracting a good part of the football team, cheerleaders and other “noteworthys”. I look forward to meeting her again sometime and only hope she’ll let me sing in her choir once more.


Julia Dean Evans History of Amarillo’s A Cappella Choir by Betty Burkhalter • 1948

When Amarillo’s first A Cappella Choir was organized in 1939 by Mrs. Julia Dean Evans, it was impossible to predict the rapid growth of such singing groups. With 44 students in the first AHS choir, the organization grew steadily until a second group, the Choristers, was organized with a grand total of 125 singers. After another two years, the increasing number of singing aspirants made it necessary for a third choir to be organized. Thus the harmony singers took their place in AHS in 1944. Today, nine years later, 420 boys and girls spend one hour daily in singing the songs they loved. Mrs. Evans conducts three choirs each day, and Miss Tennie Thompson conducts five. Each year for the past three, a state tour has been made by 50 members of the A Cappella. Mrs. Evans and group travel by bus to various cities and towns of Texas, presenting their programs before schools, church and civic organizations. For two years the local delegation has served as the demonstration choir for the annual convention of the Texas Music Educators Association. Highlights of musical activities for the A Cappellians this year, is their selection to sing in New York City’s Madison Square Garden in July before the Lions International Convention. Through the years the best in music has been consistently presented to the student body until today, Amarillo High School students appreciate religious and classical numbers equally as much as the lighter popular tunes. The public always received graciously the wide variety of singing of the choir which includes classical, religious, Negro spirituals, novelty and popular music and has shown its appreciation of the choir by inviting it to appear before many different civic groups many times throughout the year. During the past nine years more than 1300 boys and girls have worn the robes belonging to the A Cappella; and each, in a spirit of love and loyalty to the choir, its conductor, and Amarillo High School, has done his share to maintain the reputation of the A Cappella in the hearts of Amarillo citizens.

Julia Dean Evans


From the Journal of Nancy Fields McClintock Trip to New York City • 1948 Thur sday, July 22nd, 19 48, 5:30 a.m. We traveled by train which was chartered by the Texas Lions Club and the choir was assigned two Pullman cars to use for both day and night. The first day took us from Amarillo, through Oklahoma and most of Kansas. Fr iday, July 23r d We traveled through Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and into West Virginia. Satu rday, July 2 4th We arrived at Washington D.C. and around 10:00 a.m. Eugene Worley, Texas Congressman, had arranged a tour for the choir. 1. The White House, including the East Ballroom, the Green Room, Blue Room, State Dining Rooms, even the Oval Office, the China Room and the Theater Room. 2. The Washington Monument, yes up to the top! 3. Tour of the Pentagon. 4. To Arlington National Cemetery. A. Tomb of the unknown soldier B. Robert E. Lee’s mansion 5. The Jefferson Memorial 6. The Lincoln Memorial 7. The Capitol building A. sang in the rotunda B. climbed to the top of the dome C. visited the House of Representatives 8. Visited Mount Vernon Back on the train to get to New York City by nightfall. Thirty minutes after our


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arrival we were walking down the famous Broadway! Sunday, July 2 5th, 194 8 11:00 a.m. Our choir was invited to sing live at the NBC studio in New York City. It was a 15 minute concert in the time slot used for Fred Waring. This was radio of course. (TV hadn’t reached Texas yet.) We attended the Bobby Houston show in Rockefeller Center. After lunch we got to attend the Robert Merrill show called “Music America Loves Best” (the RCA Victor show). Sunday evening the choir appeared on a Maxwell House Coffee TV show which featured musical organizations brought to New York for the Lions Convention. M ond ay, July 26th Our choir officially opened the annual International Lions Club convention at 10:00 a.m. on stage in Madison Square Garden. We sang again to fill in for Gov. Thomas E. Dewey, who was unable to attend and speak. A first: that a musical organization was used twice in one convention. Monday afternoon we went to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. Monday evening some of us attended the Firestone Hour, then all went shopping. Tues day , Ju ly 27th After breakfast the choir was treated to a tour of New York City which included going through the Cathedral of Saint John, the Divine, which is the largest gothic structure in the world, and the third largest church in the world. We went to Ellis Island and went up to the Statue of Liberty. A few of us even climbed up her arm and went out on the base of the torch. We went by boat around New York Harbor to see the skyline of New York City. Our choir sang today and at the dinner for the International Lions Club Governors at the Commodore Hotel. Then we went to a huge ice show called “Howdy Mr. Ice”. (At that time the only ice theater in the world was located in Rockefeller Center.)

Julia Dean Evans


Wednes day,July 28th This afternoon a bunch of us went to Ebbets Field to see Brooklyn Dodgers play the St. Louis Cardinals while others went to see a Broadway show. Tonight I (along with three other girls from our choir) were chosen to escort the delegates representing all the countries at the convention. I was to represent Ecuador and wore the costume of that country, which was a formal dress with a large hoop skirts of all colors and a straw hat covered with flowers. Our four, along with 18 other girls from across the country, appeared on stage before 20,000 delegates amid a setting of international flags. Thur sday, July 29th We were up early today to sing at the Texas delegation state breakfast in the Hotel New Yorker. Then we were invited to sing for an unprecedented third time before the Lions Club convention. The invitation was issued from Melvin Jones, “Father of Lyonism�. We ate dinner and boarded charter buses headed for Shawnee, Pa. where Fred Waring had requested our choir to audition for him. We auditioned in his studio singing Cherubim, Madam Jeanette, In Solemn Silence. Then Fred Waring himself directed us in singing Dry Bones. On our last song Battle Hymn of the Republic, the Pennsylvanian joined in, with Mrs. Evans directing. The whole choir was invited to a five course state dinner on the Green Terrace of the Waring estate. After dinner we boarded buses for the ride back to our hotel, where we packed and prepared for our departure. Fr id ay, July 30th The day we began our trip home, first by way of the Hudson River Day Liner, a river boat with Albany as her destination. Albany was our only venture out of the U.S.. From there we went to Toronto, Niagara Falls, back to Buffalo, New York then to Chicago. Most of the day was spent on the river boat and it was warm and sunny on the deck and we took advantage of the wicker furniture and slept like babies. After a


Julia Dean Evans

short shopping spree in Albany we made connection with our train and boarded for the long trip home. Saturd ay, July 31s t We arrived in Toronto early this morning and after breakfast were treated to a two-hour bus tour of the city. Then, after a short shopping spree, we left for Niagara Falls. Once there, we swarmed a curio shop, then went to see the falls. We were too late to take the boat ride, but enjoyed our view of the falls both before and after dark. Of course we sang while at the Falls and were heard by the director of the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra who wanted our choir to appear as guests artists at his concert the following Wednesday night. What a compliment! Too bad we couldn’t stay. Sunday, Augus t 1st Chicago was the stop for the day and the choir missed singing a concert at the railroad fair because the train arrived three hours late. There was time for a tour of the windy city, however, and a quick song at Dearborn station which was The Eyes of Texas. M ond ay, Augus t 2 nd We arrived at home.

Frank McKinley Material prepared by Charles Nelson


Frank McKinley Biographical Sketch Frank A. McKinley, Director of Choral Activities University of North Texas • 1947 - 1980

Upon the birth of their second child, on June 13, 1915, in Winnipeg, Ontario, Lillian Belle (Arnold) and David Francis McKinley could not have foreseen the outstanding musical future of their new born son, Frank. Four years later, the parents made the decision to move their family to the area where Belle had grown up in New Concord, Ohio, a pleasant town with a population of about 1,500. Beside family ties, New Concord was the home of Muskingum College, which was affiliated with the United Presbyterian Church. It was a good place to live and to educate their children. Both parents were musical. D.F. even had a touch of fame when, during his summer vacations from Maryville College, he served as song leader for the great evangelist, Billy Sunday. When he was five years old, Frank, and his sister, two years his senior, began formal piano lessons. It wasn’t long until everyone in the house realized that young Frank had quite an ear for music, when, upon hearing his older sister practicing, would yell downstairs, “You missed the C sharp!” Frank was diligent with his piano studies all the way through high school. Being a precocious student, he entered Muskingum College a year ahead of his age group with the intention of becoming a chemist. During his sophomore year, while working in the chemistry lab, amid clouds of smoke and acrid odors, he came to himself and said, “What am I doing here! I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in a chemistry lab!” Since he had already had a dozen or so years of piano study and was singing tenor in the college quartet, he decided to turn all his efforts to music. Upon graduation, he had been offered a job teaching music in a high school in Western Ohio. He knew he wanted to teach music, but he wasn’t sure he was yet qualified. One of his mentors had a music degree from the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia PA. She was a friend of Dr. John Finley Williamson, Founder and President of the Westminster Choir School in Princeton NJ. Dr. Williamson was

Frank McKinley


holding a choral clinic in North Carolina. Frank’s mentor made arrangements for Frank to audition for Dr. Williamson during that clinic. With $3.00 in his pocket, 21 year old Frank McKinley “hit the road” and hitchhiked from New Concord, Ohio to North Carolina to sing and play for Dr. Williamson. A part of Dr. Williamson’s audition procedure included pitch memory and pitch recognition. After Frank played and sang, Dr. Williamson discovered Frank’s remarkable ear, and offered him a “room and board” scholarship to Westminster Choir College. Frank’s parents were able to provide money for the tuition. In addition to the regular musical and singing training he received at Westminster Choir College, in the next two years, he had the opportunity to sing in the chorus of major choral/orchestral works with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of the great conductors, Bruno Walter and Arturo Toscanini. At no time did Frank long for the chemistry laboratory. After earning his Master’s Degree from Westminster Choir College in the spring of 1940, he was hired by Wilfred Bain at North Texas State Teachers College, Denton, Texas, to teach singing, direct the Chapel Choir and to serve as his choral assistant. December 7, 1941 was a day that changed the lives of every citizen of the United States. Frank McKinley was no exception. As a healthy male, in his middle twenties, he was of prime age to become a soldier. Duty to his country pulled him away from his chosen profession. Following his basic training at Camp Walters in Mineral Wells, he was shipped to Providence Rhode Island, where he joined the Headquarters of the 13th Corps as a Warrant Officer, assistant to the Chaplain. With his training and experience, Frank was placed in charge of music. After forming in Rhode Island, the 13th Corps paused in England for a month before traveling to France to join the “real war”. After his separation from the Army in 1946, he joined the music faculty at Kentucky Wesylian College. After one year in Kentucky, Frank McKinley was hired as the director of choral activities at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, a position he held for the next thirty three years. During his tenure, the A Cappella Choir gained a notable reputation for its dedication to the cause of advancing contemporary choral music as they sang Southwest premieres of over 40 compositions, including important works by American com-


