Ohio Music Education Association

Musical Legends

Dr. Donald E. McGinnis (1917 - 2016)

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A Life Timeline

  • The Early Years
    Donald E. McGinnis born in Barberton, Ohio, on October 21, 1917.

    The Ohio State University Concert Band founded by Eugene J. Weigel.
  • 1930’s
    Donald E. McGinnis graduated from Wadsworth High School.


    Student at Oberlin Conservatory, supporting himself through school. Played in the campus big band, the Campus Cavaliers, playing lead alto saxophone, doubling on clarinet, flute, tenor saxophone as needed.

    George Enesco guest conducts the Oberlin Orchestra with McGinnis playing second clarinet.

    Nadia Boulanger guest conducts the Oberlin Orchestra with McGinnis playing on the Fauré Requiem.

    McGinnis hears a piano recital by Serge Rachmaninoff at Oberlin.
  • 1940’s
    Elected to Pi Kappa Lambda, honorary national fraternity. Selected by the faculty as Outstanding Instrumental Practice Teacher of 1939–1940, therefore chosen to conduct the Oberlin High School Band during his fifth year at the Conservatory.

    Oberlin High School concert and marching band director, private clarinet teacher.

    Senior Recital in Warner Concert Hall: Sonata in E-flat, op.120, no. 2 by Brahms, Grand Duo Concertant, op. 48 by Weber, Lamento et Tarentelle by Grovlez, Trio in E-flat, op.14, no. 2 by Mozart.

    Received the Mus.B. degree in performance and B.Mus.Ed. degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. William D. Revelli founded the College Band Directors National Association. Hired by Eugene Weigel to teach all of the woodwinds, assist with both the Concert and Marching Bands, and conduct the regimental bands at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Salary was $1,920. As such assumed the solo clarinet chair in the Concert Band under the direction of Manley Whitcomb. Performed two faculty clarinet recitals.

    Won audition to play principal clarinet with the Columbus Philharmonic.

    In May, enlisted in the US Navy and was principal clarinet and featured soloist in a superior musical unit, United States navy Pre-Flight School Band, stationed at the USN Preflight School in Iowa City and assistant conductor of the chamber orchestra. Met flutist, Ralph Johnson and trum peter, Adolph “Bud” Herseth. Began graduate studies at the University of Iowa, with Himie Voxman and Greeley Clapp.

    Assigned to the United States Naval Communications School at Harvard University. Received a commission as Ensign and was appointed communi cations officer on the USS Lucidor (AF-45) with duty in the South Pacific.

    Honorably discharged as Lt. JG in December. Returned to University of Iowa to complete graduate studies.

    Graduated with a Masters of Arts in Education. Clarinet recital consisted of music by Brahms, Schumann and Milhaud. Married Ruth Louise Ostrander, November 28, 1946. Resumed responsibilities at Ohio State, full time flute professor and associate conductor of The Ohio State University Concert Band.

    Part-time clarinet with the Columbus Philharmonic.

    Performs as clarinetist on the Mozart Quintet in A minor, K. 581 with the Walden String Quartet on the Prestige Chamber Music Concert Series in Columbus, Ohio.
  • 1950’s
    Assigned to be Head of the Instrumental Division

    Unpaid leave of absence to pursue Ph.D. at University of Iowa. Final Thesis: Symphony for Band (in five movements), by Donald E. McGinnis

    Whitcomb on leave from OSU; McGinnis named Interim Director of the Concert Band and Jack O. Evans Interim Director of the Marching Band.

    Promoted to Associate Professor at The Ohio State University.

    Resumed position as principal flute of the newly formed Columbus Little Symphony, which became the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

    Became Director of the Concert Band; Evans became Director of the Marching Band. School of Music Director Eugene Weigel eliminates the position Director of Bands.

    Graduated with a Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of Iowa.

    Principal flutist with the Wheeling Symphony

    World Premiere of the Symphony for Band by Donald E. McGinnis with The Ohio State University Concert Band. Accolades from Percy Grainger. Welcome daughter, Rebecca, into their lives.

    Elected to the American Band Masters Association.

    Performed the Symphony for Band by Hindemith (written in 1951). Welcome daughter, Martha, into their lives.
  • 1960’s
    Performance of “America the Beautiful,” arranged by Richard Heine for the thirtieth anniversary of the National Seminar on Radio and Television, May 6.

    Colonel William Santelmann (U.S. Marine Band) guest conducts the Concert Band with Dr. Donald E. McGinnis as clarinet soloist performing his own transcription of Solo de Concours by Messager.

    Concert Band invited to perform at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio for the North Central division of the Music Educators National Conference, April 9. Performs in Cleveland for the American School Band Directors Association. The recording, Clarinet Contest Mu sic with Donald E. McGinnis, clarinet released by the Selmer Company.

