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Val Rose - Class of 2008

Valerye Edward (Val) Rose was born in Jefferson County, Texas, December 7, 1939. Val was the youngest of four children of Frank and Juanita Rose. Frank was a boilermaker by trade and Juanita a homemaker. Frank and Juanita were married in 1927 and very quickly had to face the difficulties of raising a family during the Great Depression. After traveling around the nation in search of work they settled near the Beaumont/ Port Arthur area of Texas. They managed to buy a piece of land, and Frank built the house where Val was born. They did have electricity, but water was supplied from a well and a cistern. Complete indoor facilities and plumbing arrived near the end of WWII. Life was good in the small rural community. For a time as a teenager Val had the fastest outboard powered boat on Taylor’s Bayou. Val learned at his father’s side how to repair almost anything, skills that served him well later in life.

Val went to public school at the S.F. Austin School in the Port Arthur ISD. As a fourth grader he met Melvin Montgomery, the new band director. (He enjoys telling people that he and Mel started band together. Sometimes he even admits that he was a fourth grader and Mel was a beginning director.) The trumpet he played was loaned to him by a brother-in –law, the late Jim Darnall, who had played in the LSU Band before he left for service in WWII. After Val marched and played in the high school band as a seventh grader, Mel moved to Snyder in West Texas and his new director for the next two years was Jimmie Hudgins. For the final three years of high school, Val’s director was Tom Jenkins. During Tom’s tenure, in addition to trumpet, Val played euphonium and trombonium to help balance the band. He began to understand more about what a band is and his interest grew. Mr. Montgomery got Val involved, Mr. Hudgins inspired him, and Mr. Jenkins convinced him he had some musical talent.

After graduating from high school in 1957, Val enrolled at Stephen F. Austin State College on a band scholarship. The twenty dollars a month paid his dorm rent ($13.00) with money to spare. He played in every ensemble available and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Few students had more fun than Val and still survived to actually get a degree, much less two degrees. Val owes much of that achievement to the influence of his wife Suzi. With marriage in 1962 came responsibility and a need to succeed in the band directing world, and Suzi has always been there to help. In addition to being a fine vocalist and flutist, Suzi became one of Texas’ outstanding elementary music teachers. Her teaching and inspiration were invaluable to the band programs where she and Val both taught.

While still a college student, Val began his career as a part time Texas band director at the Gary and Joaquin schools. His first full time job after graduation was at Moore Junior High in Tyler. In 1964 he became the director at Overton and led the high school band to their first sweepstakes in fourteen years. Then the next year he moved to Troup and again led their band to a sweepstakes. The Troup Concert Band won best in class at the Six Flags Contest and the Jazz Band won their class at the Brownwood and SMU Festivals.

In 1966 Val moved to the Jacksonville high school job, and began work on a struggling program. The band had never made a first division at a UIL concert contest. When he left Jacksonville thirteen years later, he left eight consecutive years of sweepstakes, the only ones in the school’s history at the time. The concert band had been a State Honor Band finalist, and the marching band was a five time best in class winner at the HEB marching contest. Val received invaluable assistance at Jacksonville from middle school directors Raymond Thomas, Joe Teague, and Jerry Thomas as well as assistant directors Danny Prado, Dean Stewart, Andy Davidson, Wayne Smith, and Dwight Logee.

After a brief fling at a fundraising job, Val led the White Oak High School Band to a sweepstakes in 1981. He then worked for the next five years as a roadman for Tatum Music Company, during which time he learned a great deal about the retail side of the band world and assisted many directors in East Texas. He owes many thanks to owners Neil Grant and the late Alto Tatum for the wisdom they shared during that experience.

In 1986 Val moved to Nederland as Director of Bands. The Nederland High School Band grew from 86 to over 260 members during the early nineties. The concert band was a TMEA Honor Band finalist three times. The military style (6 to 5) marching band won best in class at the NAMMB contest seven times. After promoting the construction of a fine arts center with a 2000+ seat auditorium (completed March 2000), Val retired in May as Director of Bands and Music Education. His son Greg was hired to replace him and lives around the corner within walking distance with wife Weena, son Eric, and daughter Amber. Suzi retired in 2003 from her job as a Nederland ISD elementary music teacher. She also retired after ten years of teaching the elementary music methods courses at Lamar University in Beaumont. Val also worked for two and one-half years (2001-2004) in the Student Affairs Division at Lamar University. He thoroughly enjoyed working for friends Dr. Barry Johnson and Dr. Jimmy Simmons.

Val held offices in UIL Regions 4, 21 and 10, including TMEA Region Chairman and Band Chairman; UIL Executive Secretary, Band Contest Chairman and State Advisory Council Member. He has been invited to present lectures at Texas Christian University, Lamar University, and Stephen F. Austin University. He is a charter member of TMAA and a member of Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Mu. Val was honored in 1997 with membership in Lamar University’s Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia chapter, and in 2000 he was honored with induction into the SFASU Band Directors Hall of Fame. In 2007 Val was presented with the Meritorius Achievement Award by the Texas Bandmasters Association. The creation of a 4A Texas All-State Band arose from an idea of Val and colleague Nelson Nolden.

A great many of Val’s former students have become band directors or involved in music education, and this is a source of joy. But just as nice is to know the list also includes classroom teachers, MD’s, PHD’s, attorneys, judges, administrators and many more professions. Val feels fortunate to have taught and led bands to sweepstakes in every Texas high school classification, 1A through 5A, and he gives thanks to all the students and teachers who had a part in that achievement. A special thrill is seeing son Greg become an outstanding band director and daughter Shannon Rose Shipp become a fine elementary music teacher for the Gladewater ISD where she lives with husband John and son Zachary.

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