The National Band Association is pleased to announce that Paula Crider and Jay Gephart are the 2023 recipients of the Al and Gladys Wright Distinguished Legacy Award. This award is presented for lifetime achievement rather than for a single contribution, no matter how monumental. Nominees must have a minimum of 30 years of distinguished service to the profession, supporting the mission and goals of the National Band Association, which include the promotion of the concert band and concert band music, teaching, mentorship, scholarship, and service to the band profession.
Congratulations on this well-deserved honor, Dr. Crider and Professor Gephart!
Following a distinguished 33-year teaching career, Paula Crider continues to share her passion for making music as guest conductor, lecturer, clinician and adjudicator in the U.S. and abroad. She is Professor Emerita at The University of Texas, where she was twice awarded for distinguished teaching.
Crider has taught in the public schools at all levels, and holds the unique distinction of having been the first female in Texas to serve as director of bands at a class 5-A high school. She presents seminars throughout the U.S. She served as coordinator for the National Band Association Young Conductor/Mentor Program, is Educational Consultant for Conn-Selmer, and serves on the Midwest Clinic Board. She is a Past President of the National Band Association and American Bandmasters Association.
Crider has written numerous articles for The Instrumentalist, The Band Director’s Guide, and National Band Association Journal, and manuals for brass techniques, marching band methods and instrumental conducting. She is co-author for the Masterwork Studies series (Hal Leonard) and author of The Conductor’s Legacy (GIA).
Awards and honors include the Tau Beta Sigma/Kappa Kappa Psi “Outstanding Service to Music Award,” Sudler “Legion of Merit,” Women Band Director’s International Rose, Grainger Society Medal, Kappa Kappa Psi Bo Makvosky Memorial Award, National Band Association AWAPA Award, 2004 Texas Bandmaster of the Year, Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame, and Midwest Medal of Honor. She considers her greatest honor to be the privilege of working with all who share a passion for excellence in making music.
Jay S. Gephart joined the faculty of Purdue University in the fall of 1995 after completing 12 years as a public school band director. In July of 2001, he was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure and in 2009 was promoted to Full Professor. In November, 2006, Professor Gephart was appointed Director of University Bands and currently serves as the Al G. Wright Chair of Purdue Bands and Orchestras. He is the director of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band the Purdue University Wind Ensemble. He is also coordinator of the concert band program. From 1995-2006, Professor Gephart served as the music director for the Purdue Symphony Orchestra. He also serves as Artistic Director for the Kokomo, Indiana Park Band.
Professor Gephart received a Master of Music Degree in Tuba Performance with High Distinction from Indiana University in 1988 and a Bachelor of Music Education Degree with Distinction from Indiana University in 1983. Under his direction, the Purdue Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra have shared the stage with some of the nation’s outstanding soloists and have represented Purdue at the Indiana Music Educators Association state convention on two occasions. In February of 2012 the Purdue Wind Ensemble performed a concert at the national convention of the American Bandmaster’s Association, held in Indianapolis. Under his direction, the Wind Ensemble has also performed concerts in Chicago’s Symphony Center and in New York’s Carnegie Hall on two occasions.
Under his direction the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band has traveled literally around the world. With recent performances in Beijing China, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland and La Feria de las Flores in Medellin, Colombia, the “All-American” Marching Band continues to serve as an ambassador for Purdue, the state of Indiana and the nation.
Mr. Gephart has been very active in various professional organizations including National Association for Music Education, National Band Association, College Band Director’s National Association, Indiana Bandmaster’s Association, Indiana Music Educators Association and Phi Beta Mu. In 2018, he was named Collegiate Educator of the Year by the Indiana Music Educators Association. From 2010-12, he served as President of the Big Ten Band Director’s Association and currently holds the position of Vice President and Treasurer of the John Philip Sousa Foundation. He is also a member of the NBA Revelli Composition Contest selection committee. In 2012, he was elected to a position on the board of the National Band Association, serving as the Collegiate Representative. Professor Gephart was elected to membership in the prestigious American Bandmaster’s Association in 2008. He served on the ABA Board of Directors from 2012-present and was elected Vice President in March, 2018. He and his wife Jana have four children and two grandchildren. They reside in Lafayette, Indiana.