Iowa State Band History Album - Page E

Iowa State bands in the 1950s

These are the red Iowa State College Marching Band uniforms worn in the 1950s.
Frank Piersol was the band director who followed Alvin Edgar.

First documented evidence of a basketball pep band at Iowa State was in 1951.


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The 1952 Iowa State Marching Band

The two terms, "marching band" and "floating formation", have become almost synonymous at Iowa State.  Our band under Mr. Piersol's direction has become famous for perfecting the type of formation in which the whole letter or outline moves down the field.  Not satisfied with this accomplishment, the band tried a type of formation called script writing for the first time this season.  The entire band was made into one long line which proceeded to write out as if they were flowing from a pen.  Led by drum major John Wood, the one hundred twenty members provided the halftime entertainment at home football games.  Highlights of the season were trips to Drake and Colorado.

One of the most unusual bands was the marching band composed entirely of freshmen who played for the first home came only a week after school opened.

How does one get into the marching band?  First, one must be a fellow, and secondly, he must play a musical instruments.  Two lucky glockenspiel players and a baton twirler were the only girls who succeeded in gaining admittance to this select organization.


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Meredith Willson at Iowa State conducting the Iowa State Marching Band (south of State Gym).  This is near the stadium, Clyde Williams Field.   ISC's Frank Piersol is seen at left.  Meredith Willson wrote For I, For S for the Iowa State folks in 1953.  Meredith Willson was a Mason City native who was later known and famous for writing the book, the music, and the lyrics for the Broadway musical, The Music Man.

Meredith Willson and the birth of a new fight song
This song, "For I, For S", is still often performed as part of the traditional pregame show.

No one left the stands during halftimes of football games this year.  Not with the Iowa State College Marching Band, under the direction of Prof. Frank A. Piersol, performing.  The high-stepping musicians marched their way through complicated drills concerning everything from a welcome to parents on Parents' Day to the presidential campaign.   The band performed at every home game.  Spectators at Veishea got another chance to see the marching band in operation; it played an important part in the excitement and color of the Veishea Parade.

This year's band trip was to the University of Nebraska, where it performed at the Iowa State-Nebraska football game.  Membership in the 120-piece band is determinded through tryouts.  Skill in playing an instrument plus ability to march and follow directions are necessary.

Members participated in the "Pops Concert," a huge success with the audience.  Some of the members were honored at the spring music honors banquet which is for students who have made outstanding contributions.

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The Iowa State College Marching Band performs a 1953 half-time show in Clyde Williams Field.

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