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Beach Hall of Distinction

Learn more about the Beach Hall of Distinction

The Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction Award recognizes outstanding achievements in music administration, composition, performance, service, teaching, and other accomplishments in music by Emporia State University music alumni, music faculty, or advocates of the Department of Music. Criteria for selection include significant contributions in music benefiting the university, community, state, or nation and outstanding reputation within the music profession.

This award is named in honor of Frank A. Beach, distinguished Chair of Music at Kansas State Normal School. Mr. Beach was nationally recognized as a leader in public school music instruction and served as President of the Music Supervisors National Conference, the predecessor of the Music Educators National Conference.

The Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction was initiated in 1994.

Nominations for membership are accepted throughout the year. Nomination forms are available from the Department of Music, Emporia State University.

Mailing address:

Dr. Allan Comstock, Chair
ESU Department of Music, Box 4029
1200 Commercial St.
Emporia, KS 66801

Phone: 316-341-5431


Members who have been inducted into the Beach Hall of Distinction. Select the names below to see their bios:

Robert E. Bays (1994)

Dr. Robert E. Bays received his Ph.D. from George Peabody College, his M.A. from the Teachers College of Columbia University, and his B.S. in music education from Emporia State University in 1946. An accomplished performer on horn, Dr. Bays held positions in teaching and performance at Wichita State University and with the Wichita and Nashville Symphonies. His administrative experience as Director of the School of Music at George Peabody College, the University of Texas, and the University of Illinois established him as one of the leading consultants in higher education in music. Dr. Bays has served as the President of the National Association of Schools of Music and in numerous prestigious organizations in higher education. He was the recipient of the "Distinguished Alumnus" award from Emporia State University in 1986. Robert E. Bays was inducted in the Beach Hall of Distinction on April 23, 1994.

Forrest L. Buchtel (1994)

Dr. Forrest L. Buchtel received an Honorary Doctorate from Vandercook College of Music, a M.S. from Northwestern University, a B.M.E. and M.M. from Vandercook College of Music, and an A.B. from Simpson College in 1921. Dr. Buchtel held teaching positions at Amundsen and Lane Technical High Schools in Chicago, and retired from Vandercook College of Music in 1985. From 1925 to 1930, Dr. Buchtel was the Director of Bands at Emporia State University (then Kansas State Teacher's College). Dr. Buchtel is internationally known as a composer. It was through his compositions that countless school music programs were able to have educational and artistic literature appropriate for the various proficiency levels of students. Merle Evans, the legendary Director of the Barnum and Bailey Ringling Bros. Circus Band, used Dr. Buchtel’s music exclusively for his band. Dr. Buchtel's composition "Polka Dots Duet" received a Grammy award. Forrest L. Buchtel was inducted into the Beach Hall of Distinction on April 23, 1994.

George C. Wilson (1994)

Dr. George C. Wilson received an Honorary Doctorate from Phillips University, Master of Arts degree from the Teachers College at Columbia University, and his Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Science in music education from the University of Illinois. An accomplished violist and conductor, Dr. Wilson held appointments at the University of Arizona, the Teachers College of Columbia University, and was Director of Band and Orchestra at Emporia State University (then Kansas State Teacher's College) from 1931-1939. Dr. Wilson is a past President of the American Bandmasters Association and was awarded the "Gold Medal of Honor" for distinguished service to music by the Midwest Band and Orchestra Annual Convention. Dr. Wilson has served as Vice-President, Director, and President of the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. His many accomplishments in music education and service to the profession have established him as one of the nation's leading music educators. George C. Wilson was inducted into the Beach Hall of Distinction on April 23, 1994.

Orville Borchers (1995)

Dr. Orville Borchers served with distinction at several universities including the Kansas State Teachers College. During his tenure here, Dr. Borchers held the position of Chair of Music. He was responsible for the organization and development of the Master of Music degree programs, established the campus chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, and organized and conducted the annual Kansas High School Music Clinic. His university symphonic choruses were regular participants at state and national MENC conventions. Within the State of Kansas, Dr. Borchers proved an effective and influential leader. He served two terms as president of the Kansas Music School Association. He was an active musician at several churches in the Emporia community. Dr. Borchers held teaching positions at Texas Woman’s University, De Pauw University, Huntington College, as well as serving as Dean of the School of Music at Southern Methodist University. Orville Borchers was inducted into the Beach Hall of Distinction on April 30, 1995.

