Music Department Category
It was front-page news in the Technician — popular bandleader Fred Waring had agreed to write a new fight song for State College and perform it on his nationally broadcast radio program the following month.
The story, published on this day in 1940, noted that Leo Parks, chairman of the song committee of Mu Beta Psi, a national music fraternity with a chapter at State College, had announced that Waring had accepted an invitation to compose a new fight song to be performed at Wolfpack football games and other sporting events.
Waring, who was known as “The Man Who Taught America How to Sing,” was responding to a request by Mu Beta Psi that had been backed by a petition “carrying the names of practically the entire student body,” read the story in the Technician. The story said most campus organizations also wrote letters to Waring in support of the request made by Mu Beta Psi.
The requests were not usual for Waring, who had told his radio listeners that he would write a song for any college that petitioned it. By the end of 1940, Waring had received requests and petitions from 265 colleges, according to the book Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, by his wife, Virginia Waring.
“The only quiet place Fred could find to compose was in a taxi he commissioned to ply the lanes of Central Park, between rehearsals and radio shows,” she wrote. She said her husband ended up writing songs for 95 colleges.
That included State College, whose “brand new fight-song” was performed on Waring’s show on March 8.
But for all the fanfare about Waring writing the song, it’s not clear that the song itself had much of an impact. The Technician’s account of the performance was in a short story on a back page that made no mention of the song’s lyrics or how it was received by students. Instead, the story said, “if the new song catches on with State College students, it will be adopted officially by the campus musical organizations.”
Homecoming 2012 is over, but before we move on we thought it would be worth looking at some of the numbers from last week:
$1,047.40 – Money raised for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund through the sale of cupcakes by student organizations in the Cupcake War.
85 – Alumni, family and friends who took part in the “Classes Without Quizzes” program at the College of Engineering on Friday.
50 - Years after it was written and first performed, the NC State Wind Ensemble played “Of Earth and Atom” at a concert Tuesday night. “Of Earth and Atom” was originally composed and performed in 1962 in honor of NC State’s 75th anniversary as well as the centennial anniversary of the Morrill Act, the legislation that established land-grant universities.
252 - Pints of blood that NC State students donated as part of the Homecoming blood drive.
250 – Pints of Howling Cow ice cream the first 250 students received in return for their life-saving donations.
1,000 – Slices of Marco’s Pizza given to students as part of the week-long “Wear Red, Get Fed” event.
2,000 – Homecoming T-shirts given to students.
250 – Runners who registered for the University Recreation 5K that kicked off Homecoming week.
60 – Floats and other items in the Homecoming parade.
15 – Contestants in the Craziest Fan contest.
1,000 - Jimmy John’s sub sandwiches given to students as part of the week-long “Wear Red, Get Fed” event.
64 – Lawyers who gathered at the Park Alumni Center on Friday to hear head basketball coach Mark Gottfried and others speak at the annual meeting of the NC State Lawyers Alumni Society.
$10,874 – Money raised for scholarships by the Black Alumni Society at a series of Homecoming events.
14,537 – Cans of food donated by student organizations to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.
11,446 – Estimated number of meals that can be provided by the donations of canned food.
700 – “BEAT” shirts given to members of the Student Alumni Association for the football game against Virginia.
5,000 – Wings from Wing Zone given to 1,000 students as part of the week-long “Wear Red, Get Fed” event.
22 – Display windows on Hillsborough Street businesses painted by students with Homecoming themes.
600 – Students who enjoyed mini bbq sliders from Backyard Bistro as part of the week-long “Wear Red, Get Fed” event.
900 - Alumni and friends who enjoyed barbecue, biscuits and beer at the Alumni Association’s tailgates before the football game on Saturday.
1 - As in first place in the week-long Homecoming spirit competition and winner of the coveted Stafford Bell, which went to Sigma Alpha Omega and Beta Upsilon Chi. Congratulations!
Lois Madden was accustomed to being surrounded by men when she was a student at NC State in the 1940s.
In 1948, Madden became the first woman to graduate from NC State with a degree in chemical engineering after transferring here from Oberlin College.
