Nearly $30,000 raised for Barry L. Ellis Music Scholarship Fund

Dr. Barry Ellis

Nearly $30,000 has been raised, to date, for the Barry L. Ellis Music Scholarship Fund. The fund was created by UW-Platteville’s Department of Performing and Visual Arts and Ellis’s wife Terri in memory of Dr. Barry Ellis, who passed away suddenly in October. Ellis was a professor of music and director of bands at the university for 27 years.

The Barry L. Ellis Music Scholarship Fund will provide financial support for music scholarships for incoming, continuing, and transfer students who have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and are participating in an instrumental ensemble, with preference given to music and music education majors. The Department of Performing and Visual Arts is pleased to announce that the scholarship is now fully endowed.

“Creating a music scholarship in Barry’s memory is one way that we can honor Barry and his legacy,” said Dr. Corey Mackey, Assistant Professor of clarinet at UW-Platteville and chair of the scholarship fund’s selection committee. “Barry was deeply committed to raising financial support to reward music students who were working hard and showing promise and to attract talented new students to our music program. This scholarship will help us continue his efforts.”

“His footprint in the world of instrumental music education is immeasurable. This scholarship fund will help ensure that it will also be long lasting here in Platteville.”
- Matthew Gregg, assistant professor/director of bands

“The generous support that people have shown for the scholarship fund clearly shows how special Barry was to so many people,” said Dr. Melissa Gormley, Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education at UW-Platteville. “He was an outstanding professor, a gifted musician, and a kind, compassionate man who formed lasting connections with his students, colleagues, and the community. The scholarship fund is a special way for all of us to honor him and remember him.”

Throughout his tenure, Ellis was deeply committed to providing students with engaging, hands-on opportunities that helped them achieve their highest potential, including taking the students of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, creating the Tri-State Honor Band Festival and creating an annual student conductor competition and a student soloist competition. In the summer, he continued to develop the UW-Platteville Summer Band Camp to include additional learning opportunities for middle and high school students. He also founded “Swinging for Scholarships,” an annual summer golf outing that provides additional scholarship money to assist students financially with their education at UW-Platteville.

Beloved for his kindness, compassion, and sense of humor, Ellis was known locally, regionally, and nationally for his musical gifts and as an amazing educator. He will be remembered by many people as someone who always made others feel special, appreciated and welcome. As Ellis once said, “Our (UW-Platteville’s music) program is a welcoming environment for all musicians. There’s a place for everyone here.”

“Barry was a talented musician, a phenomenal bassoon player, an artful conductor, and a dear friend,” said Mackey. “Over the years, he recruited amazing students, faculty, and staff to UW-Platteville. He is the reason why so many of us are here and why the music program has been so strong for so long.”

“From internationally famous band directors to local middle school players, everyone knew and admired Barry Ellis,” said Matthew Gregg, assistant professor/director of bands at UW-Platteville. “His footprint in the world of instrumental music education is immeasurable. This scholarship fund will help ensure that it will also be long lasting here in Platteville.”

“Our family is thankful for the gifts to the scholarship fund that were given by all in remembrance of Barry,” said Terri Ellis. “It is a deeply meaningful tribute to see the list of donors that includes friends, family, organizations, church connections, musicians, performing artists, colleagues, students, parents of students, and UW-Platteville alumni. We are grateful that Barry’s life work can be honored through this scholarship.”

A memorial concert for Ellis will be held Oct. 20. A memorial golf tournament for Ellis, the Barry L. Ellis Swinging for Scholarships Golf Classic, will be held on Friday, June 14. Proceeds will provide music scholarships for students who are active in the music program at UW-Platteville. At the golf outing, there will be an opportunity for people to make a separate donation to the Barry L. Ellis Music Scholarship Fund, if they wish.

Those interested in donating to the Barry L. Ellis Music Scholarship Fund may donate online or send checks made payable to the UW-Platteville Foundation, referencing “Barry L. Ellis Music Scholarship Fund” in the memo, to: UW-Platteville Foundation, 1 University Plaza, Platteville, Wisconsin 53818.

The career of Barry Ellis

Ellis conducted the UW-Platteville Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the UW-Platteville Symphony Orchestra and taught methods courses in music education, conducting and woodwind techniques. During his tenure, Ellis served as instructor of saxophone and bassoon and also directed the UW-Platteville Marching Pioneers and Basketball Pep Band. In addition, he was the founder and director of the UW-Platteville Tri-State Honors Band Festival, director of the UW-Platteville Pioneer Summer Music Camp, coordinator and director for the UW-Platteville Band Conductor's Art Workshop, orchestra conductor for the UW-Platteville Heartland Festival, and founder and director of the Wisconsin College and University Faculty Woodwind Ensemble. Additionally, he was principal bassoon of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra and served on the Players Committee. He was also bassoonist/conductor for the Rountree Ensemble, a professional chamber ensemble. In the past, he had also served as director of the Dubuque Youth Symphony Orchestra.

In 1997, Ellis was selected by the UW System as a Wisconsin Teaching Fellow. He presented clinics for the Wisconsin Music Educators Association and had articles published in the College Band Directors National Report and in The Instrumentalist magazine. He presented clinics at the Wisconsin State Music Conference and conducted the National Band Association Wisconsin Chapter College All-Star Band. He was active throughout the United States and Canada as an adjudicator and clinician.

Ellis’s past professional affiliations included the College Band Directors National Association, the National Band Association, Music Educators National Conference, Wisconsin Music Educators Association, the North American Saxophone Alliance, the International Double Reed Society, Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Delta Kappa, Kappa Delta Pi, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He was the Wisconsin state chair of the North Central Division of the College Band Directors National Association.

Ellis received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Furman University; a Master of Music in Woodwind Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond; and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education from the University of Illinois.