William D. Revelli, a legendary figure in American band music, died of heart failure July 16 at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. He was 92.
As director of the U-M Marching Band and Symphony Band, Prof. Revelli advanced the bands of the Univer-sity to national eminence, both in the concert hall and on the football field, the Regents noted when he retired in 1972. Concurrently, he built up the wind instruments department, of which he was made chairman in 1941, to one of the most versatile and distinguished units of the School of Music.
Insisting always upon the highest standards of performance and upon a fresh and versatile repertoire, he made his perfectionism felt through the hundreds of band directors who had been under his immediate tutelage and the thousands who observed and admired his workmanship, they added.
Bill Revelli elicited highly contradictory feelings in his students, said Paul C. Boylan, vice provost for the arts and dean of the School of Music. His search for perfection led many students to say they didnt like him, but they loved and respected him. He was an extraordinary musician and a very, very demanding taskmaster in performance. Beyond that, he had a certain charisma that can only be described as formidable. Under his direction, students would shine.
Its difficult to talk about Bill Revelli except in superlatives, said Allen P. Britton, dean emeritus of the School of Music. He developed the U-M bands into the best in the country. Nothing ever sounded like a Revelli band except a Revelli band.
Revelli began his conducting career in 1929 at Hobart High School in Indiana. Hired as supervisor of music, he organized an instrumental music program and developed a band that won the national high school championship six times.
In 1935 Revelli moved to the U-M as director of bands, a position he held for 36 years prior to his retirement in 1972.
In 1961, Revelli led the U-M Symphony Band on a 16-week international concert tour, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. He also criss-crossed the country on annual trips to more than 30 states, and even after retirement, he accepted approximately 100 engagements as guest conductor, lecturer, clinician and adviser to bands throughout the world.
Revelli founded and was honorary life president of the College Band Directors National Association, and past president and honorary life member of the American Bandmasters Association, among many other professional affiliations.
In 1981 he was among the first living inductees to the National Band Association Hall of Fame of Distinguished Band Conductors. In 1989 the Louis Sudler Foundation and the John Philip Sousa Foundation presented Revelli with their highest award, the Order of Merit. Among the many other honors and honorary degrees he received, the band building at Michigan is named Revelli Hall.
Revelli is survived by two grandchildren, John Strong of Wheaton, Md., and Kimberly Snyder of Jessup, Md.; and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Mary and his daughter Rosemary Margaret Revelli Strong.
Memorial tributes may be made to the U-M Marching Band, Revelli Hall, 350 E. Hoover, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, or to Individualized Home Care Inc., c/o Society Bank, 100 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.
Beth Ann McWilliams, reference librarian, Law Library, died July 11 in Ann Arbor following an extended illness. She was 41.
Williams held a B.A. from Indiana University, M.A. and J.D. from the U-M.
She had been at the Law Library since September 1990. Prior to that she served as vice president and manager, Comerica Inc.; senior attorney, Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago; and associate attorney, Ross & Hardies, Chicago.
She is survived by her parents, John and Annabell Struble McWilliams; her husband, James M. Garavaglia; her brother, Robert McWilliams, of Chicago; two sisters, Deborah Ratcliff of Phoenix, and Patricia Whiteland of Nassau, Bahamas.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Cancer Care Center at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, McAuley Cancer Care Bldg., 5301 Huron River Drive, Ypsi-lanti MI 48197, or the Commonweal Cancer Center, P.O. Box 316, Bolinas, CA 94924.