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Charlotte Royall - Class of 2023

Charlotte Neleen Royall was born the third of four children in Groves, Texas, on September 17, 1957, to Billy Don and Dorothy Francis Collins. She grew up in Houston, attended school and spent nearly her entire band life in Region 9. She loved school and was inspired by her grandfather Hobart Ward, who taught high school math for 45 years, to become a teacher. In the afternoons, Charlotte would ride her bike by the elementary school and listen to the band practice. She dreamed of being a part of the band. Her mother dusted off the second-hand “antique” flute she had played in her high school band and Charlotte’s career began.

In seventh grade, her junior high band director, Benjamin Kirk, realized that her flute was not of good quality and switched her to piccolo. She loved the opportunity and continued to play it through high school under the baton of Jim Hagood (HOF 2015) and Johnny Bankston. She earned positions in the TMEA District, Region and Area Bands, missing All-State by one chair. She also served as president of the Smiley HS Band her senior year. Charlotte looked forward every summer to attending the Lamar University Band Camp. She was inspired by the conductors, master class teachers and band directors. She knew that music education was in her future. She remembers telling Dr. Charles Wiley (HOF 1991) in the seventh grade that she was going to be a band director some day!

After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Smiley HS, Charlotte attended the University of Houston in August 1976 and married her high school sweetheart, Ralph Royall, in November of the same year. She taught private flute lessons throughout the Houston area to pay for college. The greatest influences in college were marching band director Bill Moffitt, who gave her an opportunity for leadership in the marching band, and Eddie Green, who took a chance on her by placing her in the Wind Ensemble his first year at the University. Performing at TMEA in Lila Cockrell was the highlight of her college experience. Mr. Green influenced her entire career until retirement. There was no greater mentor and true friend.

After graduating from UH in 1981, she was hired by Richard Crain, Fine Arts Director, in Spring ISD to become the assistant for Bill Watson at Wells Middle School. Richard and Bill gave her the confidence and support to pursue her dream of becoming a band director. She worked with Bill for four years and was part of their TMEA Class C State Honor performance. She also worked with Rick Ghinelli for two more years at Wells. In 1987, she was hired as the head director of the Bammel Middle School band program. Within three years, the Bammel MS Symphonic band was selected as the TMEA CC State Honor Band. Without her team of David Brandon and Sharon Kalisek, she felt that this never would have been possible. The band finished as a top three finalist twice more in the TMEA CCC State Honor Band competition.

After twenty years in Spring ISD, Charlotte accepted a position as head director of Knox JH. She spent the next four years building the program and in 2005, opened The Woodlands College Park HS as Director of Bands. She owes a great debt of gratitude to the principal, Dr. Mark Murrell, for believing that a middle school director with no high school experience could be successful. Charlotte spent her last twelve years at College Park maintaining a highly successful program, with only Superior ratings in UIL Marching and Concert and Sight Reading, finishing as a finalist for the TMEA Class 5A State Honor Band and performing in the UIL Class 6A State Marching Contest, as well as Outstanding in Class at several Marching and Concert Festivals. The program was also recognized as a “Winner” several times in the National Wind Band Honors. The Woodwind Ensembles also performed at the 2016 Midwest Clinic in Chicago. She contributed the success of the College Park program to her amazing team: Jeff Gorring, and Rob Savala.

In 2017, after 36 years, Charlotte retired from band directing. With encouragement from Dr. Matthew McInturf, she attended Sam Houston State University earning a Master of Music degree. She enjoys serving SHSU as a student teacher field supervisor. She has also worked for SHSU Band Camp and Middle School Workshops continuously since 1983. She also enjoys performing in the Spring ISD Alumni Band and The Woodlands Concert Band.

Charlotte has served as a clinician, guest conductor and adjudicator in the southern United States area. She has presented clinics for school districts and band director associations in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia as well as TMEA and TBA conventions, Midwest Clinic, and the BOA and WCU Symposiums. She has conducted three ensembles at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago and in 2014, the College Park Wind Ensemble was a feature clinic at the Midwest Clinic. She has served as a guest conductor for nearly all of the TMEA regions in Texas. She has also had the privilege of adjudicating UIL State Marching Contest and TMEA State Honor Band finals in San Antonio, TX.

Charlotte is a member of TBA, TMAA, TMEA, Phi Beta Mu, WBDI, is an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma, and was recently inducted into the American Bandmasters Association. She received the 1999 University of Houston, Moores School of Music Distinguished Alumnus Award, and in 2009 received the Texas Bandmasters Association Meritorious Achievement Award. Charlotte served seven years on the Texas Bandmasters Association Executive Board and was elected as the first female president of the organization in 1999. Her husband, Ralph enjoyed serving as the first male spouse president.

Charlotte is so grateful to her mentors and colleagues who are responsible for this great honor. She would like to recognize them for their great friendship and love. A career is not successful without incredible mentors and colleagues. Many thanks to: Richard Crain, Fine Arts Director in Spring ISD; Pat Paris, Fine Arts Coordinator in Conroe ISD; Bill Watson, Philip Geiger, Sharon Kalisek, David Brandon, Jeff Gorring, Rob Savala, Jennifer Dillard, Jerriald Dillard, Pat Paris, Matthew McInturf, Susan Scarborough, Mary Santarelli, Gary Hudman, Molly Headd, Rick Ghinelli, Trent Cooper, Gloria Ramirez, Adrian Munoz , Wes Roberston, Chip Birkner, Matt Fehl, Lamar Burkhalter, and Gregg Rhinehart. Most of all she would like to thank the hundreds of students she had a small part of teaching. They were so willing to work hard and believe in the indelible band experience.

Her family is the most important part of her life. Her parents and siblings, Joleen Wright, Bill Collins and Darleen Arisco, were so supportive, they were always there for her. Her husband, Ralph and daughter, Amber, have been her rocks and supportive of every challenge. Amber grew up in the band hall, playing flute, bassoon, and her favorite activity-color guard. Charlotte is also enjoying getting to know her son-in-law, Cameron Wilt and her new grandbaby, Sydney Elizabeth.
Charlotte would like to thank Phi Beta Mu Alpha Chapter for this incredible honor which feels undeserved but very appreciated. Teaching music has been a lifelong joy, passion and blessing.

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