TBA HALL OF FAME - CLASS OF 2019
Emeritus Director, Riverdale High School 1982-2012
Ronald S. Meers was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on August 6, 1947. Inspired to study trumpet, his musical training began as a part of the Chattanooga Central High School Band. After graduating in 1965, Ron’s music education continued at David Lipscomb University, in Nashville, TN, where he received the Bachelors of Science degree. Later studies at Cumberland University would result in a Masters of Arts +30. These later degrees would come as Ron embarked on a path in music education, resulting in a 43 year career as a band director.
Beginning his career in 1969 at Hay Long High School in Mt. Pleasant, TN, Ron quickly earned a reputation as a tireless worker with high expectations for his students. At the time, school systems across the country were beginning to desegregate and as a result, Hay Long and Clarke High Schools were integrated into a new Mt. Pleasant High School in 1970. A strong believer in music education for all students, Ron focused his efforts on helping every student reach his or her potential, meeting each at their respective skill level and then pushing them to greater achievements. Throughout his time in Mt. Pleasant, the band program experienced constant growth, in both student involvement and quality, consistently earning Superior Ratings, and developed into a small school powerhouse. In 1978, these achievements culminated in Mt. Pleasant’s selection as the first Tennessee Bandmasters Association band to perform at the Tennessee Music Education Association State Convention.
While at Mt. Pleasant, Ron also oversaw the development and implementation of the Tennessee Class A State Marching Band Championship, with the blessing of then Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton. Now known as the Tennessee Division 1 Marching Band State Championship, this event continues provide students at smaller schools an avenue to compete for a state championship.
Meers, as he’s known to his friends, wasn’t just a band director. In addition to his band duties at Mt. Pleasant, he also coached the high school tennis team, bringing his exacting standards and competitive drive to the courts. The leadership and expectations, which had built the band program, were also successful athletically, allowing Ron to build a successful tennis program. His teams quickly garnered a reputation for success, often defeating teams from larger schools as well as those from area private schools.
In 1982, Meers took his ever-present red sports car and penchant for iced tea, to Murfreesboro, TN, where he assumed duties as Director of Bands at Riverdale High School. Realizing the lack of available feeder school band programs, Ron voluntarily began travelling to nearby schools, beginning bands at McFadden and Rockvale Elementary Schools. As these programs grew, so did the Riverdale High School Band, enabling students to experience success in a comprehensive program of concert, marching, and jazz bands. Bands under Meers were known for being well-rehearsed and superior in performance.
Not only were Ron’s bands well prepared musically, students were given ownership in the success of their band program. Believing that student buy-in was paramount to the success of a band, students were given active leadership roles within the program, including peer training, accountability, and logistical responsibilities. Bands under the direction of Ron Meers were truly a team effort, with educational opportunities that far exceeded the notes on a page. A heavy emphasis was placed upon helping students develop musicianship and leadership skills as well as foster a desire for excellence in both life and music. For his dedication to his students, school, and community, Ron was recognized in 2002-2003 as Riverdale High School’s Teacher of the Year.
Maintaining an active leadership role in the profession, Ron’s dedication to students and music education extended well beyond the band room, reaching students across the state of Tennessee. Just as the mission of the Tennessee Music Education Association is to advocate for the advancement of high quality music education for all; the same can be said for Ron Meers and his approach to teaching.
This service included hosting bands for the MTSBOA Honor Band Clinic as well as serving as the Tennessee All-State Band chair. Ron’s logistical prowess was also put to work as auditions chair for several organizations, including the MTSBOA Honor Bands, Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, and the TMEA Conference.
Ron approached both teaching and service with professionalism, tenacity, and integrity. Recognized by his peers for these traits, among other outstanding qualities, Ron was a consistent figure in leadership across the profession, serving as president for the Middle Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, Tennessee Bandmasters Association, Phi Beta Mu International Bandmaster Fraternity, and the Tennessee Music Education Association. His outstanding service to the profession was recognized in 2011 with selection to the Tennessee Music Education Association Hall of Fame. And after a distinguished career teaching, his service to his students was recognized at Riverdale, where the band room now bears the name, the “Ronald S. Meers Band Hall.”
Ron continues to serve, even in retirement, bringing a staunch advocacy for music education to a new position as Executive Director of the Tennessee Music Education Association. In this position, he has embraced the herculean task of overseeing the operations of the state music association, encompassing the three grand divisions of Tennessee and its nine regional music associations. Facilitating the state music conference and association activities, working with various state and national organizations, and focusing TMEA on the future of music education in Tennessee, it’s quite possible that Meers is now even more active in retirement, but his efforts will benefit both current and future generations of students and educators across Tennessee.
Throughout his career, Ron Meers has been a tireless worker, a fierce advocate, a loyal friend, and a true professional, with the highest character and integrity. It is this commitment, consistency, and sustained excellence in all endeavors that makes Ron Meers worthy of the Tennessee Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame.