Dr. John L. Alexander, 63, former director of bands at the University of Wisconsin La Cross, died suddenly on Saturday, April 1, 2000. A native of Liberty, Mo., he graduated from Liberty High School in l954. He received His B.M. and M.M. degrees from the University of Michigan. His doctorate in trumpet performance was earned from the University of Missouri, at Kansas City.  Dr. Alexander was solo cornet and trumpet with the University of Michigan band. For five years, he was the
First trumpet and soloist with the United States Air Force Bank, Orchestra and “Singing Sergeants”. Other first Trumpet positions were held with the Toledo Symphony and the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. Additional Positions were held with the Washington, D.C. National Chamber Ensemble, and as a participant in the Chicago
Symphony Summer Series concerts. John’s horn playing was influenced greatly by teachers in Kansas City, Washington, D.C., and Lansing, Mich. His orchestral performances were modeled after Sam Krause of the Philadelphia Orchestra. His “show biz” side was a combination of Rafael Mendez, Harry James and Conrad Gozzo.

Dr. Alexander performed in jazz and show idioms with entertainers including Bob Hope, Melissa Manchester, Andy Williams, Joe Capades, Ice Follies and the Shrine and Ringling Brothers’ circuses.  John Alexander was an assistant band director and trumpet instructor at Arkansas State University and the  University of Missouri-Columbia prior to coming to La Crosse in 1969. His UW-L marching bands performed at over 50 NFL half-times and appeared in the Rose Bowl Parade; the Orange Bowl Parade (twice), London, England; Denver, Colo; and the Holiday and Sunshine Bowls. In addition to directing the “Marching Chiefs” and “Screaming Eagles” marching band, he conducted the wind symphony and symphonic bands, and taught elementary conducting and brass techniques.

Dr. Alexander maintained a full schedule of trumpet performances and clinics in the areas of brass performance and concert bands for audiences throughout the upper Midwest and Canada.  Following his retirement he served as a substitute teacher in the public schools and taught trumpet to private students. He and Marilyn enjoyed many years of fishing trips that took them to Canada, Mexico and the Florida Keys.

John is survived by his wife, Marilyn; his son and daughter-in-law, John Brendon and Sarah; and his grandson, Kenneth Chase. He was preceded in death by his parents.  A memorial service will be held on Thursday, April 6, 2000 at 2:00 p.m. at the Schumacher-Kish Funeral Home of La Crosse. The family requests no flowers, but would welcome memorials to the Wisconsin Heart Institute at the Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse.