Dr. R. Robert Hornyak
The UC Bearcat Bands are saddened to announce that Dr. R. Robert Hornyak
passed away November 22, 2009. Dr. Hornyak was the Director of the UC Bearcat Bands from 1954-1970.
He initiated the famed CHARGE down the stadium steps in 1954, and established the Bearkittens
drill team in 1955.
Please see the note below from his daughter.
He'd had a great day on Sunday and was very upbeat about the future,.. but was getting tired more easily. He was looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with us in Dublin. Mom helped him into bed around 10:45 PM and he was gone within 10 minutes. Please keep both Bob and Mary in your prayers.
Debbie (Hornyak) Crnkovich
Memorials may be directed to the
Hornyak Scholarship Fund for the Bearcat Bands at the UC Foundation.
Donations can be made online, or
sent to the attention of
Christa Flueckor via e-mail at
PO Box 19970
Cincinnati, OH 45219-0970
For more information about the Hornyak Scholarship Fund, please click here.
To donate online, click here.
Below is a short biography of Dr. Hornyak that he himself wrote several months before his death.
R. Robert Hornyak came into life in St. Joseph, Missouri on November 4, 1925. He grew up there, attending the public schools. In high school he was a member of the Band, Orchestra, and Chorus. He graduated in the Spring of 1943 and for a short time worked the second shift at Armour & Co in the smoked meat department making hot dogs. At the same time he was selected for the U. S. Navy V-12 program and went on active duty in July. While stationed in Maryville Missouri, he was member of the station Big Band (String Bass and Piano). After transfer to Fulton, Missouri, he organized the Station Big Band/Marching Band, serving as its leader. While a midshipman at the U. S. Naval Midshipmen School at Notre Dame, Indiana, he was a member of the Big Band and Drum Major of the Regimental Band. Upon graduating in March, 1945, he was commissioned Ensign. For the next year he was at sea, stationed on the USS LST 34 as Gunnery Officer/First Lt. on and eventually as Executive Officer until released to inactive duty in August, 1946.
Upon release he entered Central College, Fayette, Missouri. While there he was Vice-President of the Student Body, member of the Band and Orchestra and in 1948, was selected for inclusion in Who's Who Among students in American Colleges and Universities. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in Music Theory and Mathematics. He then taught high school band and chorus in Arkansas for one year. He was then admitted into the Indiana University school of Music and graduated in the Spring of 1950 with a Master of Music degree in Music Education and was accepted into the doctoral program, beginning his studies that Summer.
He accepted a position as instrumental teacher at the Burris School at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Before he could begin his work there he was recalled to active duty in the U. S. Navy, serving aboard the USS LSMR 412, (a rocket firing ship) first as Gunnery Officer and then as Executive Officer. He had two combat tours in Korea, and then in the Fall of 1952, was assigned to the Navy Gunfire Support School in Coronado California, as an Instructor and Naval Gunfire Training Officer.
In August, 1953 he married Mary Margaret Lewis and shortly thereafter, was released to inactive duty. He then returned to Indiana University to fulfill his one year residency in the doctoral program, also serving as a Graduate Assistant in the Department of Bands.
He was appointed Instructor in Music Education and Director of University Bands at the University of Cincinnati, beginning his work in the Fall of 1954. In the Spring of 1955 he was offered the position as Director of the Longhorn Band at the University of Texas. UC responded by offering a promotion to Assistant Professor of Music Education with tenure, and a commitment to match the salary offer. He elected to stay at UC. In 1956 he was a member of the University Committee studying the request by the College-Conservatory of Music seeking to become a part of UC. (His primary responsibility on the committee was to determine facility and equipment requirements.)
In 1963 he received the degree of Doctor of Music Education at Indiana University and was promoted to Associate Professor of Music Education. The Music Education Department, formerly a part of Teachers College, was then transferred to CCM and integrated into its faculty. In 1966 CCM sponsored a Festival of Contemporary Music. Dr. Hornyak received a grant from the U. S Department of Education to evaluate the success of the Festival and to study the attitudes of students in grades four through twelve. It was published in 1967. He was promoted to Professor of Music at that time.
In 1968 he was appointed Chairman of the CCM Committee of Students, Faculty and Administration. (The role of this committee was to develop the criteria, as well as a process to allow students to evaluate faulty performance.) In 1970 he became Head of the Department of Music Education and was no longer the Director of University Bands. From 1971 to 1974 he then served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies. Under Dean Bonnelli in 1976 he served as Advisor to the Dean while continuing to function in overseeing the undergraduate program. Also from 1968 to 1974 he served as Chair of the CCM Curriculum Committee which developed the curriculum requirements for both undergraduate studies as well as MM and doctoral degrees in music.
In 1976 he became Head of Perfomance Studies, a position he held until 1982.He was Music Director of the CCM Wind Ensemble from 1953 until his retirement in 1986. In 1982 Dr. Hornyak was elected as Chairman of the Bargaining Counsel of the UC AAUP Chapter. From 1983 through 1985 he served as President of the AAUP. Dr. Hornyak took early retirement in 1986 to develop a professional concert band and to do research in Cincinnati band history.
He served as Music Director of the Frank Simon Band from its beginnings in 1982 until he retired and since has served as Visiting Music Director and conductor of the band. He was elected into the Phi Beta Mu International Band Fraternity Hall of Fame in 2002.
Dr. Hornyak passed away in his sleep Sunday, November 22, 2009.