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Don Baird 001.jpg Foreword I have thought for years that I wanted to write about my college band director. Donald Ray Baird was my euphonium instructor and mentor, and he was incredibly important in my life. He died way too young for someone with so much energy. The impact he had on his students went well beyond the brevity of his years. I finally began researching his life and found very little written about him. The only significant document is on the Texas Bandmasters website in their Hall of Fame. To my mind that is far too little recognition for someone so important. This cannot be written as a formal biography because there are no archives to research and few documents to peruse. Music performance is a temporary event unless the sounds are recorded. Baird’s youngest daughter, Janie Baird Sanchez, has some old reel-to-reel recordings that she hopes to have converted to digital format. But, for now, there are no extant recordings. Perhaps there are some of his recitals floating around as waveforms in space; I wish I could collect them and listen to his superb musicianship. The ethereal nature of music is rather unfortunate at times, but it also keeps music new and different with each performance. No two performances can be identical unless one lip-syncs, like so many performers do now. And, even then, according to John Cage, the audience is part of the performance. Thus we have a writing that is part biography, but mostly memoir. The people he influenced all have memories and some were willing to share those. Anecdotes are wonderful but do not count as formal biographical material. I had the good fortune to interview Don Baird’s remaining children and his widow, and his best student (other than me joke), Steve Haddad, at the Texas Music Educator’s Convention in San Antonio, Texas, on February 14, 2013. What an appropriate day to interview the people who loved him, and whom he loved. At the same time it was a difficult day for all of us to remember Don Baird and to weep about our loss. I asked his family to create an archive, perhaps at West Texas (State University) A&M, in Canyon, Texas, so that future interested people can continue this research. I dispensed with writing style guidelines, such as for long quotes and footnotes, because I wanted this to read more as a narrative than as a dry, scholarly work. I hope you will find this book to be as interesting to read as it was to write. I owe a huge thank you to Dr. Gary Garner. He offered help whenever asked and responded instantly. What a man! I hope to meet him someday. Janie Sanchez was the organizer from the moment I contacted her. She rounded up her mother, they “opened the box,” and she emailed me many times setting up the interview. She was a superb organizer and a great help, and fun to meet. Nadina Oney was great. I hesitated to contact her but Janie did it for me. She wrote her own biography and said I could use it however I wanted. A classy, wonderful woman. Leslie Blanchard had many stories during the interview. She was a delight to meet and to listen to. Steve Haddad was very knowledgable and very helpful. I expect he will drive the creation of an archive, and will add sound recordings. Brian G. Angevine, Ph. D. February 18, 2013

 

Don Baird was a spectacular euphonium, trombone and bassoon player. A biography of his life is available in both print and ebook editions at Amazon.com. Search for Brian Angevine and enjoy INTENSE.