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The University of New Hampshire bands are open to all UNH students, regardless of major. Some groups require an audition in order to participate. Read on for more information.
Wildcat Marching Band and Beast of the East Pep Band
If you are going to be attending UNH this coming Fall and wish to be a member of the Wildcat Marching Band, then visit our forms page to fill out the participation form starting in June. You can register for Marching Band and Pep Band when you choose your courses this Summer, or add them during open registration. Many people participate in both athletic bands. Beast of the East Band rehearsals will be held during the same rehearsal time as Marching Band, so it won't add much to your schedule. New pep band members are welcome second semester. Are you on Facebook? Join this group for more information and to talk to current WMB members.
Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band
An audition is required for membership in the Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band and used for seating purposes in the Concert Band. Auditions for these bands will be held during the first week of classes in September. Audition information is available below during the Summer. Second semester, new members are welcome to join the Concert Band starting on the first Tuesday of classes.
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The Bands: Early Years
Bands have been an important factor on the UNH campus since the early 1900’s. The early bands were military oriented (ROTC) and organized as well as led by students. Each year, a new student became the new director/conductor. This band was called the New Hampshire College Band. At this point, the band was more of a student-run club than it was a credited course as it is now.
In 1919, Professor Richard R. Lamont joined the UNH music department. Lamont was a vocal major. In 1923 he was asked to take over the band and became the first faculty band director. Until 1926, the band was solely an outdoor group playing for ROTC events and spirited rallies for athletic events. In 1926, they became an inside band as well, performing concerts and other performances. In 1926, Robert W. Manton became the next director of this group. Manton studied music at Harvard University, graduating in 1918. He went on to study at the University of Toulouse with Vincent d’Indy, a pupil of Cesar Franck. Manton came to UNH in 1923 and served on the faculty for 41 years. Under his direction, the band began its indoor concert season after football season had ended.
In 1929, Lewis Swain, a music faculty member, became the director of the college band. The University Band, under the direction of Swain, made its first public appearance out of town in 1929, appearing at the Harvard – UNH football game in Cambridge. The band room at Paul Creative Arts Center, M226, is named for Lewis Swain. Swain was director through WWII, resigning in 1947.
In the early years, music classes were held in Ballard Hall. A small building, it was located where Stoke Hall now sits. All rehearsals of concert groups were held on the top floor of Thompson Hall. Marching Band was held on a field adjacent to the football field, and in inclement weather, the marching band moved indoors, using one of the cow barns across the street.
In 1947, George E. Reynolds, a graduate of the Cincinnati Conservatory in Ohio, became the director of the bands, and during this year, the band was 80 members large. In 1950, Allan Owen, also a Cincinnati Conservatory graduate, joined him as assistant band director. In 1951, Reynolds and Owen instituted the first Sousa Clinic on the university campus. Frank Simon, a professor at Cincinnati Conservatory and trumpet player in the original Sousa Band, was invited to organize and run the clinic. Under Reynolds and Owen’s watch, Summer Youth Music School began the summer of 1951. Reynolds resigned in 1953.
In 1953, the university introduced Dr. David Smith as the new director of bands. Allan Owen remained as his assistant director. Dr. Smith remained director until 1956.
That same year, Professor Allan Owen took over as the director of both the marching and concert bands. World War II had spawned countless military bands of usually twenty or so musicians which performed for military ceremonies. Many veterans took advantage of the government GI Bill and attended college. They brought with them the effects of their military band training. Owen brought military marching to a zenith, and introduced halftime shows at the football games. He also brought a full performance schedule to the concert band. Owen resigned in 1961 to accept a band directorship at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
By 1960, the music department had moved into its new location, Paul Creative Arts Center.
