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William Foster

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Information about William Foster

Profile image of William Foster

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Academic Administrator
Band Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Prime Rib Steak, Chili
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
West Coast of the United States, New York
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
8/25/1919
Birth Location:
Kansas City, Kansas

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Academic Administrator
Band Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Prime Rib Steak, Chili
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
West Coast of the United States, New York
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
8/25/1919
Birth Location:
Kansas City
See how William Foster is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Dr. William Patrick Foster, chairman of the Music Department and director of bands, emeritus at Florida A&M University, was born on August 25, 1925, in Kansas City-Wyandotte, Kansas. Known by his students and colleagues as "The Law" and "Dr. Maestro," Foster was the son of a railway mail clerk. At the age of twelve, Foster first learned to play the clarinet. At Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas, Foster showed talent in playing the clarinet and was appointed student director of the Sumner High School Orchestra. In 1936, at age seventeen, he was director of an all city Kansas City, Kansas, band.

Foster was one of three commencement speakers when he graduated from Sumner High School in 1937. He received a B. A. degree in music education from the University of Kansas in 1941 and a master's degree from Detroit's Wayne State University in 1950. Foster earned a Ed.D. in education with a major in music from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City in 1955. He taught at Lincoln University, Fort Valley State University and Tuskegee Institute, before coming to Florida A&M University (FAMU) in 1946.

Foster created the internationally famous 329 piece Marching "100" Band and developed over 200 half-time pageants; they have appeared in three films, three commercials, numerous magazine articles and thirty-four nationally televised network performances. The FAMU Marching Band was presented with the prestigious Sudler Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy on October 26, 1984. In 1989, the French chose Foster as America's official representative in the Bastille Day Parade, celebrating the Bicentennial of the French Revolution. The band also appeared in the Fifteenth and the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary national telecasts from Walt Disney World in 1986 and 1996. Foster is credited with revolutionizing marching band techniques and reshaping the world's concept of marching bands.

A scholar, Foster has written eighteen articles for professional journals and has received numerous awards and citations for excellence. In 1998, he was elected to the National Band Association Hall of Fame. Often imitated, Dr. William Foster is considered the dean of America's band directors.

Foster passed away on August 28, 2010.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Foster interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Foster's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Foster remembers his parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Foster names his family members
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Foster remembers his step-grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Foster discusses growing up in poverty
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Foster describes his grandfather's influence
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Foster describes the Kansas City, Kansas of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Foster discusses his early interest in music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Foster discusses his school life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Foster remembers an influential high school band director
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Foster discusses his active high school years
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Foster recalls his years attending the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Foster recalls his first teaching job after college
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Foster discusses his employment at three historically black colleges
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Foster discusses the inception of his music program at Florida A&M University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Foster recalls assembling Florida A&M University's band
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Foster discusses the success of Florida A&M University's marching band
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Foster discusses key factors in marching band performances
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Foster discusses his musical selection for marching band performances
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Foster discusses the Florida A&M University marching band's participation in the Orange Blossom Classic
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Foster recalls the Florida A&M University marching band's television exposure
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Foster discusses the Florida A&M University marching band's experience in the 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Foster recalls opportunities that arose for the Florida A&M University marching band
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Foster describes the Marching 100's role in preserving FAMU's autonomy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Foster describes the rehearsals of the Florida A&M University marching band, part 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Foster describes the rehearsals of the Florida A&M University marching band, part 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Foster discusses the a patriotic themed Florida A&M University performance
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - William Foster explains the planning involved in directing a marching band
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - William Foster recalls the Florida A&M University marching band's all-star team
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - William Foster discusses his early book "Band Pageantry"
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Photo - William Foster leads the Florida A&M College Band during commencement ceremonies, Tallahassee, Florida, 1946
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Photo - William Foster leads the Florida A&M University Marching 100 Band during the Orange Blossom Parade in Miami, Florida
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Photo - A baton twirler from Florida A&M University's early marching band, under the direction of William Foster
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Photo - William Foster gives assistance to a sousaphone player, 1957
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Photo - Floria A&M University's Marching 100 Band led by drum major, Julian E. White
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Photo - William Foster instructs band members on the art of sound projection
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Photo - Florida A&M University Marching Band in a pre-game Death March at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Photo - Florida A&M University Marching Band at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, 1981
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Photo - Florida A&M University's Marching 100 under the direction of William Foster, 1968
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Photo - Florida A&M University Concert Band under the direction of William Foster, 1961
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Photo - Florida A&M University's Marching 100 Band performs under the direction of William Foster, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo - Florida A&M University's Marching 100 Band under the direction of William Foster, 1970
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo - William Foster and members of Florida A&M University's marching band in their new uniforms, 1968
  • Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Photo - Florida A&M University's Marching 100 Band under the direction of William Foster, 1967
  • Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Photo - Florida A&M University's Marching 100 Band percussion section under the direction of William Foster and Samuel Floyd, 1962
  • Tape: 5 Story: 16 - Photo - Florida A&M University's Marching 100 Band goes sightseeing in Paris, France after performing for the French president on Bastille Day, 1989
  • Tape: 5 Story: 17 - Photo - William Foster, director of the Florida A&M University marching band, early 1950s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 18 - Photo - William Foster with Julian White and Charles Bing at a football game, 1981
  • Tape: 5 Story: 19 - Photo - William Foster directs the Florida A&M University marching band in the late 1980s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 20 - Photo - William Foster and colleagues greet composer, Paul Yoder
  • Tape: 5 Story: 21 - Photo - William Foster and others receive achievement awards from Florida A&M University, 1959
  • Tape: 5 Story: 22 - Photo - William Foster and Julian White, Florida A&M University band directors
  • Tape: 5 Story: 23 - William Foster discusses his book, 'Band Pageantry: A guide for the marching band'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 24 - William Foster shares insights on creating a successful marching band
  • Tape: 5 Story: 25 - William Foster describes the impact of the Florida A&M University marching band's efforts
  • Tape: 5 Story: 26 - William Foster reflects on his career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 27 - William Foster considers his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 28 - William Foster considers the power of music