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And Now You Know: Director of the band and orchestra at the UT gives lessons in Orange

Mike Louviere
And Now You Know

Sunday June 5, 1938, the Orange Leader announced that Colonel George E. Hurt would be arriving in Orange the following Wednesday, June 8. Col. Hurt was the director of the band and orchestra at the University of Texas. Lutcher Stark, the sponsor of the Lutcher stark Boy’s Band and the Bengal Guards had arranged for Col. Hurt to spend a month in Orange to give lessons to any of the members of the band and drum and bugle corps who wished to take advantage of the opportunity.

The schedule for the lessons was published in the Leader for those interested. The lessons would be offered at no cost to any of the students.

Col. Hurt was born in England. His first education was at the Holy Trinity Orphans School. He later attended Cambridge University and the University of Edinburgh. At the age of 12 he played violin at a command performance for the King and Queen of England on the Royal Yacht “Victoria and Albert.” At age 13 he entered the Royal Academy of Music. He won first prize at 15 years of age with a composition on the subject of foreign affairs in the British Empire School of Children’s essay contest.

He enlisted in the British army in 1914 and was commissioned in 1915. His wartime service saw him wounded twice and gassed twice. Col. Hurt retired in 1919 due to his sickness from being gassed and moved to the United States. He settled in Ashville, North Carolina for his health. He was appointed director of music at the Ashville School for Boys for the years 1922 to 1924. He served as Director of Instrumental Music for the Ashville Public Schools from 1924 to 1926.

He became Supervisor of Instrumental Music for seven junior high schools in Washington, D.C.

In 1927, he was urged by A.Y. Baker to move to Texas and introduce instrumental music to schools in the Rio Grande Valley.

His next position saw him develop bands and instrumental music at the largest technical school in the south of Dallas in 1931. His band was the largest in the area at the time.

In 1933, he was admitted as an associate member of the Academy of Fine Arts. Col. Hurt was admitted to the American Bandmaster’s Association in 1935 by examination.

In 1936, he was appointed as director of the band and orchestra of the University of Texas. In two years, he grew the band from 25 members to 256. He served in that position until 1949 when a stroke forced him to retire.

He came to Orange in the summer of 1938 and again in 1939. He was accompanied to Orange by his wife and young daughter. When in Orange he was provided a residence and telephone, in addition, all of his expenses in Orange were paid by Stark.

“And now you know.”