Office of the VP for Communications – Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

Comments

  1. Jim Wright - 1969 BA, 1970 MA, History

    3. Michigan Football Game
    2. Michigan Victory
    1. The University of Michigan Marching Band Show(s)–take the field, half time, after.

    In order of importance.

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    • Nancy Hart - 1963

      Exactly right!

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  2. Donald Cain - 1975

    THE BAND!! THE BAND!!
    People must have their priorities!
    Oh you betcha!

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  3. JACK SEELEY - January 1960

    I was a young freshmen in 1955 from a small town in the thumb of Michigan playing a cornet for my class B band.
    I had witnessed William D Revelli the summer before as a member of the All State Band at Interlochen, Michigan.
    What a sweet, considerate, conductor he was for all the talented young men and women in this scholarship band.
    Fast forward to fall of 1955, Michigan campus and tryouts both marching and playing to qualify for the famous MMB.
    What a culture shock I experienced.
    William D Revelli, now a dark-eyed monster..outspoken..powerful..and an object to be feared by his band members and those trying to qualify..me!
    I did cope with learning the steps and unique way of marching from the ‘old men’..ie., already experienced band members from the previous year.
    The playing portion..in old Harris Hall up on North University..in front of all members..was intimidating for me. I had to play a cornet solo off music I had never seen before, it was nothing but technical up scale and down scale rapid playing..I did it pretty well but due to the pressure I played it fast and faster. William D stopped me..and said..”you have a good tone, young man but we will have to evaluate you later. See Mr. Cavender [assistent conductor from the UP] for an appointment.”
    Well I made that audition and played well enough to make the best University band in America..trust me it was a lifetime experience I will go to my grave with, a challenge like none other, but a character builder too.

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  4. Edwin Rennell - 1960

    Jack Seely, I was a freshman trumpet player in the MMB in1954 so I must have been one of the ‘old men’ teaching you to march (8 to 5). I remember rehearsals in old Harris Hall and under the baseball stands as well. Some names you might recall… Emerson Head and Carmen Spadaro (first and second chair trumpets), Champ Patton (drum major), Joey Brown (twirler). Lastly, the chief’s sayings:. “To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late”. And our motto:. NOT AS GOOD AS…BUT BETTER THAN!

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  5. Nancy Hart - 1963

    ‘59-‘63 football teams not always ‘champions of the west’, but the marching band was unbeatable! The reliable thrill when the Best would take the field! Yes! The day was ours! And now, this year, this week, my granddaughter has earned the privilege of being part of the MMB! Go Blue! Go Emma! Hail!

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  6. JERRY BILIK - 1955

    EIGHT-TO-THE-FIVE? I thought it was NINE! (that explains a lot!)

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  7. Jack Seeley - 1959, LS&A, Economics

    I was a member of the illustrious MMB in the fall of 1955…what a culture shock after being
    under the baton of sweet, kind, William D Revilli the summer before in the All State Band at
    Interlochen Michigan.

    He weren’t sweet and kind when it came to his ‘baby’ the UofM Marching Band..no way Jose!
    He was nasty, outspoken, tough and demanding and not so well liked by his band member, but he had what
    we wanted, being a member, and the prestige that went with it, so you did what you were told and when you
    were told..you gave all you had..and that ladies and gentlemen is what William D wanted.

    I saw young members who had made the band fired on the spot at Ferry Field during practice..
    that put the ‘fear of God’ into all of us, but that is what made the MMB the ‘best of the west’ in the day.
    It was an all-men band, he would never get away with that kind of treatment today with women as
    members.

    Even the cheerleaders were men only..oh how times have changed.

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  8. Kathy Gilroy - 1972

    Women were finally able to join the “Marching Men of Michigan” in the fall of 1972. After Cavender lied to me that auditions were over, in August, 1971, I challenged his policy of allowing only men to take a 2-credit-hour course. UM’s lawyer agreed with me. Cavender reluctantly allowed me to audition, although requiring a doctor’s approval first and subjecting me to the jeers of the other members, by auditioning me at a rehearsal. He told me I wasn’t good enough. However, as a transfer student, starting at UM in January, 1971, I was allowed in the concert band by Cavender, without audition, because I had been in Iowa All-State Band. The UM lawyer got an injunction to prevent the band from performing until there was a girl in the band. Cavender responded that it was two weeks into rehearsals by then, and he couldn’t let one more person in, male or female. He prevailed, but had to invite all freshmen music majors to join marching band in the fall of 1972. Ten girls were successful in joining! I had already graduated.

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  9. George Aune - 1977 Phd. from Rackham

    I recall going to football games….and if the team wasn’t doing well, the marching band performance was awesome! And then there was the annual
    game with OSU…and the coach was also a performance….in cold weather he came out in a white short sleeve shirt…..and in a mad fit would
    take a wooden folding chair and smash it as he railed against the referees. And what was his name?

    Reply

  10. Jim Stariha - 1961

    In the early 1950s, I went to a “band clinic” in Grand Rapids along with 50 or so other high school band members. Try outs for chairs was in the morning, afternoon was for rehearsals and evening for concert. As we rehearsed the Sousa march that Dr Revilli was to conduct that evening as the guest conductor, he rapped his baton on the podium, held up his hands to stop us and said, ladies and gentlemen. “Popular music is for the feet. Classical is for the mind. Band music is for the heart. Let’s start again.” It’s not an exaggeration to say he transformed us.

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  11. Fred Fletcher - 1952-1953 1958-1961

    YES, I remember it well!

    Reply

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