Donald Mattran, from the University of Michigan, was hired as band director in 1961. Mattran was a strong proponent of the “Big Ten” marching philosophy. He taught the band to march in an up-tempo, high stepping style, where legs were to be parallel and perpendicular with toes pointed to the ground. He made added changes to the uniform consisting of white cross belts, white spats, blue and white capes and hats with plumes. The idea was that every time you took a sharp turn, a different color would flash at the crowd. The band’s signature entrance onto the football field was to a drum cadence at a tempo of mm 220. The effect was that the band exploded onto the field to the delight of the audience. Mattran left UNH in 1965 to accept a position at Boston University for a brief time and then accepted a position at the University of Hartford where he was instrumental director, eventually becoming the Dean of the School of Music
In the fall of 1965, Stanley Hettinger, graduate of Ohio State University and Vandercook College, became the next director of the bands. Hettinger was responsible for bringing corps style marching to the UNH Marching Band.
In 1973, the music department was the largest it had been since it had started. Professor Hettinger attended a conference and was introduced to the relatively new concept of a wind ensemble. This style of performing ensemble had a core group of about fifty musicians, but instrumentation and numbers could vary from piece to piece. When Professor Hettinger returned from the conference, he was determined to start a Wind Ensemble.
It was here, with Stanley Hettinger at the band helm, that the superlative bands and wind ensembles at UNH were born. It became obvious that the UNH band program had reached a necessary juncture in its development. Marching band became a separate entity from concert band. A short time later, marching band separated into what would become known as the Athletic Bands and the concert band separated into three organizations known as the UNH Wind Symphony, the Symphonic Band, and the Concert Band.
The Wildcat Marching Band Today
The University of New Hampshire Wildcat Marching Band (WMB), has, from its earliest days, traditionally been one of the most spirited organizations on campus. Made up of students from the entire campus, with majors ranging from music education and performance to mechanical engineering and equine science, the WMB has been a performing group devoted to adding spirit to all home football games and several other regional exhibitions and parades since the early 1900s.
The framework for today’s marching band at UNH began with Stanley Hettinger who took over the directorship of the UNH bands in the fall of 1965. He came to UNH with a B.A. in Music Education from Ohio State University and a Masters in Music Education from Vandercook College in Chicago. He was the first director to introduce the corps style of marching at UNH in 1965. Prior to Hettinger, UNH had used the Big Ten style, complete with high stepping and 270-degree turns. During the years under Hettinger’s direction, the band performed shows including Rocky Fanfare, Swan Lake, and the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. During the late 1960s, Arthur Fiedler, a long–time conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, appeared as a guest conductor for the UNH Band Day. In 1971, there was no UNHWMB due to funding issues. Mr. Hettinger left the WMB in 1980, being replaced by Larry Lang.
Larry Lang received his music degree from the University of New Hampshire and completed his graduate work at the New Mexico University.
Under the direction of Lang from 1980–1982, the WMB performed shows such as James Bond and a percussion feature called This Masquerade. Lang left the band in 1982 and was replaced by William Reeves until spring 1988. Reeves was a percussionist from the University of Idaho. He took the WMB to a New York Giants game in 1985, in which the band marched a halftime show. Chuck Winfield of Blood, Sweat and Tears was a guest soloist in the WMB’s “Blood, Sweat and Tears” halftime show in 1986. Under the direction of Reeves, the band performed shows including Bolero, oes Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, Spinning Wheel, and Sir Duke.
Mr. Lang left his position as band director at UNH to accept a career with the United States Air Force Bands. He has held the positions of Commander and Conductor of USAF Bands, Commander and Conductor at United States Air Force, Commander at USAF Heritage of America Band, and Band Commander at the United States Air Force
Larry Lang was replaced by Bill Reeves in 1983. Bill Reeves was hired to direct the Bratton Hall Jazz Band and the UNH Wildcat Marching Band
Reeves tenure as director lasted until 1987 when he left to pursue a career as a jazz drummer. He has performed with many of the great names in jazz including James Moody, Clark Terry, Lee Konitz, Jimmy Heath, Mike Metheny, Dick Johnson, Herb Pomeroy, Buddy DeFranco, Alan Dawson, Eddie Daniels, Lou Marini, Fred Haas and Barbara London. He has studied with Peter Erskine, Phil Wilson, Daniel Bukvich, Gary Green and many other noted jazz and music educators in his 40 year career.
