Posts Tagged ‘Bob Barr Community Band’

The Most Unusual Funeral I Have Ever Attended

August 9, 2013

It was truly unique.  It was also very moving, especially for anyone who had played in a Bob Barr directed Jordan Vocational High School Red Jacket Band.  I was one of  the few in the Evangel Temple sanctuary who had done that.   I was in the original Bob Barr Jordan band that was formed in 1946 when he came to the school.  Jimmy Cross, who died this week in Newnan of heart disease,  became a member about six years later. 

More than 20 years ago, Jimmy, along with other Jordan band alumni, formed an alumni band to play at a Jordan-Columbus football game half-time show that memorialized Bob Barr shortly after he died.  My contribution was to announce the show on the public address  system at Kinnette Stadium.  So many Jordan alumni showed up that the stands were packed. When the band came on the field playing the band’s signature “St. Louis Blues March,”  the crowd jumped  to its feet cheering.  I almost couldn’t speak my next lines I was so moved.  I wasn’t alone. There were a lot of tears in that  stadium that night.  My article in the July, 1991 issue of  Reader’s Digest tells the story.

  The band did not disband after that night.  It morphed into the Bob Barr Community Band, which is now made up of alumni from many high schools,  and, at Jimmy’s request it performed at his funeral.  He was also a member of the 17-piece Cavaliers, which also performed today at his funeral.   

It was a Christian service, but none of the songs played were hymns.  The Cavalier’s opening number was “Stars Fell on Alabama,” one of Jimmy’s favorites.  It also  played Count Basie’s swinging “Good News,” another  of his favorites.  For the closing number, most of the Cavaliers players got up and joined the Bob Barr Community band. 

Gene Kelley, who played first-chair trumpet and was the JVHS band president when I was the drum major, wowed the crowd in  the stands at a Jordan half-time show in 1947 when he played a solo of “Stormy Weather.”  It was so popular that he did it again the next year, and it became a tradition and the band’s first-chair trumpet played it for a number of years.  Jimmy played it when he became first trumpet.  Before Gene died he asked Jimmy to play it at his funeral, which he did, and today it was played for Jimmy by Bill Edwards and the community band.    

Following the service, the band played a 25-minute concert, which did include a hymn, and ended with the band playing the “St. Louis Blues March.”  Very special, indeed, for a very  special trumpet player, husband, father, grandfather, bank chairman, and, certainly not least of all, musician.

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MOVIE ABOUT COLUMBUS MUSIC ICON BOB BARR MAY BE MADE YET

July 23, 2011

Now, another blog about something the mainstream media didn’t cover at all. This is a good one!

Oliver Boone, Director of the  High School Band Directors National Association, says the organization is now a supporter of The Sound of Perfection,  the movie inspired by  my Reader’s Digest article Unforgettable Bob Barr. He told the audience at  last nights’ Bob Barr Community Band Concert and Induction Ceremony for two new members of the High School Band Directors Hall of Fame that the organization has agreed to act as a liaison for the movie project, and has already contributed financially to it.

The movie effort is now being pursued by David Yarbough of Los Angeles, who wrote the screen play.  He has lined up support by a number of major school music organisations including the National Association of Music Merchants,  and has tentative support from some major corporations. Boone said the movie will be made in Columbus.  Yarbrough visited Columbus during the first effort at producing a movie about  Barr and his national championship Jordan Vocational High Red Jacket bands. That was about  20 years ago.

The two new inductees into the NHSBD Hall of Fame are Johnny Folsom, director of what Boone calls “the prestigious Cairo High School Band of Georgia,”  and Earl Shaffer, Jr., of Chesterfield County in Virginia, who directs the Cosby High School Band.

Johnny Folsom

Folsom spent twenty-five years as a successful band director in Alabama, before moving to Cairo, where he is leading the  Syrupmaker Band to winning  a number of awards, and invitations to play at college football games and other events.  His bands over the years have played Sugar Bowl,  Notre Dame – Navy,  Troy University games and other events.   

Earl Shaffer, Jr.

 Shaffer has been a high school band director in Virginia for more than thirty years, also winning a number of awards, and being invited  to plat at Disney-World, and at University of Virginia, Virginia Military Institute, and the University of Richmond. They also played concerts on the Carnival Cruise Ship “Sensation.” 

Taken with my iPhone.

