The low brass world lost a friend and colleague September 1, 2013, when Ross Morgan passed away after a valiant 10-month battle with cancer. Ross was a tubist with The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” and is best remembered as the person in charge of the Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference.
Ross Nicholas Morgan, Jr. was born in Phoenix, New York. He studied tuba with James Linn and received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Ithaca College where he was a member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Delta chapter. While at Ithaca, Ross performed with the Scranton and Utica Symphony Orchestras. He joined The United States Army Band in 1974 and was first assigned to the ceremonial band. However, he was almost immediately moved into the concert band due to his fantastic musical ability. Ross continued his education at The Catholic University of America, where he earned a Master of Music degree in performance. During this period, Ross studied privately with David Bragunier of the National Symphony Orchestra. While in the Army Band Ross also performed with the Capitol Band and numerous joint service bands as well as the Alexandria, Arlington, McLean, and Prince William Symphony Orchestras. Ross was a member of ITEA and served for a time as an associate editor.
Ross helped create The United States Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference in 1983 and, through the years, served ably in every conference leadership position. He was an original founding member of the Army Band Tuba Quartet. Owing to his outstanding leadership abilities, Ross was appointed enlisted leader of The United States Army Band and became the unit’s first Command Sergeant Major in the ninety-year history of the organization. He was awarded the Legion of Merit upon retirement, having served his country for 35 years.
After retirement from military service, Ross took advantage of his newfound free time by hunting and fishing. He continued performing on the tuba as a member of the Virginia Grand Military Band.
A tribute recital was held for Ross Morgan on February 1, 2014 at the US Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Workshop. Many friends from years past got together to perform the Adagio movement from the Saint Saens Third Symphony in Ross’s memory. Those performing included euphoniums Roger Behrend, Brian Bowman, Don Burleson, Phil Franke, Ann Baldwin Hinote, and Don Palmire. Tubas performing were Jeff Arwood, David Brown, Jan Duga, Marty Erickson, Ike Evans, Tom Lyckberg, and John Taylor.
Ross is survived by his wife Jane, daughters Virginia Nipper (and her husband, Brandon), Anna and Elizabeth Morgan, mother Kathryn Morgan, sister Judy Williams (with her husband, Dan), brother Andrew (and his wife, Vicki), and three nephews, James and Matthew Williams and Jeremy Morgan.
Thank you to the friends and colleagues who sent the following tributes to Ross.
It was fitting that Ross Morgan was named the first Command Sergeant Major in the history of The US Army Band, “Pershing’s Own.” Ross had been a valued musician in the band for years and understood the importance of music to the military. At his retirement ceremony he said, “It’s the people here, past and present, that make the music that is ‘Pershing’s Own.'” Ross was a true leader and was very well respected. He identified with the musicians in the band but had the ability to successfully implement Army policy at the same time. That’s not an easy task. Ross had a true respect and affinity for the musicians in the band and wanted the best for each of them. Accordingly, the band was all the better for it.
Ross was a wonderful player with a huge sound. Colonel Allen once remarked that “Ross’s sound is so big he sounds like six tuba players.”
Ross was known to his family as Butch but he “earned” the nickname Bluto as soon as those of us in the tuba section really got to know him. I remember how much he enjoyed stomping on someone’s new hat or how he delighted in folding up someone’s lawn chair, even if they were still sitting in it. Ross had many interests outside of music, but hunting was his passion. I remember how he regaled us with accounts of his hunting escapades with his father and uncle, “Tug and Tor,” in upstate New York; accounts of “duck eve” and “toasting the fallen stag” as well as many other fascinating stories. I always appreciated the fact that Ross hunted for food as well as sport. Who can forget his famous venison chili with just the right dose of Buck’s seasoning mixed in? One of Ross’s Ithaca colleagues told of the time they were traveling to a performance with the Ithaca brass quintet. Unfortunately, the car in which they were riding hit a deer. Not wanting to leave the venison behind, Ross got out of the car (in his tux), field dressed the deer, and tied it to the trunk of the car before going on to play the concert.
