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TEXAS BANDMASTERS HALL OF FAME
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Glenn Alan Richter - Class of 2017
 

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Glenn Richter was born in 1949, in New Braunfels, Texas. During his toddler years he spent many Friday and Saturday nights with his mom listening to the music of the Hi Toppers Orchestra where his dad was the drummer. His great-uncle Carl Richter was a well-known trumpet player throughout central Texas, and music was a family staple. Glenn began piano lessons at the age of six and quickly entered competitions with the National Guild of Piano Teachers and the Federated Music Festivals. By the age of seventeen he had achieved ten consecutive years of superior ratings with both organizations, and both awarded him scholarships for Interlochen and college studies.

In the fourth grade, Glenn entered the Lamar Elementary band as a snare drummer, and he continued with the drums until the seventh grade when he was introduced to the baritone horn. After his eighth grade year, Glenn attended a band camp under the direction of J. Frank Elsass at The University of Texas at Austin. Glenn’s high school band directors were Fred Baetge and Joe Rogers, and both inspired him to love band and band competitions. Although piano was his primary instrument he did receive T.M.E.A. All-Area Band honors on euphonium and regular U.I.L. first division ratings. He won first division honors on piano at the Texas State Solo and Ensemble contest during his senior year when he served as president of the New Braunfels High School Unicorn Band and winner of his band’s John Philip Sousa award.

In the summer of 1966, just before his senior year in high school, Glenn won scholarships on both the piano and the euphonium to attend the Interlochen, Michigan Summer Music Camp. By the camp’s fifth week he sat as the first chair euphonium with the Symphonic Band while under the direction of the legendary William D. Revelli, beginning a life-long professional influence and friendship with the Maestro. He learned later that the three players ahead of him had intentionally blown their weekly chair audition just so they would not have to sit first chair under Revelli. The climax of the summer was a full concert conducted by Revelli in Hill Auditorium on the University of Michigan campus, a place where Glenn would return later in his career.

Near the end of his senior year in high school, and after his acceptance to U.T. Austin on a piano scholarship, Glenn auditioned for Leonard Shure, the Artist-in-Residence piano professor at U.T. Shure convinced Glenn to spend the summer at Harvard University Summer School where he could study piano and chamber music with Shure. Shure’s specialty and recording fame was the music of Brahms, Schumann, and Schubert, and his passion for musical expression was not wasted on Glenn. During one lesson, and after Glenn’s several failed attempts and restarts of a Brahm’s Intermezzo, Shure hurled a book at Glenn from across the room. The near miss, though an unconventional motivational technique, did improve the dynamic contours of Glenn’s playing, a lesson he never forgot.

Glenn entered The University of Texas at Austin in the fall of 1967 and studied piano while playing euphonium in the Longhorn Band. His time with band did not meet the approval of the piano faculty, and his adviser refused to allow Glenn to register for band. The art of forgery on his registration form did work, and Glenn eventually became a band section leader, a band officer, president of the Longhorn Band, a student conductor of basketball pep bands and an audition officer. By his junior year the powerful band influences and encouragements from Vincent R. DiNino, director of the Longhorn Bands, and William J. Moody, conductor of the Symphonic Bands, convinced him to change his major to music education. During his undergraduate days Glenn enjoyed memberships in Phi Mu Alpha, Kappa Kappa Psi, and the Tejas Club.

In January of 1971, the spring of his senior year in college, Glenn began his student teaching work at 4A Austin Reagan High School. Rheinhold Hunger, his supervising teacher, called Glenn into his office in mid-February to share the secret of Hunger’s imminent departure from his band post on March 1 so that he could pursue the principal’s position at another school. After weeks of uncertainty and disagreements between a few U.T. faculty over Glenn’s student teaching status, Weldon Covington, Supervisor of Music for the Austin district, appointed Glenn as the interim director of the top concert band effective March 1. On March 30 the top Reagan band received a first division in U.I.L. Concert Contest, the first in its six-year history. For the remainder of that spring semester Glenn led the Reagan band program, helped at Pearce Middle School, taught two beginning sixth grade band classes, and finished seventeen hours of U.T. degree work. He was unable to attend his August graduation ceremonies because Reagan’s summer band had begun, but with love and support from his new fiancé, he finished his degree and was appointed Reagan’s new Director of Bands. In December he married the love of his life, Kitt Schneider, a U.T. student and also a New Braunfels graduate.

