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James Murphy - Class of 1991

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Jim Murphy's influence transcended the city limits of Brownnsville, then a sleepy border town, the Rio Grande Valley, and even the state of Texas. He had the ability to take the children of "common folk" and make great music which placed him in the position of musical and teaching leadership.

James Murphy was born on February 16, 1918 in Logansport, Indiana. He was a graduate of Central Methodist College in Fayette, Missouri, the U.S. Army School of Music, and Vandercook College of Music in Chicago. From 1946 to 1957, he was director of the famed Brownsville Golden Eagle Band, winner of 11 Sweepstakes, two appearances at the Midwest Band Clinic, and three times winning every award in sight at the Tri-State Music Festival in Enid, Oklahoma. For 12 years, Jim served as a guest clinician and adjudicator, throughout the state of Texas. He was elected and officiated as Band Chairman for TMEA. In 1958, he accepted a position at the Duluth campus of the University of Minnesota where he remained until 1980. He then became an instrumental consultant in the Edgewood ISD, until he retired in 1982.

Jim's dedication to music as a profound art exacted every ounce of his energies, and he demanded one's all regardless of whether one was having a studio lesson, learning to conduct, preparing to teach, or playing in one of his ensembles.
Jim was a member of the American Bandmasters Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Texas Bandmasters Association, Phi Beta Mu, Music Educators National Conference, and Texas Music Educator's Association.

Jim passed away on June 17, 1983 in San Antonio. Murphy may not be in heaven yet, he may be doing penance. Oh, he arrived at the pearly gates all right, but just as St. Peter was greeting him, Gabriel started playing his trumpet. And we can all Murphy as he said, "Gabriel, with all that practice you have had, you still can't play worth a damn!"

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