Saturday September 9, 2006

UD Bands Turn 100

The UD Band Alumni hopes to have UD fans singing a new tune at athletics events this fall. The Band Alumni will unveil a new school song during its celebration Oct. 14-16.

The University of Dayton Band Alumni hopes to have UD fans singing a new tune at athletics events this fall.

The Band Alumni will celebrate its 100th year Oct. 14-16 with a new school song it hopes will be around for the next century.

"It isn't replacing anything," UD Band Alumni President Mark Strickler quickly pointed out. "It's another song to put into the mix with 'Anthem,' 'Loyalty' and 'Victory.'"

Band alum Fred Taylor ('64) has written the music and anyone associated with UD is welcome to offer suggestions for lyrics. He hopes for something traditional that is easy to memorize and sing.

"Many traditional school songs come from the band," Taylor said. "Someone has to write them. My experience is, if you keep the old songs and play the new song with them, people won't have a problem. If you play the new song exclusively, people will balk. I hope this is one that sticks around for the next 100 years."

Eric Wiltshire, who directs the current student marchers, said the current school songs have been around for about 80 years.

"I thought our centennial celebration would be a good chance to make a contribution to a tradition that is an important part of UD," Wiltshire said. "As with all traditions, however, I realize we can't just say, 'here's a new tradition' and expect people will accept it. Only time will tell if it can become a 'traditional' song. We have many 'traditional' songs in our library that were popular and are now forgotten."

The entire band itself looked headed for early retirement in its beginning.

"Writing as one who has seen and heard at close range, I consider a beginners' band as about the most hideous noise-producing apparatus that has been so far devised," UD bands founder Bro. Louis Vogt said, according to Elizabeth Dallman in "The Life of Brother Louis Vogt." "There are other worse noises, but they just happen. In the band they are made."

Long time band director Maurice Reichard improved UD's bands by guiding all types of players. Reichard learned the French horn just to join the marching band. Vogt, upon recognizing Reichard's talent, taught him to play every instrument.

"In the 1922 yearbook next to Reichard's name was the quote, 'What he doesn't play, ain't played,'" John C. Sutton wrote in "The Life of Maurice Reichard."

In just a few years, the band grew to 60 members and was being compared to the famous Michigan and West Point bands for its drill work of large letters and maneuvers.

Anyone ever a part of any UD band organization - marching band, jazz band, wind ensemble, concert band, paper band, Flyerettes, marching co-eds, twirlers and majorettes - is invited to attend the centennial celebration.

Activities begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, with a welcome reception at the Kennedy Union's Torch Lounge on UD's campus. A tailgate party in the UD Arena parking lot before UD's football game versus San Diego begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The alumni band will perform during pregame and halftime festivities. A cocktail reception, dinner and dance follow at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Kennedy Union ballroom. There is a charge for the Saturday evening event.

Weekend activities conclude with a 10 a.m. Mass in the Immaculate Conception Chapel.

A special hotel rate at the Dayton Marriott can be secured by calling (800) 450-8625 and asking for group code "UDB."

For information on the UD Band Alumni's 100th anniversary, visit contact Mark Strickler at (937) 222-5960 or mastrick@riva.net.

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson at (937) 229-3391.