The Dallas County Schools Hall of Fame Committee is pleased to announce its 2022 Inductee, Mr. Bryan Elhard, for his work as an exceptional educator. Mr. Elhard taught instrumental music and some vocal music during his 25 years in the Dallas County School District. His most popular work in the school district was with the Buffalo Gals drum and bugle corp. Devona Allen, former Buffalo Gal recalls, “Mr. Elhard taught and instilled in the Gals pride, dedication, hard work and how to be the best you can be. He demanded a lot from us as students, but that only showed us what we could accomplish and gave us something to be proud of.” The Buffalo Gals earned many accolades under Mr. Elhard’s direction, including winning their biggest trophy and marching in the American Royal Parade in Kansas City. The Buffalo Gals also traveled to Portland, Oregon to perform in the Rose Festival Parade. The group raised the money needed to fund their airfare for 30 girls and 3 chaperones by hosting sock hop dances. Rachel Badgett shares remembrances of former Buffalo Gals Patricia Austin Shoemaker and Cheryl Eversole: “He was a no-nonsense director. Your march better be instep, your uniform flawless and your music perfect if you planned to be selected or remain a member of the Buffalo Gals. Practices weren’t to be missed, and you certainly weren’t to show up late without reaping the consequences of said action or choice. Because of his high expectations, the Buffalo Gals were the best,” The Buffalo Gals were iconic for Buffalo.
After Elhard’s retirement in 1992, the Buffalo Gals were disbanded by the high school as the transition was made to marching band a couple of years later. Some of the alumni Gals rescued the instruments no longer in use by the school and recruited Mr. Elhard to revive the Gals. The Alumni Gals were formed and began performing in area parades and events. They travelled to many states outside of Missouri and kept the tradition alive with Mr. Elhard right there behind them. He gave voluntarily of his time, of course. Many of the Alumni Gals lived in other communities but they still demonstrated the same commitment they did in high school. Some drove from as far away as Oklahoma and Independence, MO and still didn’t miss practices.
In 2009, the Little Buffalo Gals were created through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers after school program. Mr. Elhard, was enthusiastic to work with the new group of elementary students to recreate the marching drum corps. This program continued for five years.
Mr. Elhard’s passion developed as he grew up in Mandan, North Dakota, with his musically inclined parents. Bryan’s father, Ted, played the trumpet but mostly the baratone. He played in the Elks Band performing at local rodeos and also with Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Rex Allen. It was a real treat for Bryan to hear these musicians. Bryan’s mother played the piano.
As Bryan grew up, his family moved to Bismark, North Dakota. They attended the Assembly of God Church. It was a good environment for a young man to grow up in. The Youth for Christ had music contests along with monthly meetings. He competed playing his trumpet and traveling to places such as Ft. Wayne, Indiana. His church also had a teen choir of about 30-40 kids that traveled to various states to perform, including the west coast, Salt Lake City, Portland, Seattle, and Canada. He traveled to Chicago by train to participate in a band camp. He was also in a quartet called Three Hits and a Miss because it was made up of three boys and one girl. This quartet also traveled to various gigs to perform. One of those stops including Springfield, MO. He wanted to travel to Springfield because he was interested in attending the Assembly of God affiliated college, Evangel University, but he later decided to attend Southwest Missouri State University, now named Missouri State University.
During college, Bryan played in the Springfield Symphony and at Missouri State University. He graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. He earned the honor of Mr. Music in 1964 after the performance of his diploma recital. He took his first teaching job in Mountain View beginning in the middle of the school year. He taught vocal music to grades 1-3 and instrumental music to grades 7-12. After receiving a call from Buffalo’s superintendent, D. A. Mallory, he took his first job in Buffalo in 1965 teaching junior high and high school band, drum and bugle corp and junior high vocal music. He left teaching in Buffalo from 1970-72 to teach trumpet at Valley City State College in North Dakota. When he wanted to come back to Buffalo, he called Mr. Mallory and back he came.
He continues to make a positive impact on the Dallas County community through his work in other areas. Elhard has had a ministry in music by serving as minister of music at the First Baptist Church in Buffalo for 18 years and has directed the choir at Calvary Chapel for the past 15 years. Through his Calvary Chapel Church membership, he assists with commodity food distributions. He still garners the same respect from those he leads today as he did during his school days.
Mr. Elhard met his lovely wife, Delores, while teaching in Buffalo. Delores was a “Hogeye Girl” from Charity and a 1964 graduate of Buffalo High School. When Delores’s sister Charlotte didn’t take her horn home from school one day, Charlotte called Mr. Elhard and asked if he would meet her sister, Delores, at the school to pick it up for her. After that meeting, Dee, who was in charge of the special music in her church, Mission Chapel Southern Baptist Church, invited him to come out and play his trumpet at her church. A short time later, Bryan invited Dee along to take his brother to the airport. They had dinner and went to the circus for this first date. They started going steady May 18, got engaged July 10, and were married November 26 of 1969. They have been married 52 years. Bryan and Delores live in Dallas County. Bryan can be seen weekly visiting the Dallas County Library, sometimes riding his bike to the library.
The Dallas County School District will be inducting Mr. Bryan Elhard into the Hall of Fame at the Buffalo High School Graduation Ceremony to be held in the Fieldhouse Friday, May 13 beginning at 7 p.m. “Mr. Elhard taught all of us dedication, hard work ethic, spirit, never give up, give it your all, be proud of who you are, and treat everyone with respect,” Cheryl Hamlet Roberts recollects. This honor is greatly deserved by Mr. Elhard.