Martha J. "Martye" Awkerman (1928-2008), cornet soloist with the Women in the Air Force Band (WAF), the Long Beach Municipal Band, and the Hormel Girls Band, grew up in Pennsylvania and received trumpet performance degrees from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in the early 1950s, where she studied with Frank Simon and Harold Mitchell. From 1955 to 1961 Awkerman played lead cornet and trumpet with the 543rd Air Force Band under the leadership of Captain Marybelle J. Nissley. During her tenure with this ensemble she traveled around the world on USO tours and invitational engagements performing for both military and civilian audiences. Following the deactivation of the WAF Band in 1961 she became the first woman to be accepted into the famed Long Beach Municipal Band, where she played with many former members of the John Phillip Sousa Band. She remained with the Long Beach band until her retirement in 1983. For her achievements in performance she earned both the WAF Band Silver Trumpet Award and Sigma Alpha Iota music sorority's Life Time Achievement Award.
Sources: Telephone interview with Awkerman on June 14, 2007.Ã?Â Paula Snyder, niece of Awkerman, wrote August 25, 2008, that her aunt had died in June 2008.
Description: Consists of photographs, personal notes, scrapbooks, correspondence, newsclippings and sound recordings documenting Awkerman's career as a cornetist in the Women's Air Force Band (WAF) between 1951 and1961 and the Long Beach Municipal between 1961 and 1983. The documents are organized in two series: Series 1, WAF Band and Long Beach Municipal Band History (1951-2002) and Series 2, Research Files (1940-2002). The papers are organized alphabetically by subject and sound recordings are unarranged. The WAF records cover the lifetime of the band (1951-1961) as well as reunion events held in the 1990s. The Long Beach Municipal Band material includes information about the history of the band and Awkerman's participation in it as its first female member. Of special note is an original undated 7-inch acetate recording of Marilyn Horne performing with the Long Beach Municipal Band. Awkerman's research files focus on the history of women in concert and military bands, trumpeters, and the International Women's Brass Conference.