Frank McKinley

posers Samuel Adler, Leonard Bernstein, Roy Harris, William Latham and Martin Mailmen. During his entire tenure, the UNT Grand Chorus served as the choral instrument for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, boasting 60 performances with such conductors as Antal Dorati, George Solti, Paul Kletski, Anshel Brusilow, Walter Hendl and Donald Johanos. His choirs have appeared with L’Orchstre National de Belgique, the Royal London Philharmonic, the National Symphony, Houston Symphony, Ft. Worth Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Wichita Falls Symphony and the San Angelo Symphony. Under his leadership the UNT A Cappella Choir presented concerts throughout the United States. In 1964 the choir was selected by the U.S. State Department’s Cultural Presentations Program to represent the United States with concert performances in Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland. On returning to the United States, the choir performed at the Texas Pavilion of the World’s Fair in New York City. In 1972 McKinley served as a participating conductor for the Third International Choral Festival at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and in 1974 and 1976 prepared choruses for performances at the Kennedy Center for the performing Arts with the National Symphony Orchestra. In 1978 the A Cappella Choir became the first collegiate choir to record with the Royal London Philharmonic. In 1978 Frank received the Alumni Merit Award from Westminster Choir College. In 1980 he was presented the Texas Distinguished Choirmaster Award by the Texas Choral Directors Association. Because of his outstanding contribution to music education and international cultural relations, the Muskingam College Alumni Association gave him its highest honor in 1984, the Alumni Distinguished Service Award. UNT has established an endowed scholarship in his honor. Following his retirement, Frank McKinley filled interim positions a director of Choral Activities at the University of Colorado and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. A teacher does not compile this list of accomplishments without having an enormous impact upon those students he leads in those activities. Through it all, the students and the music they served, always came first. Frank McKinley’s influence, on the thousands of students who have come under his influence, is incalculable.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Marvin Pollard (from 2002 UNT Choral Reunion Book) Frank McKinley is a remarkable person as well as an outstanding role model as a choral director. I was a student in his voice studio, a member of choirs under his direction and worked as his choral librarian and part-time secretary. The most impressive personality trait is that he was never motivated by his own ego. The outstanding programs and experiences he planned and carried out for the choirs he directed were done for the good of the choral program and not his own identity. He finds time to take an interest in his students and, even after they leave the campus, follows their careers. It was a surprisingly frigid Sunday afternoon for Denton, Texas. The old administration building auditorium was the location for a presentation of Bach's St. Matthew Passion by the Grand Chorus with students and faculty soloists and the Symphony Orchestra, bolstered by faculty instrumentalists. Dr. Walter Hodgson, Dean, conducted. Audience and performers were uncomfortably cold and the instrumentalists struggled with tuning. Almost immediately after the opening downbeat, the lights went out plunging the orchestra and chorus into a darkness which was relieved slightly by outside daylight seeping through the curtained windows. Dr. Hodgson continued to conduct and the orchestra began the opening measures of the introduction. Gradually, instrumental parts dropped out until the Basso Continuo was alone - and Dr. Hodgson carried on in the best tradition, "the show must go on." Suddenly, the skill of the backstage technician brought the lights back on. A few members of chorus recognized their entry cue and began singing. Within moments the full ensemble was together and completed a most unique and memorable rendition of this great Bach masterpiece. Being in a North Texas choir has impacted my life in wondrous ways; not the least of which is my 40 plus-year career as a choral director and teacher of voice. I have traveled nationwide as a member of the music-education/church music profession and without exception, when my alma mater has become the subject of conver-


Frank McKinley

sation, the respect for UNT is evident. And let's not forget the lasting friendships that have resulted in being colleagues in rehearsing and performing with the North Texas choirs.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Charles Ray Holbrook (from 2002 UNT Choral Reunion Book) Being selected as a member of the A Cappella Choir was one of the highlights of my life. To this day, I still deem it an honor and a privilege to have been chosen as a member. The choir was an outstanding musical group and was composed of many fine people, several of whom have remained my friends over the years. Frank McKinley was loved and respected by each and every member of the choir. Not only did he know how to evoke the choir's very best effort, he always retained a winsome and engaging approach to the task at hand. I'm grateful for his inspired leadership as well as for the lasting friendship of the other choir members. It was a privilege to serve as a member of the A Cappella Choir for two years (1948-1949). During that time the choir had several amusing and memorable moments. One day, while on tour, our bus driver crossed over a railroad track and deposited the bus differential gear on the ground. Needless to say, Frank McKinley had to call for another bus. Another evening, during a concert, we were preparing to sing our next number and waiting for Earl Tom Keel to give us our pitch. Just about that time, someone's stomach growled and the choir assumed that that was our cue to begin singing. Frank McKinley, being the astute director that he was, stopped the choir after a brief and hectic moment. During another performance, one of the female members standing in front of me, fainted in the middle of a number. We proceeded to ease her down gently onto the riser and continued singing. After leaving NTSU in the summer of 1949, I began a thirty-eight year career in the United Methodist Church, first as a Choir and Educational director, and then as a Director of Christian Education and Pastor's Assistant. In 1961 I moved to Tyler, Texas where I served on the staff of the Marvin Methodist Church until I retired in February of 1990. (From February 1950 until December of 1952, I served in the Chaplain's Corps of the U.S. Army.)


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Ava Nell Donoho Chambers (from 2002 UNT Choral Reunion Book)

Appreciating the beauty of music and the joy of sharing that feeling with others; the emphasis on discipline and practice; developing a commitment to excellence; continuously striving for "ensemble" and the enduring friendships of fellow choir members are a few of the ways the choir experience impacted my life. These experiences gave me a foundation on which to build as I worked thirty-five years from a classroom music teacher to administrator in the Fort Worth Independent School District, and as an adjunct teacher at TCU and UTA. I treasure singing with symphony orchestras in Dallas and Houston and with great conductors (especially Antal Dorati). Learning to sing German, Italian, Latin and Hungarian without a Texas accent was quite a challenge!

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Barbara (Lewis) Austin (from UNT Choral Reunion book) In the early 50s, when Walter Hendl was conductor of the Dallas Symphony, our Grand Chorus, under the direction of Frank McKinley, was paired with the orchestra to perform some of the great choral/orchestral masterpieces. It was a wonderful musical experience. I have always felt greatly indebted to Charlie Nelson, who was my instructor in wonderful choral conducting classes during summer sessions. Thanks Charlie, you were “with me” at every level of my teaching and directing. (1954-1994) Toward the end of A Cappella Choir tour in 1953, we unloaded the bus at a large church in Oklahoma City where we were to sing a concert in the sanctuary that evening. Mr. McKinley left Eldon Black with instructions to get all of us in the sanctuary to check sound and rehearse. We were exhausted. Everyone picked a pew and stretched out. When Mr. Mac came in the back of the church, he couldn’t see us. We heard his voice, loud and clear, “Eldon, where’s the choir”? That was our cue. We all arose at the same time. It must have seemed that we just materialized and looked very funny. We were too tired to laugh, but Mr. Mac did.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Paul Harrison (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

Choral singing and directing seemed to be the single most important factor in my life. I have done one and/or the other of these activities for about 50 years. I have always been interested in directing or singing in choirs. My time in the choirs at UNT gave me a chance to meet and keep many great friends. One of the dearest friends, at the top of my list, is Frank McKinley. Mr. McKinley built in me a real love for choral singing. My entire life and work has been based upon the foundation of musical training started at UNT. Many happy memories come to mind when I think about my days in the North Texas Choir. One of these is still vivid in my mind. It was the spring of 1953 and the choir was on tour in the Valley. All choir members were kept in private homes. I was lucky enough to be sent to the home of a farmer that had an orange orchard. The home was in the middle of the orchard and the trees were in full bloom. We slept with the windows open. I have never experienced an aroma that was better. What a wonderful night’s sleep.

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Frank McKinley Remembered by Sandra (Fulmer) Davidson (from UNT Choral Reunion book) After one semester at UNT, I discovered that I could take accompanying instead of choir as a lab. I was assigned to Mr. Mac’s studio and loved it. This was the most relaxed, fun, part of college. The students I remember accompanying were Eldon Black, Vernon Moody, Bill Blankenship, George McKinley, Walter Foster and my husband, Neil Davidson. I remember that in some students’ lessons, Mr. Mac would ask me to transpose certain songs at sight. He would sit in a chair off to one side --just the right distance to nudge me with his foot anytime I faltered. He is one of the dearest people we have ever known and our sons know they missed something special by not getting to know him.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Jean (Rapp) Garrett (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

Being in Frank McKinley’s A Cappella Choir taught me the meaning of true excellence in performing choral music: a standard that I have always tried to achieve in my teaching. I am retired from the Garland Independent School District with a total of 31 years of teaching in public schools. I now am adjunct faculty with Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, working with Dallas area student teacher.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Janette Kavanaugh (from UNT Choral Reunion book) I have been so grateful to Mr. Mac for broadening our knowledge of 20th Century music with performances of such works as Honegger’s “King David”, Coplands “The Creation”, and others. I have continued to use 20th Century works in my own recitals as well as those of my students. Mr. Mac and Marilyn married shortly before one of our choir tours. Marilyn went with us on tour. We enjoyed observing them -- more importantly, Mr. Mac was always in a good mood on that trip!!


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Rebecca (Breining) Nunez (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

I always loved to sing. Being a part of a group that works together to make beautiful music is very important to me. I have sung in church choir all my life, and now sing with the Denton Bach Society Chorus. My most memorable choir experiences were when The Grand Chorus, directed by Frank McKinley, sang with the Dallas Symphony. Having grown up in Lefors, a small town in the Texas Pandhandle, I had heard few professional groups. I could not believe I was singing with a major symphony.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Donald Pugh (From 2002 UNT Choral Reunion book) Being in the North Texas choir was a great help to prepare me for the first part of my professional life as a High School Choir Director. Frank McKinley was the best mentor one could have had for that career. Some of the most outstanding memories from that time were the splendid musicians I had the opportunity of knowing and performing with and the great choral/orchestral works we performed.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Frank Roberts (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

Being a member of the choirs at North Texas reinforced my love of music and broadened my musical horizons by introducing me to a greater and greater variety of music literature. Even after leaving the profession 30 years ago, I still consider myself a serious consumer, and sometimes performer, of music. It was the spring of 1957, during our final A Cappella Choir tour concert at Lawton, Oklahoma that my most memorable event occurred. All who know Frank McKinley recognize his professional bearing during performances, and his reputation for this is what makes the story so humorous. The final selection of the concert was Tom Scott’s “Prodigal Son” for choir and narrator. Our narrator, Deuce (Lewis) Woodward, who did a very convincing job of imitation the speaking style of a southern preacher, decided to switch his admonishments on Christian living from the audience to none other than Frank McKinley. Deuce suddenly turned, eyes glaring, finger pointing directly at Mr. Mac and declared: “OH SINNER”! and continued with the climax of his sermon while Frank almost dissolved into his white tie and tails. Shocked and surprised as we all were, we were able to quickly regain our composure (including Frank) and finish the piece to the delight of all in the house.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Mel Ivey (from UNT Choral Reunion book) Being in the A Cappella Choir and Grand Chorus under Frank McKinley had a great impact on me. That is why I became the choral conductor. I taught junior and senior high school in Big Spring, Texas. Taught at Loyola University in New Orleans and at Western Michigan University. Was hired as director of choral studies at UNT from 1990 to 2000. Memorable experiences include performances with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Grand Chorus major works with great conductors such as Antal Dorati, Paul Kletzki, George Solti, Walter Hendl and others.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Cody Garner (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

During my many years of advanced schooling,(bachelors to doctorate) two periods standout as the most outstanding musical experiences of my life. The first was being a member of the A Cappella Choir at North Texas from 1961-1962 while I was pursuing a Master of Music degree. This was a period when the A Cappella choir, the core of the Grand Chorus, performed numerous times with the Dallas Symphony orchestra. The thrill of performing the great choral/orchestral works left a very positive, indelible impression upon me. I still recall after all these years, the joy and excitement that these performances brought in me. The second period was in 1963 when you called me, the high school choral director in Conroe and asked me to come back to North Texas, and be a member of a select 40 voice choir. The UNT choir had been selected by the United States State Department to represent the United States on a 16 country, three month cultural exchange tour. The selection of the UNT choir stands as a testament to your talent and skill as a conductor. Officials of the State Department were asked to secure the services of the best college choir in the nation to represent the United States. These officials contacted many of the leading orchestra conductors of the day including Solti, Kletzki and Donald Johonos and asked them their opinion concerning college choirs which could best represent our country. They overwhelmingly recommended professor Frank McKinley and the North Texas A Cappella Choir! This reputation did not just come about. I remember the many hours of rehearsal and your insistence on memorization. Another of your talents was your ability to work with other faculty members, especially the voice department. Your respect for these people, you’re constant cooperation with them, resulted in a unanimous support for the choral program. Your habit of involving the voice faculty in decisions which affected student was greatly appreciated and gave you access to the most talented students in the college, both graduates and undergraduates.

