Congratulations to Dr. Joseph Missal on his recent induction to the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society Hall of Fame! Although he didn’t graduate from Oklahoma State University, he served as the director of bands and regents professor of conducting there for 35 years before retiring last spring.
Brother Missal earned his bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education from Michigan State University. In 1973 he was initiated into Phi Mu Alpha by the Gamma Epsilon Chapter at MSU. He later pursued his master’s degree in wind conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. While working on his master’s, he discovered that his calling was behind the conductor’s podium. He later earned a doctorate of musical arts in wind conducting from the University of Colorado.
After graduating with his master’s in 1978, Missal and his wife, Denise, packed their things and moved to Billings, Montana, where Missal became the instrumental professor for tiny Rocky Mountain College. Missal had 48 students the first year. In three years, Rocky Mountain’s band program had expanded to 120 students out of a student body of 500. He often worked from 8 in the morning to 10 at night, and he loved it.
After three years in Montana and four years at Eastern New Mexico University, Missal came to Oklahoma State University in the fall of 1986 to administer the entire band program, including ten bands, scholarships, recruiting, tours, and the budget. He expected to stay for five or six years, but a few years turned into a decade, then turned into more than three.
In addition to Brother Missal’s role as the Director of Bands and Regents Professor of Conducting at Oklahoma State University, he conducted the university’s wind ensemble and chamber winds, directed the graduate conducting program, taught undergraduate conducting, and served as the Coordinator for Wind and Percussion Studies. He has appeared as a guest conductor throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Israel, as well as collaborating with performing artists such as Chris Martin, Leona Mitchell, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Canadian Brass, among many others.
Known for showcasing Oklahoma bands the world over, Dr. Missal’s ensembles have performed for a convention of the Japan Band Clinic in Hamamatsu City in 2006 and 2013, the British Association for Symphonic Band and Wind Ensembles in Manchester in 2003, and the World Association for Symphonic Bands in Austria in 1997 and in California in 1999. More local engagements have included the College Band Directors National Association, the National Band Association, the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, the Sonneck Society, the Oklahoma Music Educators Association, the Percussive Arts Society, and the Western States Collegiate Wind Band Festival. His former conducting students now hold high school, college, and professional conducting positions throughout the country.
A champion of contemporary musicians, Dr. Missal has received personal praise for his expressive interpretations of works by living composers such as David Maslanka (Rho Tau Chapter – 2008), Karel Husa (Alpha Alpha Chapter – 1977), Cindy McTee, David Gillingham (Nu Pi Chapter – 1985), Joel Puckett, Paul Dooley, Steven Bryant (Beta Xi Chapter – 1968), Scott McAllister (Theta Sigma Chapter – 1997), Michael Daugherty, Frank Ticheli (Alpha Alpha Chapter – 2009), Shafer Mahoney, Kathryn Salfelder, James Kazik, Roshanne Etezady, Donald Grantham (Rho Tau Chapter – 1995), Dan Welcher (Theta Iota Chapter – 1966), John Mackey (Theta Pi Chapter – 2017), Michael Martin, Zhou Tian, Dana Wilson, and others. He has also served as a guest conductor for the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, the International Trombone Association, and the United States Army Field Band.
Brother Missal has published academic work in the CBDNA Journal, the Canadian Band Journal, and in GIA Publication’s Teaching Music through Performance in Band. He has also served as co-chairman of the International Wind Band Education Committee for WASBE and is a past president of the Southwest Division of the College Band Directors National Association as well as the Big Twelve Band Directors Association.
In 2001, Dr. Missal was selected as a Distinguished Music Professor at Oklahoma State University and received the Wise-Diggs-Berry Award for Teaching Excellence in the Arts, given to a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in the visual, performance, or written arts. He is an elected member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.
Congratulations, Brother! Hail Sinfonia!