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Former IPHS band director to be inducted into hall of fame

Thursday, July 14, 2022
Former IPHS band director to be inducted into hall of fame

Former IPHS Band Director Greg Miller

Former IPHS band director to be inducted into hall of fame

Former IPHS Band Director Greg Miller will be inducted into the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame Aug. 23 in San Antonio.

“To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care.” – Mandy Hale

Former IPHS Band Director and longtime Iowa Parkan Greg Miller was instrumental in helping the Hawk Band achieve four decades of excellence in marching, concert and sightreading.

Next Saturday in San Antonio, Miller will be acknowledged for his vast achievements in the field of music education in Texas by being inducted into the Texas Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame.

The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio.

Much of Miller’s career in the music field spanned the over four decades living in Iowa Park.

“My time in Iowa Park is really my adult life,” he said recently. “It was obviously an enjoyable time, or I would not have stayed in Iowa Park for 45 years. Yes, there were many ups and downs, (like anyone else has in their own life) but I would not change any of those experiences either personally or professionally. Our family formed many close relationships over the years and have many dear friends in Iowa Park. The community, school, and Methodist church all played a vital role in the life of our family.”


“I think that I may have been prepared for Iowa Park from a young age,” Miller said. “I grew up in a town very similar to Iowa Park with the same school colors, with the same fight song (Trio from Brasses to the Fore), and a similar school song. In fact, the first time I heard “Brasses to the Fore” in my first Summer Band in Iowa Park of 1973, I truly almost fell out of my chair. It also made me feel like I was meant to come to Iowa Park.

“The school system in Iowa Park taught me to be a professional educator and the right way to do things as a professional educator,” he continued. “I have often said if most school systems in Texas had been operating as Iowa Park CISD did when I started teaching, we would never have heard of Mark White and H. Ross Perot in the 1980’s. Honestly, it felt like many school districts in the state were trying to catch up to Iowa Park. This is a strong impression that has stayed with me all my adult life.


“The Methodist church (other churches as well) and community of Iowa Park expressed how much love, care, and support they had for my family and the band program,” Miller said.” All these groups willingly provided their support and care in various ways. You always knew they wanted the best for your family, the band, and in return, you simply wanted to give your best back to the students and Iowa Park. I am extremely grateful to Iowa Park for the impact that was made on my life and the lives of my family.”


“What I really want to do is give thanks to the students and all the people that had such a positive influence on my life,” Miller remarked. “This includes all the people in the school system, students, churches, and the community itself. I must also thank the co-directors who worked with the band and put up with me: Mark Cartwright, Bill Monroe, Jeannie Lunney, Norene Cannedy, Troy Walker, Teresa Archambo, Curtis McCarthy, and Elizabeth Witherspoon. I especially want to recognize and thank Ed Hefti who was an answer to prayer many years ago.”


(Exerpts from Miller’s induction announcement).

Gregory Ray Miller was born on August 1, 1951, in Ft. Worth, Texas, to Lavoy Ray Miller and ZelmaVictoria Davis Miller.

It was so hot when his parents brought him home from the hospital, he had great difficulty breathing. His dad went to the local appliance store and bought a swamp cooler to make breathing easier for Greg. The owner of the appliance store helped Lavoy install and set up the cooler the same day. This was the only “air conditioning” that was in the Miller household for several years. Greg and his older brother Johnny grew up in Azle, Texas.

When Greg started the sixth grade, he had the opportunity to join band, and Johnny was already playing alto sax. Due to the influence of Johnny and their parents, Greg made the decision to start playing an instrument. Both Johnny and Greg ended up being very active in the band program. Guided by a desire to play something different from Johnny and (Al Hirt’s popular hit of the day “Java”), the cornet became the instrument of choice. Everyone in the family was excited about Johnny and Greg both being in band — except for their pet boxer “Fido”, who would often howl when Johnny or Greg practiced. Regardless of what Fido thought, Greg practiced often, and when he was in the eighth grade, he decided to play a solo at the Cisco Band Festival. His judge was Hall of Fame director Warren Thaxton, and he received a “one” rating from him. Having been told by his director that Mr. Thaxton was a “hard” judge and that you had to earn your rating, it was the first time Greg ever thought he might be able do something in the field of music.

Greg Berry was the band director in Azle until Greg’s senior year when Darryl Phillips became the director. He was the drum major for both directors and learned one of life’s greatest lessons from them. Simply put, “There is more than one way to do a really good job”. One of the highlights of Greg’s senior year was when Hall of Fame director Ben Gollehon came for an all-day clinic on their UIL concert selections. It was the first such experience for the Azle band. Besides being out of school for the day, it was a great experience getting to rehearse with Mr. Gollehon.

After high school graduation in 1969, Greg decided after much deliberation to attend Howard Payne University in Brownwood. Johnny was already attending HPU, and Greg Berry was now the college band director. By attending Howard Payne, Greg formed several lifelong friendships including friendships with future band directors George “Buddy” Strickland, Frank Nelson, Chuck Christian, Dr. Darryl Trent, and Jim Alexander. At the beginning of his sophomore year, thanks to band and Johnny, Gail Yvonne Wright of Bandera, a french horn player, caught Greg’s attention. Greg graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education degree in May of 1973 and was hired by Iowa Park CISD as the middle school band director in August. After Gail graduated in December, they were married on December 22, 1973. Gail started her own career in education in January of 1974 as a speech pathologist for the West Wichita County Co-op. However, she spent the last 25 years of a 38 year career as a first grade teacher at Kidwell Elementary in Iowa Park. Both Greg and Gail finished their master’s degrees at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce) in August of 1977.

