National Band Association Hall of Fame Inducts John P. Paynter

Photo courtesy of Chip De Stefano

The National Band Association (NBA) inducted five new members into its Hall of Fame of Distinguished Band Conductors during a ceremony at Troy (Ala.) University in February: Dr. Bobby Adams from Stetson University; Ray E. Cramer from Indiana University; Paula A. Crider from the University of Texas; Dr. Thomas V. Fraschillo from the University of Southern Mississippi and the late John P. Paynter from Northwestern University (NU).

“It was a really great and an incredibly special event for all of the enshrinees,” says Chip De Stefano, director of bands at McCracken Middle School in Skokie, Ill., and director of the Wind Ensemble at the University of Chicago. “There was this incredible sense of awe and respect for the five people being inducted and the other enshrinees that were there.”

A former student of Paynter’s at Northwestern, De Stefano nominated Paynter for a posthumous induction. (He died in 1996). Paynter had enjoyed an illustrious 46-year career as director of bands at NU and co-founded the National Band Association.

“His contributions to the band field are incredibly significant in a lot of ways,” De Stefano says. “For us that were his students, there’s that direct influence of his high standards and love of music; he brought NU up to become one of the elite collegiate band programs in the country.”

Paynter also served as president of The Midwest Clinic, the American Bandmasters Association and the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.

“I remember looking at the list and couldn’t believe that he wasn’t in the [NBA] Hall of Fame and thought that somebody needs to do something about this,” De Stefano says. “I started the nomination process and got help from the NUMBALUMS (Northwestern University Marching and Band Alums). His absence was glaring. It was so obviously missing.”

To qualify for the National Band Association Hall of Fame, a director needs to be at least 65 years old, retired, have a national reputation as a band conductor and make a national impact on the American band movement.

The Hall of Fame and Virtual Hall of Fame are both hosted at Troy University. For more information about the Hall of Fame, visit

About author

Elizabeth Geli

Elizabeth Geli is the assistant editor of Halftime Magazine and a journalist/communications professional in Southern California. Her 11 years at the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band included time as a flute player, graduate teaching assistant, and student advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism and master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from USC.

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