    Co-founder (flute) of The Ohio State University Faculty Woodwind Quintet. Concert Band performs eight transcriptions and one original piece of Lucien Cailliet with Caillet on the podium.

    Concert Band recorded the music from the Ohio required and selected contest lists. Began recording the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) required concert band list with the Concert Band. Errata sheets prepared and distributed.

    Concert Band performs as the main feature for the MENC convention in Philadelphia, March 13. Performed Ingolf Dahl’s Sinfonietta (1961)

    Served as assistant Conductor of the Columbus Symphony

    Concert Band performs for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Cleveland, Ohio.

    Concert Band performs and records the music of Vincent Persichetti on campus. Prelude: “So Pure the Star,” Symphony No. 6 for Band conducted by Persichetti). Concert Band performs for the College Band Directors National Association Silver Anniversary on February 10, at the invitation of William D. Revelli, with guest composer Vaclav Nelhybel. Symphony for Band by Ian Polster and Overture to the School for Scandal by Samuel Barber arranged by Frank Hudson were premiered at a special demonstration concert.

    Performed Variations on a Korean Folk Song by John Barnes Chance (1966)

    Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center Concert Band perfor mance. Included was Gunther Schuller’s Dyptich for Brass Quintet featuring the Ohio State University Faculty Brass Quintet.

    Appointed Chairman of the Performance Division of the School of Music
  • 1970’s
    Performed Karl Husa’s Music for Prague 1968 (1968)

    Concert Band performs for the 36th annual convention of The American Bandmasters Association in Columbus, Ohio.

    Concert Band performs with guest soloist and conductor, Leonard B. Smith.

    Carnegie Hall Concert Band performance including Jubilant Overture by John LaMontaine, arranged by Frank Hudson.

    Appointed Acting Director of the School of Music at The Ohio State University.

    Nilo Hovey, Educational Director of Selmer Division conducted two selections with the Concert Band.

    MENC Atlantic City Concert Band performance “In the Grand Tradition of John Philip Sousa” was guided and narrated by Paul Bierley, noted historian and Sousa biographer.

    Vice President, then President of The American Bandmasters Association.

    Symphony for Band by Donald E. McGinnis used as the required piece for the Ohio Music Education Association Contest, Class A selection (Available from Hal Leonard); Resolution from the Ohio House of Representatives for outstanding contributions in teaching, performance, and leadership. 25th Anniversary as Concert Band director.

    March 2, 1977
    Honorary Life Memberships in TBDBITL (The Best Damn Band in the Land) and the Ohio State University Alumni Band (September 10, 1977).

    Composer Roger Nixon conducted many of his works with the Concert Band in Mershon Auditorium on campus.

    Retirement, as Professor Emeritus, from The Ohio State University
    Interim conductor of the Capital University Wind Ensemble and Columbus Youth Wind Ensemble.

    Appointed conductor of the Southwestern Symphony Orchestra in New Concord, Ohio.
  • 1980’s
    Received the Medal of Honor from the Midwest Clinic in Chicago

    Interim band director at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
  • 1990’s
    The Donald E. McGinnis Concert Band Scholarship established by the Board of Trustees of The Ohio State University; the scholarship is funded by family, friends, and former students. Later, renamed The Donald E. and Ruth L. McGinnis Concert Band Scholarship.

    Elected Honorary Life Member of The American Bandmasters Association.
  • 21st Century
    Elected Honorary Life President of the American Bandmasters Association.

    Elected to the Wadsworth High School Hall of Fame.

    Presented flute clinic at the National Flute Association Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

    October 28th - Passed away peacefully in Hilliard, Ohio

McGinnis Rehearsal Phrases

  • Prepare the attack: attack cleanly.

  • Listen for the release: ensemble.

  • Tune to the bass note of the chord.

  • Clarinets keep pitch down, so flutes will not sound flat.

  • Clarity, pungency, accent.

  • Follow the beat; do exactly what the baton says.

  • Dynamic inflection.

  • You must believe that you can play still softer.

  • Melodic flow: fluidity in technic.

  • “Hit” the notes versus “lift” the note.

  • Press-release: almost a tenuto style.

  • Space.
Read More Phrases
  • Group the notes in rhythmic motion (group the sixteenth note with the next notes).

  • Always have a lead pencil at rehearsals for dynamics, wrong notes, slurring and grouping.

  • Sing!

  • Find the melody in every measure: find the peak of the phrase.

  • Subordinate your part to the melody. If you cannot hear it, you are too loud.

  • The composer cannot possibly indicate all nuances and subtleties; they must be added.

