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Kenneth G. Bloomquist papers

 Collection 0099-SCPA

A conductor and trumpet player, Kenneth G. Bloomquist (born 1931) was involved with numerous bands throughout his career. The bulk of his career was spent with the Michigan State University Band and Music program, of which he served as Director of Bands from 1978 until his retirement in 1993. During this time he also served as Director of the School of Music from 1978 to 1988. Bloomquist also served as an educator and clinician, working with many school music programs, summer camps, and community orchestras, including serving as Director of the Lansing Community Concert Band from 1978 to 1986. In addition, Kenneth Bloomquist also served as President of both The American Bandmasters Association and the National Band Association, and maintains active membership in both organizations. The collection consists of correspondence, programs, printed materials and tour itineraries, published and unpublished journal articles and speech transcripts, photographs, recordings and other memorabilia related to Bloomquist's career, the ensembles with which he was involved, and the colleagues with whom he had close relationships.


  • 1949-2017
  • Majority of material found within 1970-1993

Use and Access to Collection

There are no restricted files in this collection.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact the curator for an appointment:


5.50 Linear Feet

68 Items

Scope and Content of Collection

The Kenneth G. Bloomquist papers cover the period from 1949 to 2017. The papers consist of both personal and professional correspondence, published and unpublished writings, addresses, programs and printer materials, photographs, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, and recordings.His 198-page memoir from 2017 is also housed in the collection. Materials included relate to Bloomquist's work as a music educator and band director, including his work with the Michigan State University music program as Director of Bands from 1970 to 1993, and with various other educational and professional organizations such as the American Bandmasters Association, of which he served as President from 1995 to 1996, National Band Association, into which he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003, University of Kansas Concert Band, Lansing Concert Community Band, and other clinic and guest conducting appearances.


Kenneth G. Bloomquist was born in Boxholm, Iowa on December 29, 1931. In 1953, he graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Music Education, and later in 1957 went on to complete a Master of Music Education at the University of Illinois. As a graduate student, he served as a Graduate Assistant in the School of Music and Bands as a trumpet instructor, while also working as a part time instrumental teacher in local elementary and high schools. Upon graduating with his Masters degree, he served as the Supervisor of Music and Director of Bands for the Taylorville, Illinois Public School System.

In 1958, Bloomquist accepted a position as the Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Kansas, and later went on to become the Director of Bands in 1968. During this time he also served as a guest conductor of many All-State Bands, High School Honor bands, Professional and University Bands, and Community Bands throughout the country.

In 1970, Bloomquist joined the Michigan State University faculty as the Director of Bands, conducting MSU's Spartan Marching Band for seven years, as well as the MSU Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band. He went on to become the Director of the School of Music in 1978 (now College of Music). As the Director, he played an integral role in formulating the designation of the Department of Music into the School of Music, as well as the Doctoral of Musical Arts degree programs in Instrumental and Choral conducting, planning the development of a year-round Youth Music Program for pre-college students as a part of the School of Music curriculum, and promoting the elevation of the Music Therapy program as a "Unit of Excellence," which helped it to secure funding for renovations to the music building for out-patient service. In 1988, Bloomquist stepped down from the Director of Music position, continuing on as the Director of Bands until his retirement from the University in 1993. Following retirement, Bloomquist continues to serve as Director of Bands Emeritus at Michigan State University.

While at MSU, Bloomquist also served in a variety of organizations in many capacities. Beginning in 1970 he also served on the Board of Directors of the National Band Association, and was elected National President of the Association from 1980 to 1982. He was awarded membership in the American Bandmasters Association in 1973, and was elected President in 1995, serving until 1996. From 1978 to 1986, he served on the Board of Directors of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra Band. Other significant awards include the American School Band Directors Association Harding Award, the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Orpheus Award, The National Band Association Citation of Excellence, induction into the National Band Association's Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts, and the National Band Association Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2004 he was awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor award from The Midwest Clinic, an International Band and Orchestra Conference. He also has many significant publications, including "The Anatomy of a Rehearsal," published in five parts by The Instrumentalist in 1981, "School Band Movement Phase II," published in 1982 by The Gemeinhardt Corporation, and "Pedal Tone Study for Trumpet," published by The Getzen Company in 1962.

Bloomquist married Ann Murphy, who served as Chorus Master of the Opera Company of Mid-Michigan for seven years, on February 14, 1954. The couple went on to have three children, Leslie Ann, Laurie Kathleen, and Daniel John. They now reside in Northport, Michigan. Bloomquist remains active as a conductor, adjudicator, and clinician throughout the United States and internationally, acting as conductor on various cruise ship concert bands and with the MSU Alumni Band.


This collection is organized into eight series.

  1. Personal
  2. Writings
  3. National Band Association
  4. American Bandmasters Association
  5. Michigan State University
  6. Outside Guest Conducting Appearances
  7. Recordings
  8. Scrapbooks

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Gift of Prof. Kenneth G. Bloomquist; received in three shipments, the first in April 1996, the second in September 2012, and the third in January 2015. Subsequent smaller accruals followed in 2016 and 2017.

Related Material

These materials are part of the American Bandmasters Association (ABA) Research Center.

MENC, the National Association for Music Education (U.S.). (2005). Spotlight on teaching orchestra. Reston, VA: MENC, the National Association for Music Education.

Herndon High School (Herndon, Va.)., Bergman, R. L., Bloomquist, K. G., Wickes, F. B., Graham, L. E., Erickson, M., Hudson, F. M., ... Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic. (1995). Herndon High School Wind Ensemble. Clarence, NY: Mark Custom Recording Service.

Kenneth G. Bloomquist papers
Processed by Nicole Horstman, October 2012, and Pedro Gonzalez-Fernandez, January 2015.
October 2012 and January 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 2012-11-21: EAD checked and verified using Oxygen by Amanda May, November 2012.
  • 2015-03-01: EAD checked and verified using Oxygen software by John Davis, March 2015.
  • 2015-08-01: EAD checked and verified using Oxygen by John Davis, August 2015.
  • 2020-05-30: FA Updated by Naomi Rabe, May 2020.

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States