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James Mallow - Class of 1997

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James Mallow was born December 29, 1930 in Brownwood, Texas, and attended public school there. He joined the band in the second grade and played through graduation from Brownwood High School.

In 1948, James entered Howard Payne University and was a student for two years before joining the U.S. Air Force where he served for three years in the 669th Air Force Band. Following military service, he resumed his education at Hardin-Simmons University and played in the Cowboy Band. In 1955 he received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and later, in 1958, his Master’s degree in Music Education from North Texas State University.

James married Maurice Parsley in 1953, and they have two children, Melodianne McGahey, a daughter who is a band director, and Morgan, a son who is a nurse. Both children reside in the Ft. Worth area. Son-in-law, Mark McGahey, is also a band director which makes a total of three in this family. The Mallows have no grandchildren, but one grand dog, Lucy, who loves them all!

His first band directing position was in Santa Anna, Texas, in 1955, and he describes this as his real education. After five years in Santa Anna he accepted a position with the Brady ISD where he served as director of bands for 26 years until his retirement in 1986. Since that time, he has taught part time at Rochelle and Mason, Texas, and has been in private business.

James is particularly proud of the many honors bestowed upon his Brady bands. While at Brady, his bands earned 21 consecutive UIL Sweepstakes awards with first divisions from all judges; the band was five times Best in Class winner at the Six Flags Invitational Band Festival. The first Six Flags Award was a marching contest held in a mesquite pasture adjacent to the amusement park. The band played Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral and received ones from all judges. In 1977, the band won Best in Class at the Cañon City, Colorado, contest.

Other proud moments are teaching ten years in the Abilene Christian University Band Camp and being a member of Phi Beta Mu, TMAA, TMEA, TBA, and serving as a clinician and adjudicator in all areas of Texas. He has served as UIL Marching Contest Chairman and host for seventeen years for Region VII as well as held various regional and area positions.

The Brady High School Band performed twice at Disneyworld and was Second Runner-up in the Orange County Band Contest in Orlando, Florida. Under his direction, the Brady Band placed twice in the top five TMEA Honor Band competitions in Class AAA.

One special highlight of his career was being elected to the Board of Directors of the Texas Bandmasters Association and serving as President in 1978. This was a wonderful opportunity to grow professionally and to meet the leaders of the band world.

In 1973, James was the recipient of the Brady Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award, given by the citizens of Brady for his work with the band program. He serves his church as a Deacon, teaches a Sunday School class and is active with the church choir.

In addition, James has served as a clinician for a number of All-Region and All-District Bands and twice served as a sight-reading clinician for TMEA. For some seventeen years, he was the director and host for the Heart of Texas Band Festival held annually in Brady until the mid 1970’s. He is currently serving as organizer and director of the Brady Community Band and recently toured Germany as a member of the Texas All-State German Band. He was a member of the Lions Club for 37 years.

As Director of Bands at Brady, he supervised some fifteen student teachers from Howard Payne University, and today, many of them are well-known band directors and leaders. A number of his Brady Band students, including his daughter, are now band directors.

Another special occasion was the placing of three members of the Brady Band in the TMEA All-State Bands the same year, a feat which is unusual for a AAA school. He had three former Brady Band members in the front lines of three Southwestern Conference schools the same year; a drum major of the Aggie Band, and twirlers at Baylor and Texas Tech.

Directing a band for many years is not without humorous moments. James remembers the young lady who lost her trousers at the Heart of Texas Marching contest and never missed a step. She had on pink leotards under her trousers! There was also the beginner percussion player who, while waiting for his turn to play, went to sleep in his chair, gradually slipped from the chair and fell to the floor during the concert.

James offers this advice to young directors just starting out: “Take plenty of time with beginners; don’t rush the process; start them out fundamentally correct and set good discipline standards from day one. You won’t regret it.”

He gives special thanks to those experienced directors who gave so freely of their time and advice when he was starting out, especially to Douglas Fry and Jimmy King and a special thanks to his wife, Maurice, who stands beside him in his mistakes and successes, and to his children who have always supported him.

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