  • How short is short? How long is long? How loud is loud? How fast is fast?

  • Play lighter in virtuoso passages. Keep the air stream working for you.

  • You must begin and end absolutely together: ideally, play everything between.

  • Longer notes for forte volume, shorter notes for piano (and vice versa).

  • For control in pianissimo, close the oral cavity and support firmly (mild hiss).

  • When music is rapid, don’t try to tongue too short.

  • Don’t stop the tones with the tongue when you want legato or melodic shaping.

  • In fact, when should the tones be stopped that abruptly?

  • Wait for rapid notes (or grace notes), then play quickly and succinctly.

  • Use the same sound on every note, (if the same length).

  • Use different sounds on each note, (if different lengths).

  • Use the same volume on each note.

  • Tempo rubato: bend the phrase.

  • Play on top of the sound (or tempo).

  • Do not change either pitch or tone quality for forte-piano, crescendo, or diminuendo.

  • Center the tone and the intonation.

  • Intonation is often a matter of sheer pride and determination.

  • Play exactly (not approximately!) what the composer wrote: notes, slurs, dynamics, rhythm.

  • Don’t run away from the first note. Set it with accent and/or tenuto. Your tempo deviations are usually in consecutive notes of the same value.
Read More Phrases

Media and Publications

  • Video Links
    Oct 14, 2007 YouTube of Dad’s interview for his 90th birthday https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=AuMb5viQ8FA

    ABC6 May 1979 YouTube news story on Dad’s last concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwNDErOmO8k
  • Musical Publications by Dr. Donald E. McGinnis Musical Compositions
    From the document, The Professional Life of Dr. Donald E. McGinnis by Jaime Rowe Titus:

    McGinnis, Donald E., and Edmund Siennicki. Etudes for the Advanced Clarinetist. Delaware Water Gap, PA.: Shawnee Press, 1969.

    McGinnis, Donald E. Symphony for Band. Oskaloosa, Iowa: Band Music Press, 1977.
  • Solo Recording Performances
    McGinnis, Donald E. Clarinet Contest Music. With Gertrude Kuehefuhs, piano.
    Marbeck Records, XCTV 63137- 63138. © 1961.
    (Includes Allegro from Sonata in F Major / Handel; Three Bagatelles for clarinet and piano / Finzi; Fughetta / Forlana; Chanson Moderne / Hovey-Leonard; Allegretto / Gaubert; Caprice / Kennaway; First Concertino / Guilhaud; Solo de Concours / Rabaud; Lamento et Tarantelle / Grovlez; Lyrical Piece / Barlow; Arabesques / Jeanjean; Fantasia and Rondo / Weber.)

    McGinnis, Donald E. Dr. Donald E. McGinnis Flute and Clarinet Duets.
    The Coronet Recording Co. Record number not listed. © 1967.
    (Includes Six Duets / Bavicchi; Andante-Allegretto / Keller-Waln; Four Movements from Duo K. 487 / Mozart- Waln; Duet for flute and clarinet / Szalowski; Sonatine for flute and clarinet / Cartan; Giguetta and Bouree / Bach-Voxman; Barcarolle in Canon / Halvan- Voxman; Divertissement No. 2 / Herrig-Voxman; Adagio / Stamitz-Voxman; Night Piece / Obrecht-Voxman.)

    McGinnis, Donald. Donald McGinnis Plays Clarinet with Pianist Myra Baker.
    Coronet Recording Company, LPS 1705A. © 1969.
    (Includes Fantasy Ballet / Mazellier; Three Romances, op. 94 / Schumann; Fantaisie Itallienne / Bozza; Sonata in c minor / Telemann; Petite Piece / Quet; Romanza / Hosmer; Finale from Concerto No. 1 / Spohr.)

    McGinnis, Donald E. Etudes for the Advanced Clarinetist.
    Shawnee Press, N-186. © 1969.
    (Includes Etudes 1-13.)
  • Ensemble Recording Performances
    The Ohio State University Faculty Woodwind Quintet. With Donald McGinnis, Robert Titus, William Baker, George Wilson, and William Kearns.
    Coronet Recording Company, RR4M-6544-5. © 1963.
    (Includes Passacaglia / Barthe; The Turtle Dove / Hirsch; Menuetto and Trio / Haydn; Andante Grazioso / Klughardt; Petite Suite / Balay; Allegro / Siennicki; Mardrigal to the Moon / Borowski; Prelude for Quintet / LeFebvre; Divertissement / Hartley; Scherzo / Stainer.)

