Tribute to Ed Livingston: The Grand Puba Tuba

Tribute to Ed Livingston: The Grand Puba Tuba

Ed Livingston was born in Home Acres, Michigan in 1935, the son of Marion Esther Boyd Livingston and Vernon Allen Livingston.  Ed’s roots in performing stem from both parents as his father was a professional drummer with Broadway shows and his mother was a dancer in New York City with the Roxyettes, later known as the Rockettes.  As a young boy, Ed loved football and track but loved music more.  In elementary school Ed started on cornet and then switched to the French horn.  At the urging of his band director he took a sousaphone home during a summer break and taught himself to play it in three months. 

Early photo of Ed with his Besson Eb tuba. This particular instrument was given to Rex Martin upon his graduation from Illinois State University and continues to be Rex’s go-to solo instrument.

On Monday nights Ed and his family enjoyed listening to the Band of America on the radio.  During one of these evenings in 1949 Ed heard legendary tuba soloist William J. Bell perform Arban’s Carnival of Venice.  Following this broadcast Ed wrote a letter to Mr. Bell introducing himself and expressing a strong desire to study with the master teacher/performer.  Months later Ed received the letter he had been waiting for.  Mr. Bell told Ed that he would be happy to give him a lesson if he could make it to New York City. This was all the encouragement that Ed needed.  During his 12th grade holiday break Ed stuffed his sousaphone bell with hard boiled eggs and a loaf of bread. With $10 in his pocket he took off for New York.  Ed and two of his buddies hitchhiked 819 miles, taking two and a half days to reach their destination. 

After the next week and a half, with lengthy lessons and visits back stage during Mr. Bell’s New York Philharmonic rehearsals, Ed was certain that professional tuba playing was for him.  Mr. Bell bought him a ticket home.  Several months later, Mr. Bell arranged Ed’s first professional playing gig with the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus Band conducted by the legendary Merle Evans.  This fueled a passion for the circus and its music and launched Ed into the world of freelance tuba playing in New York City and other major cities. 

Ed graduated from Godwin Heights High School and received his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Tuba Performance and Music Education degrees from Western Michigan University.  Ed served as tuba soloist with the United States Army Field Band in Fort Meade, Maryland from 1959 to 1962 and went on to teach and direct the junior high band in Godwin Heights Public Schools.   From 1965 to 1967 Ed studied tuba and instrument design at the Royal College of Music in London, England on a Fulbright Scholarship, receiving the equivalent of masters and doctoral degrees.  His tuba design features are still evident in many European instrument manufacturing companies and his practical approaches to the design of tubas were the direct result of his many years as a teacher and performer. While in London Ed studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein, performed with the leading bands and orchestras in Europe, and was selected to solo for the Queen of England, performing Richard Strauss’s Horn Concerto in Eb
Upon returning from England in 1968, Ed started his career at Illinois State University as their first tuba and euphonium professor.  Ed served as the Director of Bands from 1977 until 1984 during which time he founded the Big Red Marching Machine, the world’s largest college marching band at the time.  During his tenure as the director of the Big Red, the band grew in size from 96 to 434 members.  His indoor band program, including the nationally known Red Top Band, continued to distinguish itself in performances throughout the country and on nationally televised sporting events.  Ed created the State of Illinois Invitational Marching Band Championship which continues as the premier state marching band competition to this day. 

In 1984 Ed resigned his position as Director of Bands to devote more time to his family, teaching of his private students, adjudication of music festivals, and master class and solo appearances.  He performed under the batons of Leonard Bernstein, Sir Adrian Boult, Merle Evans, Paul LaValle and Arthur Fiedler and was a performer in numerous Broadway shows, studio recordings, and chamber brass groups. 

Ed sitting in his office surrounded by four Willson 3400 Eb tubas. Ed and former student Marty Erickson contributed to the design of this landmark instrument.

Ed was united in marriage on May 21, 1983 on Washington Island, WI to Melissa King and they spent the next 29 happy years of their lives together.  They have two daughters, Erin (Bloomington, IL) and Samantha (Oconto, WI). 
Upon retirement in 1997, Ed moved to Washington Island, WI where he enjoyed the outdoors, gardening, and boating with his family and friends.  From 2000 to 2009 Ed and his wife operated the Cherry Train Tours.  Thousands of tourists had the pleasure of meeting Ed and hearing his unique narration of the history of Washington Island.  In the fall of 2011 Ed and Melissa moved to Somonauk, IL where Ed enjoyed his final months surrounded by water and trees and received wonderful visits from many friends and students. 