Gail is the love and rock of Greg’s life. He is thankful and appreciative for her unconditional love and support for him and their family over these many years. Greg and Gail soon had their own version of “My Three Sons”. Gregory “Kyle” Miller currently resides in a special needs group home in Lubbock. Zachary Ray Miller married Marcie Ann McDaniel of Midland and they currently reside in Lubbock as well. They have a son, Davis Ray. Grant Ryan Miller married Monica Hart McNeill of Seymour and are currently residing in Abilene. They have a daughter, Reagan Hart and a son, Samuel Harrison. And yes, there is nothing better than being a grandparent. Zac and Grant excelled academically and in extra-curricular activities as they moved through the Iowa Park schools. Both were ATSSB all state band members. Zac was a percussionist and Grant played the tuba. They each now have their own successful careers.

Greg began his 40 year teaching career with David Mooney in Iowa Park in 1973. It was his most fervent prayer and desire to be a positive influence for his students through band and music. Greg quickly realized how fortunate and blessed he had been to have done his student teaching with Hall of Fame director James Mallow in Brady, Texas. From his first day of teaching, Greg was using many of the techniques he learned from Mr. Mallow and would continue to use until his own retirement many years later. In the 1975-76 school year, the W.F. George middle school band received its first ever three event UIL Sweepstakes award in school history. Yes, middle school and junior high bands really did participate in UIL marching contests at that time!

With aspirations of being a high school band director, Greg left Iowa Park in the Fall of 1976 and became the only band director at Roscoe High School. (Greg feels that being the one and only band director at a school is something every band director should experience.) In fact, on July 4, 1976, Greg was in Roscoe being hired by the school board. The time in Roscoe was another rewarding and invaluable experience for both Greg and Gail. Wes May, of May and Duncan Music, took the time when visiting the band hall to encourage Greg in his teaching career. Greg also benefitted from the help, advice, and clinics of Hall of Fame directors Bill Woods and Dr. Charles Traylor. While teaching in Roscoe, the Roscoe band earned back-to-back sweepstakes for the first time in their school history.

In the Fall of 1979, Greg returned to Iowa Park as the high school director. He remained in Iowa Park for the next 34 years until his retirement in June of 2013. After teaching three years as the only director in Roscoe, it was nice to return to Iowa Park where there were two directors. In the mid-nineties, the school board graciously granted permission to hire a third director. Greg was blessed to work with many wonderful co-directors over his time in Iowa Park and enjoyed his time with all of them. The list includes Mark Cartwright, Bill Monroe, Ed Hefti, Jeannie Lunney, Norene Cannedy, Troy Walker, Teresa Archambo, Curtis McCarthy, and Elizabeth Witherspoon. Greg would especially like to recognize Ed Hefti. It was Rusty Stowe, a mutual friend and former band director, who introduced Greg and Ed to each other. For Greg, Ed coming to work in Iowa Park was an answer to prayer. They worked together for so long that the community was often unsure which one was which. It was not long before Mr. Miller became “the bald one” and Mr. Hefti became “the short one”. It is hard to describe what it is like to have a co-director that is such an outstanding musician, educator, Christian and is also a close friend. Another great mentor and friend to Greg was Hall of Fame director Charles Enloe of Wichita Falls. Charles had retired and started coming to Iowa Park in the Fall of 1987. His trips to Iowa Park helping the band lasted until the end of 2013 when Charles was well into his nineties. Charles had a wealth of knowledge, and his insights into band, music, and life were invaluable to all those he touched. Other directors who assisted with the Iowa Park band over the years included L.E. Gray, Gerald Tilford, Ted James, Jerry Floyd, Bill Parks, Elton Milford, and Sheryl Cyrus Kingcade.

It was during these years that the Iowa Park Band achieved 30 years of consecutive UIL sweepstakes. The band was a consistent performer at the UIL Area B Marching Contest for 4A bands often being named as the Alternate to the State Marching contest. In 1986 and 1996, the Iowa Park Band placed 2nd and 4th respectively at the state marching contest.

this time, many students also performed well in individual UIL, TMEA, and ATSSB events with several earning All State Band honors in either TMEA or ATSSB. The band program also produced several band directors over the years including Mike Lunney, Phil Clements, Tim Bradberry, Charles Bradberry, Karen Schell Brunker, Jared Pruett, and Steven Mitchell. Upon Greg’s retirement in 2013, Charles Bradberry was hired as the director of bands in Iowa Park.

Greg has been a member of Phi Beta Mu, TMEA, TMAA. ATSSB, and TBA. His entire teaching career was spent in what was then TMEA region 2 (now region 7 as of 2022). Greg served as the TMEA region 2 secretary and eventually as the TMEA region vice-president. Later, he served as the region 2 coordinator and Area North coordinator for ATSSB. He also served as the first region representative for region 2 for the Texas Bandmasters Association.

Greg has received various honors or awards over the years, but there are three that have a special meaning for him. One was being named the “Outstanding Educator of the Year” by the Iowa Park Chamber of Commerce in 1986. Another was being named the recipient of the “Mirabeau B. Lamar Excellence in Education Award” presented by the local Masonic Lodge. Finally, Greg was truly honored when the band directors of ATSSB region 2 created the “Greg Miller Scholarship Award”. This is presented annually to an outstanding senior band student in the ATSSB All Region Band at the regio n band concert. Greg is still not sure how all those directors managed to keep that a secret.