The Bob  Barr Community  Band really sounded good to me at the Friday night concert.  Being an Army band veteran myself, I really liked it when I saw some members of the Fort Benning Band playing in our community band. That was so appropriate because Fort  Benning is such an important  part of our community. The Bob Barr Community Band is now directed by retired Army band director Fred Catchings.  You have to like a band director that goes back to the percussion section and plays the cymbals for guest conductors. His directing the band is also quite appropriate since Bob Barr was still a lieutenant at Fort Benning when he first visited Jordan as director of the Fort  Benning Soldier’s Chorus for a school assembly program.  He took the job of band director after he left the Army right after World War II.

Too bad this important community event got virtually no publicity  because a lot of band music lovers would have probably been there had they known about it.  The  band and the national band directors music association deserved a much  larger audience than it got.  

Our Education Crisis -Part 4

October 13, 2010

WHAT OUR SCHOOLS NEED ARE MORE TEACHERS LIKE BILL PHARRIS AND BOB BARR

If the teacher is the key to the quality of education, then we can only hope we’ll get more of them like Bill Pharris, who died Monday.  Like my life, his was greatly and positively affected by a teacher, the late Jordan Vocational High band director and Columbus Symphony conductor Bob Barr.

Mr. Barr – all of his former students will forever call him Mr. Barr – taught both of us, at different times, the value of self-discipline and working collaboratively with others to achieve success. In my case, he also put me in touch with a mentor at WDAK Radio in Columbus who helped me get my start in broadcasting. In Bill’s case, he went on to become what Barr was, a music teacher who changed many young lives for the better.

Bill, who directed a number of high school bands, including Hardaway where my son had performed under the baton of David Gregory, another inspiring and entertaining tough band director who turned out championship bands and students. Bill also directed the Bob Barr Community Band for a year.

No matter whether it is music, or math, or any other subject, what we need are more teachers like Bill Pharris and his mentor and mine Bob Barr.

George Corradino Retires from the Bob Barr Community Band

July 15, 2009

 HE CONDUCTS HIS LAST CONCERT SATURDAY, JULY 18,  AT 4 P.M. AT THE LAKEBOTTOM BANDSHELL

George Crradino conducting the Bob Barr Community Band, Springer Tehater, Columbus, GA

George Crradino conducting the Bob Barr Community Band, Springer Opera House, Columbus, GA

What a way George Corradino picked to debut on Facebook.  In his very first message he tells us he is retiring from the Bob Barr Community Band.  

George – if I wanted to get formal I would say Dr. Corradino, but I have considered him a friend for 40 years so I guess I’ll say George – came to Columbus at the suggestion of Bob Barr.   George left as an assistant band director at Auburn to become director of the Columbus High School Band.

This is all very personal for me since the late Bob Barr was my band director and had a lasting, and positive, affect on my life.  I was the first person he selected to be the band’s drum major. After I graduated in 1948, the band continued to grow and he took it to great heights, doing well in a band contest in Chicago and winning one in New York.  My late nephew Jack Gibson played in George’s Columbus High Band and George had a tremendous affect on him. My late sister Betty, Jack’s mom, told me that the only thing that kept Jack in Columbus High and got him on track to being a good student was George Corradino and that band.  Jack went on to get his PhD at the University of Alabama, and was Vice President of Development for Kennesaw State University when he died.  Kennesaw State  named a building for him, Gibson Hall.

When Mr. Barr – he’ll always be Mr. Barr to me – died in the late 1980’s, George headed up the Jordan Alumni Bob Barr Band to play a half-time show at a Jordan-Columbus game in honor to the memory of his friend and fellow band director.  Jordan alumni who had played in a Bob Barr Jordan band came from all over the country to play in that half-time show.  It was a very moving event.

That band morphed into the Bob Barr Community Band, with the big difference being that you don’t have to be a Jordan grad to play in it.  George has led that band for most of its 20 year’s existance.  I emceed the band’s very first half-time show and first concert and, at George’s request,  the 20th anniversary concert.

As well as leading the Columbus High, HardawayHigh, and Jordan High bands – he filled in for six months when Mr. Barr left until Jordan found a new band director – he played with a number of Columbus dance bands, including the 17-piece Cavaliers, which he now also leads.   

George Corradino playing a solo with the Columbus Community Orchestra at Hardaway High School, where he ad been that school's first band director, Columbus, GA

George Corradino playing a solo as guest artist with the Columbus Community Orchestra at Hardaway High School, where he had been that school's first band director, Columbus, GA

He is a very generous person.  For instance, he has played solo performances at many funerals, and not just for Columbus musicians but others as well.   He loves music, and he loves musicians, and he deserves all of the admiration that the community can give him.  His contributions to the area are enormous, and that includes his educational contributions. He was the director of the Muscogee County School District music program for years.