Frank McKinley


I am also indebted to you for instilling in me a love for the choral art and for giving me the opportunity to immerse myself in so much of this great music. The legacy that you have left at North Texas and the many lives that you have touched will never be matched. Thank you Frank.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Ruth J. Holmes (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

The experiences I had at UNT studying voice with Frank McKinley and singing in his choirs, added greatly to the other experience I had, studying piano (I was a piano concentration) and playing cornet in the concert and marching band. The choral music I learned was invaluable to my music education.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Lucia (Woodbury) Smith (from UNT Choral Reunion book) Being in the A Cappella and Grand Chorus were the highlights of my music education at in N.T.S.U. and reinforced my desire to be a music teacher, teaching choir. I also remained in touch with my good friend, Connie Frederick Townsend whom I met while in the choir. I still have the records of our choir and love the music, always. My favorite memory has to be the bus trip we took to New Mexico and West Texas; staying in homes most of the tour; eating pizza in New Mexico and overwhelming Mr. McKinley with our first chord ( pizza breath) at the concert; losing my dress and having to borrow one; learning Japanese phrases from Don Morton; and eating fried chicken on most of the tour.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Carroll W. Barnes (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

I was and still am proud of having been in the choral department at UNT. While there, I met people who became lifelong friends. Choral music became my career and my life. The A Cappella choir was on tour in Gary, Indiana and one of the selections we were performing was the Mass in G minor by Ralph Vaughan-Williams. The sopranos had been pushing the pitch sharp and in the middle of the mass. Mr. McKinley had to give the choir a new pitch, otherwise it would have been too high to sing. This night, in Gary, Indiana, Mr. Mac had had enough!!! So, at midpoint in mass he decided to teach the sopranos as a lesson. He didn’t stop and give the new correct pitch. By the end of the mass only 3 soprano’s could sing that high note. The bases were singing falsetto and the tenors were hemorrhaging! Needless to say, the sopranos were never sharp again under fear of death by the tenors and basses. I won’t tell the story of one choir member who walked on the outside ledge of a hotel 23 floors up, in the snow. But it sure was funny.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Terry Killingsworth (from UNT Choral Reunion book) Being in choir gave my life purpose and direction and established relationships which lasted a lifetime. The death of President Kennedy impacted the choir tour to Europe and Scandinavia greatly. Preparation for the tour as well as the tour itself were affected. The high point of my UNT experience was that tour. The lasting memories come from knowing my classmates and their relationships. Mr. Mckinley is an example of greatness and a personal friend.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Dwight Whitsett (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

Being a choir member gave a deep appreciation of fine music and the discipline and hard work required to perform it well. That discipline not only served me well in my career and other pursuits, but also as I have sung with other choirs and vocal groups through the years. It impressed upon me the value of working with a team. The members of the choir once agreed to substitute the words Mr. McKinley for some similar sounding Latin words in a Carl Orff piece and to do it in a performance! I shall never forget the surprised look on the face of our, normally unflappable director as we sang Mi - ster Mc - Kin - ley!

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Dave Clark (from UNT Choral Reunion book) Frank McKinley continues to be very special to all of us, and I am very proud to have been under his “care and feeding” for those years I spent at UNT. I am thrilled to be able to participate in this reunion and look forward to many more. My memories of Mr. Mac are numerous and specific examples need some cultivating. However, I remember our 20th reunion when I served as M.C. I was introducing all the attendees, leaving Mr. Mac until the end, of course. I made a point of noting just how good he looked. He seemed timeless in my eye. I remember thinking, while we were in Europe, what an old man he was, and how impressed I was that he had the stamina to be able to keep up with all of us “young guys”. Now, when introducing him, I noted that I was about the same age that he was when we were in Europe. I had gained a much better perspective on the “old age” issue over the last 20 years, and now saw clearly just how special he was at that time.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Morris Martin (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

I learned so much from Frank McKinley that I have been his minister of music for 30 years at St. Andrews Presbyterian in Denton. Think of the pressure, guys! Every Sunday he is out there listening! I shall never forget singing in Beethoven’s Missa Solmnis with George Solti in Dallas, the Southwestern Premier of Bernstein’s Khaddish with Maurice Peress in Corpus Christi, and singing three different concerts at the MTNA convention in one day in 1964. Who else would of had the courage to will us into doing that but the great Frank McKinley?

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Brenda Whitsett (from UNT Choral Reunion book) Being in A Cappella was an incredible experience for me. The discipline and work ethic required to be in a choir, and to make the touring group, affected my approach to my job for the rest of my life. My most meaningful memory was the day that I tried out for the choir. My lack of self confidence and fear almost reduced me mute. Frank McKinley’s patience and kindness calmed my spirit and I could sound a note, then another note, making a dream come true. I was in the UNT A Cappella!


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Sampy Wall (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

Singing in choirs from Junior High School until now, led me to my main careers. Career No. 1 was teaching choir for 21 years. I taught Junior High School in Big Spring, McAllen, Edinburg, Lufkin and High School at Klein in Houston from 1982-1987. Two of my junior high choirs sang for TMEA and one performed at MENC in Colorado Springs. After working through some personal crises in 1987 and going to treatment in Arizona, I found my way into a 12 step recovery which had saved my life and my marriage. This led me to career No. 2 where I taught electronic and computer technicians how to market themselves for five years. It was one of those “What am I doing here”? kind of jobs. In the process I also learned to write resumes and in 1992 started my own company, A Better Resume, which continues to be a slow but steady source of income. I don’t remember the year, but I do remember getting the flu on choir tour in Des Moines, Iowa. Fortunately I was spending the night with a super nice family. My host was a doctor! How convenient! I felt really bad about being sick, but also that I would be left behind when the choir moved to the next city. It just happens that the concert for that night involved retracing our route and that they would be coming back through Des Moines the next day. That night I was running some fever but didn’t feel really bad, so I went with my host's son to a basketball game, Bradley and Cincinnati, I think. Young and foolish was I! By the time the game was over I was very dizzy and had a fever of over 100. The night was long and dark, but by the next afternoon I rejoined the choir. I did get to enjoy the rest of the tour, and Chicago was great! I know a higher power must have been looking after me, then, and for all my life.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by James Franklin (from UNT Choral Reunion book) Being in choir is just like being on any other kind of team. It prepares you for life in regard to relationships, working together with people with different backgrounds and philosophies and being responsible for pulling your own weight. My most memorable experience was the European tour in 1964. The places we went and the people we met will always be remembered. I have a vivid memory of visiting a secret underground fraternity house in Gothenburg, Sweden where the Coke machine dispensed beer. Taking the midnight train to Paris, landing and taxiing off narrow strip of beach in Iceland are experiences I’ll never forget.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Nelda (Reid) Foley (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

Being the first black to travel with the A Cappella Choir and Mr. Mac, was a fun adventure with great people that engendered confidence and the broader perspective. Singing under Frank McKinley brought about an opera audition in North Louisiana; and singing soprano solos in the Brahms “Requiem”, Bach’s “Sleepers Awake”, Brahms “Alto Rhapsody”, Respighi’s “Laud to the Nativity”, Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass”, etc.. Singing in the A Cappella Choir causes one to dig deep and come up with all you can muster.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Pamela (Cooper) Thomas (from UNT Choral Reunion book) I was a freshman in the fall of 1963. On that tragic Friday afternoon in November, we gathered around the radio in the student lounge to hear the news of President Kennedy’s death. We were, of course, stunned. A Grand Chorus rehearsal was scheduled for 4:00 p.m., but we thought it would be canceled. Mr. Mac sent word that we must rehearse, because we had a concert with the Dallas Symphony in a very short time and couldn’t afford to lose the rehearsal time. As we gathered, Mr. Mac explain the necessity of the rehearsal and thanked us for our presence. We were performing at the Bach Christmas Oratorio, and the first chorus was one of the most joyous. As we began singing, our hearts weren’t into making joyful music, but as we continued to sing, the healing power of the music lent a calmness and serenity to us all. At the end of the rehearsal, Mr. Mac thanked us again for our presence, and I think most of us felt the benefit of the time spent with his great music on such a trial traumatic day I thought about that day as I experienced the power of musical scene on 9-11-01. I thank Mr. Mac for what he taught us that day: first of all that hard discipline and commitment to outstanding musical performance was necessary in our lives, and secondly, that music is one of the most powerful forces in our lives, in times of joy and tragedy. I tried to share these musical things with my students on that tragic day last year. Thank you, Mr. Mac, for all the lessons you taught, especially the one on that November day in 1963.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Edgar (Eddie) Moore (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

Mr. Mac was a great champion of contemporary choral music of avant-garde, atonal etc. Having a fairly steady diet of these styles made one a world-class sight reader. I shall forever be grateful. It has been of great value to me in my 25 years as a professional singer and musician. Some of my outstanding memories in singing in the choir were playing bridge on the bus. The couple fold out seats or briefcases in the aisle for chairs and a briefcase across seat and you have a game. We had a traveling game all week! I remember the ‘67 tour including Dorati’s Missa Brevis with percussion parts. We had to improvise by using rear brake drums of a Ford or Chevy for one of the percussion parts. Seemed that when they were struck they sounded at the correct pitch!

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Linda (Catt) Poetschke (from UNT Choral Reunion book) Choir has always been a big part of my musical experience, but to stand and to be surrounded by the voices in A Cappella Choir at UNT, created an incredible energy that I’ll never forget. We had wonderful fun times in choir. I always looked forward to rehearsals. Mr. Mac always brought out the best in us. He let us sing out; none of that straight tone singing! I still remember tours when we would only stop at Howard Johnson’s to eat!


