Arts and Entertainment

Blue Band Director Bundy announces retirement

Blue Band Director O. Richard Bundy is silhouetted against a blazing sunset as he addresses prospective rookies on the Blue Band practice field. This will be Dr. Bundy's "season of lasts," as he will retire July 1, 2015. Credit: Annemarie Mountz / Penn StateCreative Commons

O. Richard Bundy, the man whose name has been associated with the Penn State Blue Band for more than 30 years, will be retiring effective July 1, 2015.

"Dr. Bundy has demonstrated exceptional support of student learning throughout his time on the faculty," said Sue Haug, director of the School of Music. "He makes extraordinary efforts to engage and encourage students – music majors as well as Blue Band and Concert Band members, most of whom are not music majors. With around 300 members in the Blue Band, it is remarkable that Dr. Bundy knows every student’s name, and often their major and where they are from. He looks over every Blue Band student’s GPA at the end of fall semester to make sure that priorities are maintained. It is clear that the welfare of the students always come first with him."

Bundy was a graduate assistant with the Blue Band from 1980-1983. He served as acting assistant director of the band from 1983 to 1987, when he was named assistant director. He was named director in 1996. During his tenure, the band moved into its first permanent home on campus, the Blue Band Building, which opened in 2004. The Blue Band previously operated from staff offices located in the Music Building, and equipment was stored in trailers located on the edge of the practice field.

In addition to directing the Blue Band and overseeing the college's other athletic bands, he is director of the Concert Band, teaches courses in conducting, marching band techniques, instrumental music education, and band literature. The College of Arts and Architecture is launching a nationwide search for his replacement.

"As I think about Dr. Bundy, devoted faculty member and Penn State alumnus, I think of a man who has lived the words of his alma mater. Certainly he is one 'who loves thy name' and whose life has 'swelled her fame.' He has contributed so much to the School of Music and to the University – and has done it with incredible humility and integrity. These will be very big shoes to fill," Haug said.

Bundy said he hasn't had a chance to think about his final season yet. "I'm sure it's going to be emotional at times, as I think of doing things with the band for the last time. I think it will mean a great deal to be able to have this final season with the band, and to take some satisfaction in having represented Penn State well. I will enjoy working with this last group of students as we get ready to go forward and do the best job we can for Penn State."

An active guest conductor and adjudicator, Bundy, professor of music education,  has conducted ensembles and presented clinics throughout the eastern United States and Canada. He is a member of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), Music Educators National Conference, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, Phi Beta Mu, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He is a past president of the Eastern Division of CBDNA and Phi Beta Mu, Nu chapter.

He received his undergraduate degree in music education from Penn State and, after receiving a master's degree from The University of Michigan, returned to Penn State for his doctoral degree. Prior to his appointment to the faculty, he served as trombonist with the United States Continental Army Band and as band director/instrumental music instructor in the Iroquois School District in Erie.

In 2009, Bundy received the President's Award for Engagement with Students. In 2013, he was honored with the Alumni Fellow Award, the highest award given by the Penn State Alumni Association.

"I had the pleasure of spending time with the Blue Band at the 2009 Rose Bowl game and Rose Parade. The students’ performances on the field and in the parade certainly demonstrated very high expectations and excellent preparation, but it was off the field that most impressed me. He models, expects and therefore receives the best citizenship from the students and that, in turn, ensures that they represent Penn State in an exemplary fashion. This is not something to take lightly," Haug said.

"Dr. Bundy is one of the most influential people in my life," said Ian Kenney, Blue Band drum major from 2010-12 and current band director at Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown, Del. "I'm so thankful to have had the experience of working closely with Dr. Bundy for three years. There are few finer examples of character, humility, musicianship and leadership in this world."

In retirement, Bundy will have a lot to keep him busy. "My plans include addressing the 'honey-do' list my wife has been compiling for 35 years," he joked, adding, "I do have some longstanding interests such as photography, woodworking and learning to play guitar that I look forward to having time to  pursue in retirement, and I hope to get back to performing on trombone -- something that has been on the back burner for quite some time." He also plans to travel, and to spend time with his four children and five grandchildren.

"I'm sure I'll be nostalgic on Saturdays during the fall of 2015," the first season after he retires, Bundy said. " I'm a Penn Stater at heart and will always be cheering on the students and staff of the Blue Band as they continue to 'raise the song' for the University we love."

O. Richard Bundy conducts the Blue Band at Tailgreat, held at the Bryce Jordan Center before the start of the Penn State football game vs. University of Central Florida, Sept. 14, 2013. Bundy announced his retirement, effective July 1, 2015. Credit: Annemarie Mountz / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated August 04, 2014