Two musical masters were recently inducted in to the Smith-Cotton High School Activities Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremony was held Thursday, May 10 in the Heckart Performing Arts Center. Dr. Maurice (Gene) Kelley II and David Turner became the newest members of the hall, which recognizes outstanding performers, educators and supporters from S-C’s arts programs.

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Kelley is a 1988 graduate of Smith-Cotton High School and a free-lance bassist & clinician. He is the former Director of Orchestras at Angelo State University and founder of the ASU Symphony and strings program. He also directs the Concho Valley Chamber Orchestra, which he founded in 2013. He regularly performs with the Big Spring and Midland-Odessa symphonies, as well as Texas country singer Case Hardin’s Day Money Band.

Kelley is a second-generation Hall of Fame member, as his father, Norris Kelley, was inducted into the S-C Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Master of Music degree from Louisiana State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Missouri State University. Currently, he is working toward a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction, which he will complete this summer.

Kelley stressed the impact that music education has had on his life. He noted that all of his post-secondary degrees have been funded completely through arts scholarships.

“Music education is a beneficial thing. … The data supports it, the statistics are out there,” he said. He encouraged the audience to keep coming out to support arts education and performances so students will continue to have access to the opportunities he has had.

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Turner, a member of Smith-Cotton High School’s Class of 1966, went on to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. During that time, he performed in backup bands for Ike and Tina Turner, Bobby Vinton, Trini Lopez, Jimmy Durante and others. He also was in the orchestra for Broadway touring companies for performances classic musicals including “West Side Story,” “South Pacific,” “Bye Bye Birdie” and more.

During his Smith-Cotton days, Turner played in the band and orchestra, earning letters all four years. His freshman year was under the direction of Bob Cummings and the rest of his S-C career he was instructed by Gerry Schroeder – both S-C Activities Hall of Fame inductees.

During Turner’s senior year, he was named outstanding instrumental musician. His involvement with music included performing with the Air Force Band, accompanying S-C show choirs’ performances for 20 years and owning Shaw’s Music in downtown Sedalia.

Turner said, “Music has always been a huge part of my life. My parents were very supportive … and I wouldn’t be here tonight if it wasn’t for them.”

He shared a story about Activities Hall of Fame member Sandy Cordes calling him one night 20 years ago, asking if he could fill in for the S-C show choir band.

“I did, and 20 years later I’m still playing,” Turner said.


PIC 1 - KELLEY: Dr. Maurice (Gene) Kelley II shares data about students who receive music education scoring higher on standardized tests in remarks during his induction into the Smith-Cotton High School Activities Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 10, in the Heckart Performing Arts Center.

PIC 2 - TURNER: David Turner, who was inducted into the Smith-Cotton Activities Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 10, was taught in high school by two other Hall of Fame inductees, Bob Cummings and Gerry Schroeder.