Kappa Kappa Psi • The Alpha Chapter

Serving the OSU Bands and Striving for the Highest Since 1919

Home Brothers Our Fraternity History Alumni Resources Links

 

OSU Bands History

 

The Early Years - 1905-1915

 

    A student named Harry Dunn organized the first known band of Oklahoma A&M College in 1905, two years before statehood.  The band was to represent the college at athletic events and other appropriate occasions.  The 22 members furnished their own instruments, music, uniforms, and other equipment.  They also paid a small portion of the director’s salary.  The director was a Mr. Wood, who also played his E flat cornet with the band.  Mr. Wood’s son, Lloyd, followed him as director of the band in 1907.  The band had several directors in the next few years, including H.A. Ide, E. Carroll Beach, H.O. Strother, Clark C. Porter, and Frank Miller.  In 1910, the military department started furnishing uniforms, some instruments, and equipment, so the band could perform for ROTC events.

 

The Boh Makovsky Years – 1915-1943

 

    In 1915, A&M president J.W. Cantwell began to encourage the expansion of the music department and engaged a prominent professional musician who was very successful and highly regarded in the southwest, thus known as Boh Makovsky.  Under Boh’s direction, the band grew solidly and steadily.  Boh taught all of the instrumentation as well as directing the band.  The band played campus concerts, provided music for athletic and ROTC events, as well as other college activities.  In 1916, the band started making annual concert tours to different parts of the state each year for the purpose of advertising the college and encouraging band programs in the state.  They traveled by train and the tours would sometimes last two weeks.  The financing was taken care of by the places the band visited.  These tours continued until 1931 and were a strong factor in the development of public school bands in Oklahoma.

   

    A very important asset to the band program started in 1919 with the formation of an honorary band fraternity, with one of its main goals to be of assistance to the band in the recruitment of members and providing any help needed with any part of the program.  This fraternity was named Kappa Kappa Psi, and because of its great success, other chapters were formed at other colleges across the nation.  Kappa Kappa Psi members and alumni continue to be strong supporters of bands with numerous chapters across the nation.  In 1946, the ladies of the band formed a sister fraternity called Tau Beta Sigma.  TBS is now numerous with chapters across the nation as well.  National headquarters for both fraternities are located in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

 

    In 1928, the demand for lessons was so great that an A&M graduate, Louis Malkus, was hired to assist Boh with the band and teaching.  In 1929, a separate ROTC band was formed with Mr. Malkus as director and the original college band was re-named the Oklahoma A&M symphonic band.  Mr. Malkus left in 1930 and Oakley Pittman, another A&M graduate, was hired to assist in the program.  Shortly after Mr. Pittman’s arrival, another band was formed to give more students an opportunity to play and where music majors could participate on minor instruments.  This band was the college band and later the campus band.  The symphonic band was an all-male band until the early 1930s, when female string bass players were added.  By 1936, girls were in every section of the band. 

 

    In 1933, Boh started a state band clinic designed to be of educational value in the development and strengthening of public school band programs.  Nationally-prominent band directors and instrumental specialists were brought in each year.  This event was the most important contribution of any kind that helped to further public school bands in the state.  The clinics continued for 35 years and in 1962, choral and elementary music became a part of the clinic.  In 1963, strings and orchestra were added.  The clinic grew larger each year and space became a problem, so in 1967, the Oklahoma Music Educators Association took over sponsorship of the event and moved it to Oklahoma City.

 

    The clinic selected high school band members from across the state to be rehearsed by the guest conductor and presented a partial concert.  Later, there were two high school bands and a ninth grade band.

 

    The A&M band played a very important part in the clinic by performing all of the music from the selected lists of contest music.  Each band was required to play two selections from a list of ten.  There were four high school classes and one junior high class.  Fifty selections were played in the different sessions over a two-day period.  Boh purchased this music out of his own funds. This music became a part of his personal library.  In addition to this music, Boh also purchased all the music used for playing that year.  He again kept all music in his personal library at home, which was located near the campus.  Aside from the music in his personal library, the only other music for the military and college band that was used had fit into one four drawer file cabinet by the time of Boh’s retirement in 1943.

 

    Rehearsals of the clinic music started at the beginning of the fall semester, along with selections for short concert by the band.  Marching was a very small part of the band activity.  During the weeks of football games, the Friday rehearsal was for game preparation.  The marching was strictly military with marching from one end of the football field to the other, countermarch and return.  Marching music and school songs were played on the sideline.  Pep bands played for basketball and pep rallies.

 

    The majority of the music selections that were played by the symphonic band were transcriptions of orchestral literature.  Boh preferred a band of 100-110 members and rehearsals were very meticulous.  Attacks were repeated until satisfactory balance was achieved before continuing.  Intonation, tone quality, and style had to be just right.  Rehearsals were very strict and demanding.  He worked to get a rich symphonic sound and seldom used a very loud volume.  There were times when some selections were never played without a stop until the concert.  He achieved a good-sounding result, and the band was nationally recognized.