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Robert E. (Bob) Seibold (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

Mr. McKinley taught us the importance of discipline, precision, and attention to detail, in music and almost every aspect of life. These competencies have continued to serve me well in everything from flying fighter airplanes, to programming computers, to financial planning and analysis, two leading large teams of people. Thank you, Mr. McKinley! My most memorable musical experience with the A Cappella Choir was performing Dorati’s Madrigal Suite and Brahms Schicksalslied with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Antal Dorati. Mr. McKinley had the choir extremely wellprepared, and the performances thrilling to be a part of.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by C. Michael Rogers (from UNT Choral Reunion book) To say the least, being a member of the A Cappella Choir had a profound effect upon my personal life. Being a member of the University of North Texas A Cappella Choir was a life changing experience in more ways than one. I remember the first day that I came in an audition for Mr. Mac after warming up to a high “A” he said, “You’re a tenor”. I replied, “No, I’m a baritone”. He said, “You’re at tenor” and I said, “Mr. McKinley I made the All State Choir as a baritone and I sing baritone”. He said, “Well you’ve got a scholarship and we need tenors and you have the range of a tenor and you’re going to sing tenor in the A Cappella”. So I left the audition determine that I was going to keep my scholarship and that I would just have to learn how to sing tenor. It definitely broadened my horizons and forced me to learn much more about the vocal production of a male voice. Thanks to Vera Nielsen I held my own in the tenor section. However, it was not without its trepidations. Can you imagine what it was like to sing beside Barry Craft? When we sang on choir tour in New Orleans, Louisiana, our accommodations were at the dorms on the campus of Loyola University. I’ll never forget waking up one morning to hear Barry singing octave high Cs in the common shower down the hallway. He was awesome, awful, and intimidating! My senior year there was a good-looking chick who made the choir and sang second soprano. She was petite and had a magnificent voice. I was lucky enough to sit on the next row over from her in French Diction class. She had great legs! The best part took place one day when we were gathering for an A Cappella Choir rehearsal. I was sitting in the front of the auditorium and she came up and spoke to me and noted that I look tired. I told her my shoulder was killing me so she gave me a little shoulder rub and I thought to myself, “I think I’m in love”. I spent the rest of a semester and a half chasing her around and trying to capture her. Finally, Cheryl and I were engaged in March of her junior year. Fourteen months later we were married. Next May we will celebrate 32 years of marriage.


Frank McKinley

One of the best remembrances of singing in the North Texas State University A Cappella choir was the choir’s obsession in showing Mr. Mac up at the spring concert. The concert always took place after choir tour. That year we sang a piece called the “The Pleiades”. The piece ended quietly with a very distinct rhythm pattern sung by all four parts. Mr. Mac had worked with us incessantly all semester to make sure that it was correctly done. So, when we got back from the choir tour, as we prepared for the spring concert, all of us got together and quite purposely conjured up our plan, which was, of course, to sing the rhythm completely wrong at the end of the piece. Of course we all had to agree do it. and so on the night of the performance, sure enough, at the very end of the Pleiades as Mr. Mac gave the down beat of the final phrase, no one came in and on the next beat we made up a new rhythmic ending. Mr. Mac’s first reaction was to try to change his beat pattern the middle of the measure, but that didn’t work so he resorted to raise eyebrows and darting eyes as he witnessed us in our perpetration. Then a slight smile came across his face and he realized what we had done. Another of those avant garde pieces had bit the dust, but he showed great composure and as the music died away he cut us off and turn to receive the appreciative ovation. Naturally, no one in the audience had a clue that anything was awry. He wasn’t too hard on us. But, we did hear him later muttering something to the effect, “Well at least you got most of it right”!

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Cheryl Rogers (from UNT Choral Reunion book) Being in A Cappella Choir changed my life completely, not from a musical standpoint, but from a personal one. Thanks to the A Cappella Choir, I met, fell in love, and married a man of my dreams. Almost 32 years later we are still happily married and making beautiful music together. I think the idea of changing something on the final concert was handed down from choir to choir. I remember when Mr. McKinley had us premier a work by a Latin American composer. In addition to the musical notes, there were many instructions in singing or voicing various sounds as well as singing in Spanish. The last part of the piece was a whisper sound for the duration of five to ten seconds. As usual, we choir members put our heads together and decided to change the ending. Mr. Mac cut us off, but we kept going and going and going. After repeated cutoffs and one minute later, we finally ended the piece.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Beryle Eileen Ponce (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

I learned team work and responsibility from Mr. McKinley. He taught me that no matter what one’s individual challenge may be, one can succeed with determination and support from others who care. He taught me that those with learning disabilities can succeed. At the time I was in A Cappella Choir, ADD and dyslexia were unknown. However, he accepted that while I did not process and learn music in the same manner as others, I could learn and memorize. He allowed me to be a part of the choir and trusted me to learn my music, even though he knew my learning disabilities prevented me from being able to sight read. Much of my career has been dedicated to helping students and teachers understand that learning disabilities and challenges do not need to result in failure. Instead they can open the door to a world of opportunity. Without Frank McKinley my life would have been very different. I do faculty In Service presentations and provide mentoring and training for teachers in the area of teaching strategies, multi- sensory instruction, curriculum etc., for students with attention deficit disorders, dyslexia, and learning disabilities. I supervise a variety of programs at Brandon Hall. Again, because of the respect and support I received from Frank McKinley, I was inspired to help students with learning challenges.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Judith (Judy) Gans (from UNT Choral Reunion book) Frank McKinley was responsible (with some help from Grant Williams) for changing the course of my life. In the middle of my senior year at North Texas, I decided to leave the music field altogether and return to English, which I plan to major in while in high school. Prior to the Christmas break that semester, I contacted a professor of mine in the English department to make arrangements for the change. Christmas was less than happy time for me; I had invested the lot of time in my music courses, and I knew that the next year and a half would be particularly intense, with all the new course requirements. Shortly after Christmas Day, the phone rang at my parents’ home and Frank McKinley asked to speak to me. It seemed he had lost a couple of altos for the upcoming choir tour and Grant Williams had suggested he call me to see if I was interested in substituting. I clearly remember his voice: “Well nowwwww, Judy, do you have a couple of long dresses and can you be here {date} to begin rehearsals?” To say that the prospect of learning all the tour music in only three days was daunting is to understate the obvious! I replied that yes, I thought I could make arrangements, and hung up the phone, terrified at the idea of even getting the notes learned. Those three days were intense beyond belief, but I managed to get everything learned, the appropriate pieces memorized, and was bolstered by the wonderful support I received from my many old and some new friends. The tour was exciting and challenging, but I did my best, in order to live up to the trust Mr. Mac had placed in me. As we drew closer and closer to Denton on the return trip, my mind, not to mention my stomach, was in a dither. Class’s were starting, and I still needed to be advised in the English department. But I also needed to thank Mr. Mac for his wonderful opportunity he had given me for that 10 days. As we drove up Avenue C, I


Frank McKinley

slipped into the seat next to him and thanked him for believing that I was up to the task of filling in for the two weeks, and that I would never forget the experience. Well now, here I am, 30 years later. I finished a degree in music, not English. I went on to get a master’s in vocal performance, and have had a significant amount of doctoral work in performance back at North Texas. I spent 13 years on the voice faculty at TCU, and have sung throughout the United States Canada and in Europe. There is a follow-up to the story that I treasure. One day, when I was working on my doctorate, I was visiting with a senior between classes. Mr. Mac walked up to us and addressed the young lady, recounting to her the entire story above, and about how I became a member of the A Cappella Choir. Nearly two decades had passed at that point, and yet, Mr. Mac still loved telling the story. I love telling the story. I love Mr. Mac and I can never thank him enough for keeping me where I needed to be. Mr. Mac, we are grateful throughout our lives for the musical discipline and expectations you required of us, for the rich and varied repertoire you introduced to us, for the fellowships you promoted among us, and for the love you shared with us.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Lynn Christi (from UNT Choral Reunion book) Mr. McKinley gave me the greatest musical experience of my life by choosing me to sing in a N T S U quartet which was part of a 40 voice America choir which sang in an International Choral Festival in New York City conducted by Robert Shaw, in the spring semester of 1972. Rehearsing with the American Choir, singing in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., rehearsing with 15 international choirs, and singing with Robert Shaw in Lincoln Center were highlights of my musical education at in NTSU. Thank you, Mr. McKinley!


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Sharon W. Grahnquest (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

Mr. McKinley made me feel like I could accomplish anything! The tour in the 1978, (England, Holland, Poland) was great! Driving across Poland on what seemed like a school bus, Mr. McKinley always appeared to be so neat and proper in his dress. I remember Burr Phillips and myself awakening from long drive looking as we had been rolled up in a suitcase, while Mr. Mac always looked rested and ready to go! How did he do that? Mr.McKinley instilled in me tremendous self confidence in dealing with life’s many journeys. I shall always love and appreciate him as a friend and mentor.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Bob (Robert) Austin (from UNT Choral Reunion book) Irreplaceable memories and irreplaceable friends. So many concerts, so much fun and work. A good discipline and model for achieving goals in life, working together, sharing the magic of great music. I remember touring Washington D.C. and St. Louis one year, then a series of “Dust Bowls” in West Texas the next. I remember singing both the Beethoven 9th and the Verdi Requiem with the Dallas Symphony my freshman year, what a way to begin! I remember that Frank McKinley could hear any note in any chord no matter how chromatic. He even corrected our tone clusters. I remember Frank McKinley waving his tie at the tenor section and instructing us to get that note “in our method” and ring it! I love Frank McKinley. Frank McKinley chose me to sing and a quartet of singers from UNT to join with nine other university quartets from around the United States. These quartets formed the United States Choir and performed with Robert Shaw at an International Choral Festival in both Washington D.C. and New York City. (About 14 choirs from every continent.) Singing a solo to a packed house in Lincoln Center Philharmonic Hall in New York New York with Robert Shaw conducting, is one of my fondest, greatest memories of my life! I remember a lot, of really strange but fascinating modern music. We premiered a lot of new music and often sang from manuscript. The Penderecki St. Luke Passion with the Dallas Symphony . . . Wow! Half the audience were Hippies in jeans who stood and cheered, the other half were dressed in tuxedos and furs. They stayed in their seats. I remember the leadership and integrity of the man, Frank McKinley. Frank McKinley himself is my greatest memory.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Martha (Pampell) Smith (from UNT Choral Reunion book)

Well, when you have to audition to go on choir tour by singing the Schonberg “Friede auf Erden” in quartets, by memory, a cappella, you feel like you can do just about anything! Thank you Frank McKinley! In the mid-70’s, the choir went to Washington D.C. to sing at the Kennedy Center with the National Symphony. The day we were to return home, I woke up with something lodged in my ear. When I realized I had to pay cash at the hospital emergency room, I was upset. I didn’t have that much cash left. Without hesitation Mr. McKinley pulled out his wallet and handed me a hundred dollar bill. What a generous man. Yes, I paid him back!

