Sidney Bob Farrar (‘45-’46) was an accomplished musician and was involved in the beginnings of the jazz program at North Texas in 1945-46. He later earned a master’s degree in radio/television/film. He served as the assistant band director of the 49th Armored Division of the Texas National Guard, founded Commercial Recording Corp., composed music for the Southern Baptist Convention and wrote for PBS.
Jane Anne Trawick (MM ‘58) taught in public schools for 32 years and was the pianist at St. Peter’s University Methodist Church. She accompanied various choirs there and worked in the church office. She also was a member of the National Music Teachers Association and the local book club.
Ruth Margaret Walters (BMus ‘45) earned her bachelor of arts degree from North Texas State Teachers College in 1945 and after doing graduate work in Indiana, Colorado, Utah and New York, returned to Texas and became an instructor of piano at the University of Texas in Austin. She later returned to her hometown of Tyler, where she taught private piano lessons for many years.
Brian Keith Leavell (PhD ‘96) taught at the New England Conservatory of Music for one year and later bacame the director of music at the Selwyn School in Denton. He went on to become assistant professor in the College of Education at Texas Woman’s University where he founded the Canterbury Episcopal Students’ Fellowship.
Elizabeth Anderson “Libba” Weeks (BMus ‘50) attended North Texas State Teachers College where she received her bachelor’s degree in music. Early in her career she sang with the Ho Hums in Denton and later became a much sought after talent whose voice graced hundreds of musical radio identification jingles for stations from New York to Los Angeles.
William Jensen Reynolds (MM ‘46) was a church musician, author, composer, hymnologist, and educator. After he earned his master of music degree from North Texas State College and his doctorate in education from Peabody College, he joined the staff of the Baptist Sunday School Board where he remained for 25 years. In 1980, he began a second career as a teacher at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he retired as a distinguished professor of church music.
Michael Allen (PhD, '89) served as the string coordinator for the Denton Independent School District for eight years and under his direction the Denton High School Orchestra appeared in concert at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention and the MENC National Concention in Indianapolis. In 1993, he became professor of music education at Florida State University and served as editor-in-chief of the Florida Music Director magazine.
22 ▪ UNT College of Music
Herb Ellis (‘40’s) was born in Farmersville, Texas and played banjo and harmonica as a child before taking up guitar. He studied at North Texas State Teachers College in the 1940’s and with two associates from Jimmy Dorsey’s band, the pianist Lou Carter and the bassist Johnny Frigo, formed the trio Soft Winds. Ellis later toured with Ella Fitzgerald and participated in Norman Granz’s All-Star Jazz at the Philharmonic touring shows, and in recording sessions led by Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Stan Getz.
Jack Rumbley (BMus ‘51, MM ‘52) was a legendary musician, played in the symphony, marching band and lab band at North Texas and was the drummer for the Aces of Collegeland. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. After serving in the 4th Army Band, he served as school band director and taught at Mountain View College and Dallas Baptist University. For 40 years, he played with the Fort Worth Symphony and with the pit orchestra at Casa Mañana.
Mary Aileen Tausch (MM ‘46) was a concert pianist, piano teacher and professor of music for many years in Missouri. She was a member of the Missouri State Education Association and Pi Kappa Lambda Music Society.
Wesley Surver Coffman (MM ‘53) served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and completed his education at North Texas and Florida State University. He was a music educator and church musician in Sherman, Houston, and Dallas. From 1981-1995, he was dean of the School of Music at Hardin-Simmons University.
Leon Breeden, was professor emeritus at the College of Music and served as the director of jazz studies at the then North Texas State University from 1959 through 1981, during which time his One O’Clock Lab Band toured Mexico, Switzerland, Portugal, Germany and Russia. The band is the only university jazz band ever to perform at the White House, and did so for the 1967 state visit of the King and Queen of Thailand with Duke Ellington and Stan Getz. In 1992, Breeden and Henry Mancini were co- directors for the McDonald’s All-American Jazz Band, which performed in New York during Grammy week. Breeden was inducted into three “Halls of Fame”—the International Association of Jazz Educators (1985), “TCU Band of Fame” (1988), and The Texas Bandmasters Association (1995). In 1997 the TCU Alumni Association voted unanimously to award Breeden the “Distinguished Alumnus Award,” and in 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from UNT. Breeden grew up in Wichita Falls, was a clarinetist, saxophonist, composer and arranger. Before arriving at UNT, he had been music director at Grand Prairie High School and band director at Texas Christian University. He also played in bands at NBC Radio and wrote arrangements for Arthur Fiedler of the Boston Pops.
Betty Pope Clinton (‘70) was a former music librarian at UNT, and after retiring taught piano lessons at her home in Denton. She previously taught music at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Georgia, and at Lousiana Baptist Children’s Home in Monroe, Louisiana.