Issue: January - March 2010
Bandworld Magazine Page






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A special award of

The John Philip Sousa


The Bandworld Legion of Honor was established in 1989 to honor, over the course of a year, eight of the finest band directors in our business.

Recipients have taught for at least fifteen years, have maintained a very high quality concert band program, and have contributed significantly to the profession through dedication to bands and band music.

Each is honored at the annual Sousa Foundation awards ceremony during the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.

Chairman of the Legion of Honor Committee is Terry Austin,Virginia Commonwealth University.

Legion Laureates List Link

Douglas Armstrong

For the past 5 years,Douglas Armstrong has been the band director at Mountain View High school in Stafford, VA. He spent the first 20 years in middle and high schools throughout Virginia. He holds music degrees from Radford and Virginia Tech. In 2003 he was named Teacher of the Year for the commonwealth of Virginia.In the same year he was given the "Agnes Meier Outstanding Teacher Award" by the Washington Post.

Respected by his peers he currently serves as the President of the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association. He states his philosophy like this,"Teaching music and being a band director are about offering students a great opportunity to find success through music. To me, it is not about ratings or awards. It is what we do each day that leads us to success. If we all (director and students) give our best work at every rehearsal, then we should never worry about the outcome."

Armstrong goes on saying that his parents influenced him early. "Both of my parents loved singing. As the youngest of five boys, all one year apart, I remember my parent's unique way of keeping us from fighting any time we were in the car - they would have us sing! And not just singing a melody. My father would teach us a new song and then encourage us to harmonize, or "find your own part. The love of music and the ear-training were a natural part of my life from as early as I can remember."

Donnie Owens

Donnie Owens has tried to retire - twice - but is still teaching and directing band in Waxahachie, Texas. He has taught high school and middle school band all over the state of Texas since coming from Oklahoma and Kansas. Still going strong he was named the Teacher of the Year at Turner Middle Schol in 2007. He was also awarded the Meritorious Achievement Award by the Texas Bandmasters in 2008. Upon his first retirement the Dickinson H.S. Band Hall was renamed The Don Owens Band Hall in 1995.

Since 2003, his Turner Middle School Beginners - 6th band have only had their judges sheets marked "Outstanding of the Contest." Although these things are great Owens' core goal of teaching music is to provide students the types of experiences required in life in order to become an asset to society, rather than a liability.

Donnie Owens said,"This career has not always been an easy one. In fact, because of the low salaries paid to teachers, I almost changed courses after my second year of teaching. However, the notes, the rhythms, the instruments, and possibly, most of all, the students, had me firmly in their grasp. Looking back, I am reminded of a familiar phrase, “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” and without these giants of men, I just might have. I will be forever grateful for their time, their efforts, and, most of all, their belief in a kid that just loved the music.."


  Terry Austin Bio
Legion of Honor Chairman


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