Budd Udell, who started the West Virginia University bands program on its road to national renown as director in the 1960s, died Friday (Feb. 4) in Gainesville, Fla. He was 71.
Udell was the seventh director of the WVU Mountaineer Marching Band and served as director of WVU bands from 1963-69.
John Hendricks, current director of bands, said Udell established a tradition as an outstanding arranger. His arrangements ofHail, West VirginiaandFight Mountaineersare the same ones the band still performs today, he noted.
WVU was truly honored to have him here as our director of bands,Hendricks said.He was instrumental in helping to build the program to what it is today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Udell family.
Don Wilcox, director emeritus of WVU bands, said Udell set the standard for sound quality and musical arrangements at the University.
A major focal point of the WVU bands across the years has been an emphasis on the band’s quality of sound and on presenting the very best in original arrangements of the music played on the field,Wilcox added.Budd Udell started that tradition, and those of us who followed him as directors of the WVU marching band through the years have followed that lead and built on that foundation.
WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. and his wife, Susan, were students at WVU when Udell was the director.
We loved the band as our students do today,Hardesty said.While the Mountaineer Band of that era had a much more military-like feel than the modernPride of West Virginia,’its sound and precision were impressive to visitors and inspirational to Mountaineer students and fans.
There is no question but that Bud Udell is one of the foundational pillars upon which the modern award-winningPride of West Virginia’is based,’he added.Our collective sympathies are extended to his family and friends.
Udell left WVU in 1970 to complete his doctorate at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Indiana University .
He held various faculty and administrative positions at the University of Florida music program from 1977 until his retirement in 2002.
He had also served as composer and arranger with the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C.; assistant dean of the College-Conservatory of Music; executive director of the Music Teachers National Association; composer-in-residence at First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville; and music director and conductor of the Gainesville Civic Chorus.
Udell was the honored guest of the WVU bands for the presentation of the national Sudler Trophy to the Mountaineer Marching Band in 1997 and for the 100th anniversary of the bands program in 2001, Hendricks said.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Marlene Udell; two daughters, Shelley Udell of Oregon, Wis., and Sherri Porter of Gaithersburg, Md.; a sister, Lois Uecker of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of North Central Florida, 4200 NW 90th Blvd., Gainesville FL 32606 -3809 or Friends of Music, P.O. Box 117900, Gainesville FL 32611 -7900.