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Durward W. Crain, Sr. - Class of 1991

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Durward Wiley Crain was born around Anson, Texas in Jones County on August 2, 1901. He moved to Arkansas in his early childhood, but moved back to Anson for his high school days. It was during this time that Anson was organizing a town band, so his mother ordered him a trombone from a catalog. This was when Durward's musical career began, and he learned to play the trombone in the town band. Joe T. Ward, a circus band director, was with Cole Brothers Shows that traveled around the country and when they came to Anson, Mr. Ward would ask Durward to sit in and play with them. In 1921, Durward decided to join the John T. Wortham shows and played trombone in the show band for 2 years. In 1923, D. O. Wiley was director of the Hardin-Simmons Band and offered Durward room, board, and tuition to play in the Cowboy Band, so Durward went to college free, and still had the pleasure of playing his trombone. Also in the Cowboy Band at this time was Raymond Bynum, Gib Sandefer, and Prof. Wiley's brother, Russell. Durward remained in school two years then decided he wanted to organize and direct bands.

At this point in the development of bands, all bands were town bands. There were no school bands. Everyone who could get a horn played. Rehearsals were held at least two nights a week, and the directors had to have some kind of day job to make ends meet. It was not uncommon for band directors to direct several bands at a time, and musicians would play in several different bands of nearby towns.
In 1925, Durward organized a band in Idalou, Texas. From there he moved to Elida, New Mexico where he organized their band. He also organized bands in Levelland, Sudan, Melrose, N.M., and Clovis, N.M.. Durward decided to complete his education so he returned to Abilene Christian College in 1933. The college band director quit his job in 1934, and Durward was given his job, where he stayed for eleven years. The Abilene Christian Band, under the direction of Durward, performed at the inauguration of Gov. W. Lee O'Daniels, made many radio appearances, and made many tours of Texas. Players from as far away as Chicago came to Abilene to play in Durward' s band.

In 1945, Durward left Abilene Christian College to take the Sweetwater High School band job. It was while teaching in Sweetwater that Durward started Francis McBeth and Tommy Fry in band. In 1948, he returned to Abilene, teaching at the junior highs. He moved to the South Plains in 1954 where his Petersburg bands were superior. He retired 1962.

Durward passed away in 1986 in Dallas.

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