Through the years as a musician and teacher, Ed touched the lives of thousands of colleagues and students.  Friends and strangers alike enjoyed Ed’s quick wit and sense of humor. 
-Melissa Livingston with Andrew Rummel

Ed and Rex Martin, 1997

Memories from Former Students

Earlier this summer, we said goodbye to Edward A. Livingston at a memorial service where hundreds of friends gathered to pay tribute. Thirty of us performed in a tuba-euphonium ensemble that played some of Ed’s favorites before and during the service: “Ave Maria,” “Londonderry Air” (arr. by Keith Mehlan), the Barber “Adagio,” and at the very end, a rousing version of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Ed fell in love with the tuba early on; so much so that when it was apparent this was the direction his life was taking, his mother Marion began saving money. She saved 50 cents per week and after about ten years bought him his first tuba.

I met Ed Livingston for the first time in Grand Rapids, MI when he taught as a junior high band director and performed as principal tuba with the Grand Rapids Symphony.  It was 1963 and I was sixteen years old. My parents drove me to a suburb of Grand Rapids where I met my teacher. He had finished directing the band and teaching for the day. My first lesson lasted three hours, after which we bought fried chicken, fried clams, and french fries and headed to his house. He introduced me to his mother Marion and his grandfather and we had our feast. After the dinner came homemade triple chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream and chocolate syrup and a glass of chocolate milk…………all “Mr. Ed” favorites. We went to the basement and I saw the “Gallery” for the first time- pictures all over the wall of great tubists of circus bands, orchestras and more. That night, we went to the Grand Rapids Symphony concert. This was to be the model for many lessons… many free lessons.

Ed introduced me to William J. Bell at Bell’s birthday party in Indiana. Many brass luminaries were there to celebrate. At sixteen, I performed “Air and Bouree” from memory on a King fiberglass BBb sousaphone. Later, Ed Livingston introduced me to Leonard Falcone, who was to be my next teacher. Ed also gave me my first tuba, a Holton 4/4 BBb as I left for the U. S. Navy Band. Over the years, we stayed in touch.

Marty Erickson and Ed at MWRTEC 2005

I saw him for the last time at his home in Somonauk, IL and he was weakening. But we listened to music and talked for six or seven hours. He talked about his students; Livingston never sought the spotlight for himself, but pushed his students forward and gave all of us the most precious commodity of all, the gifts of his time and support, from the start. All of us are STILL reaping the benefits of that gift.  I owe my life as a professional, with a respect for the past and a positive eye toward the future, to Ed Livingston. His legacy of service will live long through his family and students. Tu-ti-ku-tut to the Grand Puba Tuba!

~Martin Erickson, Lecturer of Tuba and Euphonium, Chamber Music, Lawrence Conservatory
Studied tuba with Ed Livingston from 1963-1965

Former students following the Livingston Tribute Recital at MWRTEC 2005
Front Row L-R: Matt Chapman, Matt Johnson. Back Row L-R: Rex Benson, Carlyle Weber, Sharon Huff, Rex Martin, Ed Livingston, David Zerkel, Ed Risinger, Andy Carlson, Dan Dietrich, Jeff Estes.

Describing Mr. Livingston is like trying to catch a cat whose tail is on fire. He had so many things going on it is hard to narrow it down to any one thing. He was a teacher. He was a band director. He was a tuba player. He was a husband and father. He was a mentor and counselor to many. He was a drinking buddy. He was a prolific storyteller and an instrument designer and pedagogue. When he walked into a room everyone’s face lit up. His spirit, his love, and his presence affected everyone. Ed’s overriding characteristic was that he was a people person.

