Bandworld Magazine Page



Max McKee, Alfred Reed,
Margie Reed, Nell McKee

At the 25th anniversary celebration of Western International Band Clinic

Seattle • November 2003


Our special memories of
Al & Margie Reed

Starting in the late 60's, the entire family went with me for the 9 summers that I taught at the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts. During those years our family spent a great deal of time with the Reeds, who were also on the faculty there. Al and I sometimes shared the conducting duties with the staff band and each of us conducted one or more of the student bands.

Alfred during a Staff Band concert, Saskatchewan Summer School 1975.

In the evening we often played cribbage. On break days we'd go on a photo shoot to nearby towns, where Alfred would teach me many good photographic techniques and critique orchestrations I was working on for my own college band. Sometimes the 4 of us would jump in our Ford pickup truck and drive the 40 miles into Regina for a special dinner.

Alfred's "Fanfare for a Common Camper" as the McKees depart

It was during this period of time that Al was writing the Armenian Dances; so, frequently he'd play portions of the new work on piano or bring the first performance tape of the University of Illiinois Band. This he'd play on the stereo system in our large camper, while Scott (our youngest, who is now Managing Director of ABC and Organizing Chair of WIBC) would play in his "caged in" sleeping area above the kitchen table. From that moment forward, Al started calling him "The Aminal."

Writing the Armenian Dances
Fort San, Saskatchewan 1972. . .

      A Salute to
Alfred Reed

by M. Max McKee

Born: Jan 25, 1921
Died: Sept 17, 2005

Alfred at the 25th Annual WIBC in Seattle, with members of the Iwakuni, Japan Band

Our musical moments
with Alfred Reed

Soon after Nell and I became good friends with the Reeds, we started meeting them at the Midwest Clinic for downtown Chicago walks and then dinner at Al's favorite Chinese restaurant. As a result, we linked up with Harry Begian at Illinois and on two separate occasions the Southern Oregon State College Band had the opportunity to present second performances of Armenian Dances, Part 1 (1975 National CBDNA) and Part 2 (1978 Northwest CBDNA) under the baton of the composer.

After Western International Band Clinic began in 1980 and the American Band College in 1989, Alfred Reed became a frequent guest conductor of the WIBC Honor Bnads, the Iwakuni Japan Band at the 25th convention in Seattle, and with the 1998 and 2001 American Band College Directors' Bands in Ashland, Oregon.


Alfred with the Iwakuni, Japan band at 25th WIBC in Seattle.

In 1985, Alfred was part of the WIBC Commision Work Project, which had featured new compositions by Clare Grundman, John O'Reilly, Jay Chattaway, Frank Erickson and others. His SONG OF THE HIGH CASCADES was premiered in 1985 and then re-presented under the composer's baton at the 25th Anniversary of WIBC in 2003.

Alfred signing autographs at the 25th annual WIBC (Seattle) and (below) at ABC 2001 in Ashland, Oregon.

On several occasions we had the pleasure of playing practical jokes on Alfred. When he came to rehearse Armenian Dances, Part 2 in 1978, my orchestration class at Southern Oregon Univ. had spliced together numerous chunks of Alfred's compositions. On the downbeat the spoof was performed...with Alfred conducting!

On his 2001 visit to the American Band College, an extensive slide show of photos from the Saskatchewn years was coupled with the entire group of 200-plus ABC masters candidates singing "Tip Toe Through the Tulips" to a set of words Alfred had penned 25 years earlier when the Saskatchewan Summer School Staff "sang for its dinner" at its favorite Friday-night pizza joint in Fort Qu'appelle.

14-minute video of interviews, performances
and practical jokes with Alfred Reed

Photos of Al when he was just a child
and during his "formative" years.

Above: Alfred the baby

Left: With his father at age 6.

Below from top left, clockwise:

Al in 1947,
at the piano age 18 in 1939, at his work table 1976, in uniform 1944.

This presentation honors Al and Margie Reed's 30-plus years' association with Western International Band Clinic, the American Band College, Bandworld and the McKee family.

The 14-minute video includes references to many fun times shared and practical jokes, brought back to life some 30 years later.

The 2001 American Band College DVD features more extensive versions of the video covered in this tribute.


The page you have requested is part of the subscriber area.
  • You can select another page using the navigation above.
  • If you have a subscription, please login below to view this page:
User ID: