Nilo Hovey


Nilo W. Hovey was born September 22, 1906 in Cedar Falls, Iowa and received his early musical experiences in the public schools of the area. In performances with the Cedar Falls Municipal Band, he would often play any instrument needed to balance out a section, though his principal instrument was clarinet. While a student at Iowa State Teacher?s College (now the Univ. of Northern Iowa) he received his first teaching experience in the public schools of Dike, Iowa. He married the former Ruth Emily Sinden of Maquoketa, Iowa in December, 1927. Nilo Hovey had a very distinguished career in music education that spanned nearly six decades. We won national and international recognition as a conductor, educator, clinician, adjudicator, composer, and prolific author of instrumental guides and methods. He began his career in 1926 as Director of Instrumental Music in Hammond, IN public schools. During those 18 years he produced the first of many instructional books, one of which is a method for clarinet that remains in use today. His band at Hammond Technical High School won the championship of the juvenile division at the Chicagoland Music Festival and his George Rogers Clark High School band received a First Division rating in the 1938 National Contest. Though he left the area in 1944 his name was not forgotten. In 1978 he was given a key to the city of Hammond for more that 50 years of outstanding service and dedication to youth and music. Mr. Hovey next joined the faculty of Arthur Jordan College of Music at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN where from 1944-1957 he was director of the Concert Band and Chairman of the Music Education Department. While serving in this capacity he received Butler University?s Holcomb Award for his contributions to the advancement of the university and the Arthur W. Baxter Award for superior teaching. In 1957 Mr. Hovey became Education Director for the Selmer Company. During his 18 year tenure with the company in Elkhart, IN he conducted regional and All-State high school bands in 46 states and five Canadian provinces. Already the recipient of Phi Beta Mu?s Outstanding Bandmaster Award, he received that organization?s Hall of Fame Award in 1979 along with being selected by IMEA as Outstanding Hoosier Musician in 1985. Among other honors conferred on him were the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Award, the Award for Exceptional Merit by the Music Industry Council, and was inducted into the National Band Association Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors, His portrait hangs in the Hall of Fame Pantheon in Troy, Alabama next to that of John Philip Sousa. Mr. Hovey served as president of the American Bandmaster?s Association in 1970-71 and the Music Industry Council from 1962-64. Hovey was an honorary member of the Canadian Bandmasters Association and was also a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Phi Kappa Phi honorary scholastic fraternity, Phi Delta Kappa, a founder of the Indiana Bandmasters Association, and a charter member of Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity. He was guest conductor of many Intercollegiate and All-State High School Bands, the Royal Canadian Air Force Band, the U.S. Navy Band, the U.S. Army Band, and the U.S. Air Force Band and was one of the few civilians elected to honorary membership in these last two groups. Numerous solos and woodwind ensembles, instrumental methods, and books of instructional material written or edited by Hovey are widely used in the school of the United States and Canada. Nilo W. Hovey was truly a band director?s band director. He passed away in March, 1986.


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