Notes da Capo

In 1981 the MENC national office requested that the West Virginia Music Educators Association create the position of Historian in order that records pertaining to music education in our state might be preserved.

The WVMEA Executive Board appointed Clifford W. Brown in June of that year to the first historian, and he served in this capacity until his tragic death in November of 1988. John L. Puffenbarger of Buckhannon, West Virginia was appointed to replace Dr. Brown, and he served until October of 2008.

Materials concerning music education in the state have been collected and stored in the library archives in the West Virginia and Regional History Collection that is located in the Charles C. Wise, Jr. Library on the WVU Downtown Campus. In addition, the WVMEA historians have written articles of historical interest, entitled "Notes da Capo", for the WVMEA publication, NOTES A TEMPO.

The "Notes da Capo" articles on this website were taken from past issues of NOTES A TEMPO, beginning with Dr. Brown’s first column in November 1983.


Clifford W. Brown was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, June 23, 1912. After graduation from Point Marion High School, Point Marion, Pennsylvania, he attended West Virginia University, and in 1933 earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in music education. He also studied at the University of Michigan in 1936, and at Carnegie-Mellon from 1938-1941.

Brown held many positions in his career. He was supervisor of music in the South Union School District, Uniontown, Pennsylvania; acting director of the West Virginia University band; instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor at WVU; and chairman of music education at the university. He served the WVMEA as president, and was also president of the WV College Music Educators Association.

John L. Puffenbarger was born in Fairmont, West Virginia on March 25, 1939. He graduated from East Fairmont High School and Fairmont State College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in music education. He also studied at West Virginia University and West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Puffenbarger taught at Clarksburg Washington Irving High School from 1961-64. He taught at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, and county grade schools until he retired in 1996. He has held WVMEA positions as:

  • Secretary, WV Bandmasters Association
  • Editor, NOTES A TEMPO
  • President, WV Bandmasters Association
  • President, County Music Educators
  • President, Phi Beta Mu, WV (Tau) Chapter
  • WVBA Adjudicator
  • Coordinator, WVMEA Solo & Ensemble Festivals

A collection of articles by Clifford W. Brown:

First Meeting of Music Teachers in 1920 - November 1983


NOTES DA CAPO - By Clifford Brown
November 1983

Who were these music teachers? Supervisors, elementary specialists, private teachers? How did they get to the meeting? By train, trolley, or horse and buggy? We don't know the answers to these questions, but historical records reveal that 1920 was the first meeting of school music teachers in West Virginia. Like other subject-matter groups, they met as the "music section" at the annual conference of what was then the State Education Association (SEA). The chair, probably assigned by the SEA, was Lucy Robinson, a music supervisor from Wheeling.

Just imagine the setting in 1920! It was the post-World War I era; Woodrow Wilson was President; acoustic record players and silent movies were prevalent; Henry Ford's "flivver" was leading the auto pack; radio was in its infancy; and your parents were probably in grade school. Music instruction, except in the elementary classroom, was not considered a responsibility of the public schools. Individual lessons by private teachers, paid for by the parents, was the accepted way to learn music. High school music groups - choir, glee club, madrigal singers, orchestra, mandolin club - met as an "activity" outside school hours.

The only music certificate available in 1920 was the music supervisor's certificate. A curriculum in Public School Music (PSM) was just being developed in West Virginia institutions of higher learning. With the limited number of positions available, the demand for a PSM degree was minimal. Of the 389 school districts in West Virginia at that time, only a few could afford or justify hiring a music supervisor who would assist the elementary teachers and direct the high school choral instrumental groups. Some districts would -employ a local musician part-time by obtaining temporary certification.

The WVMEA today is a conglomerate of affiliated organizations that serve music education from kindergarten through the doctoral level. It took more than forty years of persistent and dogged effort to make music a part of school/ community life. A real struggle it was, but more about that later.

Tacet . . . for now.

Beginnings of Band 'Festival' vs. 'Contest' - January 1984
A Child is Born - 1936 - February 1984
West Virginia's Struggle for School Music - October 1984
Two Teaching Fields Required - November 1984
College Teachers Unite With WVMEA - February 1985
Finally - A State Music Consultant - March 1985
Stage Bands Developed Gradually - October 1985
Here Comes the Show Choir - January 1986
We Honor Our Presidents - February 1986
Music in the Elementary Grades - February 1986
Music in the Elementary Schools - A Supplement - October 1986
Lowell Mason Started It All - March 1987
The Career of Dr. Will Earhart - April/May 1987
Focus on School Orchestras - November 1987
All-State Orchestra History (Part 1) - January 1988
All-State Orchestra History (Part 2) - February 1988
Community Organizations Promote School Music - September 1988
Clifford W. Brown (1912-1988) Dies in Auto Accident

A collection of articles by John L. Puffenbarger:

Organizing WVMEA Material at Colson Hall - September 1989

Organizing WVMEA Material at Colson Hall

NOTES DA CAPO - By John L. Puffenbarger
September 1989

In 1981 the MENC national office requested that the WVEA create the position of historian in order that records pertaining to music education in our state might be preserved. The WVMEA Executive Board appointed Clifford W. Brown in June of that year to be the first historian, and he served in this capacity until his tragic death in November of 1988.

Since January 1989, when I accepted the WVMEA Executive Board's invitation to assume the responsibility of historian, I have studied the work which Clifford Brown began and have grown very appreciative and grateful for his interest those seven years.

He was well suited for the position of historian. He had been very active in music education since the late 1940s, serving as WVEA president as well as holding other positions. He had collected many documents concerning the WVEA over the years, and he gave his personal collection to the archives at Colson Hall at West Virginia University today.

