The formal organization of the American School Band Directors Association, Inc., took place at the First Annual Convention held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on November 21-22, 1953. The first national organizing committee was comprised of three members, the late Louis M. Blaha of Illinois, James C. Harper of North Carolina and Dale C. Harris of Michigan. George W. Patrick, Illinois, at his own request, was not listed as a member of the original organizing committee although he attended each of the meetings held in Chicago prior to the Cedar Rapids convention and was at all times a tireless worker in the interest of the Association.

The purpose of this committee was to ascertain if there was a sufficient interest and desire among school band men for an organization on a nationwide level to justify the founding of a national association. The response was such that the national organizing committee was expanded to include Earl Pat Arsers of Texas, Robert W. Dean of Iowa, Al Wright of Florida and George W. Patrick of Illinois. It was then definitely decided to hold a convention for the purpose of organizing a national association.

There were many other school band men besides those on the national organizing committee who gave unstintingly of their time and effort to help bring the American School Band Directors Association, Inc., into being. Without their interest and endeavors, the Cedar Rapids organizing convention would not have been possible.

In this organizational phase great impetus was given to the movement by the wholehearted interest and support of conductors of professional and college bands. Dr. Edwin Franko Goldman, Founder and Honorary Life President of the American Bandmasters Association, wrote a warm letter of endorsement and maintained an active interest in the development of our new Association until his death in February, 1956. Dr. A. Austin Harding. Director Emeritus of the University of Illinois Bands, was another ardent supporter of the newly organized school band directors' group. He not only stood loyally by with expert advice and counsel, but encouraged the group throughout the organization process. Almost without exception, college bandsmen throughout the nation were also encouraging and gave very practical and valuable assistance in recommending school band men in their states who would be qualified for membership in the American School Band Directors Association.

During the early years of the Association's span of existence, much time by necessity had to be spent on organization and membership activity. At present the broad generalities of the objectives for which the group was organized are now being, or for the most part have been, translated into actualities. Besides the wholesome professional opportunities for exchange of professional ideas, the major function of the Association is now focused on a continuing and comprehensive program for the improvement of school bands. Many phases of public school instrumental music are under serious study, including such items as budgets, physical facilities, instrumental schedules, visual aids, instrumental methods, solo and ensemble material, acoustical research and others.

Since the first convention held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1953, other conventions have been held throughout the United States. At these gatherings, programs of extremely high standards were presented which have served to advance the stature of this organization of school band directors.

From a very modest beginning when fourteen states were represented in the membership, it has now grown to include all fifty states and Canada and one thousand active and affiliate members, and a strong supporting group of associate members numbering over one hundred. The latter group represents music industries, music publishing firms and allied interests, and is a clear indication that the American School Band Directors Association, Inc. is recognized as a wholesome constructive force in school instrumental music. Continued success will be assured if we hold firmly to the original ideals and objectives which brought the Association into existence.

First ASBDA President

ASBDA Charter Members
  • Lloyd Jensen, Sterling
  • Edward A. Kehn, Boulder
  • Roland S. Roberts, Denver
  • Byron E. Syring, Monte Vista
  • John T. Lee, Columbus
  • Ernest O. Caneva, Lockport
  • Lynn Huffman, Belvidere
  • F.C. Kreider, Collinsville
  • Karl H. Kibitz, Freeport
  • Charles H. Loomis, Centralia
  • Louis E. Meek, Granite City
  • Chalon B. Nesler, Herrin
  • George W. Patrick, Springfield
  • LaVerne R. Reimer, Elmhurst
  • C.J. Shoemaker, Downers Grove
  • George C. Wall, Glen Ellyn
  • F.J. Woodman, Dunlay
  • Larry Johnston, Evansville
  • John D. Melton, Hammond
  • Carlye J. Snyder, Whiting
  • Al Stodden, Fort Wayne
  • Fred Weber, Michigan City
  • R. Cedric Anderson, Cedar Rapids
  • Paul Behm, Mason City
  • Robert W. Dean, Spencer
  • Melvin Hill, Washington
  • Ivan Kennedy, Oskaloosa
  • Richard Simpson, Red Oak
  • Harry Begian, Detroit
  • Mac E. Carr, River Rouge
  • Dale C. Harris, Pontiac
  • Charles W. Hills, Jr., Fowlerville
  • Robert Lint, Hillsdale
  • Stanley Shoemaker, Jackson
  • William Stewart, Muskegon
  • Fred N. Wiest, Pontiac
  • John E. Berg, Truman
  • Butler Eitel, Edina
  • Earl Ericson, St. Peter
  • H.L. Lidstrom, Rochester
  • Gerald Niemeyer, Worthington
  • Allen J. Opland, Pipestone
  • Lloyd F. Swartley, Duluth
  • William Kelly, McCook
  • Robert Lute, Oakland
  • Ralph Salyard, Bandelman
  • James Sewrey, Imperial
 New York
  • Dean L. Harrington, Hornell
  • John Farrinaci, Cleveland Heights
  • George Toot, Carrollton
  • Kaarlo Mackey, Conneaut
  • Howard Pardee, Salem
  • Emil W. Puffenberger, Canal Fulton
  • Walter M. Sells, Fremont
  • William C. Robinson, Norman
  • V.C. Adcock, Newport
  • Wilkse S. Bobbitt, Erwin
  • Earl Pat Arsers, San Antonio
  • Morine Nyquist, Reliance