The band directors of the Big Ten Conference began meeting officially at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, IL in 1971.  The first meeting was organized by the association's first president George Cavender (University of Michigan).  According to correspondence from Dr. Harry Begian (University of Illinois), one of the association's founding members, they would meet to “talk over problems of mutual concern and interest.”  Various members served as officers and committee chairs/members, and a constitution was proposed, but tabled in 1972.  It is not clear whether or not the proposed constitution was ever officially voted into effect.  Below is a photo of the Big Ten band directors in 1971 at the Midwest Clinic:




















  (Photo courtesy of the Sousa Archives, Harry Begian Papers, 1971)



In 1989, the association moved to become a not-for-profit organization through the state of Illinois. The minutes of that meeting (again held in Chicago at the Midwest Clinic) state:


The initial meeting of the first board of directors of The Big Ten Band Directors Foundation, an Illinois Not for Profit Corporation, was held on the 14th day of December, 1989, at the hour of 2:00 o'clock P.M., pursuant to waiver of notice signed by all the directors of the foundation.  A quorum was present.


The first President of the incorporated association was Craig Kirchhoff (formerly the Director of Bands at The Ohio State University), the Vice-President was H. Robert Reynolds (University of Michigan), the Secretary-Treasurer was John P. Paynter (Northwestern University), and the Treasurer was Myron Welch (University of Iowa).  A set of by-laws was voted into effect.  Below is  a photo of the Big Ten band directors at the Midwest Clinic in 1990, one year after the association incorporated:




















            (Photo courtesy of Stephen Pratt, 1990)



Over the years, the Big Ten Band Directors Association has commissioned several works, including: Symphony No. 2 (1986) by David Maslanka, First Symphony for Band (2008) by William Bolcom, and A Voice, A Messenger (2009) by Aaron Jay Kernis.  Also, they have sponsored many "Midnight Special" clinic sessions at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, IL featuring composers such as Michael Colgrass, Karel Husa, Warren Benson, Gunther Schuller, Joseph Schwantner, John Harbison, Frank Ticheli, Daron Hagen, Michael Daugherty, and William Bolcom.


Today, Dr. Russel C. Mikkelson (The Ohio State University) serves as Treasurer & Chair of the Commissions Project Committee, Michael Votta (University of Maryland) serves as President Elect & Secretary, and Professor Scott Teeple (University of Wisconsin-Madison) serves as President.  Below is a photo of nine of the current Directors of Bands of the Big Ten Band Directors Association from the 2013 Midwest Clinic:























           (Photo courtesy of Kevin Kastens, 2013)




A thorough history of the Big Ten Band Directors Association from 1971-2015 was completed by Dr. Eric W. Bush in May 2015 as his doctoral thesis in partial fulfillment of the D.M.A. in Band Conducting degree at the University of Iowa. Dr. Bush, who is on the band faculty at Penn State, now serves as historian for the association. This document is available below: