A Brief History

   Since the 1950's, there has been a veritable explosionof new band repertoire and band related organizations on college campusesall across the country. UB has been an active participant in this development. However, band activities at the University can be traced to the 1920's and before. Early school yearbooks commend the band for its "natty uniforms,"performances at football and basketball games, and at social gatherings. Noted black opthalmologist W. Yerby Jones played the cornet in the UB Bands of 1920 and 1921, and many prominent Buffalo physicians and dentists also can be counted among the band's alumni from that period in time. But it is with the establishment in the 1950's of a Department of Music that the present lineage of wind band activities on campus rightfully belongs. In the mid-50's Professor Robert Mols conducted and supervised the band's development as a departmental ensemble before relinquishing those duties to Philharmonic member and University Instructor of Horn, Lowell Shaw. Then in 1961, at the instigation of University President Clifford Furnas, Frank J. Cipolla was brought to the campus to further the growth of the band program during the period in which UB became part of the State University system. Professor Cipolla's charge was twofold: to develop a marching band to complement a strong athletic program, and to re-energize the concert band component within the framework of the degree offerings of the Department of Music and the University as a whole. Enrollment increased dramatically and by the end of the decade, student participants in the marching band numbered in excess of 250. But it was in the concert hall where the greatest maturation in wind band development occured. Large concert groups were organized, as well as a series of smaller ensembles so prevalent today. The primary concert group made several tours with performance in many places of note including: a week as the resident ensemble at the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Canada; concerts in Town Hall and the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian church, New York City' and on the steps of the Capitol and at the Kennedy center in Washington, D.C.

   In the 1970's and 80's, Professor Cipolla initiated aprogram ofinviting prestigious composers, conductors, and soloists to appear withwhat had then evolved into the UB Wind Ensemble. Our students were thusprovided an opportunity to meet and work with some of the most influential musicians in the field of wind music. Internationally recognized composers Virgil Thomson, Ernst Krenek, Vincent Persichetti, and Karel Husa each conducted their major compositions for winds with the ensemble, as did such diverse composers as: Donald Erb, Betsy Jolas, Warren Benson, Sidney Hodkinson, Robert Moran, Robert Mols, and others. Founding conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Frederick Fennell, and Colonel Arnald Gabriel, Commander/Conductor of the United States Air Force Band, each appeared with the Wind Ensemble in addition to artist soloists such as: Knud Hovaldt, principal trumpeter of the Royal Danish Symphony Orchestra; saxophonist Eugene Rousseau; and tubaist Harvey Phillips. The music department's own faculty has been well represented with appearances by: Sylvia Dimiziani and Gary Burgess from the voice faculty, pianists Frina Arschanska Boldt and Ivar Mikhashoff, oboists Ronald Richards and Nora Post, organist Squire Haskin, bassoonist Darlene Reynard, clarinetist Allen Sigel, trumpeter David Kuehn, percussionist Jan Williams, and jazz saxophone player Sam Falzone.

   A return to a more competitive intercollegiate athleticprogram in the1980's led to the establishment of a significant Pep Band organization.This group, which has numbered in excess of 120 members, draws studentsfrom all disciplines of the university and is a vital part of studentcampus life. In addition to performing at a variety of home sportingevents, the band travels several time a year to play at away games. Thegroup has its own staff and part-time director but functions under thesupervision of the Director of Bands.

   Professor Cipolla retired from the university in 1991and after a periodof interim directors, Sarah McKoin joined the faculty as a full-timemember of the Department of Music and Director of Bands. Ms. McKoin is aknowlegeable and vibrant conductor who will surely add to the past achievements of this vital link in the department's ensemble offerings.

Donated by,
Frank J. Cipolla
Former Director of Bands

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