Ross and I roomed together for nearly 20 years on Army Band tours. The most exciting experience we had was undoubtedly a 5.4 magnitude earthquake while staying on the 32nd floor of a Tokyo hotel. Ross was a fun-loving guy and it was always great being around him. He could often be heard yelling “anaconda” while playing cards on the “rowdy bus” and grumbling, “That’s enough to make a mare bite her colt,” after losing a hand. Ross and I had more than our share of “espiritu fermenti” at, as Ross called the bar, “mahogany ridge,” and it was amazing how close we came to solving the world’s problems on numerous occasions.
We watched several Superbowls together including the Redskins’ victory over Denver in 1988. I remember Ross was so excited after that victory that he fired off a few blank shotgun rounds in his back yard. Ross was also a huge Yankees fan and often planned vacations around Yankees training camp or an out-of-town Yankees game.
Ross was a wonderful family man, and I remember how fondly he talked about Jane and the girls. It was apparent how proud he was of them and how much he loved them. I remember well when all the girls, Virginia, Anna, and Beth, were born and can still see the look of pride on Ross’s face when his babies were in his arms. Although Ross had a big, strong persona, that façade melted away when he was with his girls. Amanda and I were fortunate to have been among the regulars at the Morgan house.
Jack Tilbury, Ross, and Jeff Arwood
Ross was a loyal friend and I valued his opinion and relied on his sound judgment. He stood beside me through the good times and the not-so-good times and for that, I’ll always be grateful.
Ross wrote a tribute to me when I retired from the band. In it he said, “You’ve been my mentor and best friend for close to twenty years. Now I’m looking forward to our future-getting the horn out for a duet session, some diet cokes, munders [beers], Redskins, or just good talk. Here’s to the future.” Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to do all the things we had hoped to do and I regret that deeply. There is one kind of robber the law does not go after, and who steals what is most precious to men-time. Fortunately, time can’t steal the treasures we hold in our hearts.
And now, Ross, the time has come to say goodbye. You’ve played a huge part in my life and I was fortunate to have had you as my best friend. I’ll never forget you. “The song is ended, but the melody lingers on.”
~ Jeff Arwood, SGM, US Army, Ret.
The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” 1969-1994
Jeff Arwood and Ross at Yankee Stadium
Last September we lost a great musician and a great friend. Ross Morgan joined The United States Army Band tuba section in 1974. He quickly became recognized as a fine player, and was a big influence on so many aspects of the Army Band’s tuba section. His great sound and his musical approach to playing were the mortar that held the section together and made it so very special for so many years. His outgoing personality and ability to make friends made the tuba section of the Army Band more than merely co-workers or colleagues. It made us close friends, and in some cases, family. When that happens in a musical ensemble over a number of years, performance is taken to an entirely new level. Ross Morgan was a big part of making that happen.
A natural leader, Ross was one of the co-founders of the Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Workshop. During most of his career he was in charge of logistics for the workshop. It was up to Ross to make sure every performer and every ensemble had what they needed at the right time, no matter what. Jeff Arwood and I would line up the program and decide what was supposed to happen, but it was Ross who made it happen. Now in its 30th year, the workshop is a success because Ross Morgan set the example for how things were supposed to work.
The Army Band is a big organization with many different performing elements. Strong leadership is what makes it successful. It is no surprise that Ross eventually became the enlisted leader of this fine organization. He holds the distinction of becoming the first enlisted leader to attain the rank of Command Sergeant Major. Take my word for it. That’s a big deal. I can think of no one I have known in the Army Band who deserves that distinction more than Ross. As the band’s first CSM, he more than lived up to expectations.
To describe Ross Morgan as gregarious would be an understatement. He was one of the friendliest and most outgoing individuals I have ever known. He was a genuine ambassador for the Army Band both in the Washington D.C. area and wherever the band traveled. The United States Army Band has been very fortunate, indeed, to have counted CSM Ross N. Morgan as one of its finest members. Indeed, the whole tuba community has lost a great friend. He will be sorely missed.
Jack Tilbury, SGM, US Army, Ret.
The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” 1972-2005
Very seldom does a person make you feel accepted, that your ideas are sound, that you contribute to a mutual success, or say “HEY, let’s just hang and relax.” Ross Morgan was one of these people. It was natural for Ross to treat everyone with ease and acceptance. There was never any pressure, there was never any do this or that, but simply acceptance and gentle guidance.
He is missed in my life because he was a natural friend, natural brother, and a natural spirit of life. He didn’t ask to be my friend, he simply became a part of my immediate and personal brotherhood and was my brother away from my immediate sibling. He was a natural kindred spirit that helped me in this life. His personal privacy was also appealing to me and was the umbilical cord to a true and lasting friendship-private to the end.
