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Bill West

WILEY, DEWEY OTTO (1898–1980). Dewey Otto Wiley, musician and band director, known as the "Father of Texas Bands," was born in Alexander, Texas, on April 17, 1898. He was one of nine children of George W. and Caroline (Martin) Wiley. Dewey spent his childhood in Graham and began his music education when his brother Jack gave him a violin for which he had traded a horse. Wiley learned to play the violin through a mail-order method from the United States School of Music. During high school he studied under Carl Venth, then dean of music at what is now Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. Wiley attended Midland College, where he taught violin, played football, and conducted the college orchestra. He married Willie Ruth Cole on January 1, 1921, while in school. The couple had three children.

At Simmons College in Abilene, Wiley directed the orchestra, taught violin, and in 1922 became the band director. He selected the cowboy uniforms for the Hardin–Simmons Cowboy Band, which toured the United States and Europe in 1930. Wiley became the band director at Texas Technological College in Lubbock in the spring of 1934. One of his first and most lasting contributions to music included starting a summer band school. He also began the first high school band clinic for students. This program, started in 1934, continues each fall at Texas Tech. Part of his innovations included bringing nationally-recognized band directors to the clinics and band schools.

Wiley served as secretary, treasurer, and later president of the Texas Music Educators Association. After he retired from Texas Tech he became the first executive secretary of TMEA. He was also a member of the American Bandmasters Association and editor of Texas Music Educator and Southwestern Musician when the two were combined. Before his involvement in TMEA, Texas high school music was a limited extracurricular activity. Afterward, Texas bands had a national reputation of excellence. Wiley received an honorary doctor of music from the Southwestern Conservatory in 1947 and was inducted into the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 1975. He retired from Texas Tech in 1959 and died at his home in Lubbock on December 30, 1980, of heart disease. He was buried in Lubbock.


Hugh Anderson, "The Contributions of Professor Dewey O. Wiley to the School Band Movement in Texas," Southwestern Musician and the Texas Music Educator, February 1964. Phi Beta Mu National Bandmasters Fraternity, "Know Your Honorary Life President," School Musician Director and Teacher, February 1975. Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame: Dewey O. Wiley (http://www.pbmalpha.org/pbmhalloffamebio.php?HOF_Number=002), accessed September 4, 2015. Charles A. Wiley, "Pete: Some Highlights in Memories of My Dad," Southwestern Musician and the Texas Music Educator, March 1981.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Bill West, "WILEY, DEWEY OTTO," accessed July 08, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwiaj.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on September 4, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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