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Released May 13, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- Thomas V. Fraschillo, professor of music and director of bands at The University of Southern Mississippi, has been elected vice president/president-elect of America's most prestigious organization for band directors, The American Bandmasters Association (ABA), at its annual convention in March in Williamsburg, Va.

Membership in the ABA is by invitation only, and future presidents are chosen by past presidents only; therefore, this honor is singular among its members.

Fraschillo was invited to become a member in 1988. "The process was long and tedious as the election committee places much scrutiny upon its potential candidates," he said. "But, the experience was one of the most rewarding aspects of my career as a conductor and music educator."

Even more unique to his election, there has never been a vice president selected from Mississippi, and Fraschillo is only the second officer to be selected from a southern state in the organization's long history. The other officer was Professor Frank Wickes of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

"Dr. Fraschillo's election to vice president of the ABA is an indication of his esteemed reputation among bandmasters the world over," said Dr. Charles Elliott, director of the School of Music at Southern Miss. "The entire university should take great pride in his accomplishment."

Past presidents of the ABA have included such notable Americans as John Philip Sousa, Edwin Franko Goldman, Karl King, Col. John R. Bourgeois, commander/conductor of the United States Marine Band "The President's Own," and Col. Arnold Gabriel, commander/conductor of the United States Air Force Band.

The mission of the ABA, as envisioned by Goldman some 68 years ago, is carried out today by a distinguished and committed group of bandleaders and associates. At present, the membership roster includes six honorary life members, five honorary members, three honorary associate members, 266 members, and 68 associate members from the United States and Canada.

"It has been quite a remarkable experience to be a part of the great history of this group," Fraschillo said. "Many of our members are in their 80s and 90s and have devoted a lifetime to their profession, to music. They have made the educational process attainable for young musicians across the United States and Canada and are major contributors to the cultural and musical fiber of our country."

Membership in this elite group of bandmasters has afforded Fraschillo, by reputation, many opportunities to conduct and lecture throughout the world. His election to high office in this organization brings national status and respect in the ranks of conductors of bands to Mississippi and to Southern Miss.

"In 1998, we brought the national convention to Mississippi," Fraschillo said. "Since most of the members of the organization had never been to Mississippi, it was an opportunity to show them what great things Southern Miss has to offer and the many wonderful things that the South has to offer."

Fraschillo's first obligation as the future president will be to chair the membership committee for 2005. "It is a difficult task, since I will have to coordinate the application process for the 16 nominees for 2005," he said. "Other responsibilities will include supervision of the ABA's large foundation that is used to promote new works for band, research projects, and a research journal."


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May 14, 2004 12:37 PM