A Brief History of the Music Department at Texas Woman's University, 1901-1999

Black and white photo of a band.
Texas State College for Women Band, 1955.

By Thomas K. Brown, PhD

Professor of Music


Theresa J. Porter, BA

Graduate Research Assistant in Music



The vast majority of the information used for this project was obtained from the archives of the Woman’s Collection at the Blagg-Huey Library of Texas Woman's University. Special thanks are extended to the staff of the Woman’s Collection for their tireless work and patience helping to assemble the research material. We would like to specifically recognize Ann Barton at the Woman’s Collection, who was especially knowledgeable and helpful to us during this project.

An Abbreviated Timeline of the Texas Womans University Music Department

1904 A department named Elocution, Physical Culture, and Music is established, which includes speech arts, physical training, and music.

1905 Miss Jessie McClymonds begins teaching vocal music as well as elocution and physical training. Vocal music now required of all students. The school name change is changed to the College of Industrial Arts.

1906 Miss S. Justina Smith is hired as music and elocution teacher. A 20-voice glee club is organized.

1908 Music training now required of all students, and instrumental training offered as an option. A student orchestra is organized.

1910 Teachers in voice (Nettie Everett Groom), piano (Northera Barton), and violin (Alma Ault) added. Weekly lessons in music history now offered. The department name is changed to Music and Expression.

1913 A special issue of the college bulletin is published, devoted exclusively to music.

1914 Physical training is moved to a different department. The department name is changed to Expression and Music. A course of study in music is listed in the College Bulletin for the first time. Albert Pfaff replaces Nettie Groom as voice teacher. Two more piano teachers added: Lessie Lindsey and Hannah Asher. New classes in theory, harmony, and history are added.

1915 Music is entirely separated and moved to an independent department, School of Music. CIA became the first institution in Texas to develop a department of music. Northera Barton named head of the department. A three-year sequence leading to a certificate is offered, with a major in piano, voice, or violin.

1916 A four-year sequence leading to a Bachelor of Music Degree is offered. Music scholarships now awarded. Funds requested from the State to build a new music hall/auditorium. The Artists Course begins, bringing world-class artists to perform on campus.

1917 The department name is changed to the Department of Music.

1918 The music faculty now numbers 15 and includes a teacher in music education, Katherine King. A two-year sequence for public school music is offered. Orchestra, brass, and woodwinds now offered as credit courses.

1919 A funding request for a music hall/auditorium is repeated, and finally approved.

1920 Katherine McKee Bailey becomes head of the department.

1921 Elizabeth Leake becomes head of the department. A music hall/auditorium (Main Auditorium), seating 2500 is completed with funds from the 36th Texas Legislature.

1923 Dr. William Jones becomes head of department.

1926 Students now offered a choice between a Bachelor of Music degree or a Bachelor of Science degree in Music. A Demonstration School opens for the purpose of clinical training- music education is included in this school.

1929 John Phillip Sousa composes “Daughters of Texas”, dedicated to the students at the College of Industrial Arts, after performing on the campus the year before.

1932 Organ now offered as a major.

1933 Only Bachelor of Science degrees now conferred. A dance band, the Campus Serenaders, is formed.

1934 Vladimir Horowitz performs as part of the Artists Course. Name of the college changed to Texas State College for Women.

1936 The Public Works Administration gives grant to the college to build a new music and speech building.

1937 The new Music and Speech Building is dedicated. The first all-student symphony orchestra organized. The choir divides into two groups: Classical and Modern.

1939 The Master of Arts in Music degree offered.

1940 The Department celebrates its 25th anniversary. Enrollment now listed at 500 students.

1943 As a response to the war, a summer session is formed to provide additional education to public music school teachers who, in the absence of the men who had gone to war, now were in charge of bands and orchestras.

1945 The College Bulletin lists the activities of the music department. The Choral Club boasts 100 members, the Select Choir 36, and the Band 80. The 80-piece symphonic orchestra serves as the official orchestra of the Texas Federation of Woman’s Clubs.

1946 The basement of the Music and Speech Building is completed to provide more practice rooms.

1947 Dr. John Lewis, a music educator, becomes Director of the department.

1949 Robert Shaw and his Chorale present a vocal workshop, with 500 in attendance.

1950 A graduate course in music education offered: Music Supervision in Junior High and High Schools. The college bulletin lists college “firsts”, including being the first college in Texas to offer degrees in public school music, music and applied music.