Ed Livingston was my teacher, and over time became my mentor and my friend. I studied with him back in the mid-to-late 70s. It was my first experience with a real honest-to-goodness tuba teacher. I was overwhelmed by his ebullience, his connections with all the famous tuba players, conductors, and composers each with a photograph on his wall, and by the other great tuba students that were attracted to Mr. Livingston’s studio. I learned all about playing the tuba from him, but three elements of his teaching stick out as being especially helpful for me. The first was his required recording of each lesson on a reel-to-reel recorder. It was my assignment to listen to each week’s recording before the following lesson. It was challenging to listen back at regular speed, and extremely humbling listening back at half speed. Despite my efforts to believe otherwise, the recording never lied. The benefit was, after I scraped my ego up off the floor, that it gave me an accurate reference of where I was on the musical map. If I hadn’t had the recording I would’ve thought I was sounding great and not done much work. The second thing was equally valuable, and despicable. Ed required me to learn etudes and solos with only alternate fingerings. In other words, I was not allowed to use the normal fingering for any note. This taught me about the overtone series, intonation, and valve combinations to use on difficult technical passages. The third was playing all types of music from circus marches, orchestral and band rep, simple melodies, dixieland, solos from all eras and instruments, blues, etc., making for well-rounded fun. He was up to date on all the literature and made sure that his students were familiar with it too. It was an excellent education.

All my success performing professionally and teaching can be traced back to the musical foundation and the love of playing the tuba that Mr. Livingston instilled in me at ISU. His importance to me as a musician was grand, but he had an even bigger impact on me as a human being. I went to ISU floating about without much direction. With his gentle way, his enthusiastic slap on the back, his wonderful storytelling, and his inclusiveness, he made me feel at home. Over the years there were innumerable phone calls, e-mails, and visits. I am grateful beyond words for my relationship with Ed. Our connection lasted his lifetime and it will last mine too.

~Chief Musician Andrew Carlson , Tubist, The United States Navy Band, Washington DC
Studied Tuba with Ed Livingston from 1974-1978

“This is something I learned from my teacher.”

Ed Livingston was my teacher, mentor, and friend. Although my playing and teaching are about equal parts Ed Livingston, Arnold Jacobs, and Rex Martin, when I tell my students “This is something I learned from my teacher,” I am referring to Ed Livingston.
A great teacher makes his students think they did everything nearly without help. Ed Livingston made me believe I was self taught and that I had done everything on my own. However, I now know that I owe my success to his teaching, support, and help. He taught me, by example, industriousness, courage, determination, perseverance, enthusiasm, discipline, empathy, confidence, decisiveness, self-reliance, responsibility, focus, ambition, humor, generosity, motivation, and optimism. These are not directly musical concepts but add up to helping a student to become a better person, thus also helping to become a better musician. He was methodical, precise, caring, inspiring, and motivating. He taught me to teach myself so that eventually I would no longer need him. He never seemed to take credit for my success. He instead chalked it all up to my own hard work and dedication.

Ed Livingston encouraged me to dream big and to believe that everything is possible. He also taught a phrase which I am sure is quite familiar to all his students: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Truer words were never spoken.
Those that knew him were quite aware of his penchant for talking and telling stories. Ed’s storytelling was truly second to none. He taught through stories, and through his stories made his students believe and understand not only the value of hard work and dedication, but also their connection to a long line of past musicians. He made sure we understood that we stand on the shoulders of previous generations and that it is important to pass this knowledge on to the next generations.
Sometimes Ed’s students struggled to get enough money to buy good instruments. He did everything he could to help his students find good quality horns. When certain music stores would offer him a commission for sending a student by, he would accept it and immediately sign the check over to his student. Bravo, Ed! When Ed would find out that one of his students was having financial difficulties, he would often lend that student money. He would state that the way to pay him back would be for that student to lend money to a future student. He had learned this from Bill Bell, and many of Ed’s students continue to “pay forwards” instead of “paying back.”

Ed had studied many years with Bill Bell, and was greatly influenced by Mr. Bell.  Ed Livingston students were taught in much the same way that Bill Bell students were, which meant with a great deal of etudes, solos, and scale studies. It also meant an emphasis on style and musicality above all else and included weekly drills in sight reading- a remarkably useful skill.
George Wall, retired tuba player with the Covent Garden Opera in London, was one of Ed’s best friends. George told me recently that Ed was one of the finest tuba players he ever heard, and that Ed’s playing and teaching during his three years in London made a dramatic impact on English tuba playing. I share George’s opinion. Ed was a wonderful musician, a refined and musical tuba player. His performance of the Alec Wilder Sonata was the finest I ever heard of that piece.

