This year's Missouri Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame recipient is Ed Roberts.
Our 2018 recipient of the Missouri Bandmasters Hall of Fame Award graduated high school from Worth County R-III High School in Grant City and attended Northwest Missouri State University. This year’s recipient also attended the University of Kansas, where he received his Master’s Degree.
Our recipient began their teaching career in the Fairfax schools in 1967, and taught the next year in the Tarkio school district. 1969 was a big year for our recipient as he made the best decision of his career and was married on May 31, 1969. Three months later he was drafted and assigned to the 4th Army Band at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Texas. A year later he was sent to Vietnam and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division Band. While there he became the Non-commissioned officer in charge of directing the band. He worked with the Bob Hope show that entertained the troops during Christmas of 1970. In 1971 he was discharged from the Army and returned to teaching in Tarkio, Missouri. After a brief stint in Iowa, our recipient returned to Missouri and became the Band Director at Harrisonville high School in 1983, where he remained until his retirement in 2000.
Ed Roberts has had a long and distinguished career, which includes bands that have received numerous superior ratings, an MMEA performance, many marching band and jazz band awards, trips to many bowl games where awards and recognitions were received, and performances in Arrowhead stadium and Busch Stadium. Ed has served as a festival adjudicator and Clinician in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma. He has been recognized with the School & Community Excellence in Education Award, the Rotary’s Service Above Self Award, and the Optimist Club’s Achievement in Education Award.
Ed has served as the Northwest District President, the MMEA Band Vice-President and of course as President of the Missouri Bandmasters Association.
There are a few notes of support that we received about Ed that I would like to share with you. The first is from Jim Oliver:
“The first All-District Band in NW Mo would not have happened without Ed Roberts. Ed was established and respected by all in NW Missouri. Through Ed’s persistence and support 62 schools were represented at
the first All District Band “live audition” in Maysville. To top that, this KU graduate lined up our first conductor in the person of the “newly hired” Robert Foster, who conducted the band for the final session of the Missouri State Teachers Meeting held at Northwest Missouri State University. The band Kicked and all of Northwest Missouri was there to witness the event. “
From a former Co-worker at Harrisonville, Lisa Walker:
“Beyond the music that touched many lives, is Ed’s passion for coaching and developing people. This love of humankind was first seen through his interactions with students, where he worked tirelessly with each one to find the individual response that was needed to encourage, motivate and inspire. It was important to Ed that students graduated from his program not only being better musicians, but better human beings. He worked to this end putting relationships and teaching students first, and musical content second.”
I received a couple of stories from former students who are now music educators who shared that during high school they had made some poor choices and perhaps began heading down the wrong path. It was Ed who set them straight and gave them the direction and guidance that they needed. One former student shared this:
My junior year I went through some personal tragedies and I spent that year not making good choices. I wanted to party and I didn’t care if it ended my life. I was in a bad place. It was Ed and the music that saved my life. He should have kicked me to the curb but he didn’t. Instead he cared, he didn’t give up on me. Many a talking-to I got and he did not beat around the bush. Straighten up…Don’t throw away your talent…Life is hard, but you can survive. I threw myself into practicing mallet percussion, he gave me information where I could take lessons and I did. I went to college and became dual certified in Instrumental and vocal music and began teaching. Ed has been crucial to my life, He inspires me. Ed never gave up on a struggling teenager and now I’m a successful music educator. I owe him my life and my career.
There are many more stories that I have heard about Ed, unfortunately this many not be the appropriate place to share those. I will share one small gem that has been passed down through the MBA lore.
As MBA president I believe that it was Ed who thought it would be a great idea to purchase patches for the Missouri All State Band. The students could buy them and use them for their letter jackets. I don’t know the whole story, but some how they ended up a lot of extra patches. Which wouldn’t be so bad except they had the date for that year’s All State Band on them. They couldn’t use them again.
As most of the past several officers can probably attest, Ed was one of the first to congratulate each newly elected officer with a very succinct bit of advice.
“Don’t %$#@ it up!”
I think Amanda Fall said it best when she said “ I feel that Mr. Roberts life of loyalty, service to others, and his willingness to go above and beyond for students, community members, veterans, and cancer survivors are the qualities that define him. “
Ed Roberts has clearly demonstrated throughout his career that people come first and the way to building better bands is through the connections we have with each other and our students.
To view past Hall of Fame recipients, click on the link below.