Randol Lee Vaughn was born on September 27, 1944, in Clovis, New Mexico, the first child of Amos and Rosa Vaughn. He began his musical career in the first class at the new Gattis Junior High School. He picked athletics first and band was his third choice. He was selected for the band. When he walked in the band hall the first day, the band director asked him what he wanted to play and he said he didn't know. So the director said, “You look like a flute player,” and that is how it all began. It turns out that band director was Harold Van Winkle, who later would teach him private flute even though he was a French horn player. Mr. Van Winkle later became the Director of Bands at the University of New Mexico. Randy was last chair that first year but quickly improved after going to band camp at Eastern New Mexico University and continuing to study privately with Mr. Van Winkle.
When Randy entered Clovis High School in 1964, his band director was Mr. Norvell Howell, who had developed one of the finest high school bands in the Southwest. That is where Randy learned discipline and hard work from one of the great taskmasters in the band world. He then began to take lessons from Mr. Ted Raven, one of the best woodwind and flute teachers in the area. He was expensive and demanded lots of practice. Randy's parents provided the lessons at great strain to the family budget and he provided the practice! Randy loved to practice his flute along with his brothers Ronnie, who played alto sax, and Ricky, who was a clarinetist. The three of them would practice for hours upon hours at night. Sometimes their parents would leave the house to go for a drive just to get away from the noise. Randy improved with lessons and practice and made the New Mexico All-State Band three years in a row. His first year at All-State, his director was Frederick Fennell, and in his senior year the conductor was William D. Revelli. Randy would never forget playing Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral with the All-State Band. Another vivid memory from the Clovis High School Band was when the band went to Enid, Oklahoma, for the Tri-State Music Festival. Mr. Howell took them to hear the Permian High School Band under the direction of Mr. J.R. McIntyre. It was the best band he had ever heard. Permian played the 1812 Overture and George Washington Bicentennial March by Sousa. Clovis played Shostakovich's 5th Symphony. Randy knew they had no chance of winning the outstanding band because Permian was stunning. Surprisingly, the Clovis Band won Best in Class. As it turned out all three judges had played in Sousa's band and said the Permian Band played the Sousa march too fast and gave them a second division. The rumor was that J.R. told the judges if Sousa had had the players he had at Permian he would have played the march faster, too!
In the fall of 1963, after completing high school, Randy went to West Texas State University in Canyon, Texas. That happened to be the first year at West Texas for another boy flute player and director Dr. Gary Garner. Randy remembers playing for Dr. Garner at his first lesson. When Dr. G told him that some of his fingerings for the high notes were incorrect Randy thought, "Oh my, this guy doesn't know his fingerings!" As it turned out, Dr. Garner was correct and Randy didn't know his fingerings! It was a wonderful time to be at West Texas. Dr. Garner was witty and charming but was also smart and detailed with his rehearsals as a director and private teacher. Dr. Garner is one of the most musical and competent musicians Randy has ever known! Randy still loved to practice and would sometimes practice three to four hours a day to be prepared for his flute lessons with Dr. G. The West Texas Band got better and better year-by-year and in 1968 brought the house down with their performance at TMEA. One of the proudest moments for Randy's parents came when he was selected to play in the Amarillo Symphony while he was still a student at West Texas.
The first band-directing job Randy had was during his senior year at West Texas. Dr. Garner talked him into taking the position at Claude High School. He was also taking 18 hours, doing his student teaching and playing in the Amarillo Symphony. Randy remembers his first day with 32 students sitting in the band hall when someone hit him with a spit wad! The Claude Band was not one of the better bands, having made division 3 and 4 ratings. At marching contest that year, the Claude Band made a 3 and Randy was devastated. He went to Dr. Garner for some sympathy, but Dr. G told Randy that it was deserved because there were wrong notes and the band did not play very well. Randy told Dr. Garner that it was a marching contest! Dr. G told him that playing well was more important than marching! He learned a valuable lesson that day: obviously, he did not know what he was doing! So during the concert season Randy sought out Dr. Garner on a daily basis and learned something about rehearsing a band. That same year the concert band made their first 1 in concert and a 2 in sightreading. Randy was ready for bigger and better things and that is when Ben Gollehon called and asked him to take the position at Stanton Junior High School in Hereford, Texas.
So after graduating from West Texas in 1968, Randy moved to Hereford. Stanton was a great job for a first-year teacher because the Hereford High Band had just been the 3A Honor Band of Texas. It was a great place to learn from some experienced and talented directors who were some of the best teachers in the country! Randy will never forget the first day he moved to Hereford. Ben Gollehon and the superintendent of schools, Johnny Clark, asked him to go water skiing with them at Buffalo Lake. Randy was skiing and having a great time, but eventually fell. When they came around to pick him up, Johnny was driving the boat and did not have his glasses on. Johnny was blind as a bat and proceeded to bear down on him at great speed. He thought they were trying to kill him. If it had not been for Ben turning off the motor Randy probably would not be here today! He was not hurt, but he almost pulled his finger off when he grabbed the rope ring at the front of the boat. They had a good laugh later, though!
During his time in Hereford, he continued to learn how to really listen and rehearse a full ensemble. Ben was someone who could get more done in less time than anyone Randy had ever seen. He was calm, fast and efficient and could hear the grass grow, so to speak! He has great memories of his time at Stanton Junior High and the band there was successful thanks to a lot of team-teaching and help from Jim Priest and Ben Gollehon. After Ben left Hereford High School in 1974, Randy was offered the job and he accepted it. They had a very successful program thanks to some wonderful teachers: Nick Nixon, Bill Huff, and Tom Wine. It was about this time he met his wife-to-be, Cindy Collier. Her Aunt Carole (a librarian at the high school) introduced them and told Randy to take care of her, so he took her at her word and married Cindy. Cindy was an outstanding musician in her own right, having played clarinet and oboe and she was an outstanding pianist! They married a year later and it was one of the best decisions he has ever made. They loved Hereford and it loved them and they had a very successful program following the legend, Mr. Gollehon.
After six years in Hereford, Randy got a phone call from Van Ragsdale asking him to look at a band program in Klein, Texas. He and Cindy visited and loved it. Randy was offered the job at Strack Intermediate School. Randy recalls that Dr. Garner told him not to leave a 5A band to go take a 3C intermediate school, but he did anyway and it was the first time he had not followed his mentor's advice. As it turned out, it was the correct decision for his career!
After two years at Strack, Randy was offered a position at Klein High School. While at Klein High School, the band program continued to be successful. Following directors like Bob Blanton, Verda Herrington and Van Ragsdale was no easy task. It was about this time that Randy starting working with Mr. Eddie Green. Mr. Green had judged the Strack Band in a contest at a Galveston music festival and Randy was blown away by the comments he made about the band's performance. Randy decided right then he had to get to know Mr. Green and learn from this obviously brilliant man. Under the mentorship of Mr. Green, the Klein Bands improved even more. The Klein Band was an Honor Band finalist (4th runner-up) in 1988-89, 2nd runner up in 1990-91 and 3rd runner up in 2000-01. The Concert Band won the Buccaneer Days contest in 1990 at Del Mar College and won the South Coast Music Festival in 2001. The Klein High School Concert Band had 18 years of Sweepstakes awards! Randy also conducted the fourth band at Klein and was so proud when that band won Best in Class at the South Coast Music Festival in 2001 along with the first band. The last two years before he retired, the fourth band won a Sweepstakes award! The other bands at Klein were also very successful with Audon Lopez, Merlin Patterson and Todd Clearwater, who were outstanding teachers and directors. His success at Klein High School would not have been possible without the support and great teaching of his middle school feeder directors, Randy Bloodworth and Susan Scarborough.
The marching band at Klein was also known for its excellence and was one of the first bands to have extensive use of woodwinds on the marching field. They performed at the state marching contest for seven consecutive years. One of the most famous marching shows was the Appalachian Spring program in 1989. At first Randy thought the idea of playing Appalachian Spring on the marching field was ridiculous, but he listened to his staff and it turned out to be the correct decision. Randy still has directors come up to him and tell him that it was one of the most memorable performances ever at the state marching contest! The Klein Band tied with Westfield for first place in the finals but lost by one point in the tie-breaker. The next year the Klein Band won prelims with all first place votes but one, then lost to Duncanville in the finals at Texas Memorial Stadium. The marching band also was a consistent finalist at the Bands of America marching contests in Houston and San Antonio and Grand Nationals in Indianapolis where the Klein Band won Best Musical Performance in prelims and came in 7th overall in finals competition. They were the BOA Southwest Regional Champions in 1988. The Klein Bands also performed at Constitution Hall in Washington D.C., at the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival in Chicago and Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Randy credits his success in music to his parents and his brothers, Ronnie and Ricky, who gave him guidance and discipline to believe in himself and impressed on him that all things were possible with hard work and discipline. He also credits his success to the many wonderful friends and colleagues like those already mentioned, including Tom Bennett, Matthew McInturff, Paul Worosello, Robert Hastings, Bob Blanton, Bob West, Philip Geiger, Bill Watson, Scott McAdoo, Keith Markuson, David Gresens, and all the members of the TBA Board of Directors while he and Cindy were serving on the TBA board for those many years. All of this would not have been possible without the help and support of his mentors, Dr. Gary Garner and Mr. Eddie Green, to whom Randy owes so much for their guidance, support, honesty and knowledge.
Randy is a member of TMEA, Phi Beta Mu, TMAA and is a past president of the Texas Bandmasters Association. In 2002, Randy was awarded the Lifetime Meritorious Achievement Award by TBA. Throughout his career Randy has impacted so many lives by his enthusiasm and drive for teaching music. Currently, four of his former students are playing professionally. Three are trombone players, with two from the same class of 2000. Weston Sprott is playing with the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Tim Higgins is principal trombonist in the
San Francisco Symphony, while Brad White is 2nd trombone in the Houston Symphony. Wade Butin, a French horn player, performed with the Honolulu Symphony until it disbanded and he is now subbing for the Houston Symphony. Many of his former students are currently successful band directors. His philosophy was that it was not about the awards; it was about the students and the music and how the students felt about band when they left the class every day. If they felt like they learned something and were uplifted by the experience, then it was a successful day!
Randy retired in 2001 after 34 years in the Texas public schools. He maintains a very busy schedule as clinician and judge throughout the state of Texas and nationwide.
After Randy's retirement in 2001, he and his wife Cindy caught Randy's "travel bug." They have had the wonderful opportunity to go to great destinations like Australia, New Zealand and Fiji; Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and St. Petersburg, Russia, and Italy. Most recently they cruised the Danube, visiting seven different European countries. Cindy retired from teaching in 2004, and currently works in the music office at Champion Forest Baptist Church where they have been members for twenty-five years.
Randy and Cindy have been married for 34 years and Randy attributes much of his success as a director to her love and support.