Ed Livingston was a mentor to his students. He gave advice freely and it was invariably helpful, insightful, and personalized for that particular student. He took his role seriously and realized he was helping someone make potentially life altering decisions.
In addition to his role of mentor, Ed was a friend. I will miss hearing his inimitable singing voice come birthdays. He nearly always began conversations with “How’s your family?” It was not merely a good conversation starter- Ed was truly interested and took the time to listen. He took a deep interest in the lives of his students, and I am sure that the families of generations of students hold “Mr. Livingston” in particularly high esteem.

Ed with the world’s (then) largest tuba

I knew him 35 years, which doesn’t seem very long to me, and certainly not long enough. He had a dramatic impact on my life. When I delivered a eulogy at his funeral, I stated that I studied with Ed Livingston from 1978 until the present. His wit and wisdom continue to influence how I play and teach, and his guidance is even responsible for me having a beautiful view from my teaching studio! When Northwestern University offered me my teaching job in 1988, Ed suggested I ask for a studio with a view–his studio had been windowless in a basement. My view is in fact the nicest view from any tuba studio I have ever seen.
The last time I saw Ed was four days before he died. I was surprised to find him with a plant catalogue in his hands. He was ordering fruit trees. Planting fruit trees, at the end of his life as he had throughout his career. He had spent a lifetime planting, tending, and nurturing his students. He was a most excellent gardener.

Good bye, dear friend. You helped me in innumerable ways. Thank you for teaching me to be a tuba player, a musician, and a man. Thank you for teaching me to teach myself and to teach others. You inspired me and inspire me.
Tutta ka tut, old fart. Keep it out of the mud.  (Dramatic belly bump.)

~Rex Martin, Professor of Music, Northwestern University
Studied tuba with Ed Livingston from 1978-1982

I first met Ed Livingston at an IMEA solo/ensemble contest, where he was the adjudicator for my solo performance when I was a high school junior.  As a result of this meeting, Ed called me on the phone and offered to give me euphonium lessons free of charge.  At that time I wasn’t considering attending ISU, so I didn’t feel comfortable accepting the lessons, although he told me the lessons were not contingent on me coming to college there.  As it turned out, I did end up going to ISU because Ed arranged some way to offer me a full ride to attend ISU on a music scholarship.  He was always looking out for his students’ best interests.  In my case, he made it possible for me to obtain an excellent undergraduate education without incurring any debt from student loans, which was, in and of itself, life-altering.

I have so many fond memories of Mr. Ed.  All of my etude books and solos are inscribed with that red pencil of his.  I still use his method of assigning lesson material by putting the date at the top of the etude, though I never adopted the red pencil!  I wish I had one of the baby photos he would post on his office door! Ed had a book of baby photos, and he would select one that somehow closely resembled one of his students.   He would write that student’s name on the photo, such as, “Rex Martin at 5 months old.”  Then, he would add “thought bubbles” with the most hilarious and clever captions.  Each week, we would all watch for the next side-splitting addition to the collection!

Very nearly everything I do as a teacher today reflects something I learned from Mr. Ed.  His enthusiasm for what he did was infectious, and most importantly, somehow he made me and all of his students feel as though we were the best musicians in the entire world and that we could do no wrong.  His approach instilled an almost supernatural feeling of confidence that I only wish I could pass along to all of my students.  Ed made me feel like he was my mentor, best friend, and top cheerleader all in one.  He was always so encouraging and never discouraging.  He always gave me the idea that I could do ANYTHING. 

And, my goodness, he had so many incredible stories to tell.  I sat with him in the hospital a week before he passed away, and he told me that he knew he’d lived an incredibly blessed life, and he wondered aloud how he deserved such blessings.  I answered him by telling him that HE was the blessing to so many, many, people.  Then he told me a story I hadn’t heard before that day—the story of when he left home as a teenager and got on a bus with his tuba and went to study with Bill Bell, calling him in the middle of the day and telling Mr. Bell he was at the pay phone on the street corner near his house.  Mr. Bell was completely surprised, but he came to pick him up. “Eddie” stayed at Mr. Bell’s house, studying tuba all week.  Ed continued to study with Mr. Bell, who later entrusted 17-year-old Ed with the solo tuba position with the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey’s Circus, subbing for Joe Tarto, who had fallen ill.