During the past months I have been studying part of what he collected, It includes 25 boxes of material relating to music education in our state, and it is available at Colson Hall to anyone who wishes to use it for research. Because of its value, it is placed on reserve. Please feel free to look at any of the documents whenever you are on the WVU campus. Materials on file include minutes of past meetings, conference programs, records of affiliate organizations, and records from past presidents. Some materials date from the 1920s.

We need to continue to add to and collection because and value of history lies in the perspective it gives us is we take up the problems of the present. The activities of today become the history of tomorrow; therefore, we should begin now to preserve what we are doing this year. Printed music programs, newspaper articles, pictures (both past and present) should be sent to me during the year so they will become part of' our heritage. My address is: 46 Rohr Avenue, P.O. Box 6, Buckhannon, WV 26201. I hope each of you will take time to send anything you think would be interesting and of value to music educators in the future.

All-State Groups: Part of our Heritage - November 1989
From Sand to Software - January 1990
State Band Festival Divides Into Four Area Festivals (1957) - March 1990
The Early Years at St. Marys - April 1990
Summer Clinics Mark Their End - October 1990
1927: An Idea Is Born! - The All State Groups - November 1990
Solos and Ensembles: The Way To Better Groups - February 1991
Tribute to a Stellar Bandsman - March 1991
Will Budget Cuts Hurt Quality Education? - April/May 1991
Charles H. Gorby – Music Educator/Music Dealer - September 1991
Charles H. Gorby – Music Dealer (Part 2) - October 1991
Music in the Early Years - November 1991
Fred Ross: A Lifetime of Music - November 1991
Fred Ross: Bands Are Our Only Business - January 1992
The WVMEA Gets A Constitution - February 1992
Published Every So Often - March 1992
Why Not A Band Festival? - September 1992
J. Henry Francis: An Early WVMEA Pioneer. - October 1992
History Repeats Itself - 1939 and 1993 - November 1992
A Salute to Richard Wellock - February 1993
A Salute to Richard Wellock (Part II) - March 1993
All-State High School Chorus – 1948 - April/May 1993
A Salute to Marie Botte - September 1993
A Salute to Marie Botte - Part 2 - October 1993
Our Heritage of Excellence - November 1993
Our Heritage of Excellence – Part II - February 1994
The County Directors Association: A Short History - April/May 1994
The WVU Marching Band - November 1994
1923 - Music in Rural Schools - January 1995
Overview - An Early Music Class - February 1995
Performance Ideas From The Past - March 1995
The Changing Face of the WVMEA Conference - April/May 1995

A collection of articles by John L. Puffenbarger: (continued)

Check Events From the 1960s - September 1995

Check Events From the 1960s

NOTES DA CAPO - By John L. Puffenbarger
September 1995


Text not found.
More Events From the 1960s - October 1995
The President's Own - November 1995
Remembering Marie Botte - January 1996
A Life In The Ministry of Music - February 1996
Grin And Bear It - Stories From Concerts - March 1996
More Grin and Bear It Stories - April/May 1996
More Strange Stories - September 1996
Silent Films Led to Music Career - November 1996
A Short History of the WVBA, Part 1 - February 1997
Henry Mayer: Mentor To Young Band Directors - October 1996
The WVBA Develops Regional Festivals - April/May 1997
Bandmasters Consider Affiliation - October 1997
By Train To Seattle - November 1997
Gorby’s Holds First Stage Band Festival - February 1998
Essentials Have to Be Taught – Maurice Taylor - March 1998
Preserving Memories of Quality Music Education - April/May 1998
1963 Southern Division MENC Held in WV - September 1998
Saul Fisher’s Career Remembered - February 1999
Ernest Williams School Touched Many West Virginians - May/June 1999
And We Think We Have It Hard - September 1999
Traveling and Community Bands Encouraged School Bands - November 1999
Marine Band Concert Causes Reflection - February 2000
Henry Shadwell: "Pace Yourself On the Road to Excellence!" - May/June 2000
Motion, Noise and Tears Affect Music Education - September 2000
College Teachers Band Together - Part One - November 2000
Growth of the College Music Educators Association - Part Two - February 2001
Schroeder Was a Model of Respect, Professionalism - May/June 2001
Piano Division Is "Key" Component of WVMEA - September 2001
Conference Growth Presents Challenge - November 2001
WVMEA Changes With The Times - February 2002
Weather Affects WVMEA Conferences - May/June 2002
Weather Affects Outside Performances - September 2002
Enlightening the Future - November 2002
WVMEA Conferences Changed With Times - February 2003
Fred Ross Remembered - May/June 2003
The Evolution of the Elementary Music Program - Fall 2003
WVMEA Fortunate to Hear Children’s Voices - Winter 2004
A History of the Charleston High School Band – Part 1 - Spring 2004
A History of the Charleston High School Band - Part 2 - Fall 2004
Remembering Charles H. Gorby - Winter 2005
Inaugural Parades And Winter Weather - Spring 2005
WVMEA Holds Its First Conference - 1946 - Fall 2005
Happy 70th Birthday, WVMEA - Winter 2006
The Huntington State Band Festival - Spring 2006
George Deitz and the Parkersburg “Big Red” Band - Fall 2006
From Town Band to School Bands: A Brief History - Winter 2007
Storer College and Music Education - Spring 2007
Promoting General Music in Elementary Schools - Fall 2007
The Beginnings of WVMEA Solo and Ensemble Festivals - Winter 2008
Charles Gorby: “First stage band festival was money well spent” - Spring 2008
1929: All-State Orchestra and Chorus Organized - Fall 2008
The Importance of Preserving Music Education History - Winter 2009