Victoria High School
Although Fred Junkin is most widely recognized for his distinguished 31-year career with the Victoria, Texas, band, his musical accomplishments include work as a musician, arranger, symphony founder, and active participant in professional development for band directors across Texas.
Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1927, he grew up in Kerrville, graduated from the Schreiner Institute High School, and served with the United States Navy during World War II, playing clarinet and saxophone in a musical combo that performed throughout occupied Japan. After his military service he returned to Texas, where he graduated with honors from the University of Texas-Austin in 1950, and served as band director for the Teague, Texas, school district while he completed his masters degree at UT. From 1951 through 1954 he directed the junior high band in Tyler, Texas. During that time he met and married Don Beth, a fourth-grade teacher with the Tyler schools. In 1954 he and his bride moved to Victoria, where he assumed the role of band director, a position he never surrendered, even after he was named Supervisor of Music for Victoria ISD in 1974.
From 1954 through 1985 Junkin’s bands received recognition for their excellence on every level: 93 First Divisions; 24 Sweepstakes awards; an Outstanding award from Six Flags Over Texas, and invitations to perform at Midwest in Chicago, and for American and Japanese bandmasters in Tempe, Arizona. He was selected for membership in the American Bandmasters Association in 1979, and named Texas Bandmaster of the Year in 1984. Junkin served on the TMEA board from 1960 through 1968, and was TMEA president in 1965 and 1966. He retired in 1985.
Throughout his career and into retirement, Junkin served as an adjudicator at band contests and festivals throughout Texas, and worked with the Victoria Symphony, which he helped found in 1975. His son, Jerry F. Junkin, followed in his footsteps to a musical career, becoming Professor of Instrumental Conducting and Director of Bands at the University of Texas-Austin and Conductor and Artistic Director of the Dallas Wind Symphony. In January 2012, Jerry led the Dallas Wind Symphony in Fred’s arrangement of Respighi’s Fountains of Rome. Today, Fred and Don Beth continue to enjoy retirement from their home in Victoria, where Fred likes to read, fish, and attend Jerry’s concerts whenever he can.