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School of Music
Hargreaves Music Building (MU) 203
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306
Director of Bands, Emeritus
Earl Dunn, conductor, music educator and administrator,
received his academic and musical education at the University of Northern Iowa.
During the period in which he completed his graduate work, Dunn served as
director of the Marching Band and assistant director of the Concert Bands at
Northern Iowa. Prior to this time he taught in the public schools of Iowa,
served as a member of the trumpet section of the Waterloo, Iowa, Civic
Symphony, and during the mid-1950s was co-owner and band instrument department
manager of Russell-Goodwin Music Company.
Dunn was Director of Bands at Ball State University from
1957 to 1969, and during that period guided the re-organization and development
of the bands in all facets of wind performance until they reached regional and
national recognition as “the Pride of Mid-America."
During the Ball State years, Dunn was State Chairman of the
Indiana College Band Directors; a member of the Indiana Bandmasters Association,
the Indiana Music Educators, and advisory member of Leblanc Musical Instrument
Company’s Educational Board. He was also active in national music honoraries –
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Phi Beta Mu – and served as
chairman of the CBDNA North Central Division’s Publicity Committee.
In 1967 Dunn received the “Campus Headliner Award” given
annually by the Ball State University Department of Journalism to faculty
members recognized for their outstanding service to the University. He also
received a "Citation of Excellence” award from the President of Ball State
University in May, 1969.
The Ball State University Wind Ensemble, known for its
musical excellence in the performance of contemporary literature, recorded
educational records for the Studio Publications/Recording Company. The Wind
Ensemble was also featured at the 1968 North Central Division Conference of the
College Band Directors National Association.
The 190-piece Ball State University Marching Band received
national acclaim and recognition for a series of outstanding performances: (1)
the 1965 Presidential Inaugural Parade; (2) the 1965 and 1967 performances at
the Grantland Rice Bowl; (3) the 1966 Chicago Bears/Los Angeles Rams
nationally-televised professional football game; (4) the nationally-televised
1967 Western Conference Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the
Los Angeles Rams; (5) the 1968 regionally-televised Chicago Bears/Minnesota
Vikings NFL game; and (6) the nationally-televised Dallas Cowboys/Cleveland
Browns Eastern Conference Championship game in 1968.
In January, 1969, Dunn was selected as director of the
“Million Dollar Marching Band” at the University of Alabama. In his first year
at the University, the “Million Dollar Band” was recognized by the ABC
Television Network as presenting one of the finest televised halftime shows of
the 1969 season. This occurred at the Liberty Bowl. During his second year at
‘Bama, the “Million Dollar Band” received honorable mention in Chevrolet’s
search for the nation’s most outstanding collegiate marching band.
The “Million Dollar Marching Band” performed in the fall of
1969 for 650,000 football fans, and it was witnessed by approximately 30
million viewers on national television; in the fall of 1970 the band performed
before 700,000 football fans and for approximately 20 million on both regional
and national TV networks.
During Dunn’s tenure at Alabama he developed an enhanced
concert band program with great emphasis on the performance of 20th
century music by a newly-organized University Wind Ensemble. He also planned
the state’s first Inter-collegiate Band, an event that was the first joint
musical project in the state involving students from both the traditional black
and white universities.
Dunn was recognized by the National Band Association in the
fall of 1969 as recipient of the coveted “Citation of Excellence” Award. It was
presented to him at the Alabama Music Educators Association All State Festival
Concert on March 11, 1970.
In January, 1971, he was selected and initiated as an
honorary life member in Kappa Kappa Psi, the National Honorary Fraternity for
College Bandsmen. Dunn was recognized by the Grand Council for his work with
college and university bands, and for his contributions and accomplishments in
his chosen profession. In 2003 he was presented the fraternity’s Silver Baton
Dunn served from 1974-1976 as President of the National Band
Association, the world’s largest band organization. NBA is devoted to serving
as a national voice for bands and works toward the continuing advancement of
bands and the band’s repertoire. During his presidency, NBA developed the
100-piece National Honors Band consisting of students from each state (first
performance was presented at MENC’s National Conference in Atlantic City),
established the basic structure for the NBA/Demoulin Composition Award, and
personally guided the development and program for NBA’s first National
Convention, a conference dealing with the “Attainment of Excellence in the
Total Band Program.” Dunn assumed the editorship of the NBA Journal in 1978 and
continued in that role until 2005.
