by Ross Grant
Gina’s grandfather, Charles Millender, enrolled at North Texas State College in 1955 and studied trumpet with John Haynie, the legendary performer and educator. Charles had played trumpet in the Sherman High School Band. When he turned 18, he enlisted in the Air Force and soon married his high school sweetheart, Jane Cal- houn. Charles served as an Air Force musician from 1951 to 1955 (stationed in St. Johns, Newfoundland for two years). After his tour of duty, he enjoyed his time at North Texas, and especially treasured his years in the Concert Band, under the baton of Maurice McAdow.
Charles graduated in 1958, and began a distinguished career as a public school band director. Always the proud alum- nus, he credited his world-class college instruction for his strong foundation as a teacher. Most years, he invited Profes- sor McAdow to conduct clinics for his high school bands, and his students looked forward to this distinguished guest. In 1970, “Charlie” established the Lawton Superior Marching Contest which attracted top bands from across the state. After 39 years, the contest is still an annual event. Charlie was inducted into the
24 ▪ UNT College of Music
Oklahoma Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 1988. During his career he taught in Farmersville, Rotan, and Stinnett, Texas, and then in Kingsher, Lawton, (MacArthur High School) and Waurika, Oklahoma. Charles and Jane Mil- lender had three daughters – Liz, Marsha and Debbie. Of course, all three girls played in their dad’s high school band
Liz played the clarinet, and Marsha and
Debbie played the trumpet.
When Liz was in the tenth grade, Charles made a call to Dr. Lee Gibson, the clari- net teacher at NTSU, and asked him if he would accept his daughter as a clarinet student. Dr. Gibson agreed to teach Liz on Saturday mornings. So, Charlie be- gan driving every Saturday from Lawton to Denton (three hours each way) in order for Liz to study with Dr. Gibson (at that time, he was the editor of e Clari- net magazine). It wasn’t long before the other two daughters started making the trip, as well, so that they could study trumpet in Denton with Mr. Haynie. e three daughters are forever grateful for their parents’ unselsh investment of time and money in providing this opportunity.