Everything was always new and interesting in life with Ross. Everything was fun and became a mutual challenge. He was a master craftsman helping with everything from scoping in a pellet rifle to adjusting and fixing small motors. Figuring out the latest from Detroit was one of his favorite topics. Yes, we never solved this issue but ended up with a score: Japan 8 versus Scott-Ross 0.
~ Scott Shelsta, SGM, US Army, Ret.
The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” 1974-2004
It’s funny how some things stand out in memory, like the day Ross Morgan auditioned for The United States Army Band (Pershing’s Own). Fresh from Ithaca College with a new Cerveny “Piggy” tuba, he sailed through the audition, showing the musicianship he would be known for during his entire playing career.
Jeff Arwood and I, along with a forgotten officer, heard the audition. Jeff and I were interested in how well Ross played, but also how he would fit into the tuba section. He was built like a wedge with broad shoulders that came from work and no small amount of summer softball, a shock of black hair, and an engaging smile. A few minutes of conversation before and after the audition told us Ross was our man.
When Ross became a member of the Concert Band tuba section, it all gelled-Jeff Arwood, Jack Tilbury, Ross, and me, and we were a rollicking bunch. Jokes abounded, we all had nicknames, and the bond became eternal.
We were perhaps no more proud than on the day Ross was named Command Sergeant Major of “Pershing’s Own,” a distinction held by very few Army wide. Ross’s easy-going style, superb musicianship, and his ability to lead set him apart and propelled him to this position.
Ross and I were both ardent hunters. His garage is full of nice antlers harvested from deer he shot on nearby military reservations. He also loved to fish, and took full advantage of the aquatic wonders of nearby Chesapeake Bay. Once he retired, he was seldom “around” because he was on a deer stand or trolling for bluefish on the Bay. He always enjoyed going back to Phoenix, New York, for the opening of the duck season. Jack Tilbury named the pre-season party held by Ross’s
dad’s hunting club “Duck Eve.” Ross once told me, “Dad used to row the boat for me, now I go and row it for him.” Such was Ross’s common touch that showed his inner sensitivity and love of everyone around him.
Ross was ever lighthearted, and always had a laugh to break the gloom. He was never unhappy regardless of the job whether it was a funeral in Arlington National Cemetery, a hot-as-blazes summer concert in downtown Washington, D.C., freezing in sub-zero temperatures at the National Christmas Tree lighting, or on a long and tiring tour. He could always break the gloom with some witty comment or tired old joke, to which we all knew the punch line but laughed anyway.
As his cancer progressed, he fought tooth and nail. His widow, Jane, said, “I would have given up long before Ross . . . he gave it his best.” I was little surprised, because Ross always gave everything his best-his family, his profession, and his friends. It was a sad day for “Pershing’s Own” and the world when we heard Taps float over the hills of Arlington and we had to say goodbye.
~ John M. Taylor, MSG, US Army, Ret.
The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” 1971-1991
I am very grateful to the ITEA for recognizing my friend and mentor, Ross Morgan. As you can imagine, it’s a real challenge to encapsulate my thoughts and feelings about Ross within the confines of these few words. Ross was one of the first people that I met at The US Army Band (TUSAB) in 1980. Our personalities immediately bonded in an enduring friendship based on being part of the excellent TUSAB low brass section.
Ross was a great tubist and what I considered a true bass line musician. His rock solid rhythm, superb intonation, and unsurpassed musicianship reflected his personality and demeanor. He could play anything from the most challenging orchestral excerpts to the most difficult band tuba parts to virtuoso Dixieland.
Of course, Ross’s phenomenal musicianship was only one of many contributions to me and everyone that knew him. Ross really valued the brother and sisterhood of the tuba and euphonium community. As many of you know, Jeff Arwood, Jack Tilbury, and Ross Morgan started The Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference in 1983. In the first few years, Ross’s critical role of logistics administrator set the standard and is one of the main reasons for the Conference’s success today. There were times we would be really swamped with the business of the conference. Ross was always the one that would remind us of the bigger picture, the good of the cause to promote the art of our instruments. His vision of paying it forward was obvious beyond the tuba and euphonium world. As we progressed in our careers at TUSAB, rising to leadership positions along the way, Ross always demonstrated his strong integrity and passion to help people. His friendship and mentoring to me and especially the new people in the band was invaluable. His intellectual gifts went beyond the academics of a situation. As a leader, Ross had a real passion to review and analyze any situation, coming up with the right answer with the highest level of integrity, making everyone involved better people.
