Kenney, Gene 2000-06-09

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Gene Kenney talks about his musical career and his work as Texas Tech University’s Choir Director. He also recalls people he has worked with at Texas Tech, his more memorable students and highlights from his career.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Gene Kenney

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: June 9, 2000

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Leslie Dutton

Length: 1 hour, 5 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Kenney, Gene, Came to Texas Tech in the summer of 1957, Hemley, Gene, Kenney, Gene (again), Took over the Texas Tech Choir in 1958, Music Career, Studied with Orvil Orchers (?) at Imporia State in Kansas, Went to SMU on graduate assistantship – 1949-1950, Abilene High School - 1951-1954, Carl Fisher Music Publishing House – 1955, Amarillo High School – 1956, Texas Tech University – 1957, Changes in coral music over the years, Programming changes, Criteria for selecting programing, Repeated programs, Change in programs to prevent getting into a rut, Special selection repeated for Marshal Pennington, Exposed the students to as many types of music as possible, Texas Tech University Summer Choir Camps and Concerts, Roger Waggoner, guest conductor, Raymond Elliott ran the summer camps prior to Gene Kenney’s arrival - 1958, Pressures on All State Choirs, Oklahoma All State Choir practice procedures, Pressures on All State Choirs (again), Men’s Glee Club clinic experience in Bolder, CO, All State Choir (again), Quality of Texas All State Choir sound, Techniques in choir directing, John Finnley Williamson’s style of choir directing, Forming a unit sound, Choir sounds Gene Kenney didn’t like and tried to change, Interconnection of high school choir directors, Accompanists for the Texas Tech choir, Qualities of a good accompanist, Accompanists for the Texas Tech choir (again), Choir practice techniques, Choir tours, Overcoming lack of money for early tours, Using the tours for recruiting music students to Texas Tech, All tours were within the state.

Tape 1, Side 2: Choir tours (again), Stories about some tours, Johnson, Mary Jane, Recruiting her, Her voice, Her personality, Other memorable students, Dorothy Prejon (?), Johnny Gilbert, Terry Cook, Ray Moore, Don Armstrong, Other well-known singers connected to Texas Tech, Hemley, Gene (again), Contributions to building the Texas Tech School of Music , His qualities as an administrator and recruiter , Antique shop he owned with his mother, Train station he purchased and had moved from New Mexico, His marriage, His vision for the Texas Tech School of Music, Problems in developing an opera program at Texas Tech, Hemley, Gene (again), His part in acquiring the organ from Oberland Deal, Bob, Story about Bob Deal and Charles Post’s singing on tour with TTU Choir, Story about Bob Deal’s dog traveling with the choir, Career Highlights, Working with Robert Shaw, summers of approximately 1952-1954.

Tape 2, Side 1: Working with Robert Shaw (again), Sitting in on Shaw’s sessions with Julius Herbert, Summer in Salsburg - 1969, ACDA (?) convention in Europe - 1969, John Gillas performed, University of Texas choir performed.

Range Dates: 1949 - 1984

Bulk Dates: 1957 - 1984

Access Information

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