Also see the FBA Legacy Project for interviews and historical videos.

During the summer of 1936, Major Ed Chenette was employed by the University of Florida to conduct a short course in band work high school band directors and their students. As far as is known, this attempt was the first of its kind by an institution of higher learning to further the cause of band music in the high schools of the state.

Several bandmasters from over the state were asked to assist in the course, and both they and the other participants were stimulated by thoughts of what could be done to improve the instrumental music programs in Florida. From this course came the idea of an organization.

Subsequently, there was a meeting held for interested band directors which focused on the lack of a unified group within the state. From the discussion at this meeting the Florida Bandmasters Association was formed. Major Chenette was named chairperson pro-tem with the authority to act for the group to contact all Florida bandmasters and attempt to form a statewide organization. Major Chenette was then elected President and John J. Heney was elected as Secretary.

Charter members of the Florida Bandmasters Association were:

Ed Chenette Browné Greaton Cole James Crowley P.J. Gustat Ed Heney
John J. Heney William Heney J.B. O'Neal E.L. "Bud" Roberts V.D. Sturgis

The FBA sponsored a single State Festival for several years. In the late 1940's, the Festival became so large that the state was divided into six geographical Districts, and District Contests were divised to serve as qualifiers for bands attending the State Contest and receiving a Superior rating at the District were eligible to go to the State Contest.

Later, the State Festival was divided into two regions comprised of the North section (Districts 4, 5, and 6) and the South section (Districts 1, 2, and 3). The state grew large in following years that it was divided into 10 Districts, then to 14, then to 15 in 1982, to 17 in 1987, and to 19 in 1995 (now called Evaluation/Festival to more accurately reflect the nature of the event) eventually had to be divided into three sections - North, Central, and South.

In 1960, the FBA instituted the Annual Marching Clinic and All-Star Marching Band on the University of Florida campus. This band gave a performance each year at the North-South High School All-Star Football game. In 1979 the All-Star Band began performing at Tampa Bay Buccaneers pre-season games each year. Many outstanding nationally known marching band directors have conducted the Clinics and Bands throughout the years. In 1993, this group was discontinued.

Robert O. Lampi served as Executive Secretary ably and competently with superb loyalty and dedication for 36 years. The influence that Mr. Lampi exerted through the years contributed in large measure to the considerable success of the F.B.A. After his retirement in 1983, he continued to serve as a Consultant to the Association until his death in 1985. In 1983, F. Lewis Jones assumed the position as Executive Director, and served in that capacity for 17 years. Great strides in organization and scope were made under Mr. Jones' capable leadership. In 2000, Duane L. Hendon became the Executive Director of the Florida Bandmasters Association until his retirement in September 2011. Mr. Hendon helped bring the F.B.A. into the computer age with the development of the Festival Computer Program, computers for District Chairmen, and the MPA On-Line program. In September 2011, Neil E. Jenkins assumed the duties as the Executive Director of the Florida Bandmasters Association.

The FBA, through its membership, has provided exceptional musical experiences for thousands of band students, while upgrading the musical standards and making music an integral part of the school curriculum, making our slogan, "A Band In Every School" a reality.

Presidents of the F.B.A.

1936 - 1938 Major Ed Chenette
1938 - 1941 John J. Heney
1941 - 1943 Fred McCall
1943 - 1944 P.J. Gustat*
1944 - 1945 Major J.B. O'Neal
1945 - 1946 V.D. Sturgis
1946 - 1947 Al G. Wright
1947 - 1948 Romulus Thompson
1948 - 1950 Harry F. McComb
1950 - 1951 R. Orin Whitley
1951 - 1952 Roy V. Wood
1952 - 1953 H.B. Swyers
1953 - 1954 H. Carlton Mason
1954 - 1955 E.L. Roberts
1955 - 1956 O.J. Kraushaar
1956 - 1957 Oliver Hobbs
1957 - 1958 Charles W. Quarmby
1958 - 1959 Robert T. Scott
1959 - 1960 Joe A Lusk
1960 - 1961 William Ledue
1961 - 1962 Melvin Dean
1962 - 1963 Logan Turrentine
1963 - 1964 James H. Leonard
1964 - 1965 T. Edison James
1965 - 1966 Thomas Bishop
1966 - 1967 Charles F. Ulrey
1967 - 1968 E.W. (Jack) Williams
1968 - 1969 Richard H. Elliot
1969 - 1970 William Higgins
1969 - 1970 Robert O. Lampi (Hon.)
1970 - 1971 Robert C. Price
1971 - 1972 Louis W. Lindsay
1972 - 1973 F. Lewis Jones
1973 - 1974 Ervin J. Hamme
1974 - 1975 James W. Wilson
1975 - 1976 Frederick M. Humphreys
1976 - 1977 Melvin E. Baker
1977 - 1978 R.G. (Jeff) Bradford
1978 - 1979 Jack H. Herron
1979 - 1980 Joseph W. Courson
1980 - 1981 John R. DeYoung
1981 - 1982 William E. Cannon
1982 - 1983 Andrew J. (Jack) Crew
1983 - 1984 Michael P. Leclerc
1984 - 1986 Bobby Adams
1986 - 1988 Duane L. Hendon
1988 - 1990 M. Jerome Edwards
1990 - 1992 Frank R. Howes
1992 - 1994 Cynthia E. Berry
1994 - 1996 Phillip D. Wharton
1996 - 1998 James M. Sammons
1998 - 2000 Bert F. Creswell
2000 - 2002 Neil Jenkins
2002 - 2004 D.R. Roadman
2004 - 2006 Paula Thornton
2006 - 2008 Chuck Fulton
2008 - 2010 Mark Spreen
2010 - 2012 Randy Folsom
2012 - 2014 Richard Davenport
2014 - 2016 Linda Mann
2016 - 2018 Jason Ducket
2018 - 2020 Cathi Leibinger
2020 - 2022 Ian Schwindt
2022 - 2024 Bernie Hendricks, Jr.

* P.J. Gustat = Named "Father of Bands" in the State of Florida

A Brief History of the Florida Association of Band Directors

Prior to 1940 and two years thereafter, there were no programs in the public schools of Florida offering instrumental music to the African American children in those schools. As a result, the schools of higher education (such as Florida A & M College, Edward Waters College, Bethune-Cookman College, and Florida Memorial College) had no feeder programs for the development of bands.

In 1941, Leander A. Kirksey (band and orchestra director) and J. Harold Brown (director of the music department at Florida A & M College) called a meeting of four or five young graduates from the music department of Florida A & M College. George Hill (employed at Crooms Academy in Sanford), Alvin Downing (employed at Gibbs High in St. Petersburg), Raymond Sheppard (employed at Booker T. Washington High in Pensacola), Michael Rodriguez (employed at Booker T. Washington Jr. High in Tampa), and Guy Glover (employed at Dorsey High in Miami) met April 10-12, 1941 to organize an association whose chief purpose would be to provide feeders for the instrumental program at Florida A & M and other predominately black colleges in Florida. The association was named the Florida Association of Band Directors.

Prior to its merger with the FBA in 1966, its membership had grown to more than thirty band directors, who were teaching several thousand students.

Past-Presidents of the F.A.B.D.

Leander Kirksey George H. Hill James W. Wilson
1941 - 1955 1955 - 1960 1960 - 1966