Ray C. Lichtenwalter, UTA Professor Emeritus, received the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Medal for excellence in conducting in the presence of his former students and colleagues at the UTA Wind Symphony concert last month.
Lichtenwalter served as UTA Director of Bands from 1975 to 2004. Under his direction, the UTA Wind Ensemble performed at Carnegie Hall, the Texas Music Educators Association five times and the College Band Directors National Association twice.
The Distinguished Service to Music Medal is the highest award presented by Kappa Kappa Psi (KKPsi), the National Honorary Band Fraternity. Some of the most prominent band conductors and composers in the nation have received this honor since it was first awarded in 1963. These prestigious awardees include music legends like composer Morton Gould, saxophonist Sigurd Rascher, and composer and playwright Meredith Willson who is best known for his hit Broadway musical, The Music Man.
Douglas Stotter is KKPsi Vice President for Professional Relations and one of the committee members who nominated Lichtenwalter for the honor. Stotter is also the Director of Bands for UTA, a position he has held since 2005, directly after Lichtenwalter’s retirement. Stotter said, “There is no more deserving recipient of this award than my dear friend Ray. It was a wonderful opportunity to recognize him at this concert right after he guest conducted the band that he led for so many years before I came to UTA.”
Lichtenwalter began his 40-year-tenure at The University of Texas Arlington in 1967. Beginning as instructor of trumpet, Lichtenwalter later becoming Director of Bands, then head of the wind and percussion division, a position he held until his retirement. With a storied career, besides being named professor emeritus by UTA in 2008, Lichtenwalter is also an inductee to the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.
Dan Cavanagh, Chair of the Department of Music and an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies said, “Professor Lichtenwalter’s award is significant recognition that caps off a tremendous and illustrious career. His artistry, service to music, and wide respect among the profession is yet another excellent representation of the outstanding UT Arlington faculty and students we are proud to showcase in our music program.”
After receiving the award Lichtenwalter said, “I had no idea something of this significance was planned. I was greatly impacted by the kindness and honor that accompanied the presentation.” He said that he was surprised most by all of the alumni who attended the performance and the presentation. “It was wonderful to receive this tremendous honor in the presence of many former students, all of whom I admire greatly and have now gone on to pursue very successful careers of their own.”
Much like during Lichtenwalter’s 40 year tenure in the Department of Music, the band program is comprehensive, encompassing all types of performing organizations and opportunities for students who enjoy performing. The current band program consists of 245 students from majors all across campus. From students who are preparing for careers in music to non-music majors, talented students are able to participate in at least one of the UTA Bands: concert bands, marching band or basketball pep-band. Cavanagh said, “I trust that witnessing this award, which is likened to a lifetime achievement award in our field, will be a memorable moment for the students as well.”
Congratulations to Professor Ray Lichtenwalter for this well-deserved, achievement award in music. If you would like to learn more about Kappa Kappa Psi’s Distinguished Service to Music Medal, click here. To learn more about UTA’s Department of Music, visit their webpage.