For nine years I carpooled with Mr. Ed to play in a summer municipal band which was located in Peoria, IL.   He was the one who got me an audition to play in the band, and at that time, the pay was really quite good for a summer gig. There were about 30 services, plus I got the fantastic experience of learning a new folder of music for each service!  I learned a ton of new music and improved my sight-reading skills, just as he promised would happen.  And, after nearly every concert, we would go out for pizza and “root beer” with a group from the band.  We laughed so much, and though teachers’ salaries aren’t usually very extravagant, he nearly always picked up the tab, never accepting any money from his students.

Ed was always trying to help his students succeed by constantly praising them in front of other people and helping them secure auditions or jobs.  Even after I had taught music in the public school system for several years, then gone back to school and earned my two graduate degrees, a conversation Mr. Ed had at the Midwest Clinic with a stranger (who would later become my colleague) set in motion the events that led to my acquiring a university teaching position near Green Bay, Wisconsin.   There’s no doubt that my life would be much different if it weren’t for my association with Ed Livingston.  He was a tremendous person, one of those legendary “larger-than-life” characters who put everyone else’s interests before his own.  I told Ed in a letter I wrote to him a couple of years ago that I would be overjoyed if I could be just 1/10 or maybe even 1/100 the educator and person he was.  Ed Livingston’s influence has touched lives in broad and expansive ways, with his students and his students’ students stretching across the entire globe.  I will be forever grateful for all the wonderful lessons I learned from him, not only about music, but also about living one’s life. 

~Dr. Sharon Huff, BME, Illinois State University, MM and DMA University of Illinois; Faculty, Millikin University School of Music
Studied euphonium with Ed Livingston from 1977-1982

Ed and Sharon Huff

For those of you who never had the pleasure of knowing Ed Livingston, you might not know that he was one of the most influential but underappreciated men in the tuba-euphonium world. I was fortunate to be a student of his when I needed to hear what he had to say. My time with him, although brief, changed my life forever.

The characteristics that made him so special are the traits that I strive to have as both a teacher and as a human being.

He was compassionate. He was kind.

He had a killer sense of humor, which predicated his glass half full approach to living.

He taught by encouraging, never by discouraging.

He was an encyclopedia of parables, only his parables were not tales concocted to teach a lesson, but instead stories of experiences from his very rich and colorful life. In this sense, he was one of the most genuine men that I have ever known.

His generosity knew no limits. When I was studying with him at ISU he said, “Dave, we’ve got to get you up to see Mr. Jacobs.” I told him that I had no money to make the trip, much less pay Mr. Jacobs for a lesson. Winking at me, as only Ed could, he said “You can pay me back when you get a gig!” He put me on a train, gave me a check for Mr. Jacobs, and put some pizza money in my pockets just so that I could have that experience, one that had an immense effect on my approach to music.

His zest for life was perhaps the greatest lesson that he taught his students. If you took the time to really watch, his life was a master class for the rest of us on how to live and love.

While his contributions may not be as well known or broadly publicized as those of some of his contemporaries, Ed’s mark on the tuba world and, more importantly, on his students was indelible.

My friend, my mentor, my surrogate Dad, will never be forgotten. Tutty ka tut, Old Thing!

~David Zerkel, Professor of Tuba and Euphonium, University of Georgia
Studied tuba with Ed Livingston from 1985-1986

Andy Rummel, Ed, Rex Martin and Ed Risinger at Illinois State University in 2007

Mark Drake, Rex Martin and Ed at a “Tuba Turkey” party

Ed Livingston was a remarkable person- a kind and generous soul, an outstanding musician and teacher, and someone who was loved by everyone who met him.  He was my teacher, my mentor, and my friend.  He was like a second father to me. 
I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to study with “Doc” for seven years.  He helped me achieve my dream of making a living teaching and playing the tuba.  Being able to teach students the art that I love will always be my tribute to Ed Livingston. 
Doc not only taught music and the tuba and euphonium, but he taught about life.  He would say that you could do anything if you have determination and a love of what you are doing.  He believed that our life experiences are what help shape the music and yes, Doc lived an amazing life.  He took joy in everything, and he exuded infectious enthusiasm to those around him. 
Ed never promoted himself.  Instead, he only built up his students. He got great satisfaction and true joy seeing his students succeed, and he did everything humanly possible to ensure their success.  When I won the United States Air Force Ceremonial Brass job, he took my fiancé and me out for a huge celebration.  He was like a proud Papa. 

