Born and raised in Winter Haven, Florida, Constance Weldon started playing drums in the fourth grade. She then picked up the trumpet, later playing horn, valve trombone, baritone horn…all on the way to her final destination, the tuba! From that day on, Connie’s life was never the same as it constantly revolved around playing the tuba. As valedictorian of Miami Jackson High School, she was offered scholarships to all of Florida’s universities. She decided to accept an academic scholarship to the University of Miami.
While studying with Bower Murphy, the trumpet playing teacher of all brass at the University of Miami, Connie auditioned for and was accepted to the Tanglewood Music Festival in the summer of 1951. There she played under the baton of a young Leonard Bernstein as well as other promising and established professional conductors. At summer’s end, she turned down a position in the Rio de Janeiro Symphony to finish her education.
Connie completed a Bachelor of Music degree in 1952 and a Master of Education in 1953 from the University of Miami. Returning to Tanglewood in 1954, she auditioned for Arthur Fiedler and joined the Boston Pops Touring Orchestra. Connie next joined the North Carolina Symphony. In 1957 she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship Award to study in Amsterdam with the Concertgebouw tubist, Adrian Boorsma. During that time she joined the Netherlands Ballet Orkest and was acting principal tuba of the great Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Upon returning to the U.S., Connie 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. Connie quickly established a reputation as an expert teacher, known for her prescriptive and thorough approach. In Connie’s studio, musicianship and technical teaching received equal time. As a result of her successful studio building, Connie formed the University of Miami Tuba Ensemble in 1960, the first credited group of its type at any university. In this ensemble, Connie taught a higher awareness of intonation, balance, rhythm, accompaniment skills, and solo playing with musical opinion. Her success with the University of Miami Tuba Ensemble led to interest from other universities and a proliferation of this type of ensemble throughout the tuba world. Connie’s success as a teacher also led to her becoming the conductor of the University of Miami Brass Choir, one of that school’s flagship ensembles.
From 1972 until her retirement in 1991, Connie was the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the University of Miami. In this position she provided guidance to thousands of future musicians and teachers. Since then, she has been honored with the University of Miami Distinguished Alumna Award, the University of Miami Distinguished Woman of the Year, the World Who’s Who of Women in Education, and the Pioneer Award of the International Women’s Brass Conference.