For the next three years the Reagan bands won the U.I.L. Sweepstakes award and placed first in their division at the Enid Tri-State Music Festival in Enid, Oklahoma. During this time Glenn formed many good friendships and collaborations with other Austin high school directors, particularly Paula Crider at Crockett, Verda Herrington at Anderson, Sherwin Allen at Johnson, and Tom Waggoner at Travis. This group visited each other’s rehearsals and shared tips with each other on improving their band’s musicianship. The group also took a stand against the Austin school district’s music program policies, including the prohibition of four-valve low brass instruments, marimbas, and even private music lessons in the schools. Glenn and Paula Crider lobbied the school board for help and received support from Wilhemina Delco, a school board leader, Reagan band parent, and later a state representative of Texas. The school board made major changes to its rules, and by the fall of 1972 many of the Austin bands were purchasing concert tubas, four-valve euphoniums, and English horns, plus opening their school’s band halls to private lessons. During his public school band days he served as Region XVIII chairman and hosted many solo and ensemble competitions. In 1973 Glenn began his master’s degree studies at U.T. Austin with Dr. Tom Lee, conductor of the U.T. Wind Ensemble. Tom taught Glenn conducting and wind repertoire while Glenn taught Tom how to catch redfish in Rockport and hunt whitetails in the hill country. They frequently competed in T.B.A.’s tennis tournaments and won several doubles titles.

By 1973 the Reagan Band had grown to over 225 members, but the fall of 1974 brought changes: Reagan High School was divided into two school communities with the opening of Austin’s new L.B.J. High School. Glenn was hired as L.B.J.’s first band director. This move brought opportunities for band hall design, new uniforms, music libraries and instruments, and even the adoption of a new school song based on then current pop song melody, “There’s a new world coming.” In the spring of its inaugural year the L.B.J. bands won the overall sweepstakes award at the Tri-State Music Festival in Enid. Glenn’s former student teacher, Bill Brent, was building a strong, deep and talented feeder program at Pearce Middle School. The future was bright. Then, in the late spring of 1975, Joe Rogers called Glenn with an offer to succeed him as the Director of Bands at New Braunfels High School, and only a week later, Vincent DiNino called and offered Glenn the assistant director position with the Longhorn Band. It was a stressful decision, but Glenn elected a try with a college band.

During his first appointment at U.T. Austin, Glenn spent two years as the assistant marching director and the conductor of the Symphonic Band. Glenn and Kathleen’s first child, Zachary, was born in July of 1976. As an infant Zachary sat on his dad’s lap and listened to Hindemith’s Metamorphosis, particularly the French horn quartet in the march. In the spring of 1977, Glenn was offered the Director of Bands post at the University of Cincinnati, which began a great out- of-state adventure.

The Richters arrived in Cincinnati in the late summer of 1977. Drum Major Mike Yoas was there to welcome them with a student move-in crew. On August 1, 1977, there were thirty-one band students registered for fall marching band. On September 1 the new assistant professor was called to Ensemble Division Head, Dr. Elmer Thomas’s office to explain a $2500 long-distance monthly phone bill. Glenn had turned to Cincinnati’s registrar’s office for biographies on every Cincinnati undergraduate, searching for the phone numbers of students with music experience. He called every one. Dr. Thomas dropped the issue when Glenn told him that 134 band students had registered and begun rehearsals. The challenges continued and Glenn heard the words every new band director encounters, “But we have always done it this way.” The Cincinnati band had a tradition of entering its sunken stadium from the top bleacher in the south end zone, racing down the uneven aisle steps, and reforming into ranks in the end zone. Glenn made a deal with the band that the tradition would end if anyone was ever injured during the entry. During the pre-game of Glenn’s first event, a bass drummer tripped at the top and rolled sixty feet down the steps, head over heels, with the bass drum still attached. The next week the Bearcat band entered through the north gate and paraded around the track.

