|Bio of Tom VanDevender
Tom Van Devender began playing trombone in Pt. Neches, Texas in 1957. He excelled in bands in Texas and South Carolina as first trombone and soloist. In 1963 he was First Chair trombone in the South Carolina All state Band. His freshman year he played in the University of Texas marching band in Austin, Texas, with highlights in the Orange Bowl in Miami, and Lyndon Johnson’s inaugural parade in Washington, DC.
For the next twelve years he devoted his time to science with degrees in Biology at Lamar State University in Beaumont, Texas (1968), and Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences (1969) and Ph.D. in Geosciences (1973) at the University of Arizona. He was the Endangered Species Botanist for the Arizona Natural Heritage Program from 1979-1983, and has been a Research Scientist at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum since 1983. His research interests have included reconstructing vegetation and climate in the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts, plants and vegetation in many areas in Arizona, Baja California, Sonora, and Sinaloa, ethnobotany of the Mayo Indians in Sonora, ecology of the Sonoran desert tortoise, etc. He has published six books, 52 book chapters, and about 100 articles in scientific journals. He and his wife Ana Lilia Reina are very active botanists in Sonora, Mexico.
In 1979, he returned to the trombone, and joined the fledgling Southern Arizona Symphony. He took lessons with Tom Irvin at the University of Arizona for four years, graduating from his father’s Olds Recording ‘peashooter’ to larger symphony tenor and bass trombones. Since that time, he has been involved in many volunteer music groups including orchestras, community bands, University of Arizona orchestra, Pima community jazz band, etc. He played professionally with the Southern Arizona Light Opera, and substituted with the Tucson Symphony. He is currently the bass trombonist with the Old Pueblo Brass Band.