1951 The college Bulletin announces that TSCW is joining other colleges in entering the field of recreational music.

1952 Dr. J. Wilgus Eberly becomes Director of the department.

1953 A major in music therapy is announced.

1954 The College Bulletin now lists a graduate minor in music therapy.

1955 The first regional convention for the music therapy is held at TSCW.

1956 The Modern Choir is invited to perform with the Liverpool Philharmonic.

1957 The Hogg Foundation commits the funding to establish a program leading to bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees in music therapy. A faculty position in music therapy is created. The college name is changed to Texas Woman’s University.

1958 The music department receives accreditation from the National Association for Schools of Music. Geneva Scheihing is hired to fill the new music therapy position.

1959 The University Bulletin reports the establishment of a Music Therapy Training Center sponsored by TWU and the Hogg Foundation. Vance Cotter replaces Geneva Scheihing.

1960 Vance Cotter is elected president of the regional chapter of the National Association for Music Therapy. Graduate level courses in music therapy offered.

1962 Fourteen members of the Choraliers embark on a 4-week tour of military bases in the Caribbean, including Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba just weeks before the Cuban Missile Crisis.

1964 The Choraliers tour military bases in the Northeast Command in Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland, and Iceland. Virginia Wilson replaces Vance Cotter.

1965 The TWU Serenaders, the 14-member stage band, leaves on a seven-week tour of military bases in Germany, France, and Italy.

1966 The Choraliers leave on a two-month tour of military bases in Germany, France, and Italy.

1967 A nine-month internship is added to the requirements for a music therapy degree.

1968 A TWU Institute for Mental and Physical Development opens as an interdisciplinary center providing diagnosis, treatment, training, and education for persons with mental and physical disabilities. Music therapy is included. The Choraliers tour the Pacific Command in Japan, Korea, Okinawa, Hawaii, and the Phillipines.

1969 The TWU Serenaders tour Greenland and Northeast Command.

1971 Vance Cotter returns for one year.

1972 Dr. Charles Eagle replaces Vance Cotter and places more emphasis on graduate level training. Martha Mitchell introduces undergraduate and graduate level courses in Folk and Ethnic music, focusing primarily on African-American and Latin music. Men are allowed to enroll in the university for the first time.

1975 Emily Stevens and Dr. Donald Michel, both registered music therapists, are hired in music therapy faculty positions, making TWU’s music therapy department the first to employ two RMT’s on its faculty. Emily Stevens develops practicum sites for music therapy training. Dr. Frederick Fox becomes Chair of the department.

1976 Piano pedagogy is added to the graduate curriculum.

1977 The state appropriates funds for repairs and renovation of the Music and Speech Building. The Concert Choir tours Romania on behalf of the Friendship Ambassadors.

1978 The College of Arts and Sciences is combined with the College of Fine Arts to create the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. The Department is renamed the Department of Music and Drama. A marathon of organ music, an “Orgathon”, is performed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original Möller Organ in Main Auditorium.

1979 Rosalyn Turek, the “First Lady of Bach”, performs a concert to celebrate the acquisition of a new Dowd harpsichord. Dr. Thomas K. Brown is named Acting Chair of the Department of Music and Drama.

1980 Dr. Barbara Noel becomes Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. The Department of Music and Drama is temporarily housed in Houston Hall, an “old dorm row”, during the renovation of the Music and Speech Building.

1981 Dr. Richard Rodean is named Chair of the Department of Music and Drama.

1986 The TWU Choraliers, Jazz Ensemble, and Alexandria’s Ragtime Band tour Hungary and Austria.

1988 The Pedagogy program is expanded to include voice, piano, and violin.

1990 The College of Humanities and Fine Arts is renamed the College of Arts and Sciences. The Music and Drama department is renamed the Department of Performing Arts to include Music, Drama, and Dance. The three-year renovation of the Main Auditorium is completed and reopened as the Margo Jones Performance Hall. A new Bösendorfer piano and a four-manual, 85-rank Redman organ are inaugurated.

1996 Dr. Richard Rodean becomes Interim Dean of The College of Arts and Sciences, but continues as Chair of Performing. Dr. Thomas K. Brown is named Director of Music Programs.

1997 Dr. Richard Rodean is named Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and continues as Chair of Performing Arts.

