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Wayne Dorothy - Class of 2023

Wayne F. Dorothy was born in the “Atomic City” of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in 1956. His parents, Wesley and Gayle Dorothy, provided a loving and supportive home for Wayne and his younger brother, Richard. Wayne recalls music always being a part of the Dorothy household. Wayne began his musical pursuits with piano lessons in the third grade in Painted Post, New York. In the fourth grade he began playing clarinet (giving up the piano) and joined Mr. Norman Sartor’s elementary school band program. In the junior high school band program of Nello Martini, Wayne also began playing tenor saxophone and was introduced to the wonders of big band music!

While in junior high school, his family moved to Johnson City, Tennessee, where he began four years of study with celebrated clarinet teacher Irma Paluzzi. During high school, Wayne was a two-time All-State clarinetist, placing eighth in the Tennessee All-State Band (1973) and first in the North Carolina All-State Orchestra (1974). As a junior, Wayne began seriously considering a career in music. He recalls his high school band director, Jerry Cole, telling him, “Music is not a job, it is more a way of life. If you’re not totally committed to it, you should probably go ahead and choose something else now.” After his junior year his family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he studied clarinet with Jim Henry and John Olvera. He was principal clarinetist in the Jesse O. Sanderson High School Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, baritone saxophonist in the Jazz Ensemble, and was the featured soloist with the band on the Weber “Polacca” from the Second Concerto in Eb. He earned the position of principal clarinet in the Raleigh Youth Orchestra, with whom he performed the first movement of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto.

During his senior year Wayne was heavily recruited by universities in North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He ultimately chose the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where he studied clarinet with Douglas Masek and William Scarlett and performed in every ensemble that included clarinets. For four years, Wayne served as principal clarinetist in the UT Bands under the direction of Dr. W.J. Julian (“and lived to tell about it”) and in the UT Orchestra. Before graduation, Wayne, once again, performed as soloist with the band on the Weber “Polacca” from the Second Concerto Eb. At the urging of Professor A. Wayne Tipps, Wayne developed a highly regarded clarinet studio, taught clarinet sectionals for three of the finest bands in east Tennessee, and worked with numerous high school marching bands.

Mr. Dorothy taught band in grades five through twelve for eight years in the public schools of Tennessee. His band programs averaged over 16% growth annually and were widely recognized for their repeated excellence in concert performance, sight reading, placing large numbers of students in regional honor bands, and earning many superior ratings at solo and ensemble festivals. His marching bands won Class Champion and Grand Champion at contests in Tennessee, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Georgia. The Clinton High School Band marched in the 1982 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (he was unable to accompany them as he was recuperating from injuries sustained in an airplane crash).

Dorothy earned the BS (1979) and MS (1987) in music education from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the Doctor of Arts in conducting from Ball State University (1996). His career honors include elected membership in Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity (Tennessee Eta Chapter, 1985), Pi Kappa Lambda (1990), the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence (1999), 1999 North Dakota Band Director of the Year, Abilene Cultural Affairs Arts Award (2003), Sigma Alpha Iota Friend of the Arts (2014), and East Tennessee School Band & Orchestra Association Honorary Lifetime Member (2019).

Dr. Dorothy has served as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator in 17 states and performs as a clarinetist and saxophonist. He served as conductor of the Abilene Faculty Chamber Players, Kansas State University - Faculty Chamber Ensemble, North Dakota Governor’s School Band, and North Dakota FFA State Band, and as guest conductor with United States Air Force Band, United States Air Force Band of the West, Wichita State University Bands, Ball State University Bands, Kansas State University Bands, Morehead State University Bands, East Tennessee State University Bands, and as principal guest conductor of the Abilene Community Band. Dorothy held elected office in the Texas Music Educators Association (Regional College Representative, Abilene) and served on the Board of Directors of the National Band Association, North Dakota Music Educators Association, and East Tennessee School Band & Orchestra Association. He has numerous publications including entries in four volumes of the GIA Teaching Music through Performance in Band series and has presented invited and juried clinics and papers for the Texas Music Educators Association, National Band Association, Kansas Music Educators Association, Kansas Board of Education, North Dakota Music Educators Association, and Music Educators National Conference.

Dr. Dorothy, Professor of Music Emeritus, retired as Director of Bands and Professor of Music from Hardin-Simmons University in 2018 where, for 16 years, he conducted the Concert Band, “The World Famous” Cowboy Band, and taught graduate and undergraduate classes in conducting, band repertoire, and music education. Prior to his HSU appointment, Dr. Dorothy taught at Ball State University, Morehead State University, and Kansas State University and served as Director of Bands at North Dakota State University.

On beginning his time in Texas, Dorothy fondly recalls his first meeting with the HSU Band at his interview in 2002:
I was quite aware of just how proud Texans are of being from Texas. So, when I first met the band during the interview, I told them, “I am delighted to be here with you in Abilene, but I am not a Texan and I am not from Texas. I have visited Texas several times before, for band and music conventions in San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas, but I am not a Texan and I am not from Texas. But - you may have heard of a couple of folks named David Crockett and Sam Houston. Well, they were from Tennessee, and that’s where I’m from.”

Under Dr. Dorothy’s direction, the Hardin-Simmons University band program averaged over fifty performances annually (without an assistant director or any graduate teaching assistants). His ensembles quickly earned reputations for their musicality and programming, frequently presenting regional premieres and championing new band works by student composition majors. In 2008, his HSU Concert Band performed at the College Band Directors National Association Southwest Region Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2009 he added the Jazz Ensemble to the band program’s class offerings.

The most visible ensemble at HSU has always been “The World Famous” Cowboy Band. Notable performances of the Cowboy Band under the baton of Dr. Dorothy included being one of only four bands invited to march in the Inaugural Parades for Texas Governors Rick Perry (2003) and Greg Abbott (2015), serving as the Honor Band for the Lion’s International Convention in Boston, Massachusetts (2006), representing Texas, at the invitation of Governor Rick Perry, at the California International Tourism Pow-Wow in San Francisco (2011), annual performances in the nationally-televised Dallas Holiday Parade, annual performances for the Texas Cowboy Reunion in Stamford, Texas (the nation’s largest amateur rodeo), and numerous university and civic events and parades throughout Texas. While most university bands pay their own expenses when traveling and performing, the Cowboy Band’s expenses were almost always paid for by the event hosts!

In addition to musical excellence, improving recruitment, retention, and diversity were primary goals for Dr. Dorothy while at HSU. During his tenure, The Cowboy Band Concert Band attained their largest enrollments since before World War II. Setting the retention pace for the entire university, 92-94% of his band members either continued their study at HSU or graduated annually. The band program also saw its first female Cowboy Band President, first female Assistant Drum Major and Drum Major, first female recipient of the Spears-Presley Award, and first African American Drum Major.

Another of Dorothy’s goals was to increase and improve outreach and service to local and area band programs. When not teaching his university classes, Dorothy was often found assisting in the band halls of area middle schools and high schools. He and the HSU band program regularly hosted honor bands and other music events for the Texas Music Educators Association, Association of Texas Small School Bands, and Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.

Upon retirement, Dr. Dorothy moved back to his home state of Tennessee and now resides with his wife, Gail, in Knoxville, Tennessee. He remains active as a guest conductor, adjudicator, clinician, clarinetist, and baritone saxophonist, and serves as principal guest conductor of the Tennessee Wind Symphony. In addition to his musical pursuits, he enjoys traveling with Gail, fishing, yard-work, cooking, and amateur radio (KB∅JOS).

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