Last week brought sad news for everyone connected to TBDBITL as Dr. James Moore, known to most as Doc, passed away at age 80. For over 20 years, until his retirement at the end of the 2004 season, Dr. Moore had served as the percussion instructor for the Ohio State Marching Band, contributing to evolution of the band and becoming a beloved figure to all band members
Dr. Moore didn’t have the background that one would necessarily expect for someone who would become such a major part of the Ohio State community. Doc was born in 1934 in Jackson, Michigan (birthplace of the Republican party, the coney island hot dog, former NFL coach Tony Dungy, and NASA astronaut James McDivitt). Not surprisingly for someone from a town only 40 miles away, Doc attended the University of Michigan for his bachelors and masters degrees. Fortunately at this point Doc’s eyes turned south and he attended Ohio State for his PhD.
Ohio State obviously made an impression on Dr. Moore and after a career that included three years in the US Army teaching at the Armed Forces School of Music in Washington, DC, he returned to OSU in 1981 as the percussion instructor for the marching band. While many people think of drummers as people who just hit things really loudly to help keep a beat and make noise, Doc knew that percussionists where just as musical as any other musician and he helped bring about many innovations that improved the musicality of the OSUMB percussion section. Dr. Moore introduced multiple tenor drums, known as toms or quads, and tonal bass drums (bass drums of different sizes and thus pitches) to the section. By having toms and bass drums with different pitches, the percussion section could now play melodic lines, enhancing the sound and color of the band.
Dr. Moore’s contributions to music went far beyond the OSUMB. Over the years Dr. Moore was a member of the Indianapolis Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Port Charlotte Symphony, Naples Concert Band, and the Brass Band of Columbus; Doc’s talents were not just limited to playing instruments though as Doc as sang in the choir at the First Presbyterian Church in Bonita Springs, Florida. In 1979, Dr. Moore started a publishing company, Per Mus Publications, and the Percussive Notes magazine. In addition to writing percussion parts for the OSUMB, Dr. Moore also produced compositions and arrangements that were published by several musical publishing companies.
It is said that the measure of someone’s life is in how many lives they touch and in this regard Dr. Moore’s life was beyond measure.
As percussion instructor, Doc obviously worked closest with the percussion section, producing numerous musicians and educators over the years. Not content with just teaching, Dr. Moore also formed a personal connection with members of the percussion section and would host a brunch for the entire section each year in his home.
While Doc obviously was closest with the percussion section, he was loved by the entire band. Doc was one of those people who always seemed to be happy and it rubbed off on others. As former mellophone player Michelle Treaster recalled, “as an E-row member, I didn’t know him very well, but I remember his infectious grin and that he always seemed to be so happy to be doing what he was doing. What a great way to go through life!” Doc was so beloved by the band that in 2004 he was voted Most Inspirational Bandsperson by the band members, the highest award that they can give. Personally, I still am glad that I got to hold Doc’s conducting ladder during his last game in Ohio Stadium in 2004, something that I still consider an honor to have done. More wonderful memories of Doc can be read and shared here; my personal favorite is the story of his PhD thesis which was done in collaboration with the OSU Physics Department.
Dr. Moore is survived by his wife, Marilyn (Klockow) Moore; children, Cheryl L. Moore and David J. (Marla) Moore; grandchildren, Allie, Jake, Zach, Logan and Kendall Moore; brother-in-law, Bill Klockow; niece, Katie Klockow; nephew, Bill (Tina) Bucec.
Contributions in Doc’s memory can be made to:
The Jym and Marilyn Moore Marching Band Percussion Scholarship
Ohio State University, fund #314851
c/o The OSU Foundation,
1480 W Lane Ave
Columbus OH 43221
The Naples Concert Band
PO Box 31
Naples FL 34106
800 McConnel Dr
Columbus OH 43214
On behalf of all of us here at the Buckeye Battlecry, I extend our heartfelt condolences to Doc’s family and say that he will truly be missed.