SocialMiami Remembers: Constance Weldon

The Frost School of Music Associate Dean and world renown tuba player lived until 88 years-old.

Constance “Connie” Weldon

Constance (Connie) Weldon, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the University of Miami Frost School of Music until her retirement in 1991, passed away this week at the age of 88.

Weldon started at the school as a freshman and returned years later to teach tuba, subsequently becoming the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies. A native of Florida, Weldon is known as the first professional female tubist in the United States. She performed six years with the North Carolina Symphony and two years with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. She later became the first chair tuba with the Greater Miami Philharmonic.

While a student at the University of Miami, Weldon was accepted to the Tanglewood Music Festival, playing under the baton of a young Leonard Bernstein. In 1957, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship Award to study in Amsterdam with the Concertgebouw tubist, Adrian Boorsma. She joined the Netherlands Ballet Orkest and was acting principal tuba of the great Concertgebouw Orchestra. Upon returning to the U.S., Weldon joined the Kansas City Philharmonic for two seasons, after which she returned to Florida to join the Miami Philharmonic and teach at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. She quickly established a reputation as an expert brass teacher and coach. As a result of her successful studio building, Weldon formed the University of Miami Tuba Ensemble, the first credited group of its type at any university. This led to her becoming the conductor of the University of Miami Brass Choir.

“Connie’s passing is truly a great loss to the musical world and personally to our school. While her tenure was before my becoming Dean she was not only beloved and held in the highest esteem by everyone in her musical orbit, she was one of our great success stories rising from a student to Dean when she retired in 1991.  We send our sincere condolences to her family and all those she touched so deeply.” —  Frost Dean Shelton G. Berg.

“Connie Weldon was a trailblazer for our instrument, and all women brass players/musicians. She had many successful students at the University of Miami and abroad, of course one of them being the late and great, Sam Pilafian. I’ve always felt the presence and huge shoes, and the legacy to fill at this university behind the greats of Connie, John Stevens, John Olah, and Sam Pilafian. She will remain an absolute legend in the music world, and here at the U. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and the many students and lives she undoubtedly touched.” — Dr. Aaron Tindall, Frost Associate Professor of Tuba and Euphonium.

“Connie Weldon was a consummate musician, scholar, teacher, administrator and the best friend anyone could hope for. As a faculty member, I had the privilege of working with and learning from her in her role as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies.  Years later I relied on these experiences when I was appointed Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies.  Many times I asked myself, now how would Connie have handled this situation.   My hope is that I came close to meeting her high standards. Above all else, I will be forever grateful for her love and friendship.” — Kenneth J. Moses Retired Associate Dean Undergraduate Studies at Frost