    McGinnis, Donald E. Donald E. McGinnis, William Conable, Rosemary Platt.
    Coronet Recording Company, LPS 3023. © 1974
    (Includes Trio No. 4 in Bb Major, op. 11 / Beethoven; Trio No. 5 in A Minor, op. 114 / Brahms.)
  • The Ohio State University Concert Band Recordings
    McGinnis, Donald E., dir. 30th Anniversary Concert. The Ohio State University Concert Band.
    Original sound recording distributed by Musicade, Inc., LP1008. © 1959.
    (Includes Symphony for Band / Persichetti; Impressions of a Scottish Air / Ployhar; Crosley March / Fillmore; Montmartre March / Wood-Hawkins; Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral / Wagner-Cailliet; Waltz from Symphony for Band / McGinnis; Buckeye Ballads / Heine; Coat of Arms Concert March / Kenny.)

    McGinnis, Donald E., dir. The Ohio State Concert Band. The Ohio State University Concert Band.
    Coronet Recording Company, LP XCTV-90378-9. © 1963.
    (Includes Raymond Overture / Thomas; New Colonial March / Hall; Solo de concours / Rabaud; Joyous Interlude / Lee; Mannin Veen: A Manx Poem / Wood; Allegro from Concerto for Two Trumpets / Vivaldi; Bugler’s Holiday / Anderson; Buckeye Ballads / Heine.)

    McGinnis, Donald E., dir. All-Persichetti Program. The Ohio State University Concert Band.
    Coronet Recording Company, LPS 1247. © 1968.
    (Includes only works by Persichetti: Symphony No. 6, op. 69; Chorale Prelude: So Pure the Star, op. 91; Bagatelles, op. 87; Masquerade, op. 102; Serenade for Band, op. 85; Psalm, op. 53.)

    McGinnis, Donald E., dir. On the Lighter Side. The Ohio State University Concert Band.
    Coronet Recording Company, W4RS-3275-6. © 1968.
    (Includes Independentia / Hall; Variations on a Korean Folk Song / Chance; Overture to “Oberon” / Weber; Circus / Greenwood; Shawl Dance / Skinner; The Three Trumpeters / Agostini; Burlesque / Grundman; Carnival Suite / Tansman; Children’s March / Grainger.)

    McGinnis, Donald E., dir. Philharmonic Hall Concert March 21, 1968. The Ohio State University Concert Band.
    Coronet Recording Company, W4RS-4374-5. © 1968.
    (Includes Overture in F / Mehul; Symphonic Movement / Nelhybel; Variations on a Korean Folk Song / Chance; Symphony in B-flat for Concert Band / Hindemith; Dyptich for Concert Band / Schuller; March “Independentia” / Hall; Carnival Suite / Tansman; Buckeye Ballads / Heine.)

    McGinnis, Donald E., dir. March Masterpieces. The Ohio State University Concert Band.
    Mark Records, MCBS35809. © 1970.
    (Includes Men of Ohio / Fillmore; El Abanico / Javaloyes- Hume; Army of the Potomac / Karrick; Anchor and Star / Sousa; Brooke’s Chicago Marine Band March / Seitz; The Ohio Special / King; Gardes du corps / Hall; R.A.F. March / Davies; Minnesota March / Sousa- Fennell; The Southerner / Alexander; March Lorraine / Ganne-Mahl; The Conquerer / Teike-Laurendeau.)

    McGinnis, Donald E., dir. The Ohio State University Concert Band at Carnegie Hall. The Ohio State University Concert Band.
    Mus-I-col, Inc. LP 101423-6. © 1972.
    (Includes Jubilant Overture, op. 20 / Lamontaine; Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra / Creston; Sinfonietta for Concert Band / Dahl; Children’s March, “Over the Hills and Far Away” / Grainger; In Memoriam / Brunelli; Lincolnshire Posy / Grainger; Buckeye Ballad / Heine.)

    McGinnis, Donald E. America: A Salute to Achievement. The Ohio State University Concert Band with historical commentary by Lowell Thomas.
    Advent Records, ASP4005. © 1976.
  • Articles to Read
    McGinnis, Donald E. “The Flute Double.” The Instrumentalist 9, no. 6 (February 1955): 20-23.

    McGinnis, Donald E. “Good Intonation and How to Achieve It.” School Musician 34 (November 1962): 44-5, 51.

    McGinnis, Donald E. “They are Making America Musical.” School Musician 49 (March 1978): 6, 63.

    McGinnis, Donald E. “Doubling Up on Success.” The Instrumentalist 47 (October 1992): 28-30, 33.

    McGinnis, Donald E. “Rehearsal Warmups and Intonation.” The college and university band: An anthology of papers from the conferences of the College Band Directors National Association, 1941-1975, edited by David Whitwell. Reston, Va: Music Educators National Conference, c1977 OCLC# 3630408; LCCN 77-84482

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