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Warren Thaxton - Class of 2000

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Warren G. Thaxton, son of LeRoy and Razzie Thaxton, was born April 21, 1932, in Abilene, Texas. He has lived in Abilene most of his life.

During his school years in Abilene, Warren began playing trombone in the sixth grade band at South Junior High School. Later, he was in the Abilene High School Band under Professor Raymond Bynum and Mr. Bob Fielder.

In 1948, Warren finished high school and entered Hardin Simmons University where he was a member of the Cowboy Band. In 1950, during the Korean War, he joined the Air Force and played trombone in the 669th Air Force Band stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, Texas. In 1953, Warren was given an early release from the service, and he again entered Hardin Simmons, where in 1955, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Music degree.

Warren was hired to begin a band program in Trent, Texas. He remained at Trent for two years. In July of 1957, he became the junior high school band director in Colorado City, Texas. Here he worked with Dwight Tomb. He remained in this capacity for three years. His band made first divisions, two of these three years. In 1958, he received a Master’s degree from Southern College of Fine Arts.

In 1960, Warren became band director in Breckenridge, Texas, where he remained for one year before coming to Abilene in 1961. He became the first band director of the newly completed Madison Junior High School. While at Madison, his bands won a First Division all but one year during his five years tenure. In 1966, he moved to Cooper High School, which had just become a high school. While at Cooper, the bands grew from one band of approximately 100 students to two large bands with programs containing twice as many members.

After the third year, the band began winning Sweepstakes and continued achieving Sweepstakes as long as Warren was their director. In 1977, not only did he take the Cooper Band to contest, but he also took the Sophomore Band. This band also continued with Sweepstakes records. During Warren's tenure as Cooper director, he did not have the help of assistants. In 1979, the Abilene ISD decided to add two assistant directors for each high school. Warren chose to become the assistant at Abilene High School, where he worked with Bill Spencer the first year.

From 1979 until 1997, Warren's duties were to assist other directors. He helped at Abilene High School and then taught beginning students in many of the middle schools of Abilene.

Warren is married to Laura McBeth Thaxton. They live in Abilene and have two sons, Erick and Kirk Thaxton. His first child, Tamara Lynn Thaxton, died in 1970. All three children were involved in music. He and his wife now have five grandchildren, and his oldest grandson plays in the Wylie Middle School Band.

During his career, Warren started hundreds of students on instruments. Many of these have gone on to become Band Directors or to play professionally.

Warren has played trombone for over 50 years and regularly plays professionally. He has taught in Band Schools at McMurry College, Abilene Christian University and Angelo State University. He has been a member of the Musicians Union since 1962. He has played for ice shows, circuses, and many other road shows which have come to Abilene. He played with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra for many years. He now plays with B. A. Waldrop and his dance band as well as the Abilene Community Band. He plays for churches and anyone else who asks for his services.

After 42 years of teaching, Warren retired from the school system in 1997. He still is an often used judge at many UIL contests. Many of the directors in Abilene call on him to help work with students before Solo and Ensemble Contest. Warren will always be involved with bands and band music.

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