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Wesley Coffman (from 2002 UNT Choral Reunion book) I particularly cherish the friendships I developed while a student at North Texas. Directing choirs is my major performance area, along with the administration of College/University Music Departments. I served ACDA as editor of "The Choral Journal" for five years. I have numerous memorable experiences but I remember particularly our first performance of the Grand Chorus directed by Frank McKinley with the Dallas Symphony. Frank was getting us placed on the risers for rehearsal. He looked toward the second tenor section and said "Hey, you, Blondie, move over there". At first I thought he was talking to and alto. Then he said "I'm talking to you in the red sweater". I was embarrassed but moved quickly. He, of course, had not been there long enough to learn our names.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Hugh Ellison (from 2002 UNT Choral Reunion book)

The several performances of the grand chorus and Dallas Symphony Orchestra under Antal Dorati, prepared by Frank McKinley, were lifetime high points for me and for hundreds of other students. I became a choir director and enjoyed a rewarding career of teaching and conducting in junior high schools, high school and college choirs , as well as a regular part-time work with church choirs of several denominations. Frank McKinley was very helpful throughout. I changed majors and took a degree in business administration in 1950. I came back to 1955 to finish my music education degree, and married Marilyn Glass who graduated with me in August 1955. We taught inLittlefield, Texas for seven years, Midland, Texas for another seven years. I became Fine Arts Coordinator there. Then to Cal State Fullerton for me, while Marilyn taught Placentia I S D, and got her master's in elementary curriculum from Cal State. Then to San Benito Texas I SD. for six years and El Paso Ysleta until retirement in 1984.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Charles Nelson (From 2002 UNT Choral Reunion book) Frank McKinley was an obvious influence in my early musical life. We met when I was 15 and he was about 26, young, energetic, ambitious and ready to take on the world. He taught me singing and invited me, a 15 year-old junior in high school, to join his college Chapel Choir. He encouraged me in every possible way. Five years later, after World War II, he returned to Denton and resumed the task of mentor. He exposed me to a formidable choral literature, took me to spring U I L choral contests where he judged, I sat back and made notes. We discussed choirs and choral problems on the way home. He not only took me to musical events, but even allow me to go with him to some of the Fort Worth Cats baseball games. After a bout with polio and a six month stay in the veterans' hospitals, even though I presented some problems getting up and down steps and on and off the risers, he never hesitated to allow me to continue singing and traveling with the choir. That he allowed me to pick up where I left off was a great contribution to my rehabilitation. I can't imagine what it would have done to my confidence if he had said "No Charles, you're not physically up to traveling with us on tour". I know of several times when he recommended me for jobs. Though we have not seen each other daily, or even monthly, from 1941 to the present (62 years) our lives have been, and will continue to be, significantly entwined. I want him to know how much his influence has meant to me and how I love him for it.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by John Lovelace (From 2002 UNT Choral Reunion book)

My father had sung in Wilfred C. Bain's first North Texas State Teachers College Choir the summer of 1938, so I had made it a goal to do likewise. Singing in the A Cappella and editing the 1952 Yucca year book were highlights of my college career. The 1950-1951 A Cappella Choir was blessed with unusually mature singers like Lucille Mendenhall, Bob Kaebnick, Bill Fuller and Frank McKinley's brother George. Our tour into Illinois and our Dallas recording of "The Prodigal Son" were especially fulfilling. Tenors David Taylor and David Jones were also stalwarts.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Dale Peters (From 2002 UNT Choral Reunion book) My most memorable experiences were in the Grand Chorus performances with the Dallas Symphony, Walter Hendl, conductor of Walton's Belshazzar's feast, Verdi's Requiem, and Prokofiev's Alexander Nevski. The performance of Alexander Nevski took place in December 1950, during the beginning of the Korean War, when many guys in the choir were getting draft notices from the Army. The Chinese Communist Army had just crossed into Korea and were fighting the American Army, and in turn the National situation was very tense. It was at the height of anti-Communist feeling in the U.S. The text of Alexander Nevski was a hymn of praise to the Russian nation and people, celebrating a victory of the Russian Army in the 13th century. The choruses praised "our great Russian and fatherland". Some parents of choir members, and others, became disturbed when they learned of these words, and call the college president to complain about these treasonous words. Prior to the performance, we were instructed to strike out these words in the score referring to Russia, and substitute a more generic phrases such as "our natives land". The music was exciting and the performance was wonderful. Singing in the chorus was always a pleasure, for the joy of discovery of new music, the enjoyment of singing together with friends, and the thrill of performance. The great choral music I learned at North Texas has stayed with me all my life, and has given me lasting appreciation of choral singing and the choral repertoire.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Juanita (Teel) Peters (From 2002 UNT Choral Reunion book)

Singing in the Grand Chorus performances with the Dallas Symphony were some of my most memorable " experiences. I'll never forget the excitement of Kodaly's Psalmus Hungarius with soloist Gabor Corelli under Antal Dorati, Verdi's Requiem with soloist Francis Yeend and Walton's Belshazzar's feast under Walter Hendl. My experience in the A Cappella Choir gave me a lifelong appreciation of choral music. I especially remember being introduced to contemporary choral music by Frank McKinley in the choir. Hearing the soloists in the Verdi Requiem and Prokoviev's Alexander Nevski with the Dallas Symphony inspired me to hope to be a soloist in those works with Symphony Orchestra, which I was later able to do.

Frank McKinley


Frank McKinley Remembered by Edgar Stone (From 2002 UNT Choral Reunion book) We seldom appreciated the spectrum of our teachers contributions to our professionalism until, in later years, we try to equal their provisions. I remember how much I missed Frank McKinley in my senior year (1951 and 1952) when he was on leave for doctoral studies. The interim director, we learned, in panic, expected each of us to pay for incidental meals on the tour. In past years under Mr. McKinley, gave us per diem funds passed out as we boarded the bus. It was then I learned choir tours were not just hosts, music, programs, and transportation but a myriad of details to care for each singers need. Thanks Mr. McKinley. Being a small part of a performing whole, not just be "in step" with rhythmic and dramatic import, but trying to balance my efforts with those around me in relation to what was being called for by the director, was a great lesson to learn. Being part of the team is a major life lesson.


Frank McKinley Frank McKinley Remembered by Ira Schantz

I appreciate the way in which Mr. McKinley, in taking the place of a personality as great as Dr. Bain, took over the position as the North Texas State Choral Director in a completely smooth and unassuming manner, thereby easing the shock (to the students) of our losing Dr. Bain so suddenly. Very few persons could have made the change as judiciously as Frank McKinley. I appreciate the fact that Mr. McKinley continued the tradition of having the North Texas State choirs sing many of the great choral masterpieces. I particularly remember pieces such as the Bach motets which we sang. I had previously been completely unaware that such beautiful music existed. I appreciate Mr. McKinley giving me a number of solos on our tours, which further enhanced my musical and personal confidence. I especially appreciated this when looking back and realizing that he could have easily given these solos to other tenors in the choir, who, it turns out, might have been as good, or, in some respects, better than I.

Michael Johnstone Material prepared by Karl Hickfang


Michael Johnstone A Biographical Sketch of Michael Fuller Johnstone by Karl Hickfang

It is my sincere hope that the reader will accept the use of first-person in writing of a man who influenced and inspired so many choral directors in the state of Texas. During a summer of 1949, I was finishing requirements for a bachelor of Music degree. I looked forward to my first teaching position as the band director at Bonham High School, my alma mater. Near the end of August I learned the position was not mine and I had to scramble to find another position so close to the start of the school year. The teacher placement bureau at the University of Texas informed me of junior high school band openings at Conroe and Alvin, north and south of Houston. I found the Conroe position filled. From a phone booths in downtown Houston I call the superintendent of schools in Alvin and was told the band director at Alvin High Schools would be at H and H Music in Houston and at 1:00 p.m. and that he had the authority to hire me if he chose to do so. While I waited at H and H Music Co. three gentlemen came in the store: Marvin “Bunk” Atkinson, band director at Galena Park High School; Johnny Dessain, band director at Galena Park Junior high school and Michael Johnstone, choir director at Galena Park High School. I was introduced to these gentlemen and Mr. Johnstone indicated he knew of me and said there was an opening for a choir director at Woodland Acres Junior High School, in the Galena Park district. To this day I never believed he knew of me and I told him I anticipated going to Alvin Junior High School as a band director. I learned right then that you don’t say no to this man. He eventually he convinced me to take a position at Woodland Acres and became my mentor. It was a tradition of Mike’s to have Tuesday evening two hour choir rehearsals in addition to regular class hours. He did this at every school he worked to find students who were willing to give their time to be there. I attended these rehearsals at Galena Park and watched a genius at work. He was demanding, but fair; obviously a fine musician; displayed outstanding vocal techniques and teaching skills that set a stan-

Michael Johnstone


dard of excellence that few of us have been able to achieve. A man of genius always has his critics and Mike was no exceptions. His choirs in the late forties and early ‘50s were showcases of vocal maturity and repertoire far above the standards of those years. His critics shook their heads and said he was ruining voices with his extreme demands. What he was doing was developing vocal maturity in those years that become the standard for the up and coming high school choir directors in the late ‘50s. Mike was always a the center of controversy because he spoke his mind and his mind was always ahead of most of us. In February, 1950, I attended my first TMEA convention in Mineral Wells, Texas. In those days very little standards were required of membership in the various All-State groups. The directors would bring their best students to the convention. Those who passed the audition became members of the All-State band. Similarly the All-State orchestra was selected. There were no requirements to be a member of the All-State choir. Directors were asked to bring their best students to participate; some would bring their entire choir to “learn from the experience”. Many of the students had no music with them. The result: an unprepared group of between 400 and 500 voices, woefully unbalanced in voices of the four sections. Typically you might have 50 tenors, 100 basses, 125 altos and 175 sopranos. The first rehearsal had to be a nightmare for the clinician. Mike sought to address this problem. At the vocal division business meeting he proposed that the students be auditioned in their regions and that a numerical balance of sections be achieved. He suggested that only mature voices be chosen. Selected students would be required to bring the music with them and be urged them to learn their voice parts in advance. Mike put this in the form of a motion. There was a storm of protest all over the room. The motion was defeated and nothing was done. Mike became a villain. Dr. Jon Finley Williamson, noted conductor of the famed Westminster Choir, was clinician for this 1950 convention and accepted the invitation to return as clinician at the 1951 convention in Galveston, Texas. During this convention he was invited to speak at the vocal division meeting. He very graciously spoke of the fine talent he was working with and suggested the students be auditioned prior to the convention


Michael Johnstone

“as a man suggested a year ago”. Only the directors who agreed with Mike in the previous year thought he should have been given credit for the changes that began to take place in auditioning procedures; procedures that led to continued improvement in the following years in developing the great All-State Choirs of Texas we have today. Mike graduated from North Texas University in 1938 and began his teaching career in Sugarland, Texas, a small district with a high-school enrollment of around 100. The late Jim Shepherd, a past president of TCDA, was a student of Mike’s during his junior high days. Mike later toured with a Lawrence Welk orchestra in Kansas and Nebraska, playing trombone. After World War II (in 1946) Mike became the choir director at Grand Prairie High Schools. While on a tour in the Houston area, they sang at Galena Park High School. Don B. Slocomb, principal at Galena Park High School, was a great believer of arts in the curriculum of public schools. In 1948, after hearing Mike’s Grand Prairie choir, he convinced Mike to become the Galena Park choir director. After Mike’s marriage failed in the summer of 1951, Mike resigned from Galena Park and returned to North Texas State University to finish his master’s degree. In 1952 Mr. Slocumb accepted a position as superintendent in Giddings, Texas. He invited me to go with him as band director and to start a choir program. Like a fool I turned him down. He then called Mike at North Texas and asked him to recommend a young graduate for the job. Mike replied that he would like to take the job which included the position of high school principal. He proceeded to turn a poor band into a First Division group and his first year choir was the talk of the region choir contest at San Antonio. In 1953, Mike remarried, worked a year at Parker music company in Houston and in 1954 choir director at Jackson Jr. High School in Pasadena. In 1955, he and his young wife, Pattye, became a team as they moved to Abilene where he became choir director at Abilene High School. Pattye was a marvelous singer and she proved to be a fine teacher as she worked individually with Mike’s students. She later accepted a position at the University of North Texas on the voice faculty, a position held until her death recently. Later, Mike moved to the “new” high school (Cooper high) where they continued to work together. In 1964, their marriage failed and Mike moved, for one year, to a small community in Missouri.

