CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Eddie Galvan, longtime Miller High School band leader, former Corpus Christi Port Authority commissioner, and founding member of the Texas Jazz Festival, died Tuesday night, according to the Corpus Christi Caller Times. He was 83.
Galvan was in poor health and died about 8:30 p.m. at home with family.
“It’s a blow to the jazz community to lose him,” said Eddie Olivares Sr., 79, Jazz Festival cofounder and Galvan’s friend since childhood according to the Corpus Christi Caller Times. “When shaped under Eddie’s baton average kids became super musicians. He had magic for making miraculous sounds with high school kids.”
Galvan discovered his passion for music early in life, said his son Edward Overton Galvan, 48, of New York City.
His father joined his first band at age 13 after sneaking a saxophone home from school and teaching himself to play.
“He later inspired generations of children to reach their personal potential,” his son said.
One of them was Ram Chavez, a student in the 1960s so moved by the elder Galvan that he became a music teacher and has led the local veterans band the past two decades.
“Eddie taught me about life by hugging people to show he cared,” Chavez said. “He told me, ‘If you’re a better person, you’re a better musician.’ ”
For more than four decades the Eddie Galvan Orchestra played venues throughout South Texas and its namesake was a featured headliner at the Texas Jazz Festival through recent years.
As a young man, Galvan played tenor saxophone alongside his musician brothers — Sammy, Bobby and Ralph — at Corpus Christi’s Galvan Ballroom. Their father first inspired them with violin lessons, but each later changed to horns. The ballroom was a mainstay of Galvan Music Co., founded by Eddie and Bobby Galvan. Their big band jazz and swing accompanied music greats Gene Krupa, Tommy Dorsey, Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington, his family said.
For leading the Roy Miller High School band to repeated annual UIL Sweepstakes Awards, the school’s band hall in 2003 was rededicated as the Eddie Galvan Music Center.
He began teaching in Premont in 1953, and joined the Corpus Christi Independent School District in 1956, where he worked through 1985. From 1973 until taking a position at Del Mar College, Galvan was the district’s coordinator of music and director of personnel.
Galvan, known to students as “Mr. G.,” led the Battlin’ Bucs to outstanding band honors at Six Flags Over Texas and the Houston Baptist Music Festivals. At the 1968 Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the band was awarded the Victor’s Trophy.
“It’s a spectacular thing to be there on the field and see 75,000 people looking down at you,” Galvan told the Caller-Times after returning with 140 of his students from the New Year’s Day performance in rain and freezing weather.
Through the 1990s Galvan was dean of music at Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications & Fine Arts in Laredo, where his daughter, Mary Grace Galvan-Carroll, is director of piano studies.
Galvan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and lost his ability to communicate about a year ago, she said.
“I missed being able to talk with Daddy the past year,” Galvan-Carroll said. “People should always be mindful of the quality time they have with people they love.”
Galvan also served as a Port of Corpus Christi commissioner from 1973 through 1994.
“He may have been branching out to see if his same philosophy for teaching could be applied to managing navigation,” Glavan-Carroll said. “His life was all about giving back to the community.”
Galvan is survived by his wife, Nancy Galvan, his two children and their mother, Catherine Marion Menger, three stepchildren and 10 grandchildren, sisters Patty Prezas and Mamie Oliveira, and brothers Ralph Galvan Jr. and Bobby Galvan.
Eddie Galvan (1927-2011)
Joined first band at age 13
Performed big band and jazz with his brothers at the Galvan Ballroom
Graduated from Corpus Christi High School in 1945
Earned associate degree from Del Mar College in 1948
Earned bachelor's and master's of music from Texas A&I University in 1952 and 1953, respectively
Began teaching in the Premont school district in 1953
Joined CCISD in 1956 and worked there through 1985
Worked as associate professor of music at CCSU from 1985-91
Served as dean of music at Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications & Fine Arts in Laredo from 1991-99
One of the founders of the Texas Jazz Festival
Served as a Port of Corpus Christi commissioner for 21 years
Served as president of the Texas Bandmasters Association
Served on boards of the Buccaneer Commission, Mercantile National Bank, the Corpus Christi Arts Council and at Harbor Playhouse
Served as vice president of the Texas Music Educators Association and Texas Jazz Festival Society
Inducted into Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 1992
Miller High School's band hall was renamed "Eddie Galvan Music Center" in 2003
Inducted into South Texas Music Walk of Fame along with his brother Bobby Galvan in 2004
Performed with the Eddie Galvan Orchestra for more than four decades
According to the Corpus Christi Caller Times