Albert Schmutz (1995)

Albert Daniel Schmutz served as professor of composition, choral music, and piano and organ during his thirty year tenure at the Kansas State Teachers College. Distinguished as a teacher of wide renown, Mr. Schmutz maintained an active and prolific career as composer. The vast majority of compositions received national recognition, performance, and publication. Mr. Schmutz, during his tenure at Emporia State, was also involved as summer faculty at the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. In addition to his position at Emporia State, Albert served for a year as Chair of Music at Tabor College. He held a similar position for six years at Bethel College in Newton, Kansas. As a music faculty at Emporia State University, Albert Schmutz touched the lives of numerous students -- people who viewed Albert as professor, mentor, and friend. Many of his former students went on to achieve national distinction in music. Albert Schmutz was inducted into the Beach Hall of Distinction on April 30, 1995.

Irene de Mun Hendricks (1996)

Irene Hendricks has been associated with Emporia State University for over fifty years. She joined the Kansas State Teachers College music faculty in 1938, teaching courses in music theory, choral conducting, and high school music methods, as well as directing the girl's glee club. She held this teaching position for seventeen years. Irene holds degrees from Washburn University and Columbus University Teachers College. She also studied at Julliard School of Music. Irene's other teaching positions include Topeka High School, Emporia High School, and Roosevelt High School. Irene was very active in arts education throughout Kansas. She was awarded a grant to develop an Arts and Humanities course for Kansas high schools for which she produced a course of studies. In 1974, she was appointed as the first Executive Director of the Kansas Alliance for Arts Education. She was a member of the Board of the Kansas Arts Association for 10 years and served as Executive Secretary for 5 years. She also served on the Kansas examining board for Title II. Irene has served as adjudicator for Kansas music festivals and conducted vocal music clinics throughout Kansas. Irene is also recognized for her work and generous support of ESU through scholarship assistance, work with the Alumni association, and support of the arts. Tome Wright, faculty member and former Chair of Music so well expressed our genuine respect and admiration for Irene in these words: She is "patroness of all the arts. Her interest and loyalty has continued over so many years." Irene de Mun Hendricks was inducted into the Beach Hall of Distinction on April 24, 1996.

Orien Dalley (1996)

Orien Dalley's teaching career included teaching positions at the University of Wisconsin, Emporia State University, and finally at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. During his tenure at ESU, Orien served as Orchestra Director. In addition, he was appointed the first conductor of the Wichita Symphony, a position he held until 1949. Orien is nationally recognized for his work in assisting Dr. Joe Maddy to organize the National High School Orchestra, a massive project that provided the impetus for the Interlochen National Music Camp. It was during Orien's early association with the National High School Orchestra that he first met Gretchen Smoot, a cellist from Bloomington, IL. Gretchen went on to attend the University of Wisconsin where she and Orien were eventually married. They had four children: Nielson, John, Melinda, and Elaine. The entire family had close ties with Interlochen. Gretchen taught violin and cello and served as program director for the University of Michigan musical organizations. Their children, and eventually grandchildren, attended the camp as students. Orien was closely associated for many years with the National Music Camp serving on its faculty. He founded and conducted the Honors Orchestra, a mainstay of the organization. Orien retired from the University of Michigan as Emeritus Associate professor of Education. Orien Dalley was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction on April 25, 1996.

Valeta Jeffrey Ives (1996)

Valeta Jeffrey Ives' specialization throughout her educational career was in elementary music instruction. Prior to her association with ESU, Valeta served as music supervisor in the Laboratory School at the State Teachers College in Winona, Minnesota. Valeta's association with Emporia State University began in 1943 with her position in the Education Department. She taught elementary music classes at the Thomas W. Butcher Children's School as well as music methods courses within the teacher education program. In 1960, Valeta transferred to the ESU music department where she continued her elementary music instruction. Valeta's principal teaching duties included elementary music methods courses for music majors and for elementary education majors. She also served as faculty sponsor for the ESU chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, an international music fraternity for women. Valeta has continued a close association with the local SAI alumnae as a chapter charter member. Valeta was a visiting instructor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and conducted numerous workshops and festivals throughout Kansas. She is recognized for her publication of a teachers manual for 15 radio teaching lessons and served on the Kansas state staff for a series of classroom radio programs. Over the years, Valeta has been recognized and respected for her work. Her honors include membership in national, regional, and international Who's Who in Music and the Sigma Alpha Iota Ring of Excellence. It is, perhaps, the words of former Chair of Music and music faculty member Bill Nugent that very well pay tribute to Valeta: "You fully reflect the kind of integrity and personal dignity that one ideally should have. You were always one that I wished for the students to copy." Valeta Jeffrey Ives was inducted in the Beach Hall of Distinction on April 24, 1996.

