DON THEODORE HAYNES, SR
Don Theodore Haynes, Sr., was born in Corsicana, Texas, in 1911. He attended public schools in Corsicana and went on to attend Texas College where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1937. He would later attend Texas A&I University, University of California, Los Angeles, and in 1951, receive a Masters degree at Wayne State University in Michigan.
While a student at Texas College, he and friends founded the first college band for the school. They played for college-related activities as a means of earning scholarships and defraying school expenses. After his college career, the band remained together and performed professionally as a dance orchestra mostly in the south and midwest states. The group was called Ted Haynes and the Rose City Entertainers.
One music critic in Jackson, Tennessee, wrote in 1938, “Ted Haynes and his Rose City Entertainers, 15 college boys who came up from Texas like a tornado to give the swing fans and jitterbugs the surprise of their lives, is taking the south by storm. Haynes has developed a style that is very unique and they swing in the style of the big name attractions. Their style is a cross between Basie and Lunceford.”
When asked about fond memories of his musical past, Don recalls that his newly formed dance band of college buddies embarked on a tour of some of the major cities. Their contracts called for the band to receive sixty percent of the dance receipts, and the promoters kept forty percent. At what was to have been one of their major performances, the band’s share of the receipts was divided equally among fifteen members and the bus driver, which came to a grand total of fourteen cents for each of them. Needless to say, it was a bad night for a sensational big band!
For his first teaching assignment in 1941, Don accepted a position as band director and teacher in a public school in Schulenburg, Texas. His next assignment was with the La Grange School District where he served as band director, athletic coach, teacher and bus driver. This position proved challenging in that he not only had to coordinate half time performances but also had to plan strategies for the football team which, by the way, won all of its games.
In 1943, during World War II, Don was drafted into the U.S. Army and assigned to the 93rd Division Military Band which performed for military ceremonies and related activities. After military service, he returned to teaching and band directing, this time in Corpus Christi public schools. He was the band director and history teacher at Solomon M. Coles High School for 22 years.
In the late 1960’s, when public school integration came, Don was assigned to other schools in the Corpus Christi system. After retiring in 1976, he did some part-time teaching and substituting in the Gregory¬ Portland, Tuloso-Midway and West Oso school districts.
In 1986, Don joined the Veterans Band of Corpus Christi. The group is very active having had more than 1200 performances since it was formed in 1984. The Veterans Band has performed for veteran hospitals, military ceremonies and the dedication ceremony of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington. Other prestigious appearances include the Inaugural Parade for Governor Ann Richards in Austin and the Inaugural Parades for President George Bush and President Bill Clinton in Washington, D.C.
Don Haynes has two children, Don Haynes, Jr., band director at LBJ High School in Austin, and Lorna Barnes, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and five grandchildren. He is a dedicated member of St. Matthew Baptist Church where he serves as a trustee. He is tremendously respected in the Corpus Christi community where he has taught and been a marvelous inspiration for decades.
Don Haynes was honored as an inductee into the Black Music Educators Hall of Fame in 1997. When responding to the question about his life, he says confidently, “God has been good to me.”