In Memoriam: W. Francis McBeth


We were all deeply saddened to hear the news that Francis McBeth passed away Friday, January 6th.  Dr. McBeth was a very well respected and admired figure in the concert band world and beyond.

The impact he made as a composer and educator was tremendous, and to say he led a full and meaningful life would be an understatement.  His many awards and honors include Kappa Kappa Psi’s National Service to Music Award in 1989, the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic’s Medal of Honor in 1993 and the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Medal of Honor in 1999.  He also served as President of the American Bandmasters Association.  There are more accolades too numerous to list here, as are the thousands of lives he touched through his work as a composer, educator, humorist and person.

As one of the most prolific composers of concert band music in the 20th century, his music has thrilled so many musicians and audiences of all generations from around the world and from all walks of life.  As an educator and conductor he had direct contact with thousands of students and musicians.  In 1962 his conducting work placed him at the podium for the Arkansas All-State Band where future president Bill Clinton played in his tenor saxophone section.  As a guest speaker and humorist, he has enriched the lives of even more with his insight and wit.  In all of these endeavors, we remember his ever-present smile.

Dr. McBeth will certainly be missed — and what a legacy he leaves us.  His creativity as a composer will continue to be shared as his works are brought to the concert stage for new generations.  And, for those fortunate to have known him, he will always be remembered as a truly remarkable person who shared that wonderful smile with us.

Click here to read more about his life.

Ron Allen
Music advocate, trombone/euphonium player, private low brass instructor, Concert Band Editor for J.W.Pepper, member of Northwinds Symphonic Band, Kansas City, Missouri.

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