Wayne Snodgrass (1996)

If one were to describe Wayne Snodgrass, the title Music Man would certainly be appropriate. Wayne's legacy is a 53 year old tradition of music education at Clay Center, Kansas, a program he established in 1937. Wayne Snodgrass received a Bachelor of Music degree from ESU in 1929. He later completed a Master of Music degree at Colorado State University in 1940. Wayne held Kansas teaching positions at Netawaka, Eskridge, and Hiawatha. However, it was his 32 years at Clay Center that distinguished Wayne in his teaching career. While at Clay Center, Wayne was best known for his quality band program. He established an annual music clinic which brought musicians like Rafael Mendez, Doc Severinson, Woody Herman, and Buddy Rich to teach and perform with the students. These performing musicians and clinicians not only inspired the students, but raised and promoted the performance of quality music within the surrounding community. Wayne has been honored by election to the Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame and the Kansas Music Educators Association Hall of Fame. These honors speak volumes of Wayne's strong and sustained impact on music education within the State of Kansas. Doc Severinson, a frequent guest artist for the Clay Center program, perhaps best stated Wayne's legacy when he said, “to me, he was the absolute essence of what music education is really supposed to be about." Wayne Snodgrass was inducted into the Beach Hall of Distinction on April 24, 1996.

Edward Howard Halgedahl (1998)

Edward Howard Halgedahl was a member of the music faculty of Emporia State University from 1972 to 1987. During that period he held the rank of Professor of Bassoon and Conductor of the Orchestra. During his tenure at Emporia State University, he conducted numerous concerts, opera productions, and oratorio performances. He co-founded, along with Karl Bruder, the ESU Homecoming Scholarship Musical and the Annual Music Student Concerto Competition, both of which remain as annual events. Professor Halgedahl held earlier university teaching positions at Fort Hays Kansas State College, and the University of Wichita. Professor Halgedahl also served the Winfield, Kansas Public Schools for a span of 21 years as Supervisor of Music, conductor of orchestra, band, choir, and as Director of the Theory and Humanities Program. Howard worked for many years at the National Music Camp, Interlochen, Michigan where he held several positions including bassoon instructor, orchestra and band conductor, conducting instructor, and musical assistant to the director. He also served for four years during World War II as bassoonist with U.S. Air Forces Band. Professor Halgedahl held a Bachelor of Music degree with Distinction from the University of Arizona, and a Master of Music degree from Eastman School of Music. He also completed post graduate music studies at the University of Wichita and L'Ecole Monteux. As a conductor, Professor Halgedahl held the post of Co-conductor of the Winfield Civic Symphony, and of Assistant Conductor of the Wichita Symphony and the Wichita Youth Symphony. He conducted numerous all-city, regional, and all-state orchestra in communities within Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. Professor Halgedahl was very active as a solo and orchestra performer. His resume lists numerous performances including positions with the Eastman School of Music Orchestra and Band, the North Carolina Symphony, and the U.S. Air Forces Quintet, as well as solo performances with the Wichita Symphony, the University of Michigan Orchestra, and the National Music Camp University Orchestra. Nationally, Howard was recognized for his excellent work with the high school music program in Winfield. Howard Taubman stated in the New York Times: "Do we, in the East, realize that the town of Winfield, Kansas, population 12,500, has one of the most admirable high school orchestra in the nation?" Howard was also recognized as consultant to the Julliard Project on Elementary Education in Music. He served as a member of the Ford Foundation sponsored project entitled Contemporary Music Project for Creativity in Education. Professor Halgedahl received many honors including the Kansas High school Orchestra of the Year Conductor; the Kansas Federation of Music Club's citation for distinguished service to music, to performance, and to contemporary music; membership in the National Society of Literature and the Arts; induction into the Kansas Music Educators Association Hall of Fame; along with numerous honors from Emporia State University Edward Howard Halgedahl was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction on May 2, 1998.

