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History of the Symphonic Band

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M.U. Band History (continued)

     When the Band ceased to be a marching band, they turned to more serious music, expanding the program to three major concerts each year as well as playing at all home basketball games and other special functions.  Many hours of groundwork by Director Geisheker and Band President John Duskey, during 1965 and 1966, resulted in the introduction of four Band Literature courses (for Fine Arts credit) into the M.U. curriculum.  These courses were first offered in the spring semester of 1967 and have been helpful in improving the musicianship of band members.  Another result of the efforts of these two was seen in the fall of 1967 with the initiation of a Cooperative Exchange Program between Marquette University and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.  Through this program, M.U. students could take music courses at the Conservatory of Music and Conservatory students could take academic courses at M.U. on a one-to-one basis.  This program is still in operation.  In 1968, a proposal to increase the number of music courses at M.U. to equal a Minor in Music was defeated.

     Since the emergence in the mid 60's of Marquette University as a power in basketball, the Band has traveled many miles and, attired in blue and gold sporty uniforms with jaunty caps, has been seen and heard by thousands over national TV. During the regular season, the Band plays for all home games and travels with the team to at least two "away" games and post-season tournaments.

     At present there is a 120 piece Symphonic Concert Band; it is these same 120 students who comprise the 100 piece Pep Band, the 20 piece Jazz Ensemble and the various Brass and Woodwind Ensembles.  These are find, ambitious young people who have given generously of their time and talents to give Marquette a band which is a credit to the University.

     During Bill Geisheker's 40 years as Director, the Band has provided its members with many exciting experiences.  Besides the annual concerts, Variety shows, Convocations, parades and athletic events, the Band represented Marquette in greeting movie stars Ann Blyth in 1949, Pat O'Brien in '52 and Debbie Reynolds in '66.  In April '51 the Band played at the ceremony conferring an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws on Douglas MacArthur, General of the Army.  In '53 the Band greeted Don McNeil and his Breakfast Club when they arrived for the dedication of  the Peter A. Brooks Memorial Union; also in '53 they greeted the Most Rev. Albert G. Meyer, new Archbishop of the Milwaukee diocese.  In 1953 band members were privileged to participate in the State All-College Band conducted by Dr. Edwin Franko Goldman for MENC - the Music Educators' National Convention at the Milwaukee Auditorium.  In the spring of '67 the Band toured cities of Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota giving numerous concerts.  This was to have been an annual event until basketball and NCAA tournaments became a better way to serve the University.  In May '71 the Marquette University Symphonic Band played a joint concert with the Milwaukee Catholic Symphony; in'76 and '77 they played College Exchange Concerts under the auspices of the Civic Music Association.  In November '76 the Band was thrilled to be a part of Marquette's winning the NCAA Championship at Atlanta, GA and in March '82 were proud to be invited as "the" band to play for the BIG TEN - ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE "Super Shoot-out" in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

     This History of the Band would be incomplete without giving credit and thanks to certain individuals: to Mr. Ed Kurdziel, Dean of Student Affairs in the '60's, who was responsible for putting the Band on a solid basis defining Director's salary, registration, trips and in general, making the Band a permanent and recognized part of the University; to Coach Al McGuire, who recognized the value of the Band as his "sixth man on the team" and who was responsible for making the Band a "Park-Avenue" outfit; to Mr. Norman Fischer, President of Medalist Industries, who proved to be a most generous M.U. alumnus in securing new uniforms for the Band and supporting them in other ways; to Dr. James Scott, Vice President of Student Affairs, who for the past several years, has made it possible for the Band to have comfortable quarters in the Varsity Theater and has supplied the Band with adequate funds necessary to support the many and varied activities; and finally, to President John P. Raynor, S.J. and former President Edward J. O'Donnell, S.J. who were always loyal supporters of the Band.

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