Barbara Lovett Besse
2006 WBDI Hall of Fame Inductee
Barbara Lovett is the high ranking woman of the podium in Texas. Born May 29, 1926, she began playing clarinet in the 7th grade, and graduated from Corsicana High School in 1943. She received a B.S. degree from Texas Tech in 1947. While at Tech, she also met her first husband, Paul A. Lovett (a 1991 Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame inductee). In 1947, she became the band director at Ralls High School and remained in that position until 1949 when she became a private clarinet teacher in Lubbock. She and Paul had two sons; Rob, who is band director at Ruidoso, New Mexico High School, and Todd, who works for System One, a Texas Air subsidiary in Houston. Following Paul's death, Barbara taught at Ropes for five years, two years at Petersburg, eleven years at Hutchinson Junior High, and three years at Evans Junior High in Lubbock. A unique need for an assistant band director brought Barbara to Brownfield in 1982 where she served as assistant high school band director to her son, Rob, until 1986. She taught at a private school in Lubbock three years until her second retirement in 1991. Barbara also taught clarinet at the Texas Tech Band Camp for 18 years.
Barbara has been an outstanding leader throughout her teaching and professional career. She is a charter member and past president of the Women Band Directors National Association as well as a member of T.M.E.A., T.B.A., T.M.A.A., A.S.B.D.A., N.B.A., Tau Beta Sigma, and Phi Beta Mu, where she served as chairman of the Hall of Fame committee. She has served as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator in Texas and New Mexico. She has served as region Secretary, on the T.M.E.A. State Board, and been active in community musical affairs.
Barbara's bands won 25 superior ratings in concert out of 27 years of participating in U.I.L. contests. The 1968 Petersburg High School Band was named Outstanding Band in it's classification at the Tri-State Music Festival in Enid, Oklahoma. In 1963 and also 1965, her Ropes High School Band participated in the Sun Bowl Parade and Festivities in El Paso, and they also won first place in the Lubbock Fair Parade (in their classification) 1963 through 1966. Barbara organized jazz bands at the different schools where she taught, and they entered festivals held at West Texas State University and Texas Tech University where they earned their share of honors. Her 1973 Hutchinson Jazz Band played and presented a clinic for the Women Band Directors National Association summer meeting in San Antonio.
Barbara received the "Silver Baton Award" (1985) and the "Citation of Merit Award" (1980) from the Women Band Directors National Association. She was selected for the page "They are Making America Musical" in the School Musician Director and Teacher magazine in 1983. Tau Beta Sigma honored Barbara by presenting her with their "Outstanding Service to Music Award" in 1985.
She still loves jazz, digs the blues, and still possesses a force that pulls band people together. If you don't think you can ever get excited, try spending an evening in Chicago's Blue Note Cafe with Barbara. It is guaranteed that you will be happy, smiling, whistling, and have all toes tapping.
Thanks to Barbara, Texas has a Hall of Fame and Texas kids have Barbara to help provide them with a great musical experience, tradition, humor, and love.