As I stated at my retirement ceremony from TUSAB in 2011, I am the person I am today in large part because of Ross Morgan. I have a profound sadness at his passing. However, I know that his legacy as a person, musician, and leader will live on for many years through everyone who was touched by, and benefited from, his friendship.
~ Bob Powers, SGM, US Army, Ret.
The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” 1980-2011
I was fortunate to spend 21 years as a member of The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” in Washington, D.C. I was surrounded by outstanding musicians and great friends including Ross Morgan. Ross was one of the guys who took me (and others) “under their wing.” In this age of corporate style mentoring and human resource gurus, I benefited from old school camaraderie and straight talk. Ross was in many ways a product of his farming roots. His communication was always simple and direct. He could bust your chops as easily and effectively as pat you on the back. Either way, you paid attention.
I first got to know Ross shortly after joining the band when playing on the unit’s softball team. After a practice, we were relaxing at a local watering hole. Anxious to fit in, I took advantage of an empty seat near the center of group only to be physically removed when Ross returned from the men’s room. No discussion or rebuke. Just vice grips on my shoulders and a sudden weightless feeling as I left the barstool.
Ross’ impressive physical strength and simple manner hid a sensitive and accomplished musician. In concert band, as soloist, or in chamber ensembles, Ross always got the job done in a thoroughly professional and modest way. I really enjoyed when he played the 6/4 tuba in the concert band section (affectionately referred to as the “BFT”). If you complimented Ross’s performance, his typical response was, “I was just layin’ back tryin’ to hit all the notes…” Be assured, he did much more than hit all the notes.
Ross’s leadership skills eventually led him to be the first Command Sergeant Major of “Pershing’s Own.” Whether overseeing the Inter-Service Band Softball Tournament, the band picnic, or the annual Tuba-Euphonium Conference, he was always very organized and ready to roll up his sleeves and do the dirty work. Ross’ culinary efforts over the charcoal grill are legendary. I particularly enjoyed his logistics briefing before the annual Tuba-Euphonium Conference. It was a textbook example of how to run a conference and a big reason it continues to this day as one of the best of its kind in the world.
Ross was a friend you could depend upon. I broke my wrist playing in a band softball game two days before my wife and I were to move into our first house. Ross and a gang of low brass players jumped to the rescue and got us moved in (but not without plenty of ribbing along the way). Ross’s advice in personal and professional matters never steered me wrong. When he suggested bodily harm would occur if I was stupid enough not to marry my wife (now of 28 years), I figured that was validation enough to go ahead and propose.
As impressive as Ross’s achievements were with the band, they were overshadowed by his commitment to his family. He earned several soccer coaching licenses just so he could be involved with his daughters’ teams. When someone in the band complained about 7:00 am call for a ceremony, Ross often pointed out that he had already taken one of his girls to 5:00 am swim practice. He would do anything for his family.
I am among the ranks of comrades who miss Ross. In one’s lifetime, you simply do not come across many individuals of his quality and integrity. I attribute much of my success in “Pershings’s Own” and afterwards to the example he and others like him set. I consider myself very lucky to have known him.
~ John Mueller, MSG, US Army, Ret.
The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” 1980-2001
I’ve known Ross Morgan my entire professional career, and it is hard to believe he has departed from our ranks so soon. In 1981 he was there to welcome me into the “Pershing’s Own” family with a firm handshake and a bear-like hug, and I was there to wish him well when he retired in 2009. During the intervening years we spent a lot of time rehearsing and performing together in concert band, and in our tuba-euphonium quartet (which also included Jeff Arwood and Jack Tilbury). We even played together on the band softball team (As I recall, Ross was quite a slugger!).