Ed taught me to give everyone a chance, and his philosophy of paying it forward is still at the front of my mind.  So many times during college I was very short on money and Doc would treat me to meals.  It was extremely hard to accept his generosity because I knew I could never repay him.   Doc would just say that his teacher, Bill Bell, helped him many times and told him to do the same.  That philosophy was instilled into my character, and now I also do this for my students.  I hope Doc smiles every time I am able to pay it forward.

Another remarkable quality of Ed Livingston was his amazing ability to make everyone feel special.  Doc’s students developed characteristics like dedication and loyalty because of him.  We all share a unique bond that is the direct result of the person Ed Livingston.  When I was about to move to Washington D.C., two of Ed Livingston’s students (who played in the U.S. Army Band and Navy Band) called and offered me a place to live when I completed basic training.  They knew I would have to live on base first unless I had a place to stay.  When I asked why they would open their homes to someone they never meet, they both told me that any student of Ed’s had to be a good guy.

One last memory that I want to share took place two months before Doc’s passing.  He was in the hospital and not doing very well.  I brought my top tuba and euphonium quartet from Illinois Wesleyan University to the hospital.  They played a mini concert in the lobby for Doc.  He was very week, had an IV in his arm, wore a mask, and did not look good.  Once he saw the group he began to cry and asked to be placed right in front of them—no more than three feet away.  He took off his mask, and tearfully thanked them for coming and playing for him.  What was truly amazing was that he then began coaching the group for the next hour.  After we left, my students (who had never met Doc but only heard of him through my stories) told me that he was one of the most amazing men they had ever met.  They also said that they saw a lot of Doc in my character and teaching style.  That touched my heart more than they will ever know, because to me there is no greater compliment.

Ed gave many of his students various items after he retired.  I am so very grateful for Doc’s York Helicon that was made especially for him, his E-flat tuba, and Bill Bell’s original Helleberg mouthpiece that he played on for twenty-seven years.  I play on these instruments and teach my students the stories and life lessons of both Ed Livingston and his teacher Bill Bell.

Ed Livingston was a very special and unique person.  He will forever live on in the hearts and minds of his tuba and euphonium students and in tuba and euphonium students for generations to come.
Thank you Doc for all you have done for me.  I love you.
Tutty-ka-tut you old fart!

~Ed Risinger, Instructor of Tuba and Euphonium, Illinois Wesleyan University
Studied tuba with Ed Livingston from 1986-1993

I first met Ed “Doc” Livingston when I was 12 years old.  Towards the end of my 6th grade year my small town band director encouraged me to attend the Junior High Band Camp at Illinois State University.  As my family and I left our family farm for the “big city” of Normal, Illinois I was unaware of the life changing events that would transpire that week.  Although he was internationally renowned as a tuba player and pedagogue, Ed Livingston chose to spend a hot week in July nurturing the minds and talents of aspiring young tuba and euphonium players.  The musical concepts, pedagogical ideas, and stories I learned that week became the foundation of my musical education.  At the end of an amazing week my parents were driving me home to the family farm when I proclaimed that I would eventually attend Illinois State University to study tuba with this wonderful human being that I had met that week.  

During my senior year of high school I began to take weekly lessons with Doc in his studio at Illinois State University.  Each lesson was approximately two hours long and Doc would cram as much into those two hours as was humanly possible.  After each lesson we would go out to dinner at one of his favorite establishments in Bloomington-Normal and I was never allowed to pay for my own meal.  Doc would spend several hours talking, eating, and talking some more.  Almost every week our meal would be interrupted by numerous patrons of the restaurant stopping by to say hello and share their memories of their time with Ed at ISU.  Looking back at our many (MANY!) meals together I realize that most of my education took place in various eating establishments throughout central Illinois.  Doc taught me a lot about playing the tuba but, most importantly, he taught me about life. 