In addition to his marching band duties at the University of Cincinnati, Glenn taught undergraduate conducting and conducted the Symphonic Band. Judging opportunities across the Midwest followed quickly. In the early spring of 1978, an emergency call came from Dr. Hawkins at Morehead College, Kentucky. Dean Killian’s plane was iced in in Lubbock, and Dr. Hawkins needed Glenn to substitute for Dean’s invitation to conduct the third honor band. Glenn shared the stage with William Revelli, Ray Cramer (Indiana), and Gary Smith (Illinois). All became important future influences on Glenn’s work. In the spring of 1979, the Richters welcomed their new daughter, Kathleen. Her calming lullaby was the second movement of Giannini’s Symphony, which is built around an oboe solo.

During the 1978 fall football season, the Cincinnati band traveled to Miami, Ohio, for a football game. Glenn was surprised to see H. Robert Reynolds and Carl St. Clair waiting for him on the sideline after halftime. Bob and Carl had traveled to Miami from Ann Arbor to observe and listen to the Cincinnati Band, now 156 strong. Following a trip to Ann Arbor for interviews and auditions Glenn accepted an offer to become an assistant professor and the conductor of the Michigan Marching Band, succeeding George Cavender. Glenn was back in Ann Arbor, back at Hill Auditorium, and sharing an office suite with William D. Revelli. Glenn taught undergraduate conducting and conducted the Repertory Band, and Michigan opened doors for Glenn to meet conductors and composers on his dream list. His first assignment in June was to prepare the Michigan summer band for a two-week conductors’ workshop led by Dr. Fredrick Fennell.

The Michigan days were short-lived. On July 31, 1980, Peter Flawn, president of The University of Texas at Austin offered Glenn the position of Director of Longhorn Bands and the rank of associate professor with tenure. It was an offer the Richters could not turn down. Glenn’s first hire was a new master’s graduate, Jerry Junkin. In 1982, when Jerry left for studies at the University of Michigan, Glenn hired longtime friend and collaborator, Paula Crider as assistant director. Other successful hires included Bill Haehnel and Tom Caneva. Glenn served in this post until 1995, earning the rank of full professor. In 1986 The University of Texas band program was honored at a halftime with the Sudler Trophy, and on the night of the opening football game of the 1986 season the U.T. tower was bathed from top to bottom in a burnt orange glow with lighted windows outlining number “1” on all four sides. In 1982 Glenn re-designed the band camp program to include a wind ensemble comprised of fifty all-state members. The camp grew from two bands to eleven full concert bands. There was much collaboration during these years: a U.T. commission of Morton Gould who guest conducted his new work, Karel Husa conducting Music for Prague, and wet-ink collaborations with Frank Ticheli. Other collaborations included Barbara Jordan as narrator for Lincoln Portrait, and Willie Nelson performing live with the Longhorn Band at the O.U. vs.Texas halftime in Dallas. The Longhorn Band performed at Lincoln Center, the Meadowlands, Auburn University, Penn State, Fayetteville, Little Rock, Dallas Cowboy games, Houston Oiler games, and numerous Cotton Bowls. The Longhorn Band presented concerts at the Meyerson Center in Dallas and the Wortham Center in Houston. The Symphonic Band teamed with Keith Brion and his Sousa act to entertain the opening night of T.M.E.A. Collaborations continued to be important to Glenn. The Longhorn Band performed with the Texas Tech Marching Band at a Lubbock halftime and the Texas A & M Marching Band at an Austin halftime, shocking both alumni and fans. The spirit of competition was important, but music’s true spirit had a higher value.

Glenn conducted the U.T. Symphonic Band for fifteen years and the U.T. Wind Ensemble for two years. He taught undergraduate and graduate conducting courses, a graduate wind literature course, and arranging for wind bands. From 1980 to 1995 he served as coordinator and host for the U.I.L. state marching contests. During this same period he served T.M.E.A. as Area D coordinator. Glenn served as a Texas State Solo and Ensemble contest adjudicator for twenty-one years. He was active as a guest conductor and clinician and conducted as many as sixty guest appearances per year. He has presented clinics and workshops at T.B.A., T.M.E.A., and C.B.D.N.A. Glenn conducted as many honor bands as time allowed, including all-state bands and region bands around the country. His music adjudication skills even landed him an invitation to serve as a national judge for the Miss America competition in Atlantic City.