Thanks, George Corradino, for what you have done for music and musicians in our area.

The Return of Eric Barr

April 11, 2009
Not too long after Bob Barr came to Jordan High in 1946 to become the school’s first full-time band director,  band members, including me, became aware that he and Annie Barr had a baby.  A few years later, when Eric Barr wasn’t much more than a toddler,  he was dressed in a drum major’s uniform and marched beside the band’s real drum major.  He had become the band’s mascot.  In time,  he would become the real drum major, himself.
Eric Barr, Jordan Red Jacket Band 1963 Drum Major, from JVHS yearbook (courtesy Barbara Motos)

Eric Barr, Jordan Red Jacket Band 1963 Drum Major, from JVHS yearbook (courtesy Barbara Motos)

Over the years, growing up as the first son of accomplished musicians and educators, Bob and Annie Barr,  he became quite proficient in playing the oboe by the time he became a member of his father’s band.  He was so good that he later ended up as the principal soloist of the Dallas Symphony, a world-class orchestra. 

There were some stops in between.  He went to Oberlin College,  where he met and married Cathy,  who also plays the oboe.  After that, he played in the United States Marine Corps Band in Washington for four years.  “I was drafted,” he told me.  “I could go into the Army and serve two years,  or I could go into the Marine Corps and play in the Marine Corps band for four.  I choose the Marine Corps.”  That had a number of perks, including not having to take basic training.  

Serving those four years was quite memorable for him because he spent a lot of time playing for events at the White House,  because the Marine Corps Band is considered  “the President’s own.”  Jimmy Motos,   respected Columbus educator, musician, clarinetist, vocalist,  announcer for the Bob Barr Community Band, and actor,  and Eric’s best friend in the Bob Barr Jordan Band,  told me that Eric played for both the Johnson and Nixon administrations.  “He played for the weddings of both Johnson and Nixon’s daughters. Eric told me that things were more laid back when Johnson was in the White House – you know,  Southern hospitality and all of that.  But, Nixon was more formal.”

ERIC BARR PLAYS OBOE SOLO "VARIATIONS ON A THEME OF GLINKA" BY RIMSKY-KORSAKOV

ERIC BARR PLAYS OBOE SOLO "VARIATIONS ON A THEME OF GLINKA" BY RIMSKY-KORSAKOV

Eric brought down the house at the Bob Barr Community Band concert at the Springer on Friday, April 3, 2009, when he played an oboe solo.  And, I believe it wasn’t just because he is Bob Barr’s son,  but because the performance was so outstanding,  but then,  that’s what you would expect of man who was the principal oboest for the Dallas Symphony for 33 years before he retired.

Not only did he and Cathy contribute their musical services by playing with the Bob Barr COmmunity Band,  but after dress rehearsal on Thursday night, he presented a check for $1,000 as a gift from the Barr family, which includes his mother,  a sister and a brother. 

I told him, “Not only did you come and play for the band, you left a thousand bucks with it. That was really special.”

“I should have done it long ago, ” he replied.

Yes, it was a very special concert at the Springer,  one I was happy to announce. While, Jimmy  is the regular announcer,  I was asked to announce this concert because I emceed the first concert of the band twenty years ago.  Since the band was formed as a tribute to my Jordan band director Bob Barr,  I was honored to it then and now.

Dick McMichael, Jimmy Motos,  announcers for the Bob Barr Community Band (Photo: courtesy Barbara Motos)

Dick McMichael, Jimmy Motos, announcers for the Bob Barr Community Band (Photo: courtesy Barbara Motos)

A National Headquarters in Columbus You Probably Didn’t Know About

April 10, 2009

Columbus, Georgia is national headquarters for AFLAC, TSYS,  Synovus, Carmike Cinemas, and was national headquarters  Royal Crown Cola and, of course, the home of Fort Benning,  but did you know it is national headquarters for the  High School Band Directors National Association,  and its National High School Band Director’s Hall of Fame?

Bob Barr Community Band,  Springer Opera House

Bob Barr Community Band, National Band Director's Hall of Fame and 20th ANniversary Concert, Springer Opera House

I learned this when I accepted George Corridino’s invitation to emcee the Bob Barr Community Band concert at the Springer Opera House honoring the Band Director’s Hall of Fame inductees.  When I pressed George for more information about the Hall of Fame, he said, “You need to go see it, Dick.”