1999 TWU participates in a Seneca Falls Celebration with a symposium and concert of works by women composers, including campus guests Gwyneth Walked, Cindy McTee, Augusta Read Thomas, and Katherine Hoover. Dr. Janice Killian is named Director of Music Programs.


Black and white photo of the TWU Band.
TWU Band, 1989.

A Brief History of the Music Department at Texas Woman's University

Texas Woman's University has the unique distinction of establishing the first music program at a Texas university. Although the department was not officially established until 1915, the college, then known as the Girls Industrial College, offered music classes as early as 1904 in the department of Elocution, Physical Culture, and Music. In this same year, a sixty-voice chorus was organized.

In the next year, Miss Jessie McClymonds was hired to teach vocal music in addition to elocution and physical training. Vocal music was required of all of the students. Music classes were held in the auditorium. In 1906, Miss S. Justina Smith was hired as the music and elocution teacher and organized a twenty-voice glee club. As part of the college's commitment to the music program, the library began a subscription to its first music journal, ''The Musician."
Later, in 1908, music training expanded to include instrumental training. Students were offered the option of taking voice or piano as the music requirement. However, the school was unable to provide instrumental training on campus; therefore, students who opted for piano training had to take lessons from local teachers in the Denton area.

The 1908 College Bulletin announced this change:

Arrangements have been made for the accommodation of students of the college who desire to keep up their study of piano music, whereby they may receive instruction from a competent teacher living close to the college. The time given to instrumental music must not interfere with the student's regular program of school duties. One or two lessons per week, with additional time for practice, can be taken by students without interfering with their progress in other studies. Students who take instrumental music from teachers arranged for by the college and who make satisfactory progress in the same, are exempt from taking the vocal music required of others (p. 48).

Practice facilities were also lacking. In some instances, students had to practice on pianos that were located outside due to lack of indoor space. In addition, the students had to pay rent for practice pianos at the rate of one dollar per month. The College Bulletin does note that funding for additional facilities, pianos, as well as a teacher, would hopefully be approved by the legislature currently in session.

The number of ensembles increased as the students fanned their own orchestra. Now, the university without an official music department had an official glee club and two student-organized ensembles: the orchestra and the chorus.

In 1910, the music program expanded to include a course in music history, which was offered weekly. Northern Barton was hired to teach piano. Nettie Everett Groom was the new voice teacher, and Alma Ault began teaching violin at this time. As the program grew, music texts were also added. The college bulletin listed the music course text as the ''Eleanor Smith Music Course." The department became known as Music and Expression.

In November, 1913, the college issued a special issue of the College Bulletin devoted exclusively to its music department. The pride of the college in its musical offerings is evident in the following statements from this bulletin:

At the present time, there is probably no institution in this section of the country that can boast of a stronger department of fine arts than that maintained at this institution, and it is the ambition of the College authorities to make it second to none in the entire country.

Music is an essential in the curriculum of the College of Industrial Arts… Music is much more than a delightful accomplishment. It is an essential element in the education of every young woman. It is as clearly a duty of the homemaker to provide cultural entertainment as to economically administer to the material wants of the family...

A great many people in Texas are not aware that the College maintains a department of music. This bulletin is issued for the purpose of acquainting those who have been sending their daughters elsewhere to college under the mistaken impression that their own State School for Women neglects this important phase of a woman's educational training (pp. 5-6).

In 1914, the name of the department was changed to Expression and Music. Music was now listed in the bulletin as an entire course of study, rather than a required component of all programs. Classes in theory and harmony were added to the history course. Two more piano teachers were added to the faculty: Lessie Lindsey and Hannah Asher.

The year 1915 marks the official beginning of the music department at the College of Industrial Arts, making it the first institution in Texas to develop a music department. It became separated entirely from Expression and became known as the School of Music. Northern Barton was named the head of the department. Admission became more stringent as auditions were now required prior to admittance. The first step toward a degree in music was offered as a three-year sequence leading to a certificate in music. A choice of majors could be selected from violin, voice, or piano. Piano training in accompaniments was now required of all non-piano majors.

Junior and senior recitals were required prior to graduation and student recitals were now given monthly. The courses expanded to include advanced harmony, counterpoint, and composition. In 1916, the first four-year Bachelor of Music degree was offered. Music scholarships were now available. Due to all of these new developments, the college requested funds from the state to build a new music hall/auditorium. fn addition, a concert series, known as the Artists Course, began. This series brought world-class artists to perform on campus.