Michael Johnstone


In 1965, he became supervisor of music in the Pulaski County School District in Arkansas, a position he held until his death. In Arkansas, he started a summer reading clinic similar to TCDA. He always came to the TCDA clinics, bringing with him, young Arkansas directors, many of whom became members of TCDA. Mike said of his years in TCDA: “I will always remember the great professional drive manifested by most of the TCDA officers during my nine years in TCDA. All of them were good directors and were dedicated in their work for TCDA”. The legacy Mike started in Galena Park continued with James Furrh, who became choir director there in 1954. James became the third president of TCDA in 1959. Mike was vice president that year and became the fourth President of TCDA, 19611963. Joe Lenzo, who followed me at Woodland Acres when I moved to Bay City in 1953 became executive secretary of TMEA. I served as third and first vice president, 1959-1962 and as President of TCDA 1965-1967. Going back to 1948-1951, Mike had a boys quartet in his choir at Galena Park that became a legend in their own right. They performed all over Houston and Harris County. Subsequently they all received scholarships at North Texas University. Their names: Vernon Moody, who taught voice and choral music at Abilene Christian College and was a vice president of TCDA when I became president in 1965; Van Hale, a fine choral director who followed James Furrh at Galena Park; Frank Roberts, who was successful in his work in Beaumont; Bobby Jones, the fourth member of the quartet, became associated with NASA in Florida. Still another president of TCDA, Jack Glover, followed Mike at Cooper High School in Abilene, and the aforementioned Jim Shepherd became president after Glover. Carroll Barnes, another giant in choral music in Texas, was a member of Mike’s choirs at Abilene High School for three years. The names seem to continue into later generations, all inspired by the work of this great director who certainly deserves the recognition given in this paper. I know that all of us in choral music have heard beautiful singing in our minds, marveling at the wonder of it. I suggest that on Tuesday evenings; the rehearsing of the choir of heavenly hosts, directed by, you know who, MICHAEL FULLER JOHNSTONE: a true legend of Texas Choral directors.


Michael Johnstone Michael F. Johnstone Remembered by J. David Malloch, Galena Park (’52) Graduate Student Director and Principal Accompanist

In 1948, Michael F. Johnstone began a three-year tenure as choral director at Galena Park High School in Galena Park, Texas. Previously he had been choral director at Grand Prairie High School. He distinguished himself as a major influence in the lives of students who received choral music training through exposure to his knowledge and master skills. He also influenced graduating seniors, including myself, by directing them to the School of Music at North Texas State College, Denton, Texas where he had graduated. My association with Mr. Johnstone at Galena Park was accentuated by my assignment as the choir’s principal accompanist for works requiring instrumental accompaniment, and student director for rehearsals and events in his absence. His adherence to strict discipline and high performance standards enabled every choir member to experience personal pride and satisfaction in being a member of the Galena Park High School Choir. We had no special name other than being “one of the best high school choirs in Texas.” After graduation from North Texas in 1955, I followed Mr. Johnstone as choral director at Southmore in the Pasadena Independent School District. Because I was trained by him and knew his discipline and performance standards, I closely followed his example. This enabled me to sustain high morale among returning students who might otherwise be disappointed that he was no longer their director. There was nothing of substance they could tell me about him that I did not already know! Although my association with Mr. Johnstone encompassed only a few years early in my life, I can proudly say that his influence continues to be felt more than five decades later. Without hesitation I know that he was a giant--with few peers among choral directors!

Michael Johnstone


Michael F. Johnstone Remembered by Vernon Moody Professor Emertus, Metropolitan State College of Denver I had recently moved to the Houston, Texas area from Oklahoma when I first met Mike Johnstone. My music education was already off and running. My Dad and all of his brothers were what you would call country musicians….that is “country”, not “country western”….a term not yet used in the music industry. From the time I was around 9 years old I had been playing the steel guitar while my Dad played the fiddle. Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Hank Williams, and Dad were my musical inspiration. I continued playing the guitar for several yeas and had pretty well determined that it would figure prominently in my future. That is until a most dramatic series of events, over a three year period, totally changed my mind and my life. Mike Johnstone and I arrived at Galena Park High School at approximately the same time. Mike was hired to build a choral program at Galena Park and since there had never been a choir there, he would be starting from scratch. It was on my first visit to the school that I discovered that there was going to be a school choir. I simply mentioned to the lady helping me to enroll that I was interested in music….specially singing. She suggested that I should talk with the new choir director, Mr. Johnstone, and directed me to his registration table.. After fifty years as a choral director myself, I can certainly understand now, why Mike took a little extra time to convince me that I should sing in the choir. Just imagine a tall, skinny fifteen year old kid who weighed around 125 pounds, who was all feet and adams apple, walking up to your table and, speaking on about a low E-flat, inquiring about how one might get into the choir! From that day until now, some fifty-five years later, I have been constantly reminded of his influence on my life. His demanding standards, which were stringently enforced; his dedication to excellence; his lack of concern for what was “politically correct” at the time and his absolute faith in himself and his young students that, between them, they could accomplish extra-ordinary results. He strongly influenced


Michael Johnstone

all of us who had the privilege of being his students. Mike Johnstone, more than any other teacher I have ever had, was absolutely convinced that great things could happen when superb teaching and extraordinary dedication from ordinary students came together in a common cause. He would argue that the particular area of study was not really all that important….it could be athletics, wood working or music….whatever the academic discipline, successful educational goals could and should be attained. He said on many occasions that the one thing that he wished for was to be able to pick all of his singers from the honor roll. With smart students he would guarantee a great choir. With those not so smart he would also guarantee a great choir but it would just take a little longer. How musically talented they were was of no real concern to him. He contended that it was his job to teach them to sing. He also stoutly argued that the size of the school should have little of no impact on the quality of the program. How many times did you hear him say, “Kids are the same in any school. A bad choir is the result of bad teaching, not of bad students.”? He proved his point many times. Grand Prairie, Galena Park, Abilene, Giddings, several schools in Arkansas….large, medium or small….it made no difference, his choirs were always above and beyond what could reasonably be expected of them. His strong opinions were not limited to education. I vividly remember one evening during the semester we shared an apartment together at NTSU. It was in the evening when I came home and found that he had prepared a wonderful steak dinner for the two of us. We seldom had really good steak because it was simply too expensive, but on this occasion he had really ignored the budgetary constraints and went all out for a top notch T-bone for each of us. First, they were cooked medium rare. At the time I liked mine well done….actually well burned and second, no steak was good enough to eat without a huge helping of ketchup. You can not imagine the explosion which took place when I covered that wonderful serving of beef with about a half inch of tomato ketchup. For thirty minutes I was lectured on the value of being able to actually taste the beef and that I might just as well have a pile of cardboard on my plate because it would taste the same. He heaped on the guilt by letting me know that he had wasted a substantial amount of cash on the steak that I had just ruined. It has been over fifty years and I have never eaten anoth-

Michael Johnstone


er steak with ketchup on it. Actually I even prefer my steak medium rare today, thanks to that special meal prepared for me by Mike Johnstone many years ago. Mike was also a very witty, humorous guy. Even when angry he could be funny. I recall one occasion when the school quartet had an engagement in some little town several hours drive from Galena Park. Mike insisted that, since he had committed us to the program, he would drive us there in his new Kaiser. On the return trip, around 2 a.m., Mike started looking for an all night service station because he desperately needed a rest stop. Things had reached a critical point when, finally, he whipped into an open service station. As he jumped from the car, he yelled at the attendant to fill it up. He ran around the corner of the station to the men’s room. A few seconds later he came flying from the direction of the rest room yelling at the attendant for the key to the toilet. Frank Roberts, Bobby Jones, Ted Wilson and I were standing in the well lighted office when Mike barged into the room. He was livid. He started in on the poor attendant. “Mr.”, he growled. “I want you to know that my grand daddy lived on a farm and he always had an out door toilet which he never locked. My Daddy also lived on a farm with an out door toilet…he also never locked it. I also grew up using an out door toilet which was never locked.” Mike paused long enough to breath and let the blood drain from his face. “And I want you to know sir, that there was never, ever one pound of crap stolen from any of them.” With that he paid the bill, huffed and puffed his way out to the car and we continued our journey home. It was one of the most miserable couple of hours the quartet ever spent together. We were biting our tongues to keep from laughing but we knew that at that moment, it was no laughing matter for Mr. J. Mike was also an unintended matchmaker. I met my wife in his choir. Cherita Kirksey, the love of my life, was fifteen and I was sixteen at the time. We sat together on a short choir tour to south Texas and have been together ever since. Our three children and six grand children give us great joy and pleasure. Thanks Mike!! His telephone call to me from North Texas State, urging me to consider transferring there instead of continuing at Abilene Christian College, was another milestone in my life. I could go on and on about M. F. Johnstone. We all know he could be difficult


Michael Johnstone

and frustrating at times. However we also know that he was the best there was at what he did and his influence is still strongly present in the choral (TCDA) community of Texas. I miss him. I am confident that the quality of the heavenly choir has improved since he took over the direction of it.

Michael Johnstone


Michael F. Johnstone Remembered by Charles Nelson I was in Wilfred Bain’s fourth choir at NTSTC. Michael Johnstone had been in an earlier choir. I had seen his picture and heard his name, but I didn’t meet him face to face until 1948 or 1949 when the North Texas Choir sang a concert at Galena Park High School where Mike was the choir director. As was the custom of the times, when a high school choir sponsored a college choir on tour, the hosts found some time to sing for the visiting choir. After our concert in Galena Park, we heard their high school choir sing with a power and precision far beyond the norm for high school singers. It was obvious that this Michael Johnstone, whom I had only seen in choir pictures, was a very special teacher. A friendship that began with this meeting lasted the rest of his life and will linger in my memory for as long as I live. The Galena Park choir sang with a big full vocal sound that was the ideal for late nineteenth and early twentieth century choral compositions. After hearing a Caro Carapetian choir, Mike wanted to explore a sound which was more compatible with the European renaissance tradition. When he finished study with Carapetian, his choir sounded altogether different. In all my experience I’ve never heard a conductors product change as rapidly and as completely as Mikes. The maturity was still there but he had added a refinement. Mike was an “older” teacher who set standards for the large group of young choral directors who flooded the choral scene following W.W. II. On the many occasions we were together, an entire evening would be spent talking music and choral techniques. Mike could teach a group of high schools singers to sing better, faster than any teacher I have ever known. I’m not sure I know how he did it. Fear may have played a part. He made tremendous demands on his students, but did it in such a way as to not drive them away. As a matter of fact, his demands seemed to attract singers. The daughter of the Superintendent of School where Mike was teaching said, “I don’t feel like I’ve been to choir unless I’ve cried two or three times a week”. Mike’s students learned to read. He was adamant about teaching them to sing by


