Celebration of life for Professor Emeritus Jack O. White set for June 18

White, who gained national acclaim for Elon's music program as band director, passed away on Dec. 15, 2019.

A Celebration of Life for Jack O. White, the beloved band director who gained national acclaim for Elon’s music program, will be held at 2 p.m., June 18, in the Snyder Auditorium on the campus of Wytheville Community College, Wytheville, Virginia. White died on Dec. 15, 2019, in Jacksonville, Florida, and the service was delayed due to the pandemic.

The service and reception will include an opportunity for attendees to share memories, recollections and amusing stories surrounding White’s life. Friends and students may post their tributes to Dr. White at www.newcomballgoodfh.com.

White’s legacy at Elon traces back to 1962, when then Elon President J. Earl Danieley ’49 hired him to join the music department. “He made such an impact on all of us,” said Raymond Beck ’75, who played in Elon’s marching band under White’s leadership and is helping to organize the Celebration of Life. He described White as a “true Elon legend” who touched the lives of countless students. “He highly influenced his students, many of whom later became high school, college and university band directors for several generations and from sea to sea.”

White developed Elon’s marching band, “The Showband of the Carolinas,” achieving a wide reputation for creative and entertaining football half time shows. He also organized the Emanons, Elon’s jazz ensemble. The United States Department of Defense named the jazz band “All American Entertainment Troupe” in 1971, and in the same year, they were asked to participate in the Montreaux Switzerland International Jazz Festival. The Emanons continued to perform in Europe from U.S.O. shows in Germany to a Grand Ball de la Doune in Luxembourg. They were the featured attendees of New York’s First Annual Brass Conference in 1973, made a guest appearance at the Lincoln Center and performed annually at Disney World for years. In all, the group completed 23 tours under White’s direction.

White was recognized as Elon’s Outstanding Professor in 1968 and upon his retirement in 1986 was named Professor Emeritus of Music. In 1995 he received the prestigious Elon Medallion and in 2012 he was named Band Director Emeritus. The band facility in the Center for the Arts was named in his honor in 2012.