“You mean that it’s here in Columbus?”

“Yes,  it’s on Front Avenue.”

It is indeed on Front Avenue in the Arsenal 1 building, now occupied by the Columbus State University Fine Arts Department,  but I learned the hard way that you can’t get in using the Front Avenue entrance.  It’s locked.  You have to go to the Bay Street entrance.  I did, and I finally got in, where I saw portraits and bios lining the walls,  and there were some artifacts,  like a band hat with a big plume on it.

Band hat, National High School Band Director's Hall of Fame, Columbus, Georgia

Band hat, National High School Band Director's Hall of Fame, Columbus, Georgia

The inductees are high school band directors from all over the country, including the great John Phillip Sousa,  who was a high school band director in New York State before he formed his internationally famous band,  thrilling American audiences with his “Stars and Stripes Forever,”  which he used a finale to his hugely popular concerts.  My grandfather took my mother, who was a little girl at the time,  to see and hear Sousa when he played at the Springer Opera House in the 1920’s.
John Phillip Sousa, Inductee, National High School Band DIrector's Hall of Fame

John Phillip Sousa, Inductee, National High School Band DIrector's Hall of Fame

        

Among the portraits you can see at the Hall of Fame,  is the one of Bob Barr,  the legendary Jordan High Red Jacket Band director whose bands won national competitions,  and for whom the Bob Barr Community Band is named.  Mr. Barr  –  his former students all still call him Mr. Barr –  insipred a lot of young people to go on to do well in life.

Bob Barr, George Corridino, Inductees, National High School Band Director's Hall of Fame

Bob Barr, George Corradino, Inductees, National High School Band Director's Hall of Fame

Another Columbus music educator icon,  has his portrait right next to Barr’s.  George Corradino,  who left his job as assistant director of the Auburn University Band to come to Columbus as band director at Columbus High,  did so at Barr’s suggestion and they became very good friends.  Dr. Corradino ended up as director of the Muscogee County School District’s music program before he retired and started teaching at Troy State.   He has been director of the Bob Barr Community Band for most of its 20-year existence.

Bill Pharris,  who was a Bob Barr Student,  and who went on to director a number of high school bands, including a very successful tenure at Hardaway High in Columbus,  is also an inductee.  George tells me that Pharris is Bob Barr’s most outstanding protege. 

Dr. Oliver Boone, also a former high school band director,  is the executive director for the High School Band Director’s Association.  Other than providing the Hall of Fame for band directors,  it offers a number of services to band directors all over the country, and it is organizing a unique online high school band exhibition.  You can read about it by going to this link.

Oliver Boone,  Executive Director of the High School Band Director's National Association (Photo courtesy of the NHSBNA)

Oliver Boone, Executive Director of the High School Band Director's National Association (Photo courtesy of the NHSBNA)

It is, in my view,  that this national organization is in Columbus because this city has been the home to some truly fine high school band directors.  We have mentioned some, but there are others. One of them was David Gregory,  who directed the Hardaway High School Band when my son Rick was in it.  That was the band that took first place in the Allentown, Pennsylvania Bi-centennial Band Festival in 1976.  I hope to see Gregory’s picture hanging in that hall of fame soon.

So now you know,  Columbus is the national headquarters for the High School Band Director’s National Association and Hall of Fame.  

Coming up,  another reason the Bob Barr Community Band Hall of Fame Inductee and 20th Anniversary Concert was so special.

PODCAST: “IT’S NEWS TO ME”

April 9, 2009

A PODCAST FROM THE WORLDWIDE DICK’S WORLD BROADCASTING NETWORK 

  Thanks to newsy blogs folks can get information about some interesting events, people and places they don’t get in the mainstream media.   I came across something interesting to anyone who has ever been influenced by a band director.  It’s something that is right here in Columbus and I didn’t even know it was here.

Now,  to learn more about it,  simply go to my podcast link.  (I have to do a podcast occasionally just so I don’t forget how to get it online.)

CLICK \”DICK\’S WORLD PODCAST\

Dick McMichael, Dick's World Broadcasting Network

Dick McMichael, Dick's World Broadcasting Network

A Very Special Bob Barr Community Band Concert at the Springer Friday Night

April 1, 2009

THREE PEOPLE WILL BE INDUCTED INTO THE NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL BAND DIRECTOR’S HALL OF FAME,   AND BOB BARR”S SON ERIC RETURNS TO COLUMBUS TO PLAY AN OBOE SOLO WITH THE BAND.

