Legendary High School Band Director

Dorothy Cochran -- Class of 1957

"I remember vividly the 1957 contest concert performance. I was a senior and sat 5th chair clarinet. We played a concert band arrangement of the first and third movements of Tchaikowsky's 6th - Pathetique - Symphony. Toward the end of the first movement there was a very slow clarinet solo that was picked up by the bass clarinet. Mr. Maddox had worked and worked with the two first chair players to ensure that their tempos and intonations were identical. He pointed out that this solo was performed by a cello in the orchestral arrangement and so the handoff from clarinet to bass clarinet was crucial to our success. I remember literally holding my breath as the first chair clarinet began the solo. The bass clarinet picked it up perfectly. We went right into the third movement. As we ended our performance, the judges stood up and applauded!

Needless to say, we garnered a first division in concert that year.

Robert L. Maddox was a legendary high school band director. In the '50s, he was one of only two high school directors in the U.S. selected for membership in the American Bandmaster's Association. All other members were college directors. After graduating from OHS in 1957, I went to Texas Tech, and decided not to participate in band my freshman year. However, I missed it so much that I decided to audition for the band my sophomore year. I went into my meeting with the Tech band director rather nervously, since I had hardly touched my clarinet in a year. One of the first questions he asked me was, "So, where did you play in high school?" I told him Odessa High and he immediately responded, "Oh, you played for Bob Maddox; what chair did you sit?" I told him 5th chair, first clarinet.

Without hearing me play a single note, he asked, "How about first desk, second clarinet?" Which is where I played the entire year. Obviously, this was not about my ability, but about the knowledge that anyone who played in the first sections of a band directed by Robert L. Maddox had been well trained and was well disciplined."


If you would like to submit a story about an experience you had in Odessa High School email them to me. I will review them and select the stories that I think will be of general interest to the alumni of Odessa High High School. I will also edit at my discretion all stories submitted. This editing will be kept a minimum and will only be done for clarity. Submission does not guarantee posting on this page. To make submission click here. Bob McSpadden Class of 1970