• the university symphonic band on stage at miller auditorium under orange light.
  • the bronco marching band in single file lines on stage at miller auditorium with gold and orange lights in the background
  • close up photo of a row of trombones
  • Photo of a chamber wind ensemble performing on Miller Auditorium's stage with red back lighting

The WMU Bands are profoundly sad to announce that Dr. Robert Spradling, WMU Director of Bands 1993-2013, passed away this morning, July 18, 2020.  

Dr. Spradling suffered a stroke on Monday, June 22.  After returning home from surgery and a few days in the hospital, new developments caused him to return to the hospital.  Several other complications eventually led to the decision for him to enter hospice on July 6.  His wife, Diana, and their son, Scott, were with him as he passed peacefully on July 18.

Bob Spradling was a significant and positive force at WMU during his time as Director of Bands.  Upon his hire in 1993, he established graduate assistantships for all wind and percussion studios, and those positions continue to play a major role in the success of our School of Music.  He also established Western Winds, a chamber wind ensemble made up of these graduate assistants and their studio mentors.  The University Symphonic Band (now Wind Symphony) gained national and international prominence under his leadership, performing at national conventions of the College Band Directors National Association and MENC as well as at the Michigan Music Conference.  This ensemble also toured Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Brazil, and China during Dr. Spradling’s time at WMU.  Following his retirement in 2013, Bob and his wife, Diana, remained loyal supporters of the WMU Bands and the School of Music, attending many, many concerts.  Our present students were recently graced with Dr. Spradling’s fine conducting, outstanding teaching, and sincere kindness when he guest conducted the University Wind Symphony in the fall of 2018 on Gustav Holst’s First Suite in Eb.

It is a sad day for the WMU Bands.  Bob Spradling's legacy is significant and will be cherished always.