Issue: April-June 2010
Bandworld Magazine Page


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by M. Max McKee  Bio


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The Computer Detour

In November of 1980, while completing preparations for the 2nd Western International Band Clinic convention (now moved to Portland, Oregon from San Jose the previous January), I slipped and fell in the choral room at Southern Oregon State College and badly broke my right elbow. Over the next year, I was in therapy 6 days a week, hoping to regain a full range of motion with that arm. It soon became clear that taking a medical leave in 1981 would provide an opportunity to really work on getting back to normal.

During this period I started developing some major computer programs on the Apple II. These included The Uniform Manager, The Contest Manager and The Band Manager as well as computer game (Zargs), which my 3 sons (Randy, Brad and Scott) helped design. It was at the time among only 3 such games on the market for Apple computer. The other two were Pong and Spider Raid. The language used for this purpose was a beta test version of Graforth which famed programmer, Paul Lutus, created and passed along to me through a trombonist in the SOSC Band, Phil Thompson. Our game enjoyed great popularily for several months, until the highly skilled machine language programmers passed us by. At the same time we released a Blackjack card game for the Apple II that taught card counting and play stategy.

All of this set me up for later interest in the Macintosh computer (1984) from which came BandBiz Library for band title management and other tools for the development of the emerging American Band College, then known as Band Director Prep. Quickly-The Drum Assigner is a free tool designed to help directors organize the percussion section to properly cover all parts in every piece of music being performed on a planned concert. (To download, go to

Since that time, our ABC Challenge paper-based program became Ultimate Pursuit (which we use for all testing at ABC) and a huge suite of programs written by Randy McKee that blend together all the stand-alone programs from the 1980s. In addition, Randy and I have written dozens of programs in FileMaker Pro and SQL that handle hundreds of functions used torun the American Band College, Western International Band Clinic, Bandworld Magazine and WIBC Publishing.

Next time: Hosting the ABA



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