A lot of memories. Our time spent between rehearsals and shows during the annual “Spirit of America Show” at the “Oasis” (a spot in the Capitol Center parking lot that featured one small lonely and rather pathetic specimen of a tree) was certainly a highlight. We’d circle up the cars, turn on a radio and crank it up to blast volume, put on our Hawaiian shirts and straw hats, light up a barbecue and some cigars, and let the good times roll! A lot of laughs, I can tell you that. There were a lot of good stories linked to our tuba-euphonium quartet trips, too, but another time…
It will come as no secret to those that knew him that Ross had a fondness for beer and cigars. I was always impressed and grateful that, despite my aversion to both, he always made me feel welcome and treated me like “one of the gang.”
Ross was special. Ross was unique. He was a tough guy on the outside, but a sweetheart of a guy on the inside. He will be…he IS…missed.
~ Neal Corwell, MSG, US Army
The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” 1981-1989, 2002 to present
Like so many, I felt as if I lost a brother when Ross Morgan passed on. I have so many wonderful memories to hold onto and will always appreciate his counsel, musicianship, and friendship over the years. His warm tuba sound was like no other, and one that I will never ever forget. The tuba brotherhood has lost a huge champion for the instrument. This wonderful man will be missed by all who have had the honor of meeting and performing with him. Rest in peace, Ross.
~ Woody English, SGM, US Army, Ret.
The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” 1976-2010
When I think of my friend Ross Morgan, it brings back a flood of wonderful memories going all the way back to when we first met at the Inter-service Band concerts years ago. This is when the American Bandmasters Association would have a conference in Washington, D.C. and put together a mass service band from the area’s premier bands to perform a feature concert. Ross could get such a huge sound out of that Hirsbrunner and was a “rock” in the section. We enjoyed sharing stories about our respective jobs.
Because of these activities, we began talking about other ways to bond with our service band friends and the idea of a yearly softball tournament came about. Each spring, teams comprised of the service band players would play a round-robin tournament on a weekend, vying for a service band trophy that could be displayed at the winners’ command for a year. These games were hard fought, but sportsmanship and camaraderie were the tone of the challenges, and at the end of the day we crowned a winner and shared food and adult beverages. Behind most of this was Ross Morgan, who planted the seed and saw it through. My impression of Ross was formed early; he was a person who could be relied upon, trusted, respected, and who understood the importance of both his family at home and his work family.
His leadership, in my eyes, was marked by intelligence, understanding, and incredible pride in his service to TUSAB, the Washington Military Community, the Army, and to his country. He worked hard and he knew how to enjoy the end of the day with family and friends. He had a wonderful sense of humor and a work ethic worthy of respect as evidenced by his promotion to leadership positions in “Pershing’s Own.” I’d want Ross in my corner if there were a battle.
While his pride in service was evident, it was never more evident than the pride and love he felt as a husband and father to his wonderful family. We enjoyed sharing family pictures and getting updates on the girls with each meeting. This is when there was softness to his voice and a grace to his words as he talked about school and family activities.
He made huge contributions to the tuba and euphonium world through his work at the TUSAB International Tuba-Euphonium Conferences, helping to provide, once again, a bonding experience for all service band members. Additionally, it enabled the “outside world” an opportunity to witness firsthand the incredible musicianship and artistry of our bands throughout the country and the world. A healthy two-way respect was nurtured and maintained year to year at Brucker Hall. Ross deserves to be acknowledged for his part in keeping that conference vital.
In the end, we understand that Ross’s life was one of service, service to his family, to the US Army Band and D.C. community at large, and to his country. He served us all very, very well indeed and I miss my friend.
~ Marty Erickson, MUCM, US Navy, Ret.
The United States Navy Band, 1967-1993
Instructor of Tuba-Euphonium-Chamber Music; Lawrence University
It is with great appreciation that I honor the life and contributions of our dear colleague, Ross Morgan. I first became acquainted with Ross when we were forming the first ever Interservice Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble for the International Tuba-Euphonium Conference (ITEC) at the University of Maryland in May of 1983. I remember our photo shoot on the Capitol steps where we all gathered together so Army Band tubist John Taylor could take our picture. Ross was so much a part of that ensemble and so enthusiastic that he joined with his fellow section mates and continued this tradition in what has become one of the finest yearly activities for our instruments in the United States, if not the world, The United States Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Workshop. Ross was a constant presence in almost all of the activities of that event. I especially remember the great times we had at the final party/reception at the VFW hall following the final concert. Ross was always the life of the party. As a player he was superb, as an administrator he was outstanding, and as a colleague and friend he was incomparable. It was a joy to have had 30 years of association with Ross Morgan!