The department changed its name to the Department of Music in 1917, and by the next year the faculty numbered fifteen. Katherine King was hired as the first teacher in music education and a two-year sequence in music education was offered leading to certification. The instrumental offerings expanded to include brass and woodwinds. Orchestra was now offered for credit.

By 1919, the funding for the new music hall/auditorium still had not been received. The college repeated its request to the Texas Legislature and the funds were finally approved. Main Auditorium, as it came to be known, was completed in 1921 and seated an audience of 2500.

The department head position was a "revolving door'' in the early 1920's. Katherine McKee Bailey headed the music department in 1920 and Elizabeth Leake replaced her in 1921. Dr. William Jones took over the position in 1923.

Music education received a boost with the opening of the Demonstration School on campus in 1926. This school was opened for the purposes of providing a clinical training facility for many of the departments on campus. Music education majors now had the opportunity to practice their skills in an on-campus supervised environment. By now, students were offered a choice of a Bachelor of Music degree or a Bachelor of Science degree in Music.

In October, 1928, John Phillip Sousa and his band entertained in the Main Auditorium. After the concert, Sousa, known as the "march king”, was presented with a petition signed by seventeen hundred students asking him to compose a march for the school. He replied, ''It is impossible to resist the request of seventeen hundred charming Texas girls, and if you will send me some of your college songs I will incorporate them into a march" (Bierley, p. 40). Sousa took these songs and composed "Daughters of Texas'' in 1929. However, the story does not end there. This march was originally entitled "Daughters of Denton”, but "Denton" was scratched out and replaced by "Texas.'' However, this first march was never published as such and was instead used as a last minute composition for a performance at the opening celebration of the Foshay Tower in Washington, D.C. Sousa composed a second march and entitled that one as the "Daughters of Texas”. The second version was later published, but the "Foshay Tower Washington Memorial" march was never published.

In 1933, only Bachelor of Science degrees were conferred. In 1934, the Bachelor of Arts in Music was offered in addition to the Bachelor of Science degree, giving the students the opportunity to take more liberal arts courses in addition to the music course of study. In 1939, the first Master of Arts degree in Music was offered.

In the 1930's, the college continued to grow. The name was changed from the College of Industrial Arts to the Texas State College for Women in 1934. As part of the social program from the Public Works Administration, funding was approved for a new Music and Speech Building. This building, which remains the current music building, was dedicated in 1937. The music department continued to expand its instrumental choices when it began offering organ as a course of study beginning in 1932.

The 1930's also saw major artists performing at the university as part of the Artists Course. ln 1934, famed pianist Vladimir Horowitz performed for the Denton community. Many world-renowned artists came to the college as part of the College of Industrial Arts' commitment to the arts for the students of the university as well as for the community at large.

Ensembles in the music department continued to expand in the 1930's. An all-student symphony orchestra was formed for credit in 1937. In addition, the choir split to form two groups. Now students had to opportunity to explore either traditional classical repertoire in the Classical Choir or more contemporary, popular songs in the Modern Choir. In 1940, the department celebrated its 25th anniversary. Enrollment had now reached 500.

During the 1940's, Texas State College for Women was in a unique position. Because most men were away at war during most of these years, the college had to provide additional training for its women students to meet the needs left in the community by the absence of the men. In 1943, the department of music offered a summer session for public music teachers who were now called upon to fill band and orchestra conductor positions.

The war gave the music department the opportunity to really make its presence known in the community. Because male musicians were away, the female musicians at the college were now called upon to provide for the musical needs of the area. The 1945 College Bulletin noted that faculty and students were performing an average of five times a week for such groups as hospitals and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. The Choral Club listed 100 members and the Select Choir had 36. The band had 80 members, as did the orchestra, which had full symphonic instrumentation. The orchestra was named the official orchestra of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs.

The 1940's were truly a heyday for the music department and allowed the college to showcase the talent of female musicians. Music education grew during these years as well. In 1947, Dr. John Lewis, a music education professor, was named the Director of the music department.

Three years later, in 1950, he was named chairman of two committees by the Texas Music Educators. During this year, the first graduate course in music education was offered: Music Supervision in Junior High and High Schools.

