Issue: Jul-Sept 2006
Bandworld Magazine Page


by M. Max McKee

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...The Gunnison Connection Continues: A.A. Harding

In July of 1956 at the Gunnison Music Camp at Western State College in Colorado, I met A. A. Harding. I also got his autograph (because my mother told me he was a famous band director, a past president of The American Bandmasters Association. Little did this 8th grader know!)



Flash forward 50 years to the same month I met A. Austin Harding: July 1, 2006.

The American School Band Directors Association gave its A. A. Harding Award to M. Max McKee. What a fantastic honor to be counted among men like Harding, William Revelli, John Bourgeois, Frank Erickson, Leonard Falcone, Arnald Gabriel, Fred Fennell, Alfred Reed and many others who received this award over the years!


Shortly after presenting Funny Thing #2 (in BW Vol. 21 #4) I spoke with several people who were involved in the Gunnison Music Camp. It WAS an amazing place where many of the world's finest players gathered and became part of a professional director's band for two weeks, while hundreds of students also played in bands, attended concerts, etc.

Recently I got recordings from Kate Hawkins (whose husband, Robert ran the Gunnison Camp), Charles Martyn (W. Virginia Institute of Technology ret.) and Duane Mikow (Univ. of Alaska ret.). These are a treasury of wonderful players who came together in those summers for many years. Included were players like Bill Bell, Arnold Jacobs, and Harvey Phillips on tuba, Philip Farkas on horn and others like Sigurd Rascher, Leonard Falcone and so many others.

Included here is the Directors' Band recording of "Peter and the Wolf" as set for winds by Robert Hawkins and narrated by tubist, Bill Bell. It one of numerous recordings released to provide revenue for the Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Play Peter and the Wolf