And, on this day in 1946, Madden was recognized in a local newspaper as being the only woman in NC State’s Red Coat Band.
Madden apparently was not the first woman in the university’s marching band, but she was still the only woman in the 90-piece band in 1946. She was a drummer.
“She is one of the few girls ever to march with the red and white-clad music makers in support of the State College football team, known in grid circles as the Wolfpack,” read the cutline that ran with a photo (left) of Madden in her band uniform.
Fifty years after its debut, music from a piece composed to celebrate NC State’s 75th anniversary will once again be played on a concert stage.
The NC State Wind Ensemble’s fall concert Tuesday night will include a performance of “Of Earth and Atom,” originally composed and performed in 1962 in honor of NC State’s anniversary as well as the centennial anniversary of the Morrill Act, the legislation that established land-grant universities.
The music for “Of Earth and Atom” — which includes spoken and sung parts that will be performed by the Singing Statesmen and the NC State Chorale — was thought to have been lost in the 1965 Pullen Hall fire that destroyed much of the sheet music used by the Music Department.
Harry Tune ’62, who played first trombone in the original performance, launched a search for the music, which turned up in the archives at D.H. Hill Library. Tune and Brent Cousins ’73, ’74, the son of composer M. Thomas Cousins, convinced the Music Department to perform the piece again.
Music Department Chairman J. Mark Scearce said the department was thrilled to present an encore performance of the ceremonial work, particularly in the university’s 125th anniversary year.
“Too often new compositions are given a premiere and that’s the end of them,” he says. “As a composer, I understand those all-important second performances. Many hours of added rehearsal have gone into this and we are all excited by the mounting of this mammoth project, uniting choruses and wind ensemble tomorrow night.”
The concert, which will also include Halloween-themed music, will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Stewart Theatre. Tickets may be purchased by calling 919-515-1100 or online.
—Sylvia Adcock ‘81
Music has always been a part of the fabric of NC State. Imagine halftime of football games without the marching band, or basketball games without the pep band. Imagine the wide range of concerts – from classical to rock – that have taken place on campus. Imagine the Bell Tower without bells. (Yes, we know that there have been times when all people could do was imagine bells in the Bell Tower.)
Much of that musical presence on campus got its start in the 1920s. According to Alice Elizabeth Reagan’s North Carolina State University: A Narrative History, that decade was “the era of great expansion in music” at the university.
It was on this day in 1924 that the Department of Music was established in the School of Science and Business. But music director Percy W. Price (known as “Daddy” Price to countless students) also encouraged the development of an ROTC band, a concert band, a glee club and an orchestra. Price also founded Mu Beta Psi, a musical honorary fraternity, according to Reagan.
Price had come to NC State in 1918 as an instructor in textiles, but his interest in music led him to volunteer to help the band.
“When he took over the reins, there were a few old battered instruments, no music, and very little equipment of any kind,” according to the Alumni News. “This would have discouraged most men, but P.W. was not that kind. The old instruments were cleaned, repaired, and put into use.”
Reagan notes that by the end of the decade, Price had created a band to play at football games and one to play weekly concerts on WPTF radio station.
Fittingly, NC State’s music department is now housed in the Price Music Center.
As the director of bands at NC State from 1982 to 1994, Frank Hammond pushed his students to play their instruments better than they thought possible and to perform shows that, at times, seemed ridiculously ambitious. He helped them develop a lifelong love of music that would stay with them as they moved on to careers as engineers or chemists or chefs. And he taught them lessons that had little to do with music.
“I probably learned more from him than any other professor,” says Rob Faggart, a 1993 graduate from China Grove, N.C. “But it was not about music. It was about life, about responsibility, about doing what you loved and doing everything to the best of your ability.”
Hammond died Jan. 7 at his home in Washington, N.C. He was 78.
Many of Hammond’s former students spent time with Hammond at a surprise reunion in November at the Washington Yacht and Country Club. About 50 students, some of them from as far away at Washington state and Florida, came to honor a man that they considered a mentor and a friend. They each brought their instrument and performed the NC State fight song from memory.