Michael Johnstone

numbers. He knew that numbers are inadequate in reading chromatics, but he knew that most of the singers he taught would not continue to be professional musicians and figured the immediate facility numbers allowed, balanced any negatives. The debate continues, but that was Mike’s point of view, and it served him well. Mike’s choirs always attracted the more mature students in school. This means that he attracted school athletes. The inevitable conflict of concerts vs games reared its ugly head. Mike considered his program as important as football, basketball and track. He drew up a plan and proposed it to the athletic coaches. Added to the athletic schedule of football season, basketball season and track season, would be choir season. During each of the seasons, the appropriate coach would have first call on the boys. During choir season, Mike had first call. He planned his concerts and tours accordingly. What a sensible approach. I doubt they would have accepted such an idea if the choir work had not been of high standard. Once, when Bev Henson was teaching at Trinity University, he invited Mike’s Abilene High School Choir to sing for the Trinity students. Their recital hall was a circa 300 seat facility with excellent acoustics. Bev had been rehearsing his choir there and while singing a Bach double motet had tried dividing the choir with one half in the front and the other in the back. The choir didn’t stay together too well and Bev blamed the acoustical lag and they brought the two halves closer together. A few days later, Mikes choir arrived just in time to sing the concert. Without hearing a sound in the hall, the choir divided in three equal choirs, went to the fartherest corners of the room and opened the concert (in perfect sync) singing a Gabrieli piece for three choirs. Bev was more than a little embarrassed when his students said, “Mr. Henson, what was that about distance and time lag”? Then there was the time Mike’s madrigal group was invited to Stephen F. Austin University to participate in a madrigal festival. Robert Ottman, a professor from North Texas, director of the North Texas Madrigal Singers, was the guest lecturer and clinician. During his lecture he mention a number of famous madrigals, adding, “But of course, they are too difficult for high school students”. It so happened that Mike had programmed some of the “too difficult for high school singers” professor Ottman had mentioned, and sang them like young professionals.

Michael Johnstone


In 1956, when I was TMEA Vocal Chairman (while the business meeting was still held at a luncheon meeting) I had learned that the main duty of the chairman was to keep the organization from self-destructing. Though an agenda was prepared and followed, we had many motions (bombshells) from the floor. In many ways, Mike was a no nonsense guy and always had strong opinions. That day, Mike had offered several motions from the floor which were duly voted down, or sent to committee for further study. After all that had happened, I was reluctant to recognize Mr. Johnstone again, but alas, painful as it might be, I had a duty. It went something like this: “The chair recognizes Mr. Johnstone”. Getting to his feet, and in his most resonant bass voice we heard, “Mr. Chairman, I would like for one of my motions to pass today. I move we adjourn”. After a quick second, and amid a room full of guffaws, we adjourned, and I had dodged another bullet. Mike also had a keen sense of humor and was not timid about hurling an analytical barb here and there. While judging a UIL Choir Contest in the Panhandle, a men’s choir arrived on stage with several girls in the first tenor section. One of the judges (Ed Hatchett) took the director (Al Skoog) to task about girls in a boys choir. A heated argument ensued. Finally, from the stage, Mr. Skoog, beating right forefinger against left palm said: “Mr. Hatchett, you can’t show me where it says in the rule book that girls can’t sing in a boys choir”! Whereupon Mr. Johnstone said “Someone should show Mr. Skoog a biology book”. Mike Johnstone stories are legend. In his later years Mike moved to the Jacksonville County schools in Arkansas and became music supervisor. He left his mark on those teachers and students in the Jacksonville Schools. He was responsible for me singing several oratorios with a civic choir in Little Rock. Mike was singing in that civic choir. Riding home with Mike, after the first rehearsal, I suggested that he should be directing the choir for his knowledge and skill were far more than the man who was directing. He said he wouldn’t mind directing the music, but he just didn’t want to have to “. . .put up with all those people”. For years Mike and I met at the first reading session at each TCDA Convention, sat together and added all we could to the bass section. The standards Mike set were always a goal to reach for. Who knows how far his influence will reach.


Michael Johnstone Michael F. Johnstone Remembered by David W. Jones

I first met Mike Johnstone and around 1950 in the Opera Workshop class at UNT. He was rehearsing the baritone part in Menotti’s “The Telephone”. I had seen him earlier while on choir tour at Galena Park High School. After our choir had sung we listen to his choir sing All Brathing Life from Bach’s Motet #1. I can tell you that I had not heard anything like it in my short experience with choral music, especially from a high school choir. The tone was a very full and extremely loud. It was, however, perfectly performed. (I knew the piece by memory.) It was obvious that this was a highly disciplined group. But I must say that it was not very pretty. Although I had some association with him at professional meetings, i.e., TCDA and TMEA, I really didn’t get to know him until he brought his five member madrigal group to perform for a luncheon at TCDA in San Antonio, Texas. The entire audience was completely “blown out” by what we heard. The group performed Morley, Monteverdi, and even Gesualdo with a precision, style, and beautiful tone that I’m sure no one at the luncheon believed possible from high school group. He was teaching at Cooper High School in Abilene, Texas. I later heard his A Cappella Choir and it sang with a completely different sound and sensitivity from what I heard at Galena Park High School. In 1963, shortly after I started teaching at Stephen F. Austin State University, I decided to have a madrigal festival. As I recall about 12 groups attended. The format was to have distinguished people to lecture and demonstrate for the madrigal groups and their directors. The professionals were also there to judge the groups and to award first, second, and third places. I selected Robert Ottman, the distinguished theorist and director of the UNT madrigal group to lecture on literature, composers, and where to find published music. I selected Samuel Adler, composer in residence at UNT, and a composer who had written some madrigals, to lecture on “what constitutes a madrigal”, composition of such, and the poetry. I selected Mike Johnstone, the best madrigal director I had ever known, to cover style and performance. I was very satisfied with my selections because they achieved my aims of both a

Michael Johnstone


scholarly and performance oriented festival. In the contest, first, second and third place awards were won by Herbert Teat’s three groups that he brought to the festival. Samuel Adler presented the first lecture of the afternoon, which was informative and helpful. The second lecture was given by Robert Ottman weapon, who gave us a very detailed presentation of a massive amount of music available for all levels of performance. He also, as he presented the pieces of music to us, rated them according to difficulty of performance. Dr. Ottmann had been the director of the UNT Madrigal Singers for years and had performed an immense amount of literature of all styles. In his lecture he gave Ravel’s “Nicolette” as an example that was so difficult that no high school madrigal group would be able to perform it. He said his university group had tried it and was never able to give it satisfactory performance. It ended at that. Now Mike had brought his five member madrigal group with him as a demonstration group, the same group of peace TCDA fame. First, Mike’s would talk about a piece of music and discuss it’s style of performance. Then his group would sing a live performance of the piece, demonstrating the style he described. After a couple of pieces he announced that his group was going to perform Ravel’s “Nicolette”, the piece previously described by Dr. Ottman as too difficult for any high school group. Mike was a very nice about it, apologize to Dr. Ottman, and said that he in no way was trying to show him up, but that he had already had this piece on the program. He said that he hoped the audience would not be disappointed. Well, of course his madrigal group just sang it to perfection. Everyone was amazed, even Dr. Ottman, who said that he was glad to hear what the piece was supposed to sound like.


Michael Johnstone Michael Johnstone Remembered by Frank Roberts

In my hometown of Galena Park, Texas in 1949, not many of my peers were discussing serious music, or of going off to college after graduation. We had a band and a football team but were blissfully ignorant of just about anything else. Thanks to a visionary high school principal named Don B. Slocumb who, after hearing an outstanding assembly concert by the Grand Prairie High School A Cappella Choir, recruited it's director almost on the spot. That man was Michael F. Johnstone who, in a few years had developed possibly the first high school touring choir in the state at Grand Prairie. In only three short years at Galena Park, many would say, he surpassed what he created at Grand Prairie and consequently impacted the lives, careers, and the very culture of my generation of choral singers at Galena Park. Indeed, my abiding love of music is the result of the powerful influence and leadership of this great man. I believe it's safe to say that many, many others around Texas share my admiration for Mike and the wonderful contributions he made to their education. Mike was an incurable builder. He built Choral Programs and then would move on to the next challenge, always leaving a much better situation than he found. He was a marvel to observe in teaching, conducting and organizing. Mostly though, it was inspirational to see him create so much from so little, and in so little time. When I reflect on my own educational history, Mike stands alone as the model of inspiration and motivation for my own life. This, in my mind, multiplied by the many others he influenced over his career, is his legacy. He truly is a giant in the history of choral music in Texas. So, here's to you Mike. And thanks for revealing a world of music and culture to one who might have missed out had it not been for you.

Michael Johnstone


Michael F. Johnstone Remembered by DeLois Wimmer I want to relate the influence he has had on our lives in the little town of Galena Park. The first year he was there my brother Ted Wilson sang in the choir. When I heard that first concert I knew I was willing to give up my right arm in order to sing in such an organiztion with Mr. Johnstone. The next two years I sang in that magnificent choir and like all the other students in the high school I will always be indebted to Mr. Johnstone for coming to our community. I was a soloist and a accompanist at contest. (We all know how he simply abided contests.) His first year choir did not enter contest at all, instead they went around Texas performing for other communities to encourage choral music. He set an example of what could be accomplished from scratch in one year. Wow! Did he ever show us a thing or twol I was indebted to him in that he led me to the Episcopal church as a worshiper, a singer and an accompanist. He also let me be a baby sitter for his childern who were so dear. He gave us great insights into other things rather than just music. He helped build us up through developing character, creative thinking, as well as solving problems. I followed him as the high school choir director in Giddings, Texas and I understand it was because of his reference that I was asked by Superintendent Don B. Slocomb to come and teach there. Don Slocomb has had a great influence on music education in Texas. He was our high school principal and the man who brought Michael Johnstone to Galena Park. These two men will always be my heroes. I have noticed so many of the GPHS graduates went on to be teachers as well as choir directors. They wanted to be teachers like those at GPHS or they wanted to be like Michael Johnstone and be the best of choir directors. I wanted to be a high school choir director but he suggested I go into elementary school music. I have taught Pre-K through high school. I certainly loved the high school music but I felt as a mother raising three little children I could handle elementary school better. He was right and that is where I have been teaching for thirty-five years. Those under the influence of Mr. Johnstone who did not make a career of


Michael Johnstone

music have grown in their love and appreciation of wonderful music. He planted a seed that has grown and flourished into something very wonderful. It is sad he didn't live long enough to see all the good he had accomplished. I talk about myself because of such a wonderful influence he had on me. This little kid went on to great a doctorate in music education. I never dreamed I would even get the opportunity to go to college. Mr. Johnstone helped and inspired me to make my dreams come true. My love of great music and all kinds of music stem from his introducing all us to the wonderful world of music. He brought us a great feast of music on the finest of silver platters. Thank you Michael Johnstone for the legacy and heritage you left us.

