Monday, January 22, 2007

Irving D. Dreibrodt: 1920-2007

This afternoon, legendary band director Irving D. Dreibrodt passed away.

Dr. Dreibrodt was a member of the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame, and a good biography of him and an excellent digital scrapbook can be found on that site.

Dr. Dreibrodt will be best known for his 25 years as director of the Southern Methodist University Mustang Band, and I had the privilege of being in the Mustang Band during his final three years as director.

There is no group to which I feel any greater commitment and loyalty than the Mustang Band. Being part of that group gave me some of my greatest moments of personal and collective accomplishment. The Mustang Band taught me more about going beyond perceived limitations than anything else I have ever done. The Mustang Band played a major role in shaping who I am today. It is difficult to adequately put into words what the Mustang Band continues to mean to me. Nonetheless, I can articulate at least two more things. First, there are many, many others that have these same feelings. Second, even though there are many others to whom I can give credit for my Mustang Band experiences, there is no question that the source for those experiences, feelings, and lessons was one man--Irving D. Dreibrodt. His vision and his spirit touched and strongly influenced everyone that has been in the Mustang Band since 1958.

The man we all called "Coach" was a uniquely savvy, colorful, and charmingly ornery character, even by Texas standards. There are so many stories that give witness to that fact, and perhaps sometime I will post some of them here. However, in the meantime, two more pictures of the inimitable Irving D. Dreibrodt will have to suffice.

UPDATE: Today is January 27, and Coach's memorial service happened yesterday. What a great day it was. I have never been--and probably will never go--to a memorial service in which there was so much laughter as well as love. And that's just the way Coach would have wanted it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your post about Coach after googling for an official obituary, after learning of his death after catching up on some aol email. The Mustang Band era that he led is long gone, but his passing is certainly a chance for all of us who were a part of it to celebrate the unique character of the organization he shaped and led. Hubba.

1/25/2007 8:41 PM  
Blogger WCharles said...

In case you don't know, the Diamond M Club has a Yahoo group, and there are plenty of posts there about Coach. The address is
You have to register and then get approved before you can read all the comments, but you might find the effort worthwhile.

Also just in case you don't know--and if you are in Dallas--the memorial service will be at 2:00 at Highland Park UMC. There will be a reserved section for Mustang Band folks. We will be singing Varsity at the end of the service. Immediately following the service, the Mustang Band and all alums will play Loyalty, Shanty, and the Peruna Sequence. After that there will be a gathering at Ozona (Greenville and Yale) from 4-6.

All in all, although there will be a sense of loss, the whole day is going to be a big celebration. Coach wouldn't want it any other way.

You are correct that the previous era is long gone, but Coach's spirit is still part of the Mustang Band. It was certainly there with Bob and Lou. Claude had some understanding of it in his one year, and while many people won't believe this, Kehler had some understanding of it as well. And of course, with Tommy there as the assistant (and still there), Coach's spirit was still in the Band. And now that Don is the director, that spirit will continue. In fact, shortly after Don took the job, he started doing and saying some things just like Coach. It was really humorous.

And who knows? Maybe that bygone era will more fully return.


1/25/2007 10:49 PM  
Blogger WCharles said...

Here are the details on Friday's activities:

The memorial services for Dr. Irving Dreibrodt ("Coach") will be Friday, Jan. 26 at 2 PM in the sanctuary of Highland Park UMC. Band alumni are invited to sit together in a reserved block, but please be inside the sanctuary by 1:30 as an overflow crowd is expected. Alumni and current band will sing Varsity at the end of the service, and will play Shanty, Loyalty, and Peruna sequence outside the church after the service. Bring your instrument with you to the church, and they will be monitored by current band members during the service. Even if you don't want to play along, come and join us for the singing and swaying. After the service, we are all invited to a celebration of Coach's life at Ozona Grill and Bar from 4 PM until 6 PM. SMU is hosting the gathering and will provide the food. Beverages will be handled via "cash bar".

1/25/2007 11:03 PM  

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