In Memory

Wallace W. Van Sickle VIEW PROFILE

Mr. Van Sickle is buried in Fern Park Cemetery, drive all the way to the back fence, his grave is to the right of the drive.

The following was published: Thursday, November 20, 2008 9:13 PM CST in The Natchitoches Times, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Wallace Van Sickle, former band director at Natchitoches High School and an outstanding music educator, will be posthumously inducted into the LMEA Hall of Fame at the conference in Baton Rouge. The induction will take place on Saturday, Nov. 22 at the Holiday Inn Select Conference Center. Van Sickle is the 74th music educator to be so honored since the Hall of Fame was instituted by the LMEA Board of Directors in 1982.

Van Sickle was born in Hope, Ark., Nov. 10, 1921 and attended public schools there, graduating from Hope High School in 1940. He attended Southern State College in Magnolia, Ark., for one year prior to entering the U.S. Navy as a pilot where he served as a lieutenant for four years.

In 1945, he entered Northwestern State College in Natchitoches and he completed his bachelor's degree in 1947. He completed his master's degree at North Texas State University during the summers of 1950-1954. He did additional graduate study at the University of Arkansas.

Upon graduation, he became the band director at Bristol (Tennessee) High School. After four years at Bristol, he accepted the position as band director at Arkansas High School of Texarkana, serving there for five years. From 1954 to 1968, he conducted all levels of instrumental music in the public schools of Natchitoches. During this time, he served as supervisor of band student teachers for Northwestern State University.

His Natchitoches High School band consistently received superior ratings in marching, concert and sight reading. He served as a judge at many marching and concert festivals in east and southeast Texas, Arkansas and southeast Oklahoma, as well as southwest Louisiana. His marching band, along with Ken Green's Bossier High School Band and F.B. Ward's Jonesboro-Hodge High School Band, established northwest Louisiana as the center of marching band activity in Louisiana in the 1960s.

Van Sickle was a principal in Natchitoches from 1968 until his retirement in 1981.

He was an active member of the Louisiana Music Educators Association, the American Band Directors Association, the Louisiana Teachers Association and the Louisiana Principals Association. He was very active in the early development of LMEA, working with such distinguished music educators as Richard McCluggage, Walter Minniear and Ralph Pottle. He also participated on the parade committee for the Natchitoches Christmas Festival for many years.

Van Sickle was also a performing musician during his college days and during the early part of his teaching career, playing the trumpet in dance bands.

He died Nov. 25, 1984 in Natchitoches.

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