Florida Bandmasters Association

Roll Of Distinction

Nathaniel ?Nat? Baggarly

2013 Inductee

Born in Washington, D.C., in 1929, Dr. Nathaniel Baggarly moved to Chicago with his family and then settled in Kentucky during his fourth grade year. Soon thereafter, his clarinet studies began as part of the school?s music program. By the time he was in his third year at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Ky., he was asked by the school principal to take official charge of the high school band. The original band director had been drafted into the Army during World War II, and there was a shortage of qualified teachers due to military obligations. While furthering his education and earning the B.M. degree at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Baggarly organized an 18-piece band that performed at several regional colleges for campus dances. As a fund-raiser during his senior year at UK for the fraternity Phi Mu Alpha, he organized a large swing band, which included faculty, to present a concert called ?The History of Jazz.? The concert was cancelled by the school?s administration after the discovery that some members of the band were playing in local bars. The resulting controversy led to jazz being banned from the school for 10 years. A DownBeat article in March 2001 told the story and included a picture of Dr. Baggarly?s band. He taught at Winchester (Kentucky) High School in 1951 but then received his draft notice. He chose to enlist in the Air Force rather than be drafted into the Army so he could be part of the band career field. During basic training with the Air Force, he met Tommy Newsom, who became an important part of the Airmen of Note and later achieved fame with The Tonight Show Band. Dr. Baggarly?s final duty during the Korean War was with the Air Force Ceremonial Band in Washington, D.C., where he was clarinetist and arranger. During this time, he worked with Sammy Nestico as a copyist for the Airmen of Note and the Crew Chiefs. Dr. Baggarly also was an organizer of the Clubmen, a very successful seven-piece group whose personnel included Tommy Newsom. After his tour of duty, Dr. Baggarly was offered a teaching position with the University of Florida as the band director at the P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School on the university?s campus in Gainesville, Fla. He was then able to complete the M.M.E. His responsibility was to develop the band program, which included concert, marching and jazz bands. Dr. Baggarly spent 11 years (1956-1967) with the school?s program. By his final year, nearly one-third of the high school?s 360 students were in the band. During his years at P.K., Dr. Baggarly was FBA district chairman and hosted concert and marching festivals at the school. During his time as chairman, he took advantage of the new technology of closed circuit television that P.K. Yonge was using in the classrooms in collaboration with the University of Florida. The performance on the stage was recorded and played Continued on page 16


Florida Music Director

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