Music Beginnings

Frank McKinley directs the A Cappella Choir in 1955-56. “Mr. Mac,” who led the choir for more than 30 years, was among many outstanding music teachers who joined North Texas in the 1940s.Rumors were floating on the wind sometime during 1947 or so that something exciting was happening in the Department of Music. I later learned it was the result of Dean Wilfred C. Bain coming to the school. He evaluated the Texas music scene and decided the quickest route to growth was to get a music organization on the road. So he hired Frank McKinley and encouraged him to develop an A Cappella Choir as quickly as possible and to take it on tour.

The rest is history, of course; but in addition to the choir, he needed a faculty ready to train and hold the students who were to be attracted to the school. I knew George Morey (“Legacy Families,” winter 2010), and there were numerous other teachers here by 1949, including Robert Ottman (’56 Ph.D.), Frank Mainous, Jean Mainous, Gene Hall (’41, ’44 M.A.), ’Fessor Graham, Maurice McAdow, Helen Hewitt, Lloyd Hibberd, Robert J. Rogers, Willard Elliot (’45).

These were the foundation stones of the College of Music we have today.

T. Jervis Underwood (’55, ’70 Ph.D.)
Oak Point