In addition to his university and state/national association
duties, Dunn has served as an adjudicator in the countries of England and
Canada, and in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania,
Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, New York, Florida, North Dakota,
North Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama and Ohio music contests, and as a
guest conductor and lecturer/clinician for more than 400 festivals and clinics
throughout the United States.
In October, 1977, Dunn met with officials from the Irish
Tourist Bureau and subsequently served as a consultant in planning the City of
Dublin’s first International Festival of Music. Dunn served for many years on
the Board of Advisors for “The Instrumentalist” and “The Music Maestro, Please”
In 1981 Dunn became Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the
Indiana Music Educators Association, a position he held until retirement on
June 30, 1991. During the ten years he served in the position, IMEA grew into
one of the nation’s most viable state music associations with an expanded
program of services to members and students and a full-time office staff. In
1990 IMEA honored Dunn as the “Hoosier Musician of the Year.”
During the 1983-84 calendar year Dunn served as Acting
Director of the Ball State University School of Music. Prior to this time
Dunn’s professional assignment was Associate Director of the School, and his
portfolio of responsibilities included coordinating recruitment activities,
special events, public relations, budget and purchasing, advertising, and
management of facilities and equipment. He was coordinator for Mid-America
Music Camp, which he founded in 1958, and which evolved into six weeks of
specialized clinics for study and performance by students interested in band,
orchestra, choir, jazz, percussion, show/swing choir and small ensembles. He
was also advisor of the student Executive Council of Music Organizations
(ECMO), supervisor of scholarship committees and chairman of the ensemble
Personal and civic involvements have included serving as
president of the American Bullmastiff Association, the Muncie Kennel Club, the
Indianapolis Hoosier Kennel Club, Coordinator of the Indiana Band Tournament,
and member of the Mount Pleasant Community School’s Board of Education on which
he served a term as president.
Dunn and his wife, Liz, showed Bullmastiffs throughout the
United States, Bermuda and Canada for many years. They are the only
owner/handlers to have received the American Kennel Club’s All Breed Best in
Show award on four different dogs, including the first in the history of the
breed in the United States. Dunn is approved by the American Kennel Club to
judge Bullmastiffs, and he has been privileged to judge the National Specialty
for the Southern Bullmastiff Association of England and the Midwest Specialty
for the Midwest Bullmastiff Association of the United States.
In 1980, Phi Beta Mu, a national honorary band fraternity,
presented the “Outstanding Bandmaster Award” to Dunn, and in October, 1987, he
was elected to the fraternity’s prestigious “Hall of Fame.”
The Ball State University School of Music Alumni Association
recognized and honored Dunn in April, 1985, for his outstanding contributions
to the National Band Association, the Indiana Music Educators Association and
the Ball State School of Music as a conductor, educator, editor, clinician and
In May, 1985, Dunn became an emeritus professor of music
education. Following retirement, he served until 1991 as Executive Director of
the Indiana Music Educators Association. He continues to adjudicate band
festivals throughout the United States, and functioned as editor of the NBA
Journal for the National Band Association for many years. He has also served on
the Board of Trustees of the Morris Animal Foundation, an organization
dedicated to providing a “healthier tomorrow for all animals.”
Dunn and his wife were avid golfers, and for many years
spent three to six months a year in Florida, and actively campaigned their
favorite breed of dogs, the Bullmastiff, throughout the United States.
In the fall of 1996 an anonymous donor organized, through
the Ball State University Foundation, the Earl Dunn Senior Band Scholarship for
two senior students whose career goals are to become school band directors. The
recipients are announced during one of the Marching Band’s Pre-Game Shows.
In 2004, at the December National Band Association National
Meeting in Chicago, Dunn was presented the AWAPA Award, an honor awarded to
those who have made truly significant and outstanding contributions to the
furthering of the excellence of bands and of band music. The nine-inch silver
AWAPA figure, the “Oscar” of the band world, was presented by Dr. Tim
Lautzenheiser, one of Dunn’s nationally-recognized former students.
Of all the professional and personal relationships in which
the Dunns have been involved, they most highly treasure the memories of their
involvements with Bob and Katie Hargreaves. Robert Hargreaves, the founder of
the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, and a past president of the National Association
of Schools of Music, provided dynamic leadership for the Ball State University
School of Music and served as a mentor for Dunn.
Dunn, who credits much of his success at Ball State
University to Dr. Robert Hargreaves, Dean Lloyd Nelson and President John R.
Emens, has always felt Ball State University was a fantastic institution in
which to have had a career.
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