Robert E. Foster, conductor of the Lawrence City Band, served as director of KU bands from 1971 to 2002 and continues his career today as a KU professor of Music Education and Music Therapy, composer, arranger, guest conductor and author. Robert also serves as an Education Consultant to Wingert-Jones Music Publications. His role with the publications division of J.W. Pepper focusses on reviewing concert band submissions, making editorial suggestions and band catalog development.
"We could not be more pleased to honor Bob Foster with this room dedication," said Robert Walzel, KU School of Music dean. "For over 40 years Bob has been synonymous with KU Band. We hope Bob's many supporters can come to the dedication ceremony on the 5th of October, which is also the day of KU's homecoming game against Texas Tech. It seems fitting to honor Bob on the day of a big game!"
During his tenure, KU Bands grew and prospered. Under Bob's leadership, the KU Marching Jayhawks marched down Campanile Hill to Memorial Stadium for the first time in the fall of 1971 - now an essential pregame tradition. Through Bob's efforts, women became a regular part of the Marching Band in 1972, and he later received an Award of Distinction for exceptional support toward women in the band movement. The KU jazz program began when Bob started the first official jazz ensemble in 1972. The Symphonic Band (now called Wind Ensemble) first appeared at the Music Educators National Association convention in 1979 and now has appeared there six times. This group first performed at the prestigious American Bandmasters Association convention in 1983 and now has appeared there four times. In 1989, the KU Marching Band became the seventh band ever to be awarded the Sudler Trophy, the highest honor available to college marching bands. Foster's legacy is perhaps most evident in the recollections of band alumni who remember his enthusiasm, genuine interest helping students grow as musicians, and ability to build camaraderie. Many of Foster's former students claim that joining KU Bands was the best decision of their college careers.
During his illustrious career, Foster served as the first president of the Big 12 Conference Band Directors Association and as president of the American Bandmasters Association, the Southwest Division of the College Band Directors National Association, and the National Band Association. Foster was inducted into the National Band Association Hall of Fame in 2006 and currently serves as president of the John Philip Sousa Foundation. To learn more about his exceptional career, visit: music.ku.edu/robert-foster
For more information on the KU music program, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436 or visit www.music.ku.edu.