In 1987, Christopher Humphrey took over both the Bratton Hall Jazz Band and the UNH Wildcat Marching Band.
Humphrey was a trombonist and jazz vocalist who earned a B.M. of Music Education from the University of New Hampshire. Under his direction, the band performed shows including West Side Story, Porgy and Bess, and Wildcat State of Mind. There were about 30 members of the band when Humphrey took over. Over the next three years he increased the size of the band to over 80 members. Realizing that the band was too large for his enthusiasm to carry it alone, he presented the idea of a band fraternity to the marching band members and several members eagerly accepted the idea. The Iota Phi chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi was installed at UNH on May 8, 1993. The colony was comprised of a core group of marching band members and was sponsored by Mr. Humphrey. When Chris Humphrey left in the spring of 1997, Jeff Bolduc, another trombonist, took over the position.
Bolduc replaced Humphrey as director of the UNH Marching Band for the 1997–1998 marching season. Under his direction, the band performed Wildcat Fiesta, for their halftime show. Bolduc, a graduate of Berklee College of Music with a Bachelors Degree in Composition, and a Masters Degree in Music Education from Boston University, served for many years as the Director of Fine Arts for the Dedham, Massachusetts Public Schools. He previously taught band in Burlington, Norwood, Londonderry, NH and his hometown of Danvers. As a performer, Bolduc is the trombonist and arranger for the Soul Revival Orchestra, a 10 piece soul/funk band in the Boston area.
Thomas Keck, a percussionist with a B.M. in Music Education from the University of Illinois and a Masters in Music from the University of Iowa, took over direction of the band in the fall of 1998. During Keck’s time at UNH, he increased the size of the WMB to over 100 members. Under Keck’s direction, the band traveled to Montreal in 2000 and to Europe in 2001. They played shows including Grease, Magical Mystery Tour, a rock show, a jazz show, Strike Up the Band, Spanish Nights, and a Queen show.
Keck left the university in 2003 to pursue his doctorate at Arizona State University. He then served as an Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Georgia, Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Miami, and Director of Athletic Bands at Ball State University in Indiana.
In 2003, Erika Svanoe accepted the position as Director of Athletic Bands. She came to UNH with a Masters of Music Performance and Pedagogy in Wind Conducting from Oklahoma State University and a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. Under her direction, the band performed shows such as Rockin’ Across America, a swing show, One More Time, Blues Brothers, Heroes of the Silver Screen, and Music of the Who.
In 2006, Svanoe left the WMB to obtain her doctorate in conducting from Ohio State University and went on to become Director of Bands at Bemidji State University. She and husband Erik Evensen ('01) have since moved to Menomonie, Wisconsin where he is a professor of design at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Svanoe has recently gained recognition in the gaming world with her creation of card game "Marrying Mr. Darcy."
Casey Goodwin became the next director. Goodwin received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education and a Master of Arts in Music with an emphasis in music education from the University of New Hampshire. Goodwin was a former drum major and graduate assistant of the WMB. Under Goodwin's direction, the band has performed shows such as Back to the Future, Get on Your Feet,The Lion King on Broadway, Don't Touch that Dial! and Phantom of the ROCK Opera. In 2009, several members of the band were selected to appear in the Brendan Fraser/Brooke Shields film "Furry Vengeance." Several of the band members are featured prominently in the festival scene near the end of the movie. That fall, the band gave its first annual performance on the ice at a UNH Men's Hockey game. They also performed at the band's first Collegiate Marching Band Festival in Allentown, PA. That December, the band also traveled to Orlando to perform in a New Year's Eve parade in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. In 2010, the band performed at Gillette Stadium for the inaugural "Colonial Clash," the first college football game ever to be held there (UNH vs. UMass).
Other media features, including appearances on New England Sports Network's "Schooled" game show (hosted by comedian Michael Showalter) and FOX25 Boston's College Tour, have followed. The band again traveled to Florida to perform at Walt Disney World in January of 2015.
The Wildcat Marching Band has an extraordinary presence on the Durham Campus. It has been featured in the UNH Alumni Magazine as well as several other resources. Literally thousands of university alumni, including past band alumni as well, hold this performing organization as one of their fondest memories of their tenure on campus.
Under Goodwin’s direction, the WMB has become recognized as one of the outstanding marching bands in New England.
Membership on the WMB has been open to all students regardless of experience level. It is an official academic course in which students may earn credit. A majority of the band members are non-music majors, and the band’s GPA is consistently above the university average. Band Camp begins the season one week before classes begin in the fall. After rehearsals and games, many band members hang out and socialize with each other, creating friendships that last for the season, for the year, and for life.
UNH Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band and Concert Band
In the early 1970s, two separate bands were created: the Symphonic Band and the Wind Ensemble. For several years, Professor Hettinger directed both bands until 1976 when Nicholas Orovich took over the Symphonic Band and Professor Hettinger remained director of the Wind Ensemble. There were 50 members of the Wind Ensemble and the Symphonic Band had several more and has continued to grow since then.
Professor Hettinger expected a lot from his students. He required his first chair students to prepare clinics for high school bands. Before the clinics were given, Professor Hettinger insisted on previewing the clinic material. As part of the clinics, the Wind Ensemble had open rehearsals for high school bands to observe. The ensemble also traveled to local high schools to play with their bands.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Wind Ensemble went on several tours. The band toured at high schools for recruiting purposes, and also toured outside the high school atmosphere to allow students to observe the experience of a professional ensemble. The Wind Ensemble toured in Washington, D.C. to play in the rotunda of the Senate Building. Other tours include Ottawa, Canada; Burlington, Vermont; various parts of northern New York; Brown University; and Ohio. The Wind Symphony also played at the Mill Post Center for the Arts as a seasonal event.
The Wind Symphony has also brought in various guest artists such as Jim Croft, Director of Bands and Professor of Music at Florida State University; Don Wilcox, Director of Bands at West Virginia University; Dr. Donald E. McGinnis, Conductor and Director of Bands at Ohio State University; Vaclav Nelhybel, composer from the University of Scranton; Dr. Frederick Fennell, internationally recognized conductor and conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble; and Sigurd Rascher, saxophone performer in the Boston Symphony Orchestra and soloist in the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Other guests include Dr. William C. Revelli, Conductor and Director of Bands at the University of Michigan; Dr. John D. Mohler, Associate Professor of Clarinet at the University of Michigan, Dan Bukvich, composer; Toshiyuki Shimada, Music Director and Conductor of the Portland Symphony Orchestra; and composers Timothy Mahr, Mark Camphouse, Joseph Schwantner, David Maslanka, Daniel Bukvich, and Brant Karrick.
The Wind Symphony also has performed at the annual UNH Band Extravaganza since 1999. Two guest conductors have joined them for these occasions: Paul Dickenson and Jack Stamp on November 20, 2000.
In December of 1996, Stanley Hettinger conducted his final concert. Nicholas Orovich became the director of the Wind Symphony from spring 1997 to fall 1998 while also maintaining the position of director of the Symphonic Band. Professor Orovich received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and his Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
In the fall of 1998, Dr. Andrew Boysen became the director of the Wind Symphony and continues to hold this position, leaving Orovich to focus his time as the department chair. Dr. Boysen earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music, his Master of Music degree in wind conducting from Northwestern University in 1993, and his Bachelor of Music degree in music education and music composition from the University of Iowa in 1991.
In 2007, the Symphonic Band had grown so large that a need was determined for a third concert band. At this time, the UNH Concert Band was formed under the direction of Director of Athletic Bands Casey Goodwin. The Symphonic Band became an auditioned group: a larger wind ensemble made up primarily of music majors. Demonstrating that this third band was created just in time, the Concert Band broke 90 members in the spring of 2010.
Beast of the East Band
Unlike any other band, the Beast of the East Band (formerly known as the UNH Pep Band) was originally a student-run organization. This group was not initiated by the music department but rather by the athletic department. For that reason, the history is vague. In the late 1980s, a pep band existed from year to year only if there was a mutual desire between athletic heads and music students. Although it is now a part of the Department of Music, no official records have been maintained so the history of the Pep Band goes back only as far as the students can remember.
