MILTON BUSH 1925 - 2019
Milton "Whitey" Bush, considered one of New Orleans’ great musicians, conductors and music educators, passed away peacefully at home with family Wednesday, January 23, 2019. He was 93.
A noted trombonist, Bush was the co-founder and co-conductor of the New Orleans Summer Pops, the founder of the New Orleans Trombone Choir, and the former conductor of the New Orleans Concert Band.
His impact on the New Orleans music scene spanned many decades and his influence spread beyond musicians, inspiring several to become leading music educators as well.
Bush retired as Director of Bands at the University of New Orleans, bringing an end to a 40-year career in music education, which included 17 years at Martin Behrman High School, where he twice won Outstanding Band in Concert at the Tri-State Music Festival in Enid, Oklahoma.
He was a past president of the Louisiana Music Educators Association (LMEA) and was an active clinician and adjudicator for many years. For his contributions to music education, he was inducted into the LMEA Hall of Fame in 1987 and was recognized in 2012 with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Foundation for Entertainment, Development and Education, known colloquially as the Big Easy Awards. He also received the Art Council of New Orleans’ Community Arts Award for steadfast dedication and outstanding contributions to the arts and culture.
In addition to playing trombone, he was also an accomplished music arranger and composer. Bush was noted for arranging the strings on two of Fats Domino’s biggest hits, “Walkin’ to New Orleans” and “I Want To Walk You Home.” Many of his compositions and arrangements were published by Warner Brothers Publications, Columbia Publications and Neil Kjos and Chappell Publishers.
As an accomplished trombonist in high demand, Bush served as the principal trombone for both the New Orleans Opera Association and the New Orleans Summer Pops Orchestra. He often performed in the orchestras at the Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré and Saenger Theater.
Along with Louis Pendarvis and Robert "Bob" Morgan, he formed the group Trombones Beaucoup, a trombone trio that recorded an album and were featured at many of the New Orleans Summer Pops performances. He was also the leader and featured trombonist of the Lloyd Alexander Dance Orchestra.
Despite declining health in recent years, Bush still played his horn daily up until last month. Lastly, but importantly, Bush was one of the dwindling number of World War II veterans, having served in the Naval Air Corps during that momentous time.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Rita, of 67 years, his brother Arthur Bush, his children, Cheryl Massey (Chris), John Bush, Sr., and Robert Bush (Cheryl), his 8 grandchildren, Tiffany (Jason), John Boogie, Jr. (Anna), Colleen (Jason), Nathan, Christopher, Chad, Laura, and Scott (predeceased) and his two great-grandchildren, Alayna and Dimitri.
The family would like to thank Heart of Hospice for their care.
Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the Visitation at Greenwood Funeral Home, 5200 Canal Boulevard, Friday, February 1, 2019, beginning at 11:00 AM, followed by Words of Remembrance at 12:45 PM, and the Mass of Christian Burial at 1:00 PM. Interment in Greenwood Cemetery will follow the mass, with a reception at the funeral home after.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to fund a Milton Bush scholarship at UNO to benefit music students, payable to UNO Foundation, P.O. Box 60142, New Orleans, LA 70160; please note “Tribute to Milton Bush”, or online at www.unoalumni.com/make-a-gift (Liberal Arts Music Dept., “tribute to Milton Bush”). Also donations may be made to the New Orleans Concert Band or to the New Orleans Trombone Choir (c/o the New Orleans Concert Band). The family invites you to share your thoughts, fond memories, and condolences online, at www.greenwoodfh.com
- B. J. Perez, Alan Smason, Cheryl Massey