John Hendricks, West Virginia University’s Director of Bands, thought his final concert as director of the Wind Symphony was going to be emotional. A surprise announcement made the event even more memorable.
That night, on the stage of the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre in the Creative Arts Center, Hendricks learned that he’d received the A. Frank Martin Award from Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity.
After intermission, Marie Burleigh, an employee of WVU Extension and the Northeast District Governor of Kappa Kappa Psi, took the stage to surprise Hendricks.
“I’m delighted to be making tonight’s presentation, as I’ve known our honoree since he was a freshman in the Pride of West Virginia,” Burleigh said.
Since then, Hendricks has served as WVU’s Associate Director of Bands, Director of the Mountaineer Marching Band, conductor of the Symphonic Band, assistant chair for the School of Music, Director of Bands, and assistant dean for the College of Creative Arts.
“When he took over the Mountaineer Marching Band from Don Wilcox, he was taking on an extraordinary challenge,” Burleigh said. “Fans have very strong feelings about The Pride, and they tend to dislike change. But when anyone expressed concern to me, my response was, ‘He’s got this. He came up through this program so he understands this band, and he saw what happened when Mr. Wilcox took “Simple Gifts” out of pre-game. He’s got this!’ And, of course, he did.”
Hendricks, who is stepping down from his position as Director of Bands for a new administrative assignment in the College, is “humbled at receiving the A. Frank Martin Award from the National Council of Kappa Kappa Psi. It is an honor to receive such a prestigious award – especially at this final concert. It made this special evening even more bittersweet.”
The A. Frank Martin award recognizes those individuals who have made significant contributions to the band field, whether laymen or band directors, in their region. The award shows gratitude for their service to music with the same love that recipients of this award have shown towards their local bands.
Martin was the first Grand National President of Kappa Kappa Psi, serving from 1919 to 1921. A saxophone player in the band at Oklahoma A&M College – now Oklahoma State University – he was a charter member of the Alpha Chapter. In 1939, he began 25 years of service as the third National Executive Secretary. For many years, the national headquarters of the Fraternity was operated from Martin’s attic, until office space was acquired on the Oklahoma State campus. He was also instrumental in the founding of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Sorority in 1946.
Hendricks was nominated for the award by the Omicron Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, which has been supporting WVU bands for 90 years.
CONTACT: David Welsh, College of Creative Arts
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