~ Brian L. Bowman, CMSgt, USAF, Ret.
The United States Air Force Band, 1976-1991
The United States Armed Forces Bicentennial Band, 1974-1975
The United States Navy Band, Washington, DC, 1971-1973
Regents Professor of Euphonium, College of Music, University of North Texas
Ross Morgan was a wonderful guy. He could be serious and responsible when the moment called for it; but, he could also be like an innocent, fun-loving big kid at times. To me, the latter seemed to fit Ross’s personality the best. He was an accomplished tubist and a wonderful husband and father. I’ll really miss being around him and his wonderful personality. God speed, my friend.
~ Lowell Arwood, MSG, US Army, Ret.
Jack Tilbury, Ross, and Jeff Arwood
A special ensemble pays tribute to Ross Morgan at the 2014 US Army Tuba-Euphonium Workshop)
The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” 1975-1995
Ross Morgan was a special friend, musician, and positive influence for all of us. I had the pleasure of attending many of the Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conferences involving Command Sergeant Major Ross Morgan. He was so supportive and made sure everything was in order for his guests. We have had so many good times and serious conversations about the Army Band and the future of all involved. Ross was one of those special souls that greatly contributed to make “Pershing’s Own” one of the best jobs in the Military. Under his influence, members were able to keep the military part of the job important while greatly supporting the artistry of the band and its members. I must say, Ross was one hell of a good tuba player. I have the pleasure at this moment of looking at a picture hanging in my studio of the tuba section in which he was a member. This is a good reminder of my special friends which brings a smile to my face. Rest in peace, dear friend.
~ Daniel Perantoni, Provost Professor (Tuba and Euphonium)
Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University
Jack Tilbury, Ross, and Jeff ArwoodCounter-clockwise from front left: Please stay tuned… trying to get the rest of the names. J
Ross Morgan was a remarkable human being, musician, soldier, leader, and family man. While his “Pershing’s Own” family knew him well as a man in the forefront, eventually rising to the position of enlisted leader of the Band, many people across the tuba and euphonium world knew his name because of his key role in the United States Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Workshop over many years. Ross (at least until the Saturday night afterglow) always seemed to be in the background. He was the guy who was always in the right place at the right time, making everyone else’s work seem more and better, taking care of the details. Through all of this, I’m not sure that enough of us recognized his artistry and fine musicianship as a tubist, focusing more on his always quick and ready sense of humor. I think that the thing most of us hope for most as we go through life is that we have somehow made a difference-a significant contribution to the lives of others, our families, our profession, and our colleagues. Ross made a huge difference in every possible respect. His absence is felt, but he left us with good memories of a life well lived.
~ Jerry Young, President, ITEA
For many years it was a real pleasure to make the annual trip to the Army Tuba-Euphonium Workshop. What a great bunch of guys and gals and professionals! I was always excited to be involved in this fantastic event and always came away fully charged and ready to go. There were a number of personalities that just made this event even more special and Ross Morgan was at the top of the list. Ross was THE MAN! Pure and simple. You needed something done, ask Ross. It was done. He was solid as a rock in every respect and the master host for the afterhours at the Arlington American Legion. It was always obvious to me that all the other great players in the Army Band program looked up to Ross as the epitome of a great professional military musician. I respected and admired Ross Morgan and considered him a wonderful friend and will miss him!
~ R. Winston Morris, Prof., Tennessee Tech University
Former director: U.S. Armed Forces Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble
Ross Morgan and I first became aware of each other when we were both up and coming young tuba players from New York State. However, we didn’t really connect until I began conducting at the US Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Workshop in the early ’90s. One of the real delights of my many years of association with that conference was seeing Ross every year. We usually found some time to spend chatting over a beverage… swapping stories, reminiscing and sharing a few of the latest groaners. But I also got a lot of enjoyment out of seeing Ross in action as one of the leaders of the conference and in his role as a member of the band. He was a man of great integrity, honesty, and high personal and musical standards who was clearly looked up to by many as almost a father figure. I will always remember Ross with a smile on his face, as a man who enjoyed his life, family, friends, and music. In short, Ross was a helluva nice guy, and I don’t think there’s anything better you can say about someone. We’ll miss you, Ross.
~ John Stevens, Professor of Tuba and Euphonium
University of Wisconsin