Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
When a friend asked Jim Slutz to attend a Thursday luncheon at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago in 1980, the Indiana State University emeritus professor of music happily obliged.
Though Charles Minnelli, then-president of the international bandmasters fraternity Phi Beta Mu, had asked Slutz to join the organization’s members at the meal without divulging any further details, Slutz was surprised when he learned that he was being inducted into the organization as a member.
Slutz, who served as ISU’s director of music business, was notified in advance to attend this year’s meeting – where he will receive an even more exclusive honor.
Phi Beta Mu will name Slutz to its hall of fame to commemorate his outstanding work with the organization and in his career during a Dec. 20 ceremony at the organization’s international conference in Chicago. He will be one of three recipients honored at the event and just one of nine people ever to be inducted into the international organization’s hall of fame in its 75-year history.
“This is a very special honor,” Slutz said. “It’s something that makes me realize the work I did for 46 years as a teacher and a promoter of young people’s education and development has been recognized with an outstanding award on an international level.”
Slutz, who directed the music business program at Indiana State from 1989 to 2004 after creating one of the first such programs of its kind at Florida Southern College, served as the international editor for Phi Beta Mu from 1982 to 2004. Initially, this position consisted of writing for the School Musician magazine, which had reserved space for Phi Beta Mu.
After several years, the agreement ended, and Slutz created a newsletter for the organization. The newsletter was published several times a year and featured news and updates of the organization and its members. Indiana State began printing Phi Beta Mu’s newsletter when Slutz joined the university in 1989.
“At that time, with our printing publications area at Indiana State, I was able to produce a very new multi-page newsletter that turned out more like a magazine sometimes,” said Slutz, who noted that Phi Beta Mu paid the university for its services and publishing.
He kept attending the annual Chicago meetings and remained involved with the organization, and when he retired from Indiana State in 2004, fraternity members presented him with a plaque commemorating his work with the organization. The announcement of the recognition he will receive later this year came as even more of a surprise.
“To be recognized now, almost 10 years after retirement, makes you realize that some of the things you did were important,” Slutz said. “You felt like they were at the time and you knew you were helping other people, but at the same time it is nice to realize your colleagues salute your accomplishments.”