The Beginning, Charles V. Kirkpatrick
Texas Christian University Military Band, 32 members including members of the local community, TCU professors and Charles’ 16 year-old brother Bedford Kirkpatrick.
Willis C. Hunter
In 1906 Mr. and Mrs. Willis C. Hunter joined the faculty of TCU. Mr. Hunter graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1904 and taught Violin and Music Theory in addition to his duties as directors of bands and orchestra.
On March 22, 1910 fire spread through the main building on the campus of TCU in Waco, TX. Among the property destroyed in the fire were nine upright pianos, one grand piano, a pipe organ, W. T. Hamner’s (director of the TCU glee club) music library and every classroom on campus. The need to relocate classes took over every square inch of the remaining buildings including the music rooms, and so the band would lay dormant while TCU found a new home.
Bedford A. Kirkpatrick
Since the band program at TCU was displaced by the fire of 1910 a TCU medical student, B. A. Kirkpatrick, brother of TCU’s first band director Charles Kirkpatrick, gathered a group of medical students and undergrads to form a group for the sole purpose of playing at the cornerstone laying ceremony for the new administration building (now called Reed Hall).
1913 – 1920
Fredrick M. Cahoon
Fredrick Cahoon, like Willis C. Hunter, was a violinist and director of both the orchestra and the university band. During his term as director of the band, the group’s membership was only 13.
1921 – 1925
J. E. King
Organized regular rehearsals. Began regular performances. In 1925, with the help of Amon G. Carter and the Washer Bros. Purchased the first official band uniforms (purple with white trim). The first band president, Lt. Clinton Hackney, and the first band sweetheart, Miss Sarah Hall Williams, were chosen.
1926 – 1934
Chairman of Music Department, orchestra director, then band director. Wrote TCU Fight Song in 1928. Band grew to 41 members and traveled with the football team to each away game. Was invited to play at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Exhibition, a tradition carried on today.
1935 – 1942
Was a student of Claude Sammis and immediately upon graduation in the spring of 1935 became band director. Circa 1934/35 “Swing Era” began with such notables as Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and others leading the way, nationally Dr. Gillis was an outstanding composer/arranger. Arranged all popular tunes of the day ala swing which really put the TCU Band on the map. Established the 60 piece all-male marching band which was a tradition until the early 50’s, which was also about the time females began to be included. Gillis went on to even greater heights in New York as one of NBC’s music directors. He was right hand man to the immortal Arturo Toscanini, the conductor of famous NBC Symphony Orchestra. Amon G. Carter was a great benefactor of the band. Mr. Carter bought various instruments for the band, and he literally sent the band wherever the football team went. Since this was long before the advent of airline travel, Mr. Carter would charter trains with Pullman cars for the band and football team. Occasionally, as the band boarded the train, Mr. Carter met them with one of his specially designed Shady Oaks Stetson hats, and a $20 bill with the promise, “And there’s more where that came from, Boys! Have a good time!” One such trip was to New York’s Madison Square Garden. The crowd enjoyed the band so much that when the game was over, the band went out on the field to give a little post-game concert, the entire audience remained and kept them playing for more than an hour.
1942 – 1943
Director of Bands one year
1943 – 1944
Director of Bands one year
1944 – 1949
Band was made up largely of veterans of WWII who were nearly impossible to control. One year, after the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show Parade, the band guys somehow acquired a big white horse. They then proceeded to ride the horse through the old Administration Building marching behind it and jamming to “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Another year the football team and band went by train to Kansas City for the University of Kansas game. A large rain storm came just after the game had started. Part of the band’s show that day was to spell out “HELLO” on the field. The drum major took the band behind the stadium during the 2nd quarter and changed the show just slightly. First they spelled “O HELL”, and then the “O” ran to the other end of the formation spelling “HELLO”.
1949 – 1950
Director of Bands one year
1950 – 1955
Was mascot of the band when his brother Don Gillis was director. Graduated from TCU and the next day was Director of Bands .Wonderful musician. The marching band in 1954 included 7 majorettes. Did not have enough musicians to have a concert band for the spring of 1955
1955 – 1981
James A. “Jim”Jacobsen
Jacobsen’s first year, TCU won the Southwest Conference and went to the Cotton Bowl. The band, however, was not up to the same standard as the football team. By Dr. Jacobsen’s the third year the band was quite good and made band history by introducing a new marching technique called “Peel-offs” or “Moving Diamond Drills.” The original “Moving Diamond Drill” was done on national television twice in 1958, including the Cotton Bowl. Over the years this technique has became a staple of marching bands and is still widely used nationally. There was significant growth in size and ability of the concert band.
1981 – 1982
Became Director of Jazz Studies in 1976, a post he still holds. Served as Dr. Jacobsen’s Graduate Assistant from 1963 – 1966. Named Interim Director during search for Dr. Jacobsen’s replacement. Started the marching band’s transition to a “Corps” style drill
1982 – 1992
Continued to move the marching band to a “Corps” style. Developed outstanding wind ensemble
1992 – 1993
Named Interim Director one year during search from Mr. Blanton’s replacement. Served as Graduate Assistant at TCU from 1980 – 1982. Did outstanding job with marching band
1993 – 1999
Director of Bands 6 years. Wind Symphony performance at Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA). Wind Symphony performance at Carnegie Hall
1999 – 2000
Named Interim Director one year during search for Mr. Clemons’ replacement
2000 – Present
Francis is beginning his fifth year as Director of Bands. Is doing a terrific job
Wind Symphony performances during the last few years include:
o Texas Music Educators Association Convention – San Antonio
o Percussive Arts Society International Conference – Dallas
o College Band Directors National Association Conference – Houston
o International Tuba/Euphonium Society SW Regional Conference – Fort Worth
o International Trumpet Guild International Conference – Fort Worth
o College Band Directors National Association Conference – Ann Arbor, Michigan
o Latin Arts Festival - TCU (2 times - with international guest conductors, artists and composers).
Performances with internationally known guest artists such as Allen Vizzutti, Brian Bowman, John Sheridan, Jon Lewis, and Markus Theinert. Releases a compact disc entitled: Testament, Music for a Time of Trial. Part of many commission projects that resulted in many new works being written for band by prestigious composers. Instrumental music major enrollment has increased by over 85% in the last few years. Marching band enrollment has increased from 112 to roughly 200 members. A full-time third band director position has been added to the faculty. Formation of a third concert band.
Major performances with the "Horned Frog" Marching Band at such events as:
o The Bands of America Southwest Regional – Houston
o The Bands of America "Super-Regional" – San Antonio
o Dallas Cowboys football game
o Texas Motor Speedway NASCAR Race
o 6 consecutive bowl games
o Numerous exhibition performances for UIL Marching Band Contests throughout North Texas.
Scholarship funding has increased 50%