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Bynum Weathers: DU’s march king

Bynum Weathers' marches have been played at air shows, Veterans Day observances, local festivals and even during a D-Day celebration.

What comes to mind when you think of a music march? John Phillip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever”? Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance”? How about the “Thunderbirds March” by Bynum Weathers?

Weathers, PhD comparative history ’71, has been a music lover since his days as a young boy in North Carolina. He began playing the tuba in high school and received numerous awards, including a music scholarship to the University of Michigan in 1942. He continued playing while attending college at Michigan and at the University of North Carolina, where he played in the UNC symphony, concert and marching bands.

His “Thunderbirds March” evolved from a melody that was stuck in his head from his days at the University of North Carolina. “It wasn’t until I first caught a glimpse of the Air Force’s Thunderbirds while at Maxwell Air Force Base that I decided to turn the melody into a march,” he says. Weathers has penned a number of other music pieces as well, including the “Chief March,” “Academy March,” “Centennial Overture,” “Opus in Blue” and the “Millennium Overture.”

Weathers says it takes about seven months to complete a march. He does it more for the love of music than for fame and fortune. His pieces have been played at air shows, Veterans Day observances, local festivals and even during a D-Day celebration. “To hear your pieces played is very exhilarating,” he says.

When he is not composing, Weathers plays the tuba with the Capitol Sounds Concert Band, a community band in Montgomery, Alabama. The band, as well as the Montgomery Youth Orchestra, has performed Weathers’ pieces throughout the years.

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