Larry and Barbara Howell: A Life of Service to Others

From press & staff reports

Residents of Winston County have seen many changes in recent years,
with most of those being of a positive nature. This growth is not
just shown economically or by the number of new building erected
here, it is reflected in the quality of the residents who inhabit here.
This growth is accredited to residents who have made a diffea Howell:
A Life of Service to Others
in countless ways. These residents have sacrificed their critical
time and dedication to impact their lives in a positive way.
With that being said, the Winston County Chamber of Commerce
recognized two very special people during their annual Chamber Awards
Celebration and Dinner this past March. Receiving the 2013 Winston
County Lifetime Achievement Award was Larry & Barbara Howell.
What is most intriguing about the Howells is that they are not
natives of Winston County, and moved to the area in 1966. They
quickly made their home there, however, and would soon use their
gifts and talents for the greater good of the county.
Over the years, the Howells have changed and touched man y lives of
Winston County residents through their selfless service and kind hearts.
Larry Howell received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Music
Education from Mississippi State University in 1963. During his
undergraduate years, he served as President of the MSU Band and
helped organize Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, serving as charter president.
He earned his Master of Music Education Degree in 1966. In 1970 Mr.
Howell was certified in Guidance and Vocational Guidance, and in 1983
he earned an AA certification I Administration. From 1963-1985 he was
on the teaching staff and was Band Director at MSU Summer Music Camp.
Many of his students won individual and group trophies during these
camps. Howell was a High School Band Director in Okolona from
1963-65. The band improved during these years under his direction. He
had many outstanding students. One performed professionally and now
teaches on the university level.
Director of Bands at Ridgeland High School in Ridgeland Jay McArthur,
one of Mississippi’s most successful band directors and musicians in
history, was mentored by Larry and Barbara. McArthur describes Larry
as “the consummate professional”, and that the couple is local icons
and state treasures for their contributions to the Mississippi band
Howell moved to Louisville serving as High School Band Director and
Director of Bands from 1966 to 1979. During his tenure the Louisville
HS Band received many superiors and honors with sixteen years of
straight superior ratings. The band was selected in 1970 for First
Chair of America. Louisville HS and Junior HS bands performed as
guest concert bands at the 1973 University of Southern Mississippi
Conductor’s Conference. Under his leadership in Louisville, his
students were regularly selected to Lion’s All-State Band and earned
numerous superiors in MS Solo and Ensemble Festivals. Many of his
Louisville students have gone on to be professional recording
performers and band directors in MS, FL, TX, TN, and GA.
Howell was elected to the 1971 Executive Board of MMEA, Band
Division, serving through the offices to President of MMEA Band
Division in 1974. He was honored as 1972 Outstanding Young Educator
of the Year by Winston County Jaycees, and he was president of
Louisville’s Lions’ Club. In the same year, he was invited to be a
member of ASBDA. He was chosen to be Lion’s All State Concert
Director in 1973 and again in 1977. In 1973 Howell was appointed
Honorary Colonel & Aide-de-Camp for the Ms. Governor’s Staff by
Governor Bill Waller.
Howell was named as Distinguished Bandmaster of America “First Chair
of American” in 1976 and he was honored with the 1977 Outstanding
Bandmaster Award by Phi Beta Mu. Howell was elected to serve as
resident of Mississippi Music Educators Association; during this time
he represented Mississippi at the International Music Camp In-Service
Conference at Interlocken, MI. As president of MMEA he received
national recognition at the 1978 Music Educators National that was
held in Chicago, IL, for registering the greatest membership in state
membership. During that year he was responsible for organizing the
first “Unified Convention for Music Education” in Mississippi for All-
State Band, All-State Chorus, and All-State Orchestra.
In 1979 Howell accepted the position of High School Band Director at
Dalton, GA. That year Dalton HS Concert Band received their first
superior ratings in Concert and Sight Reading. They won first place
at Atlantic States Marching Festival and the Peach State Marching
Festival. The band won the 1980 Grand Champion trophy at the Desoto
National Marching Festival in Bradenton, FL. Howell moved back to
Louisville. In 1985 Howell was given the role of the King in
Louisville’s Little Theater production of “The Music Man” in 1986 and
“Arsenic and Old Lace” in 1985 and various other roles.
He then returned to the Louisville Band Program as Band Director. He
served as 1989 president of Phi Beta Mu, Delta Chapter, and was a
member of the Phi Beta Mu committee which founded the MS Band
Directors Hall of Fame. He also served on the State Board for MS
Lion’s All-State Band and served as a member of the State Committee
to write the Music Aim Plan. Howell worked for Mississippi Music,
Inc. as Band Representative out of the Meridian store from January
1986-95, serving bands and their directors in East Central
Mississippi. In 1995 Howell became Band Director for a new
consolidated school band program at Newton County High School.
During the following four years, the new band was very successful. He
served as MSU Alumni Band President from 1995-97. He was inducted
into the Mississippi Music Educator’s Hall of Fame in 2005 at the
Lions All-State Band Concert. In 2008 he was named Outstanding
Contributor by Phi Beta Mu for his contributions to music education
in the state of Mississippi.
