Guide to the John Phillip Paynter (1928-1996) Biographical Materials

Collection Title: John Phillip Paynter (1928-1996) Biographical Materials
Dates: 1951-1996
Identification: 19/3/9
Creator: Paynter, John P.
Extent: 1 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: Music professor and bandleader John Phillip Paynter, named for John Phillip Sousa, began his musical studies at Northwestern, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1950 and a Master's in Theory and Composition in 1951. Upon graduation, Paynter joined NU's faculty as the Director of the Marching Band. During his career at Northwestern, Paynter taught classes in band music, conducting, and arranging. The John P. Paynter Biographical Materials consist of biographical data, obituaries, Northwestern press releases, newspaper clippings and correspondence.
Acquisition Information: The John Paynter Biographical Materials were separated from the University Archives' Faculty Biographical Files.
Processing Information: Sarah Rose; 2003.
Separated Materials: A few duplicate items were discarded.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Related Materials: See Also: Alumni Biographical Files (Series 51/14, Box 474)
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

Music professor and bandleader John Phillip Paynter, named for John Phillip Sousa, was born in Mineral Point, Wisconsin on May 29, 1928. Paynter began his musical studies at Northwestern, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1950 and a Master's in Theory and Composition in 1951. Upon graduation, Paynter joined NU's faculty as the Director of the Marching Band. During his career at Northwestern, Paynter taught classes in band music, conducting, and arranging. He also worked on composing and arranging music, and completed more than 400 works during his lifetime.

Paynter received early musical training at the insistence of his father, an amateur bandsman who admired Sousa. As a child, Paynter took piano and organ lessons and, like his father before him, played clarinet. He participated in band throughout his school years, and was influenced by Bernard Stepner, his band director.

Paynter began his musical studies at Northwestern, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1950 and a Master's in Theory and Composition in 1951. While working on his Master's degree, Paynter was Acting Director of Bands (in Glenn Cliffe Bainum's absence), and when he graduated in 1951 he was appointed to full-time faculty as Director of the Marching Band, Assistant Director of Bands, and Instructor of Theory. Two years later, when Bainum retired, Paynter succeeded him to become the second Director of Bands in the history of Northwestern University.

Bainum was an important mentor and friend of Paynter's. Paynter recalled playing his freshman band audition for Bainum and being hired by Bainum to be an assistant in the band office. In 1994, twenty years after Bainum's death, Paynter still remembered him warmly, saying: “Hardly a day goes by that I don't remember some little thing he said….Simply said, Mr. Bainum was my idol, my mentor, and my conscience.”

During his career at Northwestern, Paynter taught classes in band music, conducting, and arranging. He also worked on composing and arranging music, and completed more than 400 works during his lifetime. As a student in 1949, Paynter was part of the Wildcats' trip to the Rose Bowl. In 1995, shortly before his death, Paynter returned to the Rose Bowl, this time as the Director of the Northwestern Band.

One aspect of music that was important to Paynter was that of the American tradition of community bands—groups comprised of music teachers and musically trained amateurs. In 1956, Paynter helped establish the 113-member Northshore Concert Band, but his work in this area did not end at the North Shore of Chicago. Paynter also helped to organize and inspire such community groups around the world—traveling to all fifty states and four continents.

A leader in his field, Paynter was President of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles and the Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic. He was cofounder and Honorary Life President of the National Band Association. The professional organizations to which he belonged included the Music Educators National Conference and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

Paynter received honors from many organizations for his contributions to music. These organizations included Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Eta Sigma, Tri-M Modern Music Masters, Phi Beta Mu, Kappa Kappa Psi, Illinois Music Educators, the John Phillip Sousa Foundation, the National Band Association, the School Musician, the Instrumentalist (for which he edited the “New Music” column), and the National Association of Music Clubs. In August 1987 he was named one of the inaugural recipients of the Northwestern Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award, and in June 1992 DePaul University granted him an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

At the age of 67, John P. Paynter passed away on Sunday, February 4, 1996 at Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview, IL. He had been hospitalized there since suffering a stroke on January 23.

Paynter was married to Marietta Morgan Paynter, his childhood sweetheart, for 47 years. They had two children, Bruce and Megan.

Scope and Content

The John P. Paynter Biographical Materials consist of biographical data, obituaries, Northwestern press releases, newspaper clippings and correspondence.

The biographical folder includes Paynter's Northwestern faculty bios, the Music School Faculty Information Guide from Paynter's final year at NU, and the 1979 issue of The Instrumentalist, which featured Paynter.

Programs from the memorial services held for Paynter and the issue of The Instrumentalist that memorialized Paynter are included in the obituaries folder.

The press releases and newspaper clippings are arranged chronologically and are related to Paynter's work at Northwestern, the Northshore Concert Band and guest conducting appearances.

The correspondence dates from 1950 to 1951, when Paynter handled Glenn Cliffe Bainum's administrative correspondence while Bainum was ill.

Subjects

Corporate Name

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). School of Music--Faculty

Personal Name

Paynter, John P.

Subjects

Band directors--Illinois--Evanston

Marching bands--Illinois--Evanston

Music--Study and teaching (Higher)--Illinois--Evanston


Container List / Contents

  • Biographical Data, 1961-1996Box 1, Folder 1
  • Obituaries, 1996Box 1, Folder 2
  • Press Releases, 1955-1996Box 1, Folder 3
  • Newspaper Clippings, 1953-1996Box 1, Folder 4
  • Correspondence, 1950-1951Box 1, Folder 5