 

 

 

 

 If you like concert band music,  you have special treat in store for you Friday night at 8 o’clock at the Springer Opera House.  It’s special because not only will three people be inducted into the High School Band Director’s National Association Hall of Fame,  but Bob Barr’s son Eric will be on hand to perform an oboe solo.  He recently retired as the principall  oboest for the Houston Symphony Orchestra.  

Gina Moody, Bob Barr Community Band Clarinet Soloist,  teacher of orchestra at Jordan High and Arnold Middle School

Gina Moody, Bob Barr Community Band Clarinet Soloist, teacher of orchestra at Jordan High and Arnold Middle School

He is not the only soloist who will play with the Bob Barr Community Band.  Gina Moody,  who teaches orchestra at Jordan High and Arnold Middle School,  will play Carl Von Weber’s “Concerto for Clarinet.”  I heard her at rehearsal.  Her playing was quite impressive. 

Brandon Gray, Julen Johnson,  Bob Barr Community Band Fluists

Brandon Gray, Julen Johnson, Bob Barr Community Band Fluists

There will be music from Sousa to Gershwin.  Since Conductor George Corridino asked me to emcee the concert,  because I emceed the Bob Barr Community Band’s first concert 20 years ago and was a Bob Barr student when he came to Jordan High in 1946,  I’ll be there.  I’m honored to do it.  Hope to see you there. 

Jeremy Williams, Aaron Toft, Jim Belser, Charles Middlebrooks playing tubas for Bob Barr Community Band

Jeremy Williams, Aaron Toft, Jim Belser, Charles Middlebrooks playing tubas for Bob Barr Community Band

Tickets are $10.

STRIKE UP THE BAND

December 7, 2008

  The music river keep abundently flowing in our area. Last night, we were moved by the great performance of the Three Irish Tenors at the Bill Heard Theater. Those guys are magnificent tenors and they just soared with the great Chritsmas and Irish classics.

  Now, it’s time to support our local folks and attending the Bob Barr Community Band 20th Anniversary Concert at Jordan High. I attended the last rehearsal for the concert and I believe you will enjoy it. 

  How special is it? Well, Conductor George Corradino told me, “Dick, the band will be wearing tuxes.”  Well, I guess I’ll have to break mine out so that when I emcee the concert, I’ll be in harmony with the band. I emceed the band’s very first concert 20th years ago so George asked me to do this one.

George Corradino rehearsing Bob Barr Community Band

George Corradino rehearsing Bob Barr Community Band

George Corradino Keeps Amateur Music Alive and Well in Columbus

December 6, 2008

   If you want a good example of just how active a person pushing 80 can be, look no further than George Corradino. He teaches two classes at Troy State University’s Phenix City campus;  conducts the Bob Barr Community Band,  which rehearses just about every Monday night; leads the choir at St. Anne’s Catholic Church; plays for funerals and weddings: and leads the 17-piece Cavaliers Big Band.

George Corradino and the Cavaliers playing a luau dance at the Mr. and Mrs. Club, Columbus, GA

George Corradino and the Cavaliers playing a luau dance at the Mr. and Mrs. Club, Columbus, GA

  Just get a load of what he is doing this weekend. Tonight and tomorrow, he is leading the Cavaliers in a musical drama at Evangel Temple called “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” The band will provide the music of  World War Two  for the play.  It will be a nostaglic look at WW II and feature the music and famous radio shows of the 40’s. Having been eleven years old when the war started, I remember those days vividly, those war years Chistmases,  and plan to be at the Sunday evening performance.  Tonight’s performance is at 6, and the Sunday performances are at 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 pm.  

Evangel Temple)

"I'll be Home for Christmas" pamplet (Courtesy: Evangel Temple)

Then Monday, George will be interviewed at noon on WRBL and I’ll be on the 5:30 WTVM newscast to talk about Monday night’s Twentieth Anniversary Concert by the Bob Barr Community Band. On top of conducting the band, before that, he will direct the music at St. Anne’s for a mass.

  “You like to stay busy, don’t you,” I said to George.

  “I always have, Dick. And I just love doing what I do.”

  And what he does is provide a tremendous music service to this community. My hat’s off to him.

  Hope to see you at the Bob Barr Community Band Twenitheth Anniversary Benefit Concert at  7:30 p.m, at the Jordan High auditorum. Admission is $5 and the current band gets the proceeds. Since I emceed the very first concert in 1988, George asked me to do this one. I’m honored.