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TEXAS BANDMASTERS HALL OF FAME
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Gerald Douglas Fagan - Class of 2017
 

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Gerald Fagan was born February 15, 1942, to Emmitt and Callie Fagan in Scottsville, Texas, just outside of Marshall. Gerald’s father worked for the Texas and Pacific Railroad while his mother worked for Bell Telephone. They were always encouraging of Gerald’s musical interest. At the age of five, Gerald’s mother had him singing anywhere she could find someone to listen. However, his true love of music was developed by his grandfather who played the fiddle, violin, mandolin, and sang with his band and at church. His grandfather’s musician friends would gather every Friday night for an all-night Hootenanny. Gerald loved every minute of the fun-filled music.

Before Gerald could begin his musical career in elementary school, he was struck with polio in 1948, leaving him with a very weak left arm and left leg. He knew that he wanted to pursue music in some way, but he did not know if it was possible. He knew he would have to choose an instrument that one could play with the right hand; therefore, sax and clarinet were out of the question.

Gerald began his musical education at Marshall Elementary School. In the fifth grade, Mrs. Joyce Cowan taught him to play the cornet, as well as singing and square dancing. Gerald went on to Marshall Jr. High and played the cornet and baritone for director John Owens. Mr. Owens was a great influence in high school, introducing Gerald to military marching, state and regional tryouts, solo and ensembles, and the Prescott System that Gerald used throughout his career.

After high school Gerald attended Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches. The band was under the direction of Mr. Jimmy Hudgins. When Gerald first met Mr. Hudgins, who had been a boxer in the Marines, he found him doing one arm pushups on the band hall drive way. He thought, “Wow! I better not mess with him!”

After receiving a band scholarship, Gerald majored in business administration and was bored to death the whole year. What he learned in business was to buy your air conditioners in the winter and you will get a much better deal. Then he turned to his true love and majored in music, finishing in three years. Gerald was active in both the marching and concert bands all three years, but also sang in the SFA choir, Madrigal Singers, and was introduced to barbershop quartet music under Dr. David Jones. Gerald sang and played a part in the musicals The Music Man, South Pacific, and Carousel. Marching with the band in high school and college was difficult for Gerald, but he loved every painful step. Gerald also took private clarinet lessons from Kenneth Green, a clarinet specialist. Gerald couldn’t finger the instrument so Mr. Green would turn the clarinet backwards, and he would finger and Gerald would blow. They played some very nice solos, and Gerald became a very good clarinet teacher.

While at SFA, Gerald was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, PHI Mu Alpha Sinphonia, and Delta Sigma Phi social fraternity. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1964 and a Master of Arts in 1973.

After graduating in 1964, Gerald took his first band job at Big Sandy ISD in Big Sandy, Texas, where there were 125 students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Gerald taught high school band, fifth grade beginner band, seventh grade music appreciation, and kindergarten and first grade physical education. In the old classification system this was a class 1B school. The band performed at UIL marching contest making a 3-3-2. Gerald thought his was the best band at the contest. Gerald learned quickly, earning a first division in concert and a second division in sight reading.

In his second year of teaching, Gerald moved up a division to class 1A, Joaquin ISD. The band marched four by six with the drum major, his only trombone, blowing whistles from inside the band. The band made straight ones with six sixth graders marching, exiting to March Ponderoso. Gerald called Monday night rehearsals for the band during football season, but they also practiced on Tuesday and Thursday nights because the band students wanted something to do. In this band of thirty- two, there were two all state and eight all region members. The next year he moved to Troup High School in class 2A, and they earned the sweepstakes award. Following such great directors as Neil Grant and Val Rose was a challenge.

Gerald then went to Hallsville ISD, class 3A, where his bands earned five consecutive sweepstakes. The band grew from 30 to 130 in five years, winning many invitational contests, including Best in class at the LD Bell Marching Contest three years straight, and best overall at Festival of Five Flags in Pensacola, Florida. Gerald had the privilege of working with Roger Winslow for a year at LD Bell High School. Roger was a great influence on his teaching and Gerald used many of his teaching methods throughout his teaching career. Roger’s band was a great 5A Honor Band!

After moving back to East Texas, Gerald settled in Center, Texas. This band had not been to UIL contest in seven years, but they managed to make a first division at UIL marching contest. Each year was better with more first divisions. In the fourth year, the band traveled to Monterey, Mexico, playing concerts that were greatly received and applauded.