Charles Mason Hendricks (1998)

Charles Mason Hendricks was a member of the music faculty at Emporia State University for 36 years. During his tenure here, he was director the bands as well as the music theory and composition teacher. "Doc" Hendricks is well remembered for the annual Curli-Q musical variety shows, a series of performances that raised scholarship funds. Professor Hendricks composed music and wrote dialogue for many of the acts in addition to directing the pit band for the performances. He is also remembered as the organizer and sponsor of the "Pastels", a campus instrumental dance band, popular for many years. Additionally, Dr. Hendricks organized Band Day at ESU for many years. Dr. Hendricks held teaching positions at New Mexico State College, Stephens College, and the University of Missouri where he was a physics instructor. He served in the U.S. Navy and taught classes in aeronautics. Later, Dr. Hendricks worked as a meteorologist and executive assistant to the System Operations Manager for TWA in Kansas City and Washington D.C. Professor Hendricks held a Bachelor of Science in music education from the University of Illinois, a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in music from the University of Iowa. He studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the Gustat School of Music, and at the National Music Camp in Interlochen. Prior to Dr. Hendrick's teacher career, Chuck was active as a soloist and ensemble performer, conductor, and arranger. He was named the top cornet player in the United States in a national music contest and performed with orchestras and bands throughout the eastern United States, with theatre orchestras in Chicago, and with stage show orchestras throughout the Midwest. Hendricks is also remembered as director and conductor of music festivals throughout Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. He was active as an adjudicator for several states. He worked closely with music teachers at all levels, often in pre-school institutes throughout Kansas. He served as a member of several North Central Association accreditation teams. Professor Hendricks was also very active in community organizations. He is well remembered for his presented papers on many aspects of musical composition and musical practices as well as another one of his avocations, oceanography. Hendricks, it is said, could talk intelligently on a very wide variety of topics, and was extremely well-versed in a number of subjects. He commanded the respect and admiration of his faculty colleagues as well as students. Charles M. Hendricks was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction on May 2, 1998.

B. A. Nugent (1999)

Bill (B.A.) Nugent held a faculty position and served as Chairman of the Department Music at Emporia State University for 10 years. Among many accomplishments, Dr. Nugent is recognized for securing several Ford Foundation grants under the national wide Young Composers Project. Through this partnership, Bill was able to bring a number of leading American composers to campus, leading students in instructional and performance learning events. This project placed the university in a position of leadership throughout the nation. During his tenure at Emporia State University, Nugent designed and directed cultural services and curricula for a consortium of seven Kansas colleges under a HEW grant, enabling these colleges to share annually the services of distinguished artists, historians, and composers. Nugent directed a similar HEW grant program for 13 school districts in 7 Kansas counties. Bill Nugent expanded and broadened the graduate program in music, regularly conducted the Emporia Symphony Orchestra performances, and developed and strengthened the department performance level. During this time, he was invited as lecturer for the Indiana University Asian-European Historical institutes. His lecture topics included history, the arts, and early music in several countries such as Austria, Crete, Jordan, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, and Yugoslavia. It was also during this period that Bill completed his Ph.D. in Musicology at the University of North Texas. After leaving Emporia, Dr. Nugent continued his career in administrative positions, including Director of the School of Music at the University of Oklahoma, Dean of Sciences and Art at Washington State University, Vice President for Academic Affairs at West Virginia University, the first Chancellor of the University of Arkansas, and the Stevens Distinguished Professor of Musicology at the University of Arkansas. He currently serves as President of the University of Illinois Foundation. Throughout his administrative career, Dr. Nugent has continued to maintain very close ties with music. He is the author or editor of six books and numerous articles. Widely recognized as conductor and pianist, he is featured on six recordings. Nugent recently appeared as guest conductor of the Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra. Throughout his broad and distinguished career, Bill has been actively involved in many areas but has never lost touch with his first love – music. B. A. Nugent was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction on May 1, 1999.

