Music History
Iowa State University
Frank Piersol

Picture of the Entire Concert Band

1954 ISC Concert Band

Winter concert featuring a famous saxophonist highlighted the 1954 band year.  The Iowa State College Concert Band climbed aboard chartered buses and toured the southern part of Iowa.  Cities visited included Waterloo, Muscatine and Des Moines.  The group was welcomed at every stop and had a grand time performing for the enthusiastic audiences.  The bandsmen became quite accustomed to the hot lights of television as they presented several TV programs over station WOI-TV.  World-famous saxophonist Sigurd Rascher appeared with the band during its annual winter concert.  In addition, the band presented concerts during the vall and spring quarters.  The membership included 80 players picked by competitive tryouts.  Under the direction of Frank Piersol, band practice was held three times a week, and many times extra rehearsals were called.

Strictly for fun - that's the philosophy behind the music program at Iowa State.  Since no music degrees are granted at this school, there are no music majors and minors to provide the backbone for the band, orchestra and chorus as is the case in many other schools.  From first flute to last chair tuba, from first soprano to second bass, the musical organizations are made up of students to shom music is strictly an avocation.  Since every member is there because he wants to be, rather than because he has to be to get his degree, everyone enjoys himself and morale is high.  Knowing of this situation, visitors to the campus are amazed that the music is of such high quality.  Iowa State is justly proud of her musical groups.  In quality and in scope, the music program at ISC compares favorably with those offered at other colleges and universities.  Under Dr. Alvin Edgar, the nine member staff keeps things running smoothly and enjoyable for all.  Students can, if they desire, obtain private lessons in vocal or instrumental music at a moderate cost.  This year, there were over 250 students taking advantage of these lessons.

Variety is the keynote of musical activity at Iowa State.  In addition to the band, orchestra and chorus, there are many lesser known phases of musical activity which add to campus life.  One bit of campus music which students hear every day but tend to take for granted is the daily carillon concerts from the campanile.  Each morning and noon the carillon, played by Professor Ira Schroeder, serenades students on their way to classes.

There are several special music courses offered by the college.  One of these is the conducting class intended to train students to lead small musical groups such as residence or church choirs.  A course in music appreciation is offered to acquaint the layman with the different types of music and to help him to understand each one.  The department furnishes music for a wide variety of college functions.  Whether it is the Religion-in Life convocation or the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, the musicians of Iowa State are ready to do their part.

Iowa State's music is not restricted to the campus, however, for WOI Television and Radio carry broadcasts throughout the state.  Each Wednesday afternoon, the music department presents a one-half hour radio program of music performed by ISC faculty and students.

1954 ISC Marching Band

Frank Piersol Directing

Bandsmen's novel formations, peppy music, highlight football halftimes - Soft Hawaiian music, a grass-skirted hula girl swaying in time with the rhythm ... no, it's not Hawaii, it's just a formation in another of the wonderful halftime shows by the Iowa State College Marching Band.  At all home football games, the band, directed by Prof. Frank Piersol, entertain with their lively music and complicated drills.  A syncopated clock with hands that moved and a rocket ship that sailed the entire length of the field were two of the other novel formations the crowds saw this year.

In addition to performing at all home games, the band travelled with the team to Drake and Kansas.  For the first time, a movie in both color and sound was taken of an entire halftime ceremony put on by the band.  A new fight song written by Meredith Willson, was dedicated a week before Homecoming.

The band creating a "Man from Mars" Figure on the field.
The 1954 Marching Band performs one of its more intricate maneuvers for the football fans. 
It's a "man from Mars" cavorting around the field.