Kent, Richard E. (1899-1996) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Kent, Richard E. (1899-1996)

Historical Note: Richard E. Kent (1899-1996) was born on September 25, 1899, in Jacksonville Illinois. He grew up in a musical family; his father was director of the Bloomington (IL) High School Marching Band for many years. In 1914, the Kent family moved to Urbana, and he attended his last three years of high school at Urbana High School. In 1917, he enrolled at the University of Illinois. While attending the University, he was a member of the Marching Band, under the direction of Albert Austin Harding. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music, specializing in Piano, on June 15, 1921. In November of 1921, he withdrew from his post-graduate studies at the University to accept a professional position as second chair Alto Saxophone in the John Philip Sousa Band. Following two seasons with the Sousa Band, Kent continued his musical career, performing with combos in the Indianapolis (IN) area, including the Royal Peacock Orchestra. He moved to New York around 1921, and made a career as a music arranger with Radio-Keith-Orphem, and later the Southern Music Co. Upon his retirement from Southern Music in 1974, he and his wife, Nora Belle Phares, returned to Urbana. He was active with Volunteer Illini Projects, including the musical group the Heartlanders, until his death on March 19, 1996.

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