Connie Weldon, 88, the first woman tubist to earn a position in a major symphony orchestra, died on August 7, 2020 in Southport, NC.
She died of natural causes, according to her long-time companion Linda Broadwell.
Her abilities as a professional tubist were internationally recognized. In 1954, she attended The Tanglewood Music Festival performing under direction of Leonard Bernstein. She also played with the Boston Pops Touring Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler. In 1956 and 1957 she was a member of the North Carolina Symphony. Connie was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Amsterdam, Netherlands with Adrian Boorsma, principal tubist with the Concertgebouw Orchestra. She went on to be appointed principal tubist with the Netherlands Ballet Orkest and acting principal tubist of the Concertgebouw. Following her stint in Europe, Connie joined the Kansas City Philharmonic for two seasons. During that audition Connie was told, “We’ve got a lot of men auditioning for this. You can’t just be better, you’re going to have to be much better.” She responded, “Fine with me, unless I am, I don’t want the job.”
Connie then returned to the Miami area, accepting a position in the Miami Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Alain Lombard and taught tuba at the University of Miami where she gained wide recognition as a tuba pedagogue. Her students included such world-renowned players as Sam Pilafian (Empire Brass Quintet) Mike Roylance (Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras) and James Jenkins (Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra). Over the years, her reputation as an excellent teacher attracted large numbers of tuba students, and as a result, in 1960 she created the first tuba ensemble at any university. To quote David Mills, former principal tubist in the Charlotte Symphony, “To know Connie was to receive unconditional love, support, and friendship. She was an angel among us.”
Connie’s achievements were recognized by The World Who’s Who of Women in Education, The International Womens Brass Conference (Pioneer Award), the University of Miami Distinguished Woman of the Year and The International Tuba and Euphonium Association (Lifetime Achievement Award).
Constance J. Weldon was born and raised by George and Edythe Weldon (both deceased) in Winter Haven, FL. Her family later moved to Miami where she graduated as valedictorian from Miami Jackson High School. She then entered the University of Miami and earned the degrees of Bachelor of Music in Tuba Performance and Masters Degree in Education. Later in her career, in addition to her activities as a professional musician, including performing with the then Miami Philharmonic Orchestra, she was appointed the Professor of Tuba and the first Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies at what is now known as the University of Miami Frost School of Music, a position she held from 1972 to her retirement in 1991.
Connie was an only child and left no children. Donations in her honor can be made to the Frost School of Music Weldon Family Endowed Music Scholarship by contacting Dania Gorriz, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online condolences may be made at www.peacocknewnamwhite.com.
Peacock — Newnam & White Funeral and Cremation Service, Southport, North Carolina