From there Gerald moved to Rusk ISD for five years, but he missed the fifth sweepstakes by one rating. Cleveland ISD was next, and the band earned the sweepstakes award in the 4A class. Tarkington was another small 3A band that marched six by six at marching contest, and went on to make a one and then a sweepstakes.

The next fourteen years were spent going from Corrigan-Camden ISD to Livingston Middle School. Each band continued making sweepstakes. The Corrigan band had made a 5-5-5 in all UIL contests the year before Gerald took the band. That year the band made its first sweepstakes and continued to do so for the next five years. Each school wanted him back and gave great incentives that made the moves possible.

After thirty two years, Gerald “retired” but went back to teaching for another ten years, both full-time and part-time, helping schools that lost their directors.

Gerald spent most of his career in small schools. His ability to take a band that had not been to contest in many years or had made very poor ratings and turn them in to a sweepstakes band has earned him the nick name, “The Miracle Worker.”

Gerald’s success as a band director would not have been possible without the help of many wonderful people and the influence of the following directors: Alto Tatum, who would put Gerald on the spot when working his bands by saying,” Did that sound better or worse, and why?” He taught Gerald to listen; Neil Grant, who helped Gerald not only by working his band, but in his knowledge of all aspects of contest and music; Stanley Walker, who could balance a band like no one else; Waymon Bullock, a director of uncanny ability who helped Gerald get ready for UIL contest many times; and John Owens, Jim Hudgins, Kenneth Green, and David Jones were directors who saw something special in him. Gerald would like to give a special thanks to all friends who gave advice and encouragement, especially co-workers Jim Jones, Jonathan Kelly, and Christina Marioneaux.

Gerald Gerald Douglas Fagan
Gerald Fagan was born February 15, 1942, to Emmitt and Callie Fagan in Scottsville, Texas, just outside of Marshall. Gerald’s father worked for the Texas and Pacific Railroad while his mother worked for Bell Telephone. They were always encouraging of Gerald’s musical interest. At the age of five, Gerald’s mother had him singing anywhere she could find someone to listen. However, his true love of music was developed by his grandfather who played the fiddle, violin, mandolin, and sang with his band and at church. His grandfather’s musician friends would gather every Friday night for an all-night Hootenanny. Gerald loved every minute of the fun-filled music.

Before Gerald could begin his musical career in elementary school, he was struck with polio in 1948, leaving him with a very weak left arm and left leg. He knew that he wanted to pursue music in some way, but he did not know if it was possible. He knew he would have to choose an instrument that one could play with the right hand; therefore, sax and clarinet were out of the question.

Gerald began his musical education at Marshall Elementary School. In the fifth grade, Mrs. Joyce Cowan taught him to play the cornet, as well as singing and square dancing. Gerald went on to Marshall Jr. High and played the cornet and baritone for director John Owens. Mr. Owens was a great influence in high school, introducing Gerald to military marching, state and regional tryouts, solo and ensembles, and the Prescott System that Gerald used throughout his career.

After high school Gerald attended Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches. The band was under the direction of Mr. Jimmy Hudgins. When Gerald first met Mr. Hudgins, who had been a boxer in the Marines, he found him doing one arm pushups on the band hall drive way. He thought, “Wow! I better not mess with him!”

After receiving a band scholarship, Gerald majored in business administration and was bored to death the whole year. What he learned in business was to buy your air conditioners in the winter and you will get a much better deal. Then he turned to his true love and majored in music, finishing in three years. Gerald was active in both the marching and concert bands all three years, but also sang in the SFA choir, Madrigal Singers, and was introduced to barbershop quartet music under Dr. David Jones. Gerald sang and played a part in the musicals The Music Man, South Pacific, and Carousel. Marching with the band in high school and college was difficult for Gerald, but he loved every painful step. Gerald also took private clarinet lessons from Kenneth Green, a clarinet specialist. Gerald couldn’t finger the instrument so Mr. Green would turn the clarinet backwards, and he would finger and Gerald would blow. They played some very nice solos, and Gerald became a very good clarinet teacher.

While at SFA, Gerald was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, PHI Mu Alpha Sinphonia, and Delta Sigma Phi social fraternity. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1964 and a Master of Arts in 1973.

