ORAL HISTORY COLLECTION

MAIN ENTRY:                                          Kenney, Gene

DATE OF INTERVIEW:                            June 9, 2000

LOCATION OF INTERVIEW:                   Lubbock, Texas

INTERVIEWER:                                          Leslie Dutton

NUMBER OF REELS/TAPES:                    2

TAPE FORMAT:                                        Cassette

LENGTH OF INTERVIEW:                       1 hour, 5 minutes

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE:               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.

ABSTRACT:                                               The musical career of Gene Kenney

TAPE ONE             SIDE ONE

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 ONE             SIDE TWO

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 TWO – SIDE ONE

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

AGE OF INFORMANT:                        Unknown

GENDER OF INFORMANT:                 Male

ETHNICITY OF INFORMANT:            Anglo