In 1995, after twenty-five years as a band conductor, Glenn took a sabbatical year before moving back to the classroom full-time. The year was well-spent writing new courses in music business that led to an invitation to teach in U.T.’s Plan II Honors program. A university grant provided support and assistance for the development of a new conducting Computer Instructional Module designed as an introductory course for undergraduates. Diane Gorzycki, Director of Bands at Bailey Middle School, and one of Glenn’s former students, commissioned him to arrange the Carmen Suite for solo violinist and middle school band. Later that year the Bailey Wind Ensemble performed this arrangement at the Music Educators National Convention. Glenn has remained active as a guest conductor and clinician, including two performances as the guest conductor of the Mid-Texas Symphony Orchestra. Churchill High School in San Antonio invited Glenn to visit as a concert band clinician and marching clinician for thirty-one consecutive years. He also dedicated twenty-six consecutive years of clinics to Randy Kelly’s Victoria Stroman High School bands.

Classroom teaching was exciting and challenging, but with the heavy time demands of marching bands no longer absorbing their lives, Kitt and Glenn could focus some of their free time on family and community service. The Eanes (Austin Westlake) schools asked the Richters to co-chair three successful bond campaigns. Kitt and Glenn served as co-presidents of the Westlake High School Booster Club (PTA). Glenn was elected to their church’s council, and Kitt was elected president of the University Ladies Club. These were the years when they followed their children’s life paths. Zachary won T.M.E.A. All State band positions for two years, and while studying at U.T. he played French horn in the U.T. Wind Ensemble and U.T. Orchestra. He was one of three finalists for the U.T. Outstanding Male Student. After graduation Zachary enjoyed two years as a Teach for America history teacher at McAllen Memorial High School before heading to Yale Law School. During his second year at Yale Law, Zachary won the Moot Court competition. He is now an assistant U.S. attorney with the Justice Department. Daughter Kathleen was the district MVP in softball, president of the Westlake Band, and All Region on oboe and English horn. She won a scholarship for the U.T. softball team, and later earned All Big 12 honors as a designated hitter as well as Academic All-American honors. The Richters traveled the U.S. as fans of the team. Kathleen is now a Senior Associate Athletic Director for U.T. Athletics, and under her academic leadership all twenty teams in U.T. athletics recently scored at the top of the Big 12 APR academic rankings.

By 2002 Glenn was regularly elected by his fellow music faculty to serve on the school’s Executive Committee, Academic Affairs Committee, Director’s Advisory Committee, numerous graduate committees, and annual faculty search committees. In 2004 he won the teaching award for fine arts. He authored two new degree plans for the Butler School of Music, including music business and sound recording. He also founded and copyrighted Longhorn Recording, and in only its second year the label was represented by Naxos. He served as associate director of the Butler School of Music while maintaining a full teaching schedule, and later served two years as the interim director of the school. Glenn and his staff hosted the Menuhin International Violin competition, a project for which Glenn was instrumental in raising $ 1.6 million dollars to underwrite both the competition and a three-day residency by the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra.

In 2015 Glenn retired after forty-four years of teaching music. Kitt also retired in 2015 from her post as Director of Westminster Presbyterian Day School. Glenn continues to enjoy clinics and consulting with high school bands, and he still conducts the Austin New Horizons Band, a group he founded in 1998. New Horizons is a program founded at the Eastman School of Music for beginning or continuing musicians who are at least fifty years of age. The oldest member in the Austin chapter is ninety-one and still plays a mean sousaphone. Glenn has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of the Tejas Foundation and a Distinguished Alumnus of New Braunfels High School. The University of Texas Ex-Students’ Association awarded him its Top Hand award for distinguished service to the university. U.T.’s Plan II Honors program, where Glenn served on its faculty advisory committee, recognized him for service and teaching. The Richters have also been recognized for their community leadership by the Eanes school district. They enjoy organic gardening, working on their Comal County ranch, raising Brangus cattle, conservation initiatives, and the joys of being grandparents. They are thankful for the richness in their lives provided by music and family, as well as the countless continuing relationships with former students and colleagues.


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