Dr. Belva Worthen Prather was Professor of Music at Missouri State University from 1986 to 2015, where she conducted the University Wind Ensemble, the University Wind Symphony, and the University Concert Band. She coordinated the Wind and Percussion Studies for the music department and taught Graduate Research, Advanced Conducting, and Wind Band Literature. Recently, Dr. Prather was selected by her colleagues to receive the College of Arts & Letters award for "Excellence in Teaching", and she received the University Foundation's "Award for Teaching".
Dr. Prather's forty-one year career included teaching and administration on the elementary, junior high, high school, and university levels. She is active as conductor, adjudicator, and clinician, and has served in that capacity in twenty-eight states and nine European countries. Dr. Prather has conducted the Honor Band for the Ark-La-Tex Tri-State Clinic and the Arkansas All-State Band. In addition, she recently served as district clinician for Oklahoma Music Educators and Kansas Music Educators. She appeared as the keynote speaker at the Kappa Kappa Psi four-state Regional Convention, and served as clinician for the District College Music Educators and for the Missouri Music Educators. In 2005, Dr. Prather was the keynote speaker for the Arkansas Bandmasters Association Convention, and was awarded the Arkansas Traveler Accommodation for Distinguished Accomplishment by the Arkansas Board of Education. She received the Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arkansas Tech University, the Masters of Music in Performance from Northwestern University, and the Doctorate of Education from the University of Arkansas. Her primary teachers in performance and music education were Russell Langston, Gene Witherspoon, Robert Bright, Eldon Janzen, John Paynter, and Walfrid Kujala.
Dr. Prather holds membership in the following professional organizations: the Missouri Music Educators Association, the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, Missouri Bandmasters Association, Women Band Directors International, Music Educators National Conference, Pi Kappa Lambda, Kappa Kappa Psi, and Mu Phi Epsilon. She was honored to be among the first women inducted into the Missouri Chapter of Phi Beta Mu (1996), honored once again in the spring of 2002 when she was inducted into the National Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma, and in the fall of 2003 when she was selected by the Honors College for induction and lifetime membership in Golden Key Honor Society.