           

    Boh also added several instruments over the years that were not used by most bands at that time.  They included a sarrusophone, a hecklephone, contrabassoon, bass saxophone, contra-alto clarinet, contrabass clarinet, flugelhorn, and string bass.

           

    One instrument that is still used at football games is the big bass drum that was purchased by the military department for use by the ROTC band in 1935.  The original carriage for the drum was a large trailer with four ear wheels and was pulled by a squad of cadets.  There was a seat for a cymbal player in front of the drum.  The present carriage for this drum was made in 1946.

 

    Mr. Pittman left the staff in 1936 and was replaced by Thomas Shirley, also an A&M graduate.  In 1937, Max Mitchell returned to the campus to direct the military band, teach brass instruments, and be assistant director of the symphonic band.  Harry Keller served as a woodwind assistant in 1937.  Lee Gibson served in the same position, as well as that of director of the college band, from 1938-1940.  Clement Hutchinson joined the staff in 1940, left for military service, and returned in 1946, when he became conductor of the military band.

 

    Boh retired in 1943, after 28 years of outstanding service and leadership to the college and the state of Oklahoma.  Max Mitchell was appointed music department head and director of the symphonic band.

 

Post War Years

 

    During World War II, the band was almost all female until 1945, when the men began returning from military service.  They provided music for college events during that period and an interest was developed in having an all-female band to continue after the war.  The idea was presented to the college administration.  They approved and provided funds for uniforms and equipment.

           

    In 1946, Hiram Henry, another A&M graduate, joined the band staff to be director of the all-female band, assist with the symphonic band, teach low brass instruments, and music education.  His position expanded soon to be the marching band director and percussion instructor.

           

    The December band clinic was still the major activity for the band in 1946.  Only one day was allowed for marching preparation on the Friday before a football game.  Marching presentations were very limited.  Schedule changes were made by 1947 to allow more time for marching preparation and one joint rehearsal with both the male and female bands.  Scheduling improvements and less clinic participation helped to give the bands a better marching rehearsal time.

           

    Band tours to state high schools resumed in 1948 with two days and five or six concerts.  There were clinic performances and campus concerts in addition to playing at many college events.  The band played for commencements and for a few years there were three each year, then two, and then only one.  There were out of town parades for special events, a generous inaugural every four years, and trips to football games at Tulsa and OU.  Two trips were made to the Kansas City Royal Livestock Show.  Two football game trips were made, one to Dallas and one to Wichita, for which special trains were scheduled for football fans.  Athletic department funds were not available most of the time for trips.  

 

There were many changes for assistant band directors and directors of ROTC bands who had originally been woodwind instructors.  After Clement Hutchinson, there was Roger Widder, Willis Olson, and Stanley Green.  A second ROTC band was formed in 1955 for the Air Force.  Stanley Green was director for both bands.

 

Interest in the all-girls band began to lessen by 1954.   Also, at this time, new uniforms were needed.  In 1955, a decision was made to have just one band for both boys and girls using the same uniform.

 

In 1957, Max Mitchell decided to devote full time to the music department head position and other related activities.  So, Hiram Henry was appointed director of bands (Mr. Henry retired in 1981, after thirty-five years of service to the university and to the state of Oklahoma).  Dr. Mitchell requested the hiring of another director who would hold the main responsibility of the marching band.  However, the hiring of another director was not possible at that time.  Dr. Mitchell made the same request each year, but the request was not granted until 1966.  Two directors had four bands, pep bands, and a full teaching load in other areas of the music department.  A few changes made in the music program included:  the combining of the male and female band; the marching band now named the “Aggie Band”; and the concert band being downsized to a smaller wind ensemble which allowed for better performances for the band clinic.  During the second semester, the top performance band was called the “concert band” with approximately 75 members, and the second band was called the “campus band”. 

 

State tours continued each spring with concerts in a different section of the state each year for four years, then repeat visits to the areas.  Directors who were former students of the band  hosted many of the concerts.  Each director was invited to conduct the band in a march and when the band played in the hometown of a member, they were encouraged to play a solo with the band.  Many did.  These tours were good morale boosters for the band, good public relations, and good recruitment for prospective members.  The tours continued until the mid-1980’s.   

 

Mr. Henry patterned his concerts in the format of the Armed Forces Bands from Washington D.C.  Each concert had a variety of styles of music for the enjoyment of the audience and interesting for the performers.  Announcers were used for performance notes and soloists were featured for most concerts.  Duets and quartets were also presented when accompaniments were available.  Some transcriptions of orchestral literature were performed because most of the band members had never had any previous experience or opportunity to play in an orchestra.  Most of the music in later years was written for band and some very contemporary selections were scheduled for each concert. 

 

The university’s name was changed to Oklahoma State University in 1957, and a contest for a new school song was held.  The present alma mater was selected along with the pep song “OSU.”

