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Forum: The Phil Hewett Years



Created on: 10/10/10 04:34 AM Views: 6072 Replies: 1
Phil Hewett's Bands
Posted Saturday, October 9, 2010 11:34 PM

This is an edited version of a previous posting: 

Hewett left Paschal before we graduated, in May of 1968. He was supposed to be a graduate assistant at K-State, but the band director had a huge heart attack. Hewett got thrown into the band director's job with no notice. Phil Aikman took over at Paschal and did a really good job. I admire Aikman for even taking on the job. He approached things differently and got outstanding results. He was a good guy to work for as well.

I was an equipment manager for nearly all of my years with Hewett. Equipment managers see things differently than the rest of the band does. Hewett really appreciated the problems he did not have to deal with. He would give you enough room to get your work done as long you were getting things done. This was especially true on road trips. The managers had to ride the first bus, in front. This made loading and unloading go much faster with less confusion. 

At Kansas State we had 160 or so people on the field when I got there and over 300 the last year I was there. Road trips to out of state football games were ordeals since we traveled with six buses. That made me really appreciate how easy it was at Paschal.

Hewett's nature was very competitive. He was quite a motivator, but he left you a lot of room for creativity. While he was at Paschal he brought in people for clinics and concerts like Doc Severinson (Tonight Show) and Joe Morello (Dave Brubeck Quartet). On one trip to a Corpus Christi jazz contest Stan Kenton directed our stage band. When the stage band won a national championship, Doc Severinson was so moved by Johnny Thomas' performance he gave him his trumpet.

One thing that was really unique was that Hewett had the drum major direct the marching band on the field. Hewett was in the press box reading the script over the loud speaker. Most band directors directed their bands on the field.

Hewett had this thing about cultivating leadership. He was very good at delegating things to the section leaders. This caused people to push out of the comfort zone and mediocrity. Hewett based your grades on continuous improvement and effort. You did not have to be a world class musician to get a good grade.

He selected music that the band liked to perform. The Dixie Drill we did at Paschal went with him to K-State. It only lasted two years because of political correctness. He shrugged that off saying the band was becoming too big for the marching formation to work.

Summing up Hewett is easy; Contageous Enthusiasm.

RE: Phil Hewett's Bands
Posted Monday, June 27, 2011 12:06 PM

Phil Hewitt was an exceptional person.  He and Pat Atkinson developed my love of music, so much that I went on to become a high school band director (for 13 years.) It was and still is a wonderful story to talk to current students about being in the 1968 band that won the first ever U.I.L. band sweepstakes in FWISD.  When Mr. Hewitt walked out of the auditorium at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, I don't think his feet ever touched the ground.  And it was a priviledge to be with the band when they won the second sweepstakes for PHS 38 years later.  After I moved to school administration in 1991, I was able to start a marching contest in Killeen, Texas and hire Mr. Hewitt to judge the contest for the first two years.  It was wonderful to see him and to watch him work and comment to the bands regarding their performances.  He was focused on helpful comments and always encouraging to the band students.


Michael Ryan, Ed.D. '69'

Executive Director of Fine Arts, FWISD