Gladys Wright, Founding President, just wanted to know where the rest of the women 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, etc. 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, who 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.
MSG Romona J. Meltz
Mary Ann Dalton
Sister Mary Simpson
Sara Neil McBride