Michael Johnstone


Michael F. Johnstone Remembered by Carroll Barnes, Past President TCDA Little did I know that this man who recruited me out of study hall to sing in his choir would have such a profound influence on my life and future career. Also, little did I know that this man was tough!!! No more free rides or coasting. Not only was Mike a tough old bird, but a taskmaster as well. Before I graduated he had me singing in the Texas All-State Choir, taking Voice Lessons from his wife, Pattie, taking care of the Choral Library at Abilene High School, leading Sectional Rehearsals, singing in his Madrigal Group, taking Music Theory (all this on top of Band and Orchestra), Sight Reading new music in the newly formed TCDA, and helped me get a Scholarship to the University of North Texas. I do remember one special moment of great joy under his direction. When my voice changed, he let me sing bass for two weeks before moving me to First Tenor. Ah, the good old days! Actually, there were many days of enjoyment as well as hard work. He was very demanding and expected your best. He was also so very far ahead of his time as a Musician and Choir Director. Have you ever taken your choir to UIL Contest and sung a Triple Choir selection with one choir in the balcony, one on stage and one on the side. Or better still, a twelve-part arrangement (with three additional soloists) of the Saint Louis Blues. All of this took place in the late 1950’s when choirs were not so good. Little did we students know what kind of education we were getting from Mike Johnstone. Mike not only had a great impact on his students, but on Texas Choral Music and the forming of The Texas Choral Directors Association. While this may sound trite or a little self-serving, I remember Mike taking some of his students to read new music at the newly formed TCDA, held at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio. It was the year Clois Webb was President and had brought his Superintendent, Gilbert Mize to be the guest speaker. One night after everyone had left the ballroom where we had gathered, I wandered back into the hall to see if anything was going on. The hall was dimly lit, but the Lectern had remained bright. As a high school student standing at the back of the ballroom, I had been very impressed with TCDA and Choral Directing. For


Michael Johnstone

some reason the thought came to me that, “One day I want to become President of this Association and I want to become a Choral Director.” Both came true, thanks to Mike Johnstone. Mike was truly a Pioneer in Texas Choral Music, but more importantly, he was a Leader, Teacher and a “God Send” to his students. We will not forget!



Index of Cont ributors

A Adams, Randy… 109 Albert, Donnie Ray… 284 Alfred, Maurice… 99 Allibon, Amy Detrick… 384 Antinone, Pat… 482 Ard, Michael… 477 Armstrong, Ken… 102 Atherton, John… 281 Austin, Barbara Lewis… 155 Austin, Bob… 189

Bingham, Lyndal… 111 Birkner, Julie… 356 Boggs, Frank… 476 Bottoms, Jack… 112 Bowers, Jack… 239 Box, Cecelia… 27 Bradford, Betty… 472 Brantley, Royal… 435 Brewer, Dave… 259 Brewton, Sarah… 473 Briggs, Phil & Jennette… 115 Broadstreet, Kim… 463 Brooks, Gene… 436 Bryant, Roger… 341 Buddo, J. Christopher… 474 Burkhalter, Betty… 140

B Baden, Carolyn… 478 Bailey, Donald… 451, 469 Bailey, Raymond… 462 Barnes, Carroll… 168, 219 Barnes, Edward… 107 Bates, Carl… 318 Bates, Dorothy & John… 87 Bates, Eloin Bradley… 125 Baxter, Jerry… 458 Beaty, Dewayne… 110 Bennighof, Jim… 471 Bernson, Dorothy… 95 Biffle, George… 235

C Carlson, John… 447 Carrell, Stephen… 437 Casey, Beth Baldwin… 369 Casey, Glenda… 252 Chambers, Ava Nell Donoho… 154 Christi, Lynn… 187 Clark, Dave… 171 Clifton, Jim… 133 Coates, Kenneth… 475 Coffman, Wesley… 191 Colderon, Jack… 479 Colvin, Herbert… 470


Cooper, Thelma… 485 Council, Tom & Winifred… 286

D Davidson, Sandra Fulmer… 157 Davis, Bill… 116 Davis, Sid & Linda… 288 Dawson, Rebecca… 430, 488 DeBord, Erwin… 419 DeLoach, Doris & David… 489 Dilday, Russell… 490 Donald, Elena Ann… 85 Dorsey, Wilma… 28 Downey, Charles… 79 Duson, Dede… 299, 363, 375

E Eder, Terry… 337 Ellison, Hugh… 192 Evans, Jana Bullard King… 244 Everest, Ann Everett… 24

F Federer, Alice Lee Gist… 132 Fisher, Robin… 486 Fitzgerald, Mary… 117 Foley, Nelda Reid… 176 Foster, Walter… 309

Franklin, James… 175 Fuller, Charles… 88, 427 Fulton, Ken… 249

G Gans, Judith… 185 Garner, Cody… 164, 491 Garrett, Jean Rapp… 158 Garwood, Harry & Edith… 453 Gibbs, Vicki McFarlin… 444 Gilchrest, Anita Mobley… 124 Glenn, Philip… 397 Gorham, Dee Ann… 344 Grahnquest, Sharon… 188 Grant, Eleanor… 285 Green, Georgia… 492 Griffis, Don… 480

H Hackett, Kathy… 354 Hall Jr., OD… 92 Harrison, Paul… 156 Hart, Kenneth… 273 Hassell, Alton & Patricia… 94 Hatcher, Janet Bonicelli… 393 Hawthorne, Lloyd… 455 Heathclott, Rence Fast… 93 Heffley, Rosemary… 301, 357, 376 Hensarling, Jesse… 26, 100




Henson, Nora… 335 Hickfang, Karl… 202 Hightower, Alan… 331 Hinojosa, Clara Dina… 390 Hirt, Charles… 424 Hodgson, Walter… 312 Holbrook, Charles Ray… 153 Holcomb, Al Dee… 406 Holcup, Gene… 349 Holmes, Ruth… 166 Hopson, Hal… 493 Horan, Leta… 481 Huffer, Kerry… 426 Hyson, Priscilla Lawhorne… 118

I Irby, Bob… 20 Irwin, Joe… 456 Ivey, Mel… 163

J Jacobson, Michael… 494 Jasek, Melvin… 119 Jeffress, Charles… 135 Johnson, John… 498 Johnson, JW… 18 Johnson, Karen… 495 Johnson, Mary Jane… 248 Joiner, Gerre… 238

Jones, David… 214 Jones, Joyce… 496 Jones, Suzie & Theiss… 497 Jordan, James… 402 Jordan, Randy… 257 Jousan, Pat… 282

K Kates, David… 366 Kavanaugh, Janette… 159 Keathley, Naymond… 499 Kennedy/Horsman, Katherine… 260 Killingsworth, Terry… 169 Kincaid, Pat Agnew… 106 King, Ben… 261 King, Tim… 224 Koen, Harriett Snider… 237 Kohler, Ken… 139

L Land, Lois… 297 Langner, Gerald… 445 Lawson, Linda… 416 Lehr, Allison Ercholz… 484 Lewis, Gerry… 420 Lewis, Virginia Lee Allen… 120 Loden, James… 121 Lovelace, John… 194 Lunsford, Donna Magee… 122



Luper Jr., Marion… 98

Murry, Lena Sue Chilton… 104



Magee, John… 96 Malloch, J. David… 206 Marshall, Jane… 276 Martin, Morris… 172 Mathis, Margaret… 368 McClintock, Nancy Fields… 138, 141 McCormic, Mary… 320 McDaniel, John… 500 McGill, Stan… 454 McMahon, Stephanie Batt… 501 McWhorter, Bill… 502 Means, David… 459 Medlen, Suzanne.. 311 Medly, Mike… 241 Melone, Roger… 362 Miller, Brian… 387 Miller, Kim Word… 422 Moody, Vernon… 207 Moore, Edgar… 178 Moore, Jim… 296 Moore, Winifred… 503 Morris, Brenda… 468 Morris, Terry… 347 Morrison, Babs… 450 Moss, Eileene… 440 Murphy, J. Carter… 12 Murphy-Manley, Sheryl… 313, 365

Nance, AD… 317 Nance, James… 31, 136 Neel, Eddie Lou… 33 Nelson, Charles… 1, 3, 10, 52, 131, 193, 211, 233, 279, 314, 339, 378, 442, 449 Neuenschwander, JW… 255 Newcomb, Armentia… 380 Newell, KC… 29 Nichols, Ed… 57 Norman, RB… 316 Nunez, Rebecca Breining… 160

P Pack, Carol… 466 Palmer, James & Betty… 504 Pasetti, Texas De Sautell… 134 Patterson, Tammy Charles… 342 Pausky, Martha Brittain… 58 Peebles, Wyley… 59 Perales, Jerry… 345 Perron, Paula Constantine… 60 Peters, Dale… 195 Peters, Juanita Teel… 196 Phillips, Mary Jane… 372, 395 Poetschke, Linda Catt… 179 Pollard, Marvin… 151



Ponce, Beryle Eileen… 184 Porter, Euell… 319, 465 Preskitt, Terrie McKenzie… 400 Prestidge, Sam… 61 Prestidge, SW… 505 Price, Terry… 294 Pugh, Donald… 161

Q Quebe, Fern Wiese… 62 Quillin, Eddie… 245

R Reynolds, Allison… 403 Reynolds, Herbert… 461, 506 Rice, Jeff & Jannifer… 509 Riehle, Kevin… 290 Roberts, Frank… 162, 216 Robinson, Wayne… 399 Robison, Lora Thomas… 63, 507 Rodgers, Candis… 452 Rogers, Cheryl… 183 Rogers, Michael… 181 Russo, Diane Sentell… 508

S Sager, Carolyn Pittman… 64 Sanders, Rinky… 65

Savage, Andrea Hall… 67 Schantz, Ira… 23, 198 Schmeltekopf, Donald… 511 Schott, Sally… 382 Scott, Daniel… 512 Segrest, Robert… 68 Seible, Rob… 351 Seibold, Robert… 180 Shanley, Richard & Helen Ann… 513 Shirley, Jakie… 70 Shore, Kenneth… 443 Simons, John… 514 Simpson, Francis Bryant… 54 Smith, Carol… 388 Smith, Karen Skinner… 439 Smith, Kay… 25 Smith, Lucia Woodbury… 167 Smith, Martha Pampell… 190 Smith, Ralph… 457 Snyder, Richard… 247 Stewart, Kay… 515 Stone, Edgar… 197 Swan, Howard… 434 Szenasi, Kay Norsworthy… 77

T Tadlock, Gloriana… 364 Taliaferro, Rowena… 21 Talley, Barry… 428 Talley, Billy… 438


Talley, Randy… 413 Tanner, Amby… 383 Tarkington, Regena Ragan… 516 Taylor, James… 391 Teat, Herbert… 15 Teel, Bruce… 78 Thomas, C. William… 81 Thomas, Pamela Cooper… 177 Thornton, Frances… 84

V Valighan, Jay… 518 VanDyke, Georgianne… 517 Venable, DeAnna… 72 Vickers, Paul… 359 Vickney, Ray… 519 Vickrey, Sharon… 73

W Walker, Marilyn… 74 Wall, Sampy… 174 Ware, Broadman… 53 Ware, Mike… 353 Watkins, Bobby… 75 Watson, Bob… 321 Webb, Cloys… 137 White, Andrew… 76 White, Brad… 386 Whitsett, Brenda… 173

Whitsett, Dwight… 170 Whitten, Lynn… 130 Williams-Wimberley, Lou… 292 Wimmer, DeLois… 217 Wood, Conan… 367

Y Yates, Jack… 89 York, Terry… 520 Young, Carlton... 264


Lest We Forget Part I  

A Pantheon of Texas Choral Directors Introduction by Charles Nelson Completed December 2004

Lest We Forget Part I  

A Pantheon of Texas Choral Directors Introduction by Charles Nelson Completed December 2004