Friday, November 18, 2011

Cmdr. Donald Stauffer, 1919-2011

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our shipmate, the fourth leader of the U.S. Navy Band, Cmdr. Donald Stauffer. Cmdr. Stauffer's contributions to the Navy Band, Navy music and the Navy are still being felt today. He was exactly what we expect from a member of 'The World's Finest.' Fair winds and following seas, sir." -Capt. Brian O. Walden, Commanding Officer, United States Navy Band.

Retired Cmdr. Donald Stauffer, fourth leader of the United States Navy Band, died yesterday morning in Birmingham, Ala. He was 92.

Stauffer was the leader of the Navy Band from 1968-1973. He oversaw the creation of the Commodores jazz ensemble, Country Current country-bluegrass ensemble, and Port Authority popular music ensemble. Stauffer also founded the New Music Workshop, and was instrumental in bringing the first woman into the Navy Music Program, Evangeline Bailey.

He attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where he received his bachelor's degree, master's degree and performer's certificate. Stauffer joined the Navy Band in 1942, playing string bass and tuba.

In 1954, Stauffer earned a doctor of philosophy in music education from the Catholic University of America. After being selected for warrant officer in 1956, Stauffer completed tours as the leader of the New York Naval Base Band, head of academic training at the Naval School of Music in Washington, D.C., assistant leader of the Navy Band, and finally as leader of the Navy Band in 1968.

After retiring in 1973, Stauffer served as associate professor at Birmingham Southern College, orchestra director at Altamont Preparatory School, and founder and conductor of the Birmingham Community Concert Band.

Stauffer is survived by his wife, Eva Stauffer; and his two sons, Mark Stauffer and Brent Stauffer.

Follow this link for a collection of photographs of Cmdr. Stauffer.

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