Iowa State Band History Album - Page D


Director Alvin Edgar first instituted floating formations in 1941.

The marching band was included in the 1947 Pigskin Pageants,
a college-produced color and sound motion picture.

click to enlarge

Alvin Edgar conducts the ISC orchestra in 1944.


The glockenspiel player patiently awaits her solo at halftime.

Women had participated in the band in stationary performances as early as 1928, and as majorettes and "unofficially" on bell instruments during the World War II years.

With an insufficient number of male students during the war, Alvin Edgar, much to his chagrin, felt that he HAD to allow women in the Iowa State Marching Band.  When the GI's returned the first Fall Quarter following the end of the war, all women were replaced by men EXCEPT the two Bells players.

At the Saturday morning rehearsal for the first home game, the block stood in formation centerfield, with the two Bells players directly in front of the block, facing the East stadium bleachers.  We were all to remove our 'Policemen's style' hats in response to the proud announcement "Introducing Iowa State's 120-piece ALL MALE Marching Band".

The 'women's lib' in me suggested to Helen that we skip the bobby pins that afternoon, which we did, and our long dark tresses fell to our shoulders for ALL to see.

Yes, we were kicked out of the band immediately.  Well, Mr. Edgar thought that anyone who could play keyboard could pick up the Bells to replace us.  After all kinds of auditioning, advertising persuading, etc., he could find NO MAN who could transpose the Bb Cornet music, memorize it, and march in time for any performance.  So, he called us in, and wanted to 'do us a favor'.   We could still be in the band IF we would turn in our black uniforms and instead were WHITE DRUM-MAJOR uniforms, and march IN FRONT of the block behind the Twirlers.  Thus salving his conscience to call it an ALL MALE MARCHING BAND. 

THAT is why for the rest of Mr. Edgar's life, the Bells players had to wear AT LEAST white pants when new uniforms were ordered.

Lorna (Wilhelm) Livingston


(click image for a higher resolution version)

Iowa State Marching Band information ready for a 1949 football game
Alvin Edgar is the director.

Click image to view photos and program for the 10th Annual Concert Band Tour
by Alvin Edgar and Iowa State College's Concert Band.


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