Dr. Forrest L. Buchtel received an Honorary Doctorate from Vandercook College of Music, M.S. from Northwestern University, a B.M.E. and M.M. from Vandercook College of Music, and an A.B. from Simpson College in 1921. Dr. Buchtel held teaching positions at Amundsen and Lane Technical High Schools Chicago, and retired from Vandercook College of Music in 1985.
From 1925 - 1930, Dr. Buchtel was the Director of Bands at Emporia State University (then Kansas State Teacher's College). Dr. Buchtel is internationally known as a composer. It was through his compositions that countless school music programs were able to have educational and artistic literature appropriate for the various proficiency levels of students in music. Merle Evans, the legendary Director of the Barnum and Bailey Ringling Bros. Circus Band, used Dr. Buchtel;s music exclusively for his band. Dr. Buchtel's composition Polka Dots Duet received a Grammy award.
One of the most prolific writers of school band music, Buchtel studied privately with H.A. VanderCook. He received his Bachelor and Master of Music Education degrees from the VanderCook College of Music and began teaching there in 1931. He also taught in the public schools, including Lane Tech and Amundsen HS. Lyons Band Instrument Company hired Buchtel to write “Melody Fun,” the instruction book that helped popularize the tonette, a plastic pre-band instrument.