Martin K. Alsup was born in 1955 to Richard and Alathea Alsup in Delaware, but his family later moved to West Virginia. He attended Vienna Grade School, Greenmont Elementary, and Jackson Junior High School. He graduated from Parkersburg High School (PHS) in 1973.
Martin loved music, and while attending PHS, he played in the band, the orchestra, and the stage band. He also loved sports and was a member of the PHS tennis team that won many state championships. He was also an actor and an avid science student whose project won first place in the State Science Fair and earned him and his science teacher, George Summers, a free trip to the International Science Fair in San Diego, CA. He was also a member of the Honor Society Team.
Martin graduated cum laude in 1977 from Duke University with a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry. He then attended graduate school at the University of California at Irvine after working at the Research Triangle for a few years, and in 1986, he graduated with a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering. He then worked as a crystal engineer for 20 years in California, Utah, South Dakota, and Israel.
Martin passed away in 2005 after a brief illness. The Martin K. Alsup Music Scholarship Fund was established with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation to honor Martin's memory and to help support students who have a strong interest in music pursue their higher educational goals.
Frank Schroeder was born in New Jersey on December 16, 1912. He graduated from high school in Mooseheart, Illinois, near Chicago in 1931, winning the national saxophone solo competition the same year. He then received a music scholarship from Ernest Williams School of Music in New York City. After graduating from music school in 1934, he played professionally in many of the "Big Bands" of that era. A former Ernest Williams graduate invited him to teach a summer workshop at West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1937. He decided to settle in Buckhannon that same year, becoming the band director of Buckhannon-Upshur High School and receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan. He married Annis Ross, an English and French teacher at the high school, in 1941. His tenure there was interrupted by four years of active Army Air Corps duty serving as an instructor of airplane mechanics during World War II. After the war he returned to Buckhannon and resumed his position as band director at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
In 1950, Mr. Schroeder moved to Parkersburg, assuming the directorship of the Big Red Band at Parkersburg High School. He accepted the challenge of taking a well-established band program and elevating it to an even higher level of excellence. Under his leadership, the band won the national VFW championship in Boston in 1955, unseating a band from Ohio that had been champions thirteen years in a row. To underscore that this was no accident, the Big Red Band competed in Dallas in 1956 winning the championship a second time. Financial reasons prevented the band from competing again in the national championship. The band continued to perform at numerous college and professional football games as well as local and state competitions. They marched in the Lions Club parade in New York City in 1959.
In spite of considerable time constraints placed on him, Frank Schroeder pursued and received a Master's Degree in Music Education from Ohio University in 1955. Although it was commonplace for a high school band to perform the same halftime show throughout the entire football season, he would always have a different drill and different music for each home game. His real love of music, however, was in the concert performances. He exposed the band to mainly classical overtures, his personal favorites, but always looked for and performed newer compositions. Individuals were encouraged to play solos at the winter and spring concerts to help reward and stimulate personal achievement. The dance band was always a part of the program, performing at numerous state and local festivals.
After twenty-three years as a high school band director, Mr. Schroeder left Parkersburg in 1964 to teach elementary music in Harford County, Maryland until his retirement in 1981. In his retirement he continued to play in a dance band and was able to enjoy his grandchildren participating in their high school bands. He passed away on January 19, 2001. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of fifty-eight years, Annis, who taught English at Parkersburg High School from 1952 until 1964.
Frank Schroeder will be remembered as a consummate musician, a perfectionist at whatever he did, a strict but fair disciplinarian, and a loving husband and father. His sense of dedication, responsibility, and professionalism, as well as his love for the Big Red Band, continue to be an inspiration to all who knew him. The Frank Schroeder Memorial Scholarship Fund is designed to recognize and reward those members of the Big Red Band who desire to make instrumental music their lifetime careers, guided by those same principles and values exemplified by the life of Frank Schroeder