In the 1986-1987 academic year, the Pep Band played for a total of two basketball games during the spring semester, after which the effort died because of lack of interest from students. Determined to have a band during the 1989-1990 hockey season, athletic head, Dick Umile, contacted the music department. However, since it was so late in the season, the only band the music department could come up with was band director Christopher Humphrey on organ. Mr. Umile contacted Humphrey at the beginning of the 1990 academic year and a decision was made to once again start a Pep Band run by student leaders. Rob Fogg and George Downing recruited members and directed the band. This 1990-1991 Pep Band functioned primarily as a hockey band, although they were also paid to play at two basketball games. In addition, the Pep Band traveled to the Hockey East playoffs in Providence, RI and played at a rally for Mario Cuorno, NY Governor, as the “Scream Machine Pep Band.” The Pep Band continued playing for a strong season in 1991-1992, traveling to the Boston Garden and the Providence Civic Center.
The 1992-1993 season changed the nature of the Pep Band as it was given official status when Christopher Humphrey became the director. The Pep Band became more involved with the athletic department, playing for most of the basketball season as well as the entire hockey season. The band also traveled to the Boston Garden for the league playoffs once again. For the first time, many of the student musicians in the Pep Band were not also necessarily members of the marching band. Until this time, the Pep Band had served as a continuation of the Marching Band for many students.
George Downing unofficially led the band in numerous games; however, Mr. Humphrey continued to function as director until 1996. They once again played for the entire hockey season and a majority of the basketball season. The Pep Band performed at both basketball and hockey playoffs and then traveled to Albany, NY for the NCAA tournament. During the 1997-1998 year, the music department was forced to find a new director when Humphrey left. Tim Russell, a teaching assistant pursuing a master's degree in Music Education at UNH and band director in the Manchester, NH school district, stepped in to fill the vacant position for the year. Because there was not a full-time director on campus, the band was not as active that year as it had been in the past and membership dropped.
In 1998-1999, Thomas Keck was hired to serve as Director of Athletic Bands and took charge of the Pep Band. The band grew in numbers to nearly 40 student musicians and continued to play for both the hockey and basketball teams. During that year, the President’s Office paid for the Pep Band to attend the NCAA playoffs in California. Once the students realized that Keck was going to be around for the following year, membership grew to a then-record number of 70 students, and for the first time, many music majors began to get involved with the Pep Band. This increase in membership was so great that the Pep Band was divided into two separate bands: the White Band and the Blue Band. Approximately 35 students represented each band and had to commit to only half of the scheduled games. The 1999-2000 Pep Band played for 18 events that included games for both the hockey and basketball teams. An attendance and grading system was also instituted to serve as a way of selecting band members for traveling.
During the 2000-2001 season, the band grew to 80 members and the Pep Band became its own academic course, MUSI 462. The Pep Band was once again divided into two bands. Keck continued to serve as director, although Casey (Speed) Goodwin was selected to help out when Keck was unavailable to attend scheduled games. When Keck left the university, Erika Svanoe took over direction of the Pep Band. The band continued to remain large and continued to exist as two separate bands. Under Svanoe’s direction, the Pep Band traveled to Minnesota in 2006 for the women’s hockey playoffs. Svanoe left the band after the 2005-2006 season and was replaced by Casey Goodwin, who had previously been part of the Pep Band staff when Thomas Keck was director. Matt Doiron, Director of Instrumental Music at Sanford (ME) High School, was also added to the staff in 2006 to serve as assistant pep band director. In March of 2008, members of the band traveled to Duluth, Minnesota for the NCAA Women's Frozen Four tournament.
In order to give the group its own identity and "attitude," the band was renamed the "Beast of the East Band" after a contest in the Fall of 2008. The band logo was redesigned to reflect the name change.