After graduating in 1964, Gerald took his first band job at Big Sandy ISD in Big Sandy, Texas, where there were 125 students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Gerald taught high school band, fifth grade beginner band, seventh grade music appreciation, and kindergarten and first grade physical education. In the old classification system this was a class 1B school. The band performed at UIL marching contest making a 3-3-2. Gerald thought his was the best band at the contest. Gerald learned quickly, earning a first division in concert and a second division in sight reading.

In his second year of teaching, Gerald moved up a division to class 1A, Joaquin ISD. The band marched four by six with the drum major, his only trombone, blowing whistles from inside the band. The band made straight ones with six sixth graders marching, exiting to March Ponderoso. Gerald called Monday night rehearsals for the band during football season, but they also practiced on Tuesday and Thursday nights because the band students wanted something to do. In this band of thirty- two, there were two all state and eight all region members. The next year he moved to Troup High School in class 2A, and they earned the sweepstakes award. Following such great directors as Neil Grant and Val Rose was a challenge.

Gerald then went to Hallsville ISD, class 3A, where his bands earned five consecutive sweepstakes. The band grew from 30 to 130 in five years, winning many invitational contests, including Best in class at the LD Bell Marching Contest three years straight, and best overall at Festival of Five Flags in Pensacola, Florida. Gerald had the privilege of working with Roger Winslow for a year at LD Bell High School. Roger was a great influence on his teaching and Gerald used many of his teaching methods throughout his teaching career. Roger’s band was a great 5A Honor Band!

After moving back to East Texas, Gerald settled in Center, Texas. This band had not been to UIL contest in seven years, but they managed to make a first division at UIL marching contest. Each year was better with more first divisions. In the fourth year, the band traveled to Monterey, Mexico, playing concerts that were greatly received and applauded.

From there Gerald moved to Rusk ISD for five years, but he missed the fifth sweepstakes by one rating. Cleveland ISD was next, and the band earned the sweepstakes award in the 4A class. Tarkington was another small 3A band that marched six by six at marching contest, and went on to make a one and then a sweepstakes.

The next fourteen years were spent going from Corrigan-Camden ISD to Livingston Middle School. Each band continued making sweepstakes. The Corrigan band had made a 5-5-5 in all UIL contests the year before Gerald took the band. That year the band made its first sweepstakes and continued to do so for the next five years. Each school wanted him back and gave great incentives that made the moves possible.

After thirty two years, Gerald “retired” but went back to teaching for another ten years, both full-time and part-time, helping schools that lost their directors.

Gerald spent most of his career in small schools. His ability to take a band that had not been to contest in many years or had made very poor ratings and turn them in to a sweepstakes band has earned him the nick name, “The Miracle Worker.”

Gerald’s success as a band director would not have been possible without the help of many wonderful people and the influence of the following directors: Alto Tatum, who would put Gerald on the spot when working his bands by saying,” Did that sound better or worse, and why?” He taught Gerald to listen; Neil Grant, who helped Gerald not only by working his band, but in his knowledge of all aspects of contest and music; Stanley Walker, who could balance a band like no one else; Waymon Bullock, a director of uncanny ability who helped Gerald get ready for UIL contest many times; and John Owens, Jim Hudgins, Kenneth Green, and David Jones were directors who saw something special in him. Gerald would like to give a special thanks to all friends who gave advice and encouragement, especially co-workers Jim Jones, Jonathan Kelly, and Christina Marioneaux.

Gerald says that his wife, Bobbie, has been his greatest inspiration, with her constant encouragement and support. He also thanks his six children, Susan, Sharon, Shelly, Jerry, Christy, and Merideth, who grew up to become amazing adults in spite of his absence and long hours at the band hall.

Gerald believes that receiving the Phi Beta Mu Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame award is the most exciting and humbling honor in his life as a Texas band director. He would like to thank all those who made this honor possible.


says that his wife, Bobbie, has been his greatest inspiration, with her constant encouragement and support. He also thanks his six children, Susan, Sharon, Shelly, Jerry, Christy, and Merideth, who grew up to become amazing adults in spite of his absence and long hours at the band hall.

Gerald believes that receiving the Phi Beta Mu Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame award is the most exciting and humbling honor in his life as a Texas band director. He would like to thank all those who made this honor possible.


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