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History of the Symphonic Band

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M.U. Band History

     There has always been a Band at Marquette.  Marquette College was dedicated on August 28, 1881; the doors of the College were opened to receive classes on September 8, 1881.  According to the July 8, 1832 Catholic Citizen in reporting the First Annual Exercises at the College, "The exercise opened with an entree and overture by Prof. Clauder's Band.  The Professor is to be congratulated on his taste in his selections of the pieces for the evening, and on the proficiency of his musicians."

     The Band Director referred to was Professor Joseph Clauder.  Research has failed to reveal names of other directors in those very early years but we know they did have a band.  With the move to Wisconsin (Grand) Avenue in 1906.  Marquette College became Marquette University and the Band became the Marquette University Band.  From 1906 to 1919, the Band remained a small pep unit playing at football games and University Convocations.  In 1916, the Band and Orchestra Director was Mr. Henry Winsauer, a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra who later directed the Marquette University Chorus.  During the 1929's, when Marquette had a College of Music, the Band was known for its "open air" concerts on Wisconsin Avenue.  In 1924, with Prof. Wm. Jaffe as Director, the 50 piece band in gray cadet uniforms took its first Spring trip a concert tour of the State of Wisconsin. The high point of this era occurred on November 8, 1924 when the Marquette University Band was a guest of John Philip Sousa at his annual concert in Milwaukee. At this time, Sousa dedicated his "Marquette University March" to the Band. It was given its World Premier by the combined forces of the Sousa and Marquette Bands at the Milwaukee Auditorium. Sousa's "Marquette University March" has been recorded for this album. 

     From 1925 to 1929, Mr. Herman Zeitz directed the 60 piece Band for football games at home and traveled with the Band to games in Omaha in 1928 and St. Louis in 1927. Also in 1927 Marquette was proud to have one of the first University Bands to broadcast live concerts over radio. Mr. Raymond Brown became Director in 1929. His 60 piece Band in natty blue and gold uniforms with flowing capes paraded at all home football games and appeared at all rallies and convocations. At the invitation of the City Council, this Band played for the dedication of the Sixteenth Street viaduct October 24. 1929. The Band accompanied the football team to Detroit. Michigan; they sponsored the winter Band Ball; and participated in the Harlequin Vodvil. However, the organization was disbanded in the spring and the annual tour of Wisconsin and Northern Illinois was dropped. In the past, the tour had been an effective means of increasing Marquette's prestige as well as recruiting members for the Band. According to the 1930 Hilltop, "Although the Band was dissolved...plans have been undertaken to reorganize...with the opening of the 1930-31 college session. To the Band goes the credit for a great amount of the spirit and pep at University gatherings and its absence would be a serious obstacle to the many activities planned for the coming year."

     In 1930 the College of Music closed; 1931 saw a reorganized Band under the direction of Harry D. O'Neil, an accomplished cornetist.  The 1932-33 Band widened its activities and increased its membership to 48.  Mr. Herman Geske, a zoology instructor, became drill master for the Band.  He was responsible for the marching and maneuvering ability displayed by the Band at games and parades.  This band performed at the University of Wisconsin football game in Madison and also made a trip to Chicago where they had the honor of playing in the Great Hall of the Century of Progress World's Fair Exposition, the first musical organization to give a concert in this building. 

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