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WBDI History

Gladys Stone Wright

Founding President


Gladys Wright, Founding President, wanted to know where the rest of the women band directors in the country were located, what they did, who they were, what they looked like, how they solved special problems, what difficulties they faced. Wouldn't it be nice to meet and exchange ideas and problems?

Gladys had began her teaching career at Elmira Union High School, Elmira, Oregon --the only high school woman band director in the state of Oregon at that time. Her role model, Evelyn Scott, had been her elementary band director in Wasco, Oregon so she knew women could do the job successfully. In 1951, she went to the Western Music Camp, Gunnison, Colorado. There, she met two more women directors and Al Wright, whom she married in 1953. As his wife, she had the opportunity to travel extensively during which time she "hunted" for women band directors. As a result many other people started reporting their "sightings" of the then rare species of the woman band director! Kate Hawkins, a trombonist and the wife of Dr. Robert Hawkins, was also interested. Since Al taught frequently for Dr. Hawkins in both his summer camps and Gunnison and Morehead, it was easy for Kate and Gladys to compare notes. It was Kate's display of "Ladies of the Podium" at the Daniel Boone Music Camp in Kentucky in 1967 that really started the project in motion.

That summer, a meeting was held with the six women enrolled in the summer camp about the possibility of organizing a women's band organization. The women were interested! In December 1968 at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, five women met and set up a temporary constitution and divided the slate of officers among themselves thus starting the Women Band Directors National Association. The year of 1969 was spent writing women and getting publicity out about the organization. This was the year of the Charter Members. Anyone who joined in 1969 received Charter Status. The first official photo was taken at the Chicago meeting in December 1969. The first slate of elected officers took office in 1971.


Charter Members


MSG Romona J. Meltz


Ileane McElwee


Wanda S. Brown


Jean Howard


Nancy Osborne


Lorraine J. Earls


Barbara Buehlman

Dorothy Duggar

Elizabeth Garrett

Dorothy Stewart Jones

Lenore Lane

Annette Lawson

Elsie Maylath

Vivian Raffaelle

Marilyn Sanders

Betty Sturm

Colleen Weise


Glenda Benjamin

Mildred Blake

Carolyn Collins

Mary Ann Dalton

Judith Grimes

Sharon Kisinger

Imogene Mavis

Jacqueline Hunt

Gladys Wright


Karen Bartachek

Helen Hoff

Phyllis Redding

Betty Meisinger

Barbara Bisek

Eleanor Padley


Kate Hawkins


Hillary Hunt

Sister Mary Simpson


Mildred Reiner


Mary Aycock

Sherry Fisher

Nancy Williams


Kathie Abel

New Jersey

Lucille Alexander

New York

Nora Arquit


Mary Gaskalla

Linda Durr

Leslie Watson


Marjorie Skinner


Barbara Lovett

Johnnie Bourg


Alice Bryant

Sara Neil McBride

Pat Shumate

Joyce Whitehead


Donna Wirth


Sharon Horstman

West Virginia

Blanche Kangas

Linda Ward

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