TSCW was also now becoming a pioneer in the field of music therapy. In 1950, the National Association for Music Therapy, Inc. was established as the professional organization responsible for establishing and maintaining standards for training, certification, and practice for music therapists. Dr. J. Wilgus Eberly, who became Director of the music department in 1952, became the guiding force in establishing music therapy training at TSCW. Eberly later recalled that music therapy at TSCW at the time amounted to “getting the choir out on Sunday afternoons to go to a military base...'' (Goodreau 1991, p. 46). Early music therapy courses were psychology of music classes, taught by Dr. Eberly whose doctorate was in the field of educational psychology.

In 1953, Dr. Eberly attended the Fourth Annual Music Therapy Convention and published excerpts from his dissertation, “The Aptitude of the Elderly to Learn Piano” in Music Journal, the official journal of the National Music Therapy Association (NAMT). This was also the year that TSCW announced that it was now offering a four-year music degree with a major in music therapy. In the following year, a minor was offered at the graduate level. TSCW hosted the first regional convention for music therapy in 1955.

Dr. Eberly began a correspondence with R. Sutherland of the Hogg Foundation in Austin to obtain funding for the program. Although initially turned down, Dr. Eberly persevered and met with a committee at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Eberly argued that TSCW had consulted with E. Thayer Gaston, known as the founder of music therapy, had hosted a music therapy conference, and that TSCW had plans for research in music therapy. In 1957, the Hogg Foundation approved the program and committed to funding both the bachelors and masters programs in music therapy. The first faculty position for music therapy was created in 1957 and Geneva Scheihing was hired to fill the position the following year. Dr. Eberly was also instrumental in achieving accreditation for the music department from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) in 1958.

As TSCW changed its name to Texas Woman's University in 1957, the focus of the university as the Cold War began also changed. Research became a primary goal of the university and music therapy was no exception. After Ms. Scheihing's appointment, Dr. Eberly kept the Hogg Foundation updated about the progress of the program. Clinical training facilities were developed in the community. Ms. Scheihing assisted with the development and formation of the Southwestern Association of Music Therapy, the regional chapter of the NAMT. Research in music therapy was initiated. In fact, she completed a study in 1958, "The Use of Music in Texas Institutions." In 1959, she undertook a study of sixteen children in the Delayed Speech Clinic.

In 1959, the College Bulletin reported the establishment of a music therapy training center. A special brochure was issued by the college describing the music therapy profession, the academic criteria for the National Association of Music Therapy, as well as the courses offered for fulfillment of the music therapy degree. Vance Cotter replaced Geneva Scheihing on the music therapy faculty and immediately began a collaboration with Parkland Hospital's department of Psychiatry. Through Vance Cotter, TWU's involvement in the national organization of music therapy was strengthened when he was elected president of the regional chapter. In 1964, Virginia Wilson replaced Vance Cotter as the director of the music therapy program.

In 1967, a nine-month internship was added to the requirements for the degree of music therapy. During the next year, the TWU Institute for Mental and Physical Development opened as an interdisciplinary center to provide diagnosis, treatment, training, and education for persons with mental and physical disabilities. Music therapy was included as one of the participating disciplines.

TWU's participation on a national level was not limited to music therapy. TWU's ensembles became involved with the USO and traveled internationally to entertain military personnel. The Lasso Choraliers were a small vocal group comprised of 14 members chosen from the larger Modem Choir, led by Dr. Eberly. Begun in 1962 in response to the USO's request for a musical group to tour U.S. military installations in the Caribbean, the Choraliers received so many requests for performance that the group became a permanent addition to the ensembles at Texas Woman's University. They were at the peak of their popularity during the 1960's and 1970's, before finally disbanding in the lat


Goodreau, N .J. (1991). The history of the Texas Woman's University music therapy program from 1957-1977. Unpublished master's thesis, Texas Woman's University, Denton, Texas.

Thompson, J. (1982). Marking a trail: A history of the Texas Woman's University Denton, TX: Texas woman's university press.

Materials utilized from the archives at the Woman's Collection in the Blagg-Huey Library at Texas Woman's University.

College Bulletins from 1904-1999, undergraduate and graduate.

The Daedalian yearbooks from 1957-1978.

The scrapbooks and records kept by Martha Mitchell, professor of music, from 1919-1979 TWU Concert and Drama series programs and photos from 1914-1979.

Records and scrapbooks from the TWU Music and Drama department (1949-1965).

Page last updated 1:01 PM, February 7, 2024