RODNEY A. KLETT
Mr. Klett was born to Irene E. and Edgar A. Klett in Fredericksburg, Texas, on October 1, 1942. He finished his public school education in 1961 and was in band under the direction of Tom C. Rhodes. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 1965, where he studied with Dr. Joseph Bellamah. In 1976, he finished a Master of Music Education degree from Texas State University, where he studied with James Sudduth.
After graduating from TAMU-Kingsville, he taught in Comfort, Texas, for one year. In the summer of 1966, Rodney married Mary Ann Burke and then moved to Georgetown where he remained until retirement – except for his years of military duty. In the fall of 1968, Mr. Klett was called to active duty and served three years with an Army Reserve unit in San Antonio and three years with the Texas National Guard Band in Austin.
Mr. Klett’s first rehearsal in Georgetown totaled twenty-six students. Needless to say, the next several days were devoted to recruitment. Basically, if a student was breathing and could hold an instrument, they were told they would make tremendous band members. By the time UIL marching contest came, the band had grown to a whopping fifty-four.
Under Mr. Klett’s direction the Comfort and Georgetown bands earned thirty-seven sweepstakes awards. The Georgetown band won the UIL state marching contest six times, the UIL state wind ensemble contest eight times, and the Texas state solo and ensemble sweepstakes award six times. The band placed in the top seven in TMEA Honor Band competition six times and was selected the State AAAA Honor Band three times. All of Mr. Klett’s Honor Band performances were very special, but the 1992 Honor Band performance will always be unforgettable because his daughter Melody, a senior that year, was a member of that band. In 1983 the band was honored by receiving the first Governor’s Cup at the state marching contest and the prestigious Sudler Flag of Honor, an international award recognizing high school bands for outstanding musical excellence.
Over the years, the Georgetown band was named outstanding band at numerous national music festivals through Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida and Colorado. In 1984 the band was invited to the National Band Association’s convention in Knoxville, Tennessee, for marching and concert performances. It was the first band ever asked to perform both.
Mr. Klett attributes the many years of success of the Georgetown band program to the love and support of his wife Mary Ann and his daughter Melody Ann, the outstanding school administrators (especially superintendent Jack Frost), the Georgetown community, band parents, band students, and associate directors. Mr. Klett would especially like to recognize Reynaldo Meza, Jr. According to Mr. Klett, the two men “most definitely complemented each other in developing the Georgetown band program.” Other associates who were instrumental include Richard Sullivan (Perry Middle School Carrollton-Farmers Branch) and Dr. Michael Schaff (Associate Professor of Music Education at the Crane School of Music). Mr. Klett feels indebted to the many individuals who gave their time and dedication to the Georgetown music program.
Rodney Klett’s personal achievements include being a five-time recipient of the National Band Association “Citation of Excellence,” the Denius-UIL Sponsor Excellence Award, and the TBA Lifetime Meritorious Achievement Award in 2000. In 1986 the city of Georgetown named the week of May 26-June 1 “Rodney A. Klett Week.” In 2003 the Georgetown Independent School District named the new 1200-seat performing arts center at Georgetown High School for both he and his wife, Mary Ann.
Mr. Klett’s professional memberships include the Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Educators Association, National Band Association, Phi Beta Mu, charter member of Texas Adjudicators Association and a life member of Texas State Teachers Association. He has served on the board of directors and as president of Phi Beta Mu, Alpha Chapter. He also served on numerous UIL state committees and as TMEA Region Band Chairman for Region XVIII.
Mr. Klett is retired and now lives north of Dallas in McKinney, Texas. He loves to be with his grandchildren, play golf, fish, and simply enjoy life. Three or four days a week he works with band programs in the surrounding area. Mr. Klett is an active clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor. Their only child Melody is a full-time stay-at-home mom. Her husband Matthew Robinson is a civil engineer who works for Greater Texas Land Resources in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They have a daughter, Madeline, and twin boys, Reid and Shane.
On September 12, 2006, Mr. Klett received a phone call telling him he had been selected as a “Distinguished Alumnus” of TAMU-Kingsville. Later that afternoon, the letter from TBA arrived informing him that he had been selected Bandmaster of the Year for 2007. In February 2008, at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention, Mr. Klett also learned he had been selected to the Texas Band Directors Hall of Fame. As you can imagine, September 12 and the 2008 TMEA Convention will always be very special days in the Klett’s life! These past three years will always be very special to the Klett family. Mr. Klett does not have enough words to express his true feeling of gratitude and humility receiving such prestigious honors from these outstanding organizations.