In the early 1900s, there was a band that played at all university functions. This band was military oriented (ROTC) and was 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 that it was a credited course as it is now.
The University of New Hampshire Wildcat Marching Band (UNHWMB), has 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 UNHWMB 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.
Unlike any other band, the Beast of the East Band (formerly the 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 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.