 

The Alumni Association director became interested in having the marching band make an out-of-state trip each year and helped to raise funds for this purpose.  The first trip was to Kansas.  There was not enough money for lodging, so the band left Stillwater by bus at midnight and arrived in Kansas in time for breakfast. 

 

Later, in the 1960s, the athletic department began funding one out-of-state trip each year.  Trips were made to Kansas, Texas, Missouri, Kansas State, and Nebraska.  Overnight trips included housing most of the time.  Some places were visited more than once. 

 

Rehearsal facilities were used in the college auditorium for several years.  But, after much growth, the band had to move rehearsals.  The next 23 years had a series of seven moves.  All moves, minus the last one, proved to house unsatisfactory rehearsal rooms with little or no acoustical treatment and very limited space.  The first move, in 1948, was to an old army barracks, which was also a fire hazard and was not covered by insurance.  An addenda sheet shows the campus locations of all the rehearsal locations.  Other moves were in 1955, 1961, 1966, 1970, and finally in 1971 to the rehearsal hall in the Seretean Center (Martin B. “Bud” Seretean was a trumpet player in the band in 1947-48).  Five of the previously used rehearsal halls were demolished immediately after the band vacated.

 

Marching practice field locations were a similar problem.  First, rehearsals were in the stadium, but had to be relocated in 1966.  Three more changes were made in 1970, 1973, 1975, and then back to the stadium in 1976.

 

The compulsory part of the ROTC was ended at the university in 1967.  Both ROTC bands were discontinued because of the small enrollment.  This made a lighter teaching load for the staff, but it did cause the loss of all the instruments furnished by the military.  This loss was overcome with the purchase of some new instruments.

 

Another very active part of the band program was the summer band.  During WWII, there was a large contingent of Navy personnel training on campus and they were housed in Willard Hall.  Dr. Mitchell organized a band from that group that played outdoor concerts on the south lawn during the summer.  The people of both the college and the community received the concerts very well.  It was decided to continue the concerts after the war.  The summer band was opened to membership of local school band players, college personnel, and other interested players.  They were called the Summer Session-Community Band.  Their size varied anywhere from 65 to 75 members each summer.

 

The concerts were in the Theta Pond area for several years and then moved to a concert shell that was located near the stadium for several years.  They then returned back to playing at Theta Pond until 1981.  They played on the east side of the Student Union for several more years and were later discontinued.  The band played five or six concerts each year, with one being at the stadium for the Fourth of July celebration for several years.  They also played for commencement exercises. 

 

After the band clinic stopped, the band, augmented by high school directors, had reading sessions of new band music over a two-day period.  This continued for several years.

 

    In 1966, a marching band director, Albert Lynd, was hired to be in charge of all marching activities and the pep band.  He was a good music arranger, had good ideas, and good rehearsal procedures.  The marching band grew in size and was very well received by the football crowds.  He was the director for six years, until 1972. 

           

    The job description for the next marching band director was to include the jazz band (stage band, etc…) experience.  The need for that area was filled for several years with some student-organized groups in 1968-70.  Former students Bill Rotter and Perry Bond (directors) came to the campus for rehearsals.  Then, from 1970-72, band member Bob Henry directed the group, which gave concerts in dormitory lounges.

           

    In 1972, Paul Montemurro was hired to be the marching band and jazz band director.  He was hired to also teach trumpet and French horn.  Mr. Montemurro was very competent in all areas and had good rapport with the students.  The marching band continued to grow and improve.

           

    The entire band program continued to improve with the new rehearsal facility in the Seretean Center and the expanded band staff.  During this time, the concert band played two different times for the Oklahoma Music Educators Association Convention, once for the Southwestern Division of MENC in Kansas City, and once for the Southwestern Division of the College Band Directors National Association.  Two concerts were taped and presented by television stations in Oklahoma City.  Campus concerts and tours were continued each during this time frame. 

           

    In 1979, Paul Montemurro and several former students organized an alumni band, which became very active for several years.  They had a marching band for the homecoming football game each year and a concert band that played for basketball games during the Christmas break.  They also took a small group to some out-of-town football games.  Alumni band members now play and perform with the university band at one football game each year.  If the football team attends a bowl game over Christmas break, the alumni members will fill in for the pep band members at the basketball games during the bowl game.

       

The Later Years – Present – Future

 

    Paul Montemurro was made director of bands in 1981 and Richard Kastendieck was hired as marching band director and instructor of percussion.  Tom Walker was hired to teach low brass and also worked with the jazz band.

    The most current directors are listed below with the years they directed at OSU.

 

Dr. Richard Kastendieck 1981-1986
Gregory Talford 1986-1987
William Ballenger 1987-1992
Glen J. Hemberger 1992-1997
Dr. Michael A. Raiber 1997-2000
David Wick 2000-2001
Bradley J. Genevro 2001-2004
Dr. Paul W. Popiel 2004-2006
Dr. D. Bradley Snow 2006-Present

 

 

- From okstatealumniband.org