NBA Past President Kenneth Bloomquist (1980-1982) passed away in the early morning hours of August 6th at the age of 89. Professor Bloomquist was a wonderful friend and mentor to many in the National Band Association. For those who did not know Ken Bloomquist, the following is a short bio, with content attributed to the websites of the NBA, MSU SoM, and the ABA:
Kenneth Bloomquist, a native of Iowa, selected trumpet as his primary instrument. He attended the University of Illinois, graduating with a Bachelor of Music Education degree (1953) and a Master of Music Education degree (1957). He worked as a trumpet instructor at the University of Illinois as a graduate assistant, also teaching public school band part-time. Bloomquist joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 1958 as the assistant director of bands and professor of trumpet, a position he held for a decade. In 1968, he became the director of bands at the University of Kansas.
In 1970, Bloomquist was appointed director of bands at Michigan State University, where he also directed the Spartan Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, and Symphony Band. In 1978, Dr. James Niblock resigned his longtime role as chairperson of the Department of Music and Bloomquist was chosen to replace him. Bloomquist continued as chairperson of the Department of Music from 1978 through 1984, when the Department of Music became the School of Music. From 1984 to 1987, Bloomquist served as the first director of the School of Music. In 1987, he took up his former position of director of bands while continuing as department chairperson. Bloomquist remained as director of bands from 1987 to 1993, until his retirement from MSU.
Professor Bloomquist was Past President of the National Band Association and the American Bandmasters Association. In addition, he was a member of the College Band Directors National Association. Several Honors bestowed upon Professor Bloomquist included the American School Band Directors Association Harding Award, the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Orpheus Award, the National Band Association Citation of Excellence, induction into the National Band Association’s Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts, and the NBA Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors. In 2004 he was awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor from The Midwest Clinic.
Professor Bloomquist appeared as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, Southeast Asia, Japan, Australia, and Mexico. In 2000, 2001, 2004, and 2005, he was guest conductor at the Czech Music Camp for Youth in the Czech Republic. In 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2005 he was Conductor-in-Residence at the Musashino Academia Musicae in Tokyo, Japan. In 2002 and 2003 he conducted adult community concert bands on cruise ships to Hawaii and the Caribbean. He maintained an active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the world.