Robert Morgan Floyd was born May 26, 1943 to Myrtle and Lynn Floyd. He grew up in Richardson, Texas as a Bobby, in the town the Floyd family settled before the civil war. When he was in the fourth grade Bobby followed brother Dick into the band program playing clarinet. They shared the same old hard rubber instrument for their first year, but his dad bought him his own mouthpiece. Highlight of his early years was marching in the inaugural parade of President Dwight Eisenhower when he was in the seventh grade playing the Daughters of Texas March 3rd clarinet part in weather so cold the brass players had to use alcohol in their valve oil.
While Bob never made all-state he did make it to first chair in the Richardson Golden Eagle Band as well as drum major. And yes, he too was president of the student body at Richardson High School like brother Dick.
After graduating from high school Bob also attended SMU where he majored in pre-med two years, graduated with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics, and on the day classes started for graduate school in statistics, he came to his senses and changed his major to music. It took him sixty credit hours and two more years to graduate with his degree in music education. While he was student teaching at West Junior High School in the Richardson ISD the assistant director joined the Army Reserve to avoid getting drafted and headed off to six months of active duty. Bob took over his teaching duties, student teaching half a day and getting paid $5 an hour to teach half a day. He stayed on that fall in that position as assistant director with Bob Blanton and took over as head director when Bob moved up to become Director of Bands at Richardson High School three years later. To guard against the same fate of being drafted, Bob joined the Air National Guard after graduating from high school and performed with the 531st Air Force Band for seven years.
In 1972 Bob was named the head director at L.V. Berkner High School where he inherited a young band program with 65 students and took it to a state and national level of recognition over the next twenty-one years, winning honor band three times, performing at Midwest in 1990, and advancing to UIL State Marching Contest in 1987. A special moment in his first year was not just winning honor band but sharing Best-In-Class honors at the prestigious Buccaneer Music Festival with the J.J. Pearce Mustang Band, also from Richardson, and conducted by his brother.
Another highlight of his career at Berkner was hosting Gordon Jacob during his first visit to the United States at the age of 83 and listening to him talk to the Berkner Band about his personal friendships with Vaughn Williams, Gustav Holst and Edward Elgar. He said he was looking forward to hearing his first American wind band ever – and it was the last week of school. How is that for pressure? Robert said he could have made a lot of money if he had turned on a recorder when Gordon Jacob honored his request to sing the 5/8 rhythm in Flag of Stars. How many debates did we have in those early days on that subject before multimeter became commonplace. Bob’s says his most stupid shortfall at Berkner was not recognizing the talents of Berkner trumpet player Frank Ticheli but his smartest decision was to not kick Frank out of his band when he had numerous opportunities to do so. He shudders to think of the negative impact such action would have had on the band movement in the United States as well as internationally.
In 1978 Bob was elected vice-president and band chair of TMEA, and when Bill Cormack, TMEA executive director, resigned to return to public school administration in 1992, Bob applied for Bill’s position on the last day applications were accepted. Four months later he was chosen to succeed Bill, taking over the reins of TMEA full time in June of 1993. During his 18 year career at TMEA Bob has seen the association grow from a staff of 4 to 9, move into its fourth Austin headquarters building, see the convention grow to an attendance of over 26,000, expand the TMEA exhibit show expand from 480 to 1100 booths, and guide the Southwestern Musician from a 32 to 75 page quality publication. A wonderful and talented TMEA staff allows Bob to devote much of his time to lobbying the legislature and state board of education to protect and preserve music and the other fine arts in the public schools of Texas.
Robert has served as the high school representative on the National Band Association Board on two different occasions and in 1986 was one of eight band directors in the United States elected to membership in the American Bandmasters Association. In 1992 Floyd was one of ten band directors in the United States named to the Legion of Honor by the Sousa Foundation. In 1997 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Texas Society of Association Executives. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Dallas Wind Symphony in those early formative years and served as resident conductor of that organization prior to his move to Austin. Bob shares that one of the most difficult challenges of his conducting career was leading the Dallas Wind Symphony performing Grainger’s Irish Tune From County Derry at the memorial service of DWS founder and Hall of Fame recipient Howard Dunn.
Bob currently serves as Chair of the Texas Coalition for Quality Arts Education and recently was awarded the A. A. Harding Award by the American School Band Directors Association for outstanding contributions to the band movement in the United States. In 2003 he was named Bandmaster of the Year by the Texas Bandmasters Association and this past spring inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Band Director Hall of Fame, receiving the James R. Murphy Award.
Throughout his 26 year teaching career Robert forgot to get married, but four months after he moved to Austin, the person he was dating in Dallas, Melinda Spivey, was head hunted for a position at Dell Computer in Austin, and within a week they decided to get married. She moved to Austin three weeks later, they got engaged Christmas of 1993, and were married in July of 1994. Melinda has retired from her most successful business career and is a wonderful and loving wife, the best mom any kids could hope for, and a 4.0 tennis player to boot. Robert and Melinda are blessed with two beautiful and wonderful children, Michael and Lauren.