Beloved Former Dean for Undergraduate Studies Constance (Connie) Weldon Passes Away

Beloved Former Dean for Undergraduate Studies Constance (Connie) Weldon Passes Away

By UM News

Beloved Former Dean for Undergraduate Studies Constance (Connie) Weldon Passes Away

By UM News
The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami is saddened to report the passing of one of its own, Constance (Connie) Weldon who passed away on August 7, 2020 at the age of 88.

Connie Weldon's story could well be the story of the Frost School of Music. Having started as a freshman, she eventually returned in 1972 to teach tuba and subsequently became the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies. To an even greater degree, Dean Weldon's story is the story of the renaissance of the tuba, both in the United States and abroad. Her teachers, peers, students, and friends number among the greatest tubists of our time, and she experienced great success and satisfaction in all three of her careers: performing tuba, teaching tuba, and administration.
 
Dean Shelton G. Berg stated: "Connie’s passing is truly a great loss to the musical world and personally to our school. While her tenure was before my becoming Dean she was not only beloved and held in the highest esteem by everyone in her musical orbit, she was one of our great success stories rising from a student to Dean when she retired in 1991.  We send our sincere condolences to her family and all those she touched so deeply."
 
Former student and close personal friend Jack Weinstein (B.M. ’79) stated: “Connie was the teacher, mentor, role model (as both a player and person), occasional banker and provider of room and board, to more than three generations of students.  In her role as Dean of Students, she oversaw the award of millions of dollars in scholarships to deserving musicians. She was universally loved by all those whose lives she touched, whether they were her tuba students or otherwise. Those of us who were especially privileged to be her tuba students have always believed and continue to believe that it is our obligation and responsibility to pass on what we learned from her about the tuba, music, and being role models for future generations.”

"Connie Weldon was a trailblazer for our instrument, and all women brass players/musicians. She had many successful students at the University of Miami and abroad, of course, one of them being the late and great, Sam Pilafian," stated Dr. Aaron Tindall, Frost Associate Professor of Tuba and Euphonium. He continued, "I’ve always felt the presence and huge shoes, and the legacy to fill at this university behind the greats of Connie, John Stevens, John Olah, and Sam Pilafian. She will remain an absolute legend in the music world, and here at the U. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and the many students and lives she undoubtedly touched."
 
Kenneth J. Moses Retired Associate Dean Undergraduate Studies at Frost commented: "Connie Weldon was a consummate musician, scholar, teacher, administrator and the best friend anyone could hope for.   As a faculty member, I had the privilege of working with and learning from her in her role as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Years later I relied on these experiences when I was appointed Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies. Many times I asked myself, now how would Connie have handled this situation. My hope is that I came close to meeting her high standards. Above all else, I will be forever grateful for her love and friendship."

Florida native Connie Weldon, B.M. ’53, named University of Miami Frost School of Music 1991 Distinguished Alumna, is known as the first professional female tubist in the United States. She performed six years with the North Carolina Symphony and two years with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. She later became the first chair tuba with the Greater Miami Philharmonic.

While a student at the University of Miami, Weldon was accepted to the Tanglewood Music Festival, playing under the baton of a young Leonard Bernstein. In 1957, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship Award to study in Amsterdam with the Concertgebouw tubist, Adrian Boorsma. She joined the Netherlands Ballet Orkest and was acting principal tuba of the great Concertgebouw Orchestra. Upon returning to the U.S., Weldon joined the Kansas City Philharmonic for two seasons, after which she returned to Florida to join the Miami Philharmonic and teach at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. She quickly established a reputation as an expert brass teacher and coach. As a result of her successful studio building, Weldon formed the University of Miami Tuba Ensemble, the first credited group of its type at any university. This led to her becoming the conductor of the University of Miami Brass Choir.

From 1972 until her retirement in 1991, Weldon was the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. She is highly celebrated as a performer and pedagogue, has a music and academic scholarship named after her, and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.

Photo courtesy of the University of Miami Archives and Jo Faulmann.