Memorial Set for University Wind Ensemble
Founder, Benton Minor
March 05, 2003 :: No. 162
it stems from our feelings and deals with our
emotions.” Minor’s life in music began as a fifth grader
playing the tuba at his school in Escondido, California. Later his
junior high school band director inspired him to make music his
career. After graduating from Escondido High School in 1946, Minor
enlisted in the Navy and served as a weatherman for two years in
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After his discharge, he earned a Bachelors
of Arts degree in Music Education from UCLA and a Masters of Arts
degree in Music Education from Claremont Graduate School.
Benton Minor, Professor
Emeritus of Music at California State University, Fullerton,
and dedicated music educator for forty years, died Tuesday,
February 25, 2003, of natural causes. He was 75.
During his 26-year tenure at CSUF, Minor served in a number
of capacities including the Director of Bands. He was Department
Chair for ten years and founder of the University’s
Wind Ensemble. An integral part of the department’s
program for outstanding instrumental majors, the Wind Ensemble
under Minor’s direction received international acclaim
while performing in Europe and Japan.
“Music is life,” Minor once said. “It comes
Prior to joining the faculty at CSUF, Minor
was an acclaimed director of high school bands for fourteen years.
Bands under his direction were consistently rated among the top
groups in California, won numerous awards, and marched in the Rose
Parade on five occasions.
One facet of Minor’s legacy is the host of former
students who have themselves become highly successful music educators
and performers throughout the United States. The professor’s
passion for music inspired them to develop their own musicianship.
Gene Pokorny, tuba player with the Chicago Symphony, considers Benton
Minor “one of the most influential guiding lights” in
his career. “Mr. Minor was a person who made a difference
in the lives he touched.”
Minor served on the board of the Southern California
School Band and Orchestra Association, was its president from 1981-1985,
and received its Honorary Life Award in 1984. Throughout his career,
he guest conducted district, county, and state high school honor
bands, and he lead the orchestra for numerous Fullerton Light Opera
Company productions. After his retirement in 1993, Minor rediscovered
the joy of playing the tuba as a member of the Rose Drive Friends
Church Orchestra and the Placentia Community Concert Band.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Geraldine
Cassem Minor; daughters Carolynn Reed of Redlands, Denise Newberry
of Placentia, Deborah Buckles of Riverside; sons Ronald Minor of
Anaheim, and Robert Minor of Fullerton; and seven grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at the Rose Drive
Friends Church, 4221 Rose Drive, Yorba Linda on Friday, March 7,
2003 at 4:00 p.m. Flowers may be sent to the church Friday. Donations
to the “Benton Minor Scholarship” fund may be sent to
CSUF Music Department, C/O Benton Minor Scholarship, P.O. Box 6850,
Fullerton, CA 92834. Please make checks payable to UAF (University
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