John Walter Kincaid

John Kincaid died May 31, 2017. He was born on Aug. 5, 1920 in Rouse, Colorado. A Colorado Fuel and Iron Mining camp near La Veta, Colo. and grew up in La Veta. He married Georgie Dorothy deKoevend, June 7, 1947. In the fall of 1939, John entered Western State College in Gunnison, Colo. as a freshman majoring in music education. He had completed almost two and a half years when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. John immediately enlisted in the Marine Corps and auditioned for the Marine band. He was accepted and stationed in the newly-built Camp Pendleton before being shipped to the South Pacific. The ship’s arrival in Auckland, New Zealand, was greeted with two brass bands. The sound of was the seed that blossomed more than 30 years later as the Western State College — Colorado Brass Band. John spent WWII in the South Pacific moving from island to island ever closer to Japan. John had many war stories to tell of buddies, combat, near-misses and playing church services on five ships every Sunday. Marine band members were assigned duty as stretcher bearers, so he spent his time between the front lines and triage; the most dangerous places to be. He tells of receiving a pair of field glasses and watching the American flag being raised on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima. After the war, John returned to Western and resumed his studies in music education and trumpet. Band rehearsals became extra-special due to a flute player from Littleton name Georgie deKoevend. The romance blossomed and they were married immediately after graduation in June 1947. They moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., where John completed his Masters in Music Education and Georgie taught science in the schools. John then taught in the public schools of Center and Montrose and at Texas A & I. In 1961, he was invited to join the Western faculty, where, for 25 years, he taught undergraduate and graduate music courses in brass, brass choir, band, music education, music theory and research methods. John is also recognized for his promotion of the British brass band tradition in the United states. During the Gunnison Music Camp in 1962 and 1963, he organized a brass band with some of the adult brass players. During his 1974 sabbatical leave, he and Georgie spent six months in New Zealand, visiting brass bands and attending the National Contest. In 1974 John created the British brass band workshop at Western. It became the Western State College — Colorado Brass Band and now includes a brass band week in late June and a weekend during Honor Band in March. The band has attracted professional and amateur players from across the United States who then went on to form brass bands in their own areas. John also helped start the Great North American Brass Band Festival in Silverton, Colo., a “turn of the century American Brass Band.” John continued to direct the WSC-Colorado Brass Band after his retirement from teaching in 1986. In 1999 he retired as director of the Brass Band, but continued to perform and to serve as Emeritus conductor until he was more than 90 years old. Several members of the first brass band in 1974 have participated in each of the 43 years since. John was elected to the Colorado Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 1985; in 1990 he was presented with the Outstanding Bandmasters Award by the Colorado Chapter of Phi Beta Mu; in 1993 he was inducted into the Colorado Music Educators Hall of Fame; in 2004 he received a Colorado Governor’s commendation for his 30 years of work with the Brass Band; and in 2012 he was honored by the American Bandmasters Association with the prestigious Edwin Franko Goldman Memorial Citation. John was preceded in death by his wife Georgie on March 16, 2015. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, June 27 at 2 p.m. in the John and Georgie Kincaid Concert Hall, on the Western State Colorado University campus, Gunnison, Colo. Interment will follow at the Gunnison Cemetery along with a reception at 4:30 p.m. at the University Center Ballroom. Donations may be made to the Western State Foundation, PO Box 1264, Gunnison, CO 81230. Please indicate that the donation is for the John Kincaid Memorial Fund.

Gunnison Country Times

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