Howell retired from public schools in 1999. He served as Delta
Chapter’s executive secretary for Phi beta Mu International
Bandmasters Fraternity and on the Alumni Band Board, and led the
charge for the realization of a new band hall at Mississippi State
University. He has served as a volunteer board member and secretary
of the Red Hills Arts Foundation since it was founded in 1995 and was
instrumental in finding a home for the arts in Louisville (the
historic Strand Theater). Since 1997 he has co-directed the annual
benefit “Home for Christmas Concert” with Carl Jackson, in which the
proceeds have been solely responsible for keeping the building open
for the community. Howell continues to serve each year as a stage
manager at MHSAA Concert and Sight reading Festival and as a guest
conductor, announcer, and adjudicator in Mississippi and Alabama.
Barbara Howell received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from
Mississippi State University in 1963. She transferred from Arkansas
State University where she was a Twirler, winning a role in the movie
“A Face in the Crowd” starring Andy Griffith. During her
undergraduate years she was vice president of Chi Omega Sorority at
MSU. Barbara was also a majorette in the Famous Maroon Band for three
years and was also voted Most Beautiful at Mississippi State. Barbara
started painting and taking art at MSU and her paintings were put on
exhibit in the Colvard Union and Lee Hall. She received her Master’s
in Education in 1966 from MSU.
Barbara started her teaching career in Okolona following her husband
to Louisville when he was offered the High School Band Directors
position. She taught first grade at Louisville Elementary School from
1965 to 1979. During these years she was very involved in Larry’s
band program, designing & sewing majorette, flag, drum major, and
rifle uniforms. She would also assist the various Band Captains with
their routines and help with practices. Barbara enjoyed traveling so
she organized many trips for Larry’s bands over the years.
Barbara became involved in Girl Scouting in the Louisville community
in 1974. Barbara began as a leader of a local Brownie Troop and
followed her daughters in Girl Scouts as leaders of their various
troops as well as other troops that needed leaders. She helped
organize many Carnivals and Day camps for the Winston County Girl
Scout service unit. Several of her scouts earned the coveted Gold
Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouting. Barbara was also awarded
two Gold Award mother’s pins and an Eagle Scout mother’s pin by her
Eagle Scout son.
She served as Cookie Chairman for many years and in 1978 was the
Neighborhood Chairman. Barbara helped organize a trip to Savannah,
GA, home of Juliette Low, founder of Girl Scouting. On this trip she
took Louisville natives and a member of one of Juliette Low’s
original troops, Lillian Rothwell. Barbara wanted the Louisville
girls to know the history of their organization. In 1983, Barbara was
asked to represent the Prairie Girl Scout Council on their Board of
Directors, where she served for several years.
In 1979, she followed her husband to Dalton, GA where he had taken
the Band Director’s position. She taught sixth grade there and in
1980 they returned to Louisville, the home they missed. Barbara
taught at Nanih Waiya High School, serving as Beta Club sponsor. In
1981 she began teaching sixth grade at Eiland Middle School. Barbara
loved teaching middle school and also served as a volunteer tutor for
students after school. Barbara retired from the school system in 1999.
Barbara continued her involvement and support of her community. In
1985 Barbara was a part of the Louisville Little Theater, playing
various supporting roles in “The King and I”, “Music Man”, and
various other productions.
In 1992 Barbara started painting again. She painted her first
painting in years “Stringer of Fish”, which won several honors and
was on exhibit in the Mississippi Governor’s mansion for a year. Over
the years, Barbara has won various awards for her artwork. She served
on the MSU Alumni Band Board. Seeing the need for funding for a new
band hall at MSU, she painted a series of paintings for the band. The
band used her prints to raise funds at football games. The paintings
raised enough money to purchase a much needed equipment trailer for
the MSU band program. These paintings still hang in the band hall
office at Mississippi State.
Barbara’s love for art and teaching proved to be a winning
combination. Barbara continues to teach art in her home studio, and
several of her art students have won on the state and local level.
Her students’ paintings hang in several venues, including the State
Department of Education and the Winston County Library. Barbara’s
paintings also hang in businesses and homes all over Winston County.
Barbara has served the Red Hills Board of Directors since the
foundations beginning in 1995. She has served the board for 17 years
as the Recording Secretary. Barbara has served as a volunteer for
Carl Jackson’s “Home for Christmas” for 15 years, serving every one
of those years as the Stage Decoration’s Chairman and Hospitality
Chairman for the entertainers.
She continues to volunteer in her home, church, First Presbyterian,
where she sings in the church choir, is active on the decorating
committee, member of the women’s ministry, serves as Chairman, and
teaches Bible studies. Larry serves as Choir Director for the church.
The couple has three children, Melody, Renee, and John. They also
have seven grandchildren.
The entire Winston County would like to thank the Howells for their
decision to choose this place to make their home and for all the
young people whose lives and character that have been forever changed
by these caring and wonderful people.
So if you ever meet the Howells in the community one day, thank them
for putting Winston County first in their hearts.