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|Hall of Fame for Jack White|
In his 72 years, Jack White has enjoyed a wide-range of experiences, but few of them can top his induction in the Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity Hall of Fame.
White was joined by family, friends and former students in Chicago Dec. 26-28 for his induction ceremony. He is the fifth person in the world to ever be inducted into the fraternity's hall of fame. The group was organized in 1938.
White said seeing his former students, friends and family from all over the country was one of the highlights of the trips. He learned that many of them wrote letters to the fraternity nominating him for the hall of fame.
"When you're 72 years old you think you've done everything you're going to do, but all of a sudden you get a letter saying you've been selected for the hall of fame," said White, a veteran band leader who serves as president of the Ouachita Parish School Board.
"Unbeknownst to me, they met and decided to do this … I surely didn't campaign for it," White said.
He said the ceremony was an emotional experience for him. He choked up while reflecting on the event.
"Seeing those students, and the fact that they would pay their way out of their own pocket to come to this thing…all of my children were there, except for my son who couldn't get off work," White said. "One came from Texas; one came from Alabama; and the other from Kansas City."
We had a great time just being together," White continued. "The fact that they would take time away from their jobs and their families to come be with me …
"The fact that they were there to support me made it even more special. It was a very, very emotional thing.
"Of course, looking around and seeing former students of mine, and band directors I've known for 50 years … all of that was just very awesome to me. It was a tremendous highlight. I'll never ever forget it. I can't imagine that something like that could happen to me, and I just thank all of my friends and I thank the Lord for blessing me like this."
White began his teaching career at Ouachita Parish Junior High School in 1958, after serving in the Army. He was director of bands at Ouachita Parish High School, and from 1970 to 1991 he served as director of bands and associate professor of music at then-Northeast Louisiana University.
In 1990, White was elected to serve a four-year term on the Ouachita Parish School Board. He has been elected to the school board four times since 1990. He has served as president of the board on numerous occasions. White last week was elected to serve as the board's president again.
White actually served as Phi Beta Mu's president for six years in the early 1980s and was responsible for establishing new chapters in various states.
White also serves as conductor of the Twin City Concert Band, a volunteer group of adult musicians from all walks of life. The group has received the coveted Sudler Silver Scroll Award, naming it as one of the best community bands in the United States.