In January, 2010, the Beast of the East performed at the first outdoor women's college hockey game. The game was held at Fenway Park in 20-degree weather. Despite the cold, it was a fantastic experience for all involved (especially since UNH won). Following the game, all four bands involved in the "Frozen Fenway" series of games performed together in front of the Green Monster for all of the fans. That spring, the band traveled to Hartford, CT for the men's America East basketball semifinals and to Albany, NY for the NCAA Men's ice hockey regional tournament.
UNH Jazz Bands
In 1968, students in the music department approached Stanley Hettinger, director of the University of New Hampshire concert bands, and requested that he lead them in a rehearsal and training jazz ensemble. For the following several years, the students’ interest in the rehearsal band grew. Ultimately, the faculty of the music department felt that it was time to hire a full-time jazz band conductor whose duties would also include teaching improvisation and developing a jazz program. In the fall of 1972, David Seiler was hired and the University of New Hampshire Jazz Band became an official ensemble of the university.
Under the direction of Seiler, who earned his Bachelor of Music degree and his Master of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the UNH Jazz Band quickly became a proficient ensemble with high quality performers. The number of musicians in the jazz program grew so much that in 1975 it was necessary to add a second jazz band. The new band was titled the Bratton Hall Jazz Band, named after the recital hall in which they rehearsed. This band was first led by Greg Belfany, a graduate student at UNH. The band continued to be led by graduate students until 1986 when Bill Reeves was hired to direct the Bratton Hall Jazz Band and the UNH Wildcat Marching Band. Both bands were taken over by Christopher Humphrey in 1989.
In 1973, UNH held the first annual jazz festival which was open to high school jazz bands, combos, and choirs throughout New England. Each year the festival featured performances by the UNH jazz bands and special guest artists. Guest artists have included Clark Terry, Bob Mintzer, Eddie Daniels, Al Grey, and Frank Wess. Since 1976, Clark terry has maintained a close relationship with UNH and has helped further the music education of many students at UNH and around the world. In 1986, UNH gave Terry an Honorary Doctorate of Music. Because of Terry’s yearly support and presence at the jazz festival, the festival was renamed in honor of Terry and is now known as the Clark Terry Jazz Festival. Clark Terry passed away in 2015 and the festival continues in his memory.
In 1976, the jazz band traveled to Switzerland to perform at the Montreaux International Jazz Festival where the UNH jazz band was the first college band to ever perform on an evening program. Since then, the band has returned several times to the Montreaux Festival, as well as touring France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Austria, and performing on the U.S.S. Norway’s annual Jazz Cruise. UNH was also honored with the privilege of hosting Clark Terry’s 70th birthday celebration. The band’s performances in 1989 were produced on a compact disc and on a PBS special.
The jazz band has produced several records and compact discs. The first, entitled “Live”, was produced in 1978 and includes performances from the 1978 Montreaux Jazz Festival. The second album, “Looking Into the Future”, was produced in 1981 and featured contemporary compositions and arrangements. The third album, “On Tour”, was produced in 1983 and includes performances with Clark Terry at Sandy’s Jazz Revival 50th anniversary celebration. The most recent release was the compact disc in 1992, “Just Passin’ on the Language.” This album features arrangements by UNH students and some previously unrecorded arrangements by Fred Strum and Kim Richmonds.
Both jazz bands have traveled extensively throughout New England, performing at evening concerts and daytime performance clinics at high schools, both to recruit for the university’s Jazz Festival and to broaden and improve the education of the students. The goal of the jazz program is fulfilled by both jazz bands as they continue to strive to produce great music and to improve the lives of the students at UNH and members of the surrounding communities
In 2003, Director of Athletic Bands Erika Svanoe took over direction of the Bratton Hall Jazz Band until her departure in 2006. At that time, it was moved to 4:00 in the band room (Swain Auditorium) and Dave Seiler took over direction of both bands back-to-back.
After several successful decades as UNH's Director of Jazz Studies, Dave Seiler retired in 2015. Nathan Jorgensen, who earned his Bachelor of Music from the University of Kansas, Master of Music from the University of Missouri, Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Kansas, was hired as the new Director of Jazz Studies and saxophone instructor, overlapping Seiler's last year. He officially took over starting in 2015.