Melbern Nixon (1999)

Mel Nixon served as a band director for over 40 years. Thirty of those years were spent in service at Emporia State University. Under Mel's direction, the Emporia State Symphonic Band achieved national prominence. The band performed for the 1972 United States Presidential Inauguration, at numerous state, regional, and national conventions, and for many events across the Midwest. The Symphonic Band, under Mel's leadership, was selected on several occasions to premier performances of compositions by leading American composers. Vaclav Nelhybel, one of the foremost wind ensemble conductors and composers of the 20th century made his United State conducting debut with the Emporia State Symphonic Band. Mel holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Oklahoma State University, a Master of Music in music education from the University of Michigan, and did advanced study at Eastern New Mexico University. Following service with the rank of Sargent in the U.S. Army Air Force Band, Mel taught public high school music in Oklahoma, California, and New Mexico. Prior to his tenure at Emporia State University, Mel held the rank of Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Southeastern State College in Durant, Oklahoma. Among his many honors, Mel was elected into the Oklahoma Music Education Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Band Masters Hall of Fame, and recognized as a Distinguished Alum of the Department of Music at Oklahoma State University. Melbern Nixon was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction on May 1, 1999.

Elaine Edwards (2009)

Elaine V. Edwards, music faculty, is recognized for her great accomplishments as director of the Great Plains Suzuki Institute and as a performer and teacher of piano. Edwards received degrees from the Chicago Musical College and continued her piano studies at Julliard. A founding member of the Great Plains Trio, she was awarded the Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professorship in 1986. Elaine Edwards was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction in 2009.

John Lennon (2009)

John Lennon began vocal studies at eight years of age. At fourteen, he was performing throughout the Midwest as a soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony. In his freshman year at Northwestern University, John was presented in recital at Carnegie Hall. He served in the US Army and performed in six European countries. While teaching voice and opera at Emporia State University, curiosity concerning the innate origin and quality of human sound led Lennon to research the interrelationship of posture, breath, and vocal sound. John Lennon was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction in 2009.

Rose Hirschorn (2010)

Rose Hirschorn was the Choral Director at ESU for many years. She served as director of the Treble Clef student organization and was instrumental in creating the Emporia Arts Council. After retiring from the ESU music faculty, Ms. Hirschorn moved to New York City and maintains an active involvement in the arts community in New York. Rose Hirschorn was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction in 2010.

Leone Buyse (2011)

Leone Buyse, music alumna, relinquished her principal positions with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops in 1993 to pursue a more active solo and teaching career after 22 years as an orchestral musician. Ms. Buyse is Professor of Flute at Rice University in Houston. The only American prizewinner in the 1969 Geneva International Flute Competition, Ms. Buyse has presented recitals and master classes across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia and many other countries Leone Buyse was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction in 2011.

Frank Sidorfsky (2012)

Frank Sidorfsky, music alumnus, is recognized for his outstanding career as a clarinet performer and teacher. Sidorfsky earned a BME from Emporia State Teachers College and continued his education at the Eastman School of Music. He served as professor of clarinet at Kansas State University until his retirement in 1999. Sidorfsky is a champion of the basset horn, the rare tenor clarinet, and has performed on it throughout the United States and Canada. Frank Sidorfsky was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction in 2012.

Mildred Fulhage (2013)

Mildred Fulhage, music alumna, is recognized for her long and distinguished career as a music educator. Mildred received a Bachelor of Science in music education from Kansas State Teachers College in 1938. Upon completion of her degree, she began teaching in the schools of Cedar Vale and Thayer, Kansas. Fulhage joined the Kansas City Kansas School District in 1942, where she served as Coordinator of Music for 35 years. Mildred Fulhage was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction in 2013.

Augusta Shepherd (2014)

Augusta Shepherd was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction in 2014.

Joseph Ott (2015)

Joseph Ott was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction in 2015.

Paul & Shirley Moore (2016)

Paul & Shirley Moore were inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction in 2016.

Roy Burns (2017)

Roy Burns was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction in 2017.

Dennis Fisher (2018)

Dennis Fisher was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction in 2018.

Katherine Borst Jones (2019)

Katherine Borst Jones was inducted into the Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction in 2019.