Sunday, April 21, 2013

The mystique of the Marching Illini

The mystique of the Marching Illini

September 3, 2029

Weekly Report Posted: December 07, 2012 06:51

The Marching Illini (MI) is the marching band of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Marching Illini is a close-knit organization which annually includes approximately 350 students enrolled in the University of Illinois. Members of the Marching Illini represent virtually every college, discipline, and major on the University's diverse Urbana-Champaign campus.

The band primarily performs before, during, and after University of Illinois home football games. The band also performs an indoor concert at the Assembly Hall featuring special lighting effects, performances by individual sections, and slightly pithy comic routines. Other performances include a drill for the Illini Marching Festival, halftime performances at postseason bowl games, and an annual away performance at the home football game of another Big Ten school. The MI does not typically perform for parades other than the annual Homecoming parade and when marching to and from Foellinger Auditorium. The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at the University of Illinois houses a collection of University Band recordings. The audio recordings consists of reel-to-reel tapes of performances and recording sessions from 1940-1987.

Professor Barry L. Houser was named as Visiting Assistant Director of Bands and Conductor of Athletics Bands (including Director of the Marching Illini and Basketball Band) in July 2011. Professor Houser served as Director of the Marching Panthers and Basketball Band at Eastern Illinois University while also serving as Acting Director of Bands at EIU from 2008 to 2011 after receiving a graduate degree from the University of Illinois. As a graduate student, Houser instructed with the Marching Illini as a Graduate Assistant, frequently conducting from the backfield podium during performances. Houser attended the University of Florida as an undergraduate and has been involved with the nationally renowned Smith-Walbridge Clinics for drum majors and marching bands with Director Emeritus of the Marching Illini Gary E. Smith. Houser now serves as Director and Head Clinician with Smith-Walbridge.

Houser's immediate predecessor was Dr. Peter J. Griffin. He became the Assistant Director of Bands in 1994. During his tenure at Illinois, he served as Coordinator of Band Festivals and Assistant Director of the Marching Illini. Upon the resignation of Director Tom Caneva in 2006, Griffin was chosen as an interim replacement. Griffin was named as the permanent director in December 2006 and served in that position until May 2011, when he took the position of Chair of the Music Department at Elmhurst College.

Directors of the Marching Illini:
Barry L. Houser 2011–Present
Dr. Peter J. Griffin 2006-2011
Dr. Thomas E. Caneva 1998-2005
Gary E. Smith 1976-1997, Sabbatical replacement 2004
Everitt Kisinger 1949-1975
Mark Hindsley 1931-1948
Ray Dvorak 1924-1930
Albert Austin Harding 1907-1923


Pregame Show
The traditional Marching Illini pregame show showcases many varieties of marching styles, and is designed to showcase the band's pride in the school, state and country. The entire show, performed 17–24 minutes before the start of every home football game, consists of seven songs and is nearly 12 minutes in length. Designed for viewing from both sides of Memorial Stadium, the east side serves as the ‘home side’ of the two-sided pregame show. This is somewhat unusual since the press box and TV cameras are on the west side. With the move of the student section and the "Block-I" to the north end of the stadium, the Marching Illini have reoriented their final set for William Tell to face north at the end of the show to play directly to the new student section.

Revised Entrance #3
Revised Entrance #3, the pregame opener and calling card of the Marching Illini, combines an opening fanfare with a march version of the Illinois state song.

Illinois Loyalty
Illinois Loyalty is the Illinois school song and was written by Thacher Howland Guild specifically for the university and was first performed March 3, 1906.

Oskee Wow Wow
Oskee Wow-Wow is used as the Illinois fight song since Illinois Loyalty is not well-suited for rousing a crowd during a game. The University is somewhat unique in this regard, as it is uncommon for a school to have a separate fight song and school song.

Hail to the Orange
The Illinois Alma Mater, Hail to the Orange is performed as part of Three in One at the end of each halftime performance. It is also sung a cappella in 4-part harmony by the Marching Illini before the band is dismissed at the end of the post-game concert following each home game. This song is based on the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity song "Hail to the Purple."

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