In Memoriam: Leonard “Chief” Tramiel, 1944-2019

Leonard “Chief” Tramiel, long-time band director at Mississippi Valley State University, passed away on April 6, 2019. He was 75 years old.

Tramiel began his career as a band director in Fayette, Alabama. He later became the band director of Druid High School in Tuscaloosa. Under his leadership, the Druid band became the first Black ensemble to integrate the Alabama Bandmasters Association concert band festival in 1969.

In 1973, Tramiel became director of university bands at Mississippi Valley State University. His ensembles at the university included Symphonic, Marching, and Varsity Pep Bands, the “New Jack Swing” floor show band as well as Trombone, Euphonium and Tuba ensembles. Additionally, he served as chapter sponsors for Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma Honorary Band Fraternity and Sorority. He retired from the university in 2013.

“Mr. Leonard Tramiel is indeed a Valley legend,” said university president Jerryl Briggs. “He will truly be remembered, loved, and revered by our MVSU family. Many of our alums have shared with me the positive impact that he has had on their careers and lives. We are saddened by his passing, but his lore remains with us.”

Tramiel was a graduate of Mississippi Valley State University where he majored in music. He held a master’s degree from the University of Alabama.

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