Wally Read, Kilgore College Band Director from 1960-83, was honored Saturday, Oct. 19, at halftime of the KC football game.
Read will turn 90 years old Oct. 29.
Under Mr. Read’s tenure, he enlarged the Ranger Band's activities to include halftime marching drills, an award-winning stage band and formal concerts each year—as well as playing at all halftime performances for the Rangerettes.
He truly built the Ranger band into national prominence, performing with the Rangerettes in annual Cotton Bowl parades, Macy’s Thanksgiving parades, the Houston Astrodome, the Shrine Bowl in Palo Alto, Calif., and many, many other bowl games.
Mr. Read’s Ranger bands also gained international experiences performing in Venezuela, Romania, Hong Kong and entertaining the troops at Camp Casey in Seoul, Korea.
He established a tradition of playing great music at concerts and drew capacity crowds to enjoy it.
Some years, he invited guest performers so that his students could enjoy the experience of playing with professional musicians such as Doc Severinsen, who led “The Tonight Show” orchestra and Henry Cuesta of “The Lawrence Welk Show.”
Upon retirement, Mr. Read was elected Mayor of Henderson, a position he held for several terms.
Mr. Read received probably the biggest honor of his career when he was inducted into the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame on July 24, 2000.
He is married to Barbara Read, who is a retired KC English and speech teacher, and they have four children.