I learned many things from Doc.  Ed taught me how to treat everyone with the respect and compassion that they deserve.  Doc had never met a stranger. On our many excursions together I would sit quietly and watch the master as he made each and every person we encountered feel loved and important.  He taught by example and his actions were greater than any word that was every spoken.
Ed also taught his students how to talk their way into and out of virtually every situation life could throw at them.  He was a master conversationalist and even in difficult situations all parties would leave with a smile on their face.  At his memorial service there was mention of his musical accomplishments but virtually everyone in attendance commented on how his compassion, tenderness and general love of life had impacted their lives.  I am continually amazed at how one individual could impact the lives of thousands of students. 

Doc always joked that whenever a former student had a child we should name it Edward or Edwina depending on the sex of the child.  When my wife and I were expecting our first child, a boy, I informed him that we would be naming him Grayson Edward.  The look on his face was priceless and he proclaimed “Andy, I was just kidding…you don’t really have to name your son after me!!!”  His legacy will live on forever in my first born child. 

My wife and I were fortunate to spend time with Doc two days before he passed away.  He was in an unimaginable amount of pain and actually apologized for not having a joke to share.  I loved him like a father and I think of him numerous times per day.  He had an enormous impact on my life and I am a better person for having Ed Livingston in my life. 

~Andy Rummel, Assistant Professor of Tuba and Euphonium, Illinois State University
Studied tuba with Ed Livingston from 1991-1997

Obituary: Edward A. Livingston

(April 16, 1935 – May 23, 2012)

Edward Allen Livingston Born: April 16, 1935 Died: May 23, 2012 Services: A memorial service will take place 1:00 PM on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at the Mennonite Church of Normal, 805 S. Cottage Ave., Normal, IL. Following the memorial service, friends are welcome to gather at the Illinois State University Alumni Center, 1101 N. Main St., Normal, IL. Visitation: The family will greet guests at the church from 11:00 to 12:30 PM. Edward Allen Livingston, age 77, of Somonauk, IL passed away on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at his home. He was born on April 16, 1935 in Home Acres, MI the son of Vernon and Marion (Boyd) Livingston. Edward was united in marriage on May 21, 1983 on Washington Island, WI to the former Melissa King, and they spent the next 29 happy years of their lives together. He was a loving husband and father who will be deeply missed by his family and many friends. Ed graduated from Godwin Heights High School, received his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Tuba Performance and Music Education from Western Michigan University. Ed served as tuba soloist with the United States Army Field Band in Washington D.C. from 1959 to 1962, and went on to teach and direct the junior high band in Godwin Heights Public Schools. From 1965 to 1967 Ed studied tuba and instrument design at the Royal College of Music in London, England on a Fulbright Scholarship, and received the American equivalent of a masters and doctorate. While in London, Ed studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein and was selected to solo for the Queen of England performing the Richard Strauss E-flat Horn Concerto. Over the years, Ed enjoyed playing his tuba professionally in London and the United States, including New York City?s Radio City Music Hall and the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. Ed was a member of the Central States Judging Association, judging marching band competitions nationwide. As a tuba soloist and music educator, Ed was a sought after clinician representing leading instrument manufacturing companies throughout his career. Upon returning from England, Ed started his career at Illinois State University in 1968 as their first Tuba/Euphonium professor. Ed served as Director of Bands from 1977 to 1984, during which time he founded the Big Red Marching Machine, the world?s largest college marching band at the time. During his tenure at ISU, Ed established the State of Illinois High School Invitational Marching Band Championship, which continues as the premier state marching band competition to this day. Professor Livingston continued to teach and mentor hundreds of tuba and euphonium students until he retired in 1997. Today Ed?s students can be found performing in the military bands and professional orchestras, and teaching in public schools and universities around the world. Upon retirement, Ed moved to Washington Island, WI where he enjoyed the outdoors, gardening and boating with his family. He and his wife operated the Cherry Train Tours for nine seasons until selling the business in 2009. Through the years as a musician and teacher, Ed touched the lives of thousands of colleagues and students. Friends and strangers alike enjoyed Ed?s quick wit and sense of humor. He is survived by his wife, Melissa Livingston of Somonauk, IL; and his daughters, Erin Livingston of Bloomington, IL and Samantha Livingston of Oconto, WI. He was preceded in death by his parents, Vernon and Marion Livingston.