Music Wall of Fame
- Inducted 2006
Douglas Van Fleet, son of Fred and Ruth Van Fleet, was born in Huntsville, KY. He attended Butler County High School and began formal music training on trumpet under Charles Black. In 1959 he entered Western Kentucky University where he studied trumpet with Bennie Beach, Sr.
Upon completing his undergraduate work in 1963, he accepted a band and choir position at Allen County High School. While doing graduate work at Western, he organized and directed the band and choir program at Scottsville High School. In 1969 he accepted a position at Somerset High School as director of band and choir. While in Somerset, Van Fleet was appointed conductor of the Somerset Civic Orchestra. In 1976 he accepted a position at Paducah Tilghman High School as band and orchestra director and continued at Tilghman until 1992, retiring from the public school system after 29 years of service. In the Fall of 1992, a music program was established at St. Mary High School in Paducah where he became the director of band, orchestra and choir.
During his 45+ years career, Van Fleet’s bands, orchestras and jazz ensembles were selected many times to perform for the Kentucky Music Educators Association Conference and received national and international recognition for their excellence. He served on the KMEA Board of Directors for many years and was chairperson for the Kentucky All State Orchestra on two occasions. He was an original founder of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra and the Paducah Concert Band and continued to serve on their boards for many years. As a part of his dedication to music education and community service, he served as conductor of the Paducah Youth Orchestra program.
Van Fleet’s family includes wife, Mary Jane, daughter, Angie (Principal of Sharp Elementary School in Marshall County, KY), son, Joseph (trumpet teacher at Eastern Kentucky University and Campbellsville University), and son, Aaron (history major at the University of Kentucky after serving the U.S. Army as an MP and Army recruiter). He has two grandchildren, Chloe and Parker.