“There are some people that pour into your life and expect nothing in return other than for you to be a better person. That really personifies who he was to me,” says Glenn Massengill of Clayton, N.C., who has three degrees from NC State. “He really gave selflessly of himself and he was so humble. It was always about what you were doing, how much better you could be.”
Massengill, who sells plastic additives and colorants as an account executive for Ampacet Corp., couldn’t read music when he came to NC State in 1987 and, as a result, did not make the cut when he first tried out for the marching band. But he said Hammond put him in a rehearsal band, where he learned to play music. Massengill went on to become the field conductor for the marching band, and he continues to play the trumpet and other brass instruments today.
“I wasn’t the most talented person, but what he did was really push me beyond what I thought my potential was,” he says. “I still play today, and it’s been 25 years. He said that music could be part of your life and not consume your life.”
Jennifer Fuller, a 1991 graduate, recalls Hammond pushing her to play a flute solo with the university’s symphonic band. Fuller, who is now an engineer with the N.C. Department of Transportation, said she suffered from such terrible stage fright that she could not imaging performing a solo.
“He pushed me to do things that I really wasn’t comfortable doing musically,” she says. “He pushed me, and I’m glad he did. He helped me realize some potential and build some self confidence. He believed in all of his students. It didn’t occur to him that you couldn’t do it.”
Fuller says Hammond set high standards for the band and helped each member play better. But she said his lessons often had nothing to do with music. “If you were having trouble with something musically, he was there for you,” she says. “But he was there to bounce off any old problem, what to do with the rest of your life. He was always glad to see you.”
Faggart says he continues to benefit from Hammond’s lessons, noting that he recently decided to follow his passion by enrolling in culinary school. “He just had a real passion for life that came through in everything he did,” he says. “He got extremely excited about everything we did.”
Visitation will be held at Hammond’s home at 129 Fairway Drive, Washington, N.C., from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.
When other NC State students were preparing for their first job interviews after graduation in December 2003, Sherard Griffin ’03 didn’t have to look far. He planned to be his own boss.
After majoring in computer science and minoring in music, he was busy starting his first business. AvanGuard Solutions, a company of four, focused on mobile technology and consulting.
But Griffin had no one to guide him. And that lack of a mentor and AvanGuard’s failure have pushed the entrepreneur to start a new business. NoodleShare fully launched on the Internet last week.
“This came out of a struggle I had,” Griffin says. At AvanGuard he made rookie business mistakes like assembling a team of partners who only had technical know-how, but no marketing experience. “With this one, I just want to make sure people have a place to go.”
NoodleShare will house an online community in which people can present innovative ideas for businesses or products. “We want to start with the inception of the idea and let the community give you feedback on the idea and incubate it,” he says. Then, Griffin and his team will link those people with business partners who can turn the idea into a commodity. “It can be a grandmother who has thought of a new utensil. She can post her idea and look for someone to fund and develop it.”
Griffin and his partners will also hold meetings with local businesses to imbue a sense of entrepreneurship in the Triangle and to teach others from the mistakes that have taught him to revise his approach.
“Four technical people are not good at selling products,” Griffin says. “This time we did the opposite. We have one technical person, and everyone else is in marketing strategy.”
Donald B. Adcock, a former NC State band director who died this month, was remembered in The News & Observer Monday for his life in music.
Adcock served as NC State’s band director for 22 years after coming to the job in 1960.
Sam Stephenson, a local writer who consulted with Adcock for a book about the preservation of jazz’s legacy, told The N & O that Adcock knew music so well that identification became second nature.
“Don knew every musician and every tune. He knew them by ear, and we needed that because the Jazz Loft Project was a detective story at core,” Stephenson said.
Donald B. Adcock, the longtime director of the marching band and other bands and musical groups at NC State, died this week. He was 85.
Adcock worked at NC State for 22 years, retiring in 1982 after helping hundreds of students become better musicians and entertaining thousands at football games, basketball games and other events.
Adcock was remembered by some of his former students this week as a demanding leader who expected the best from his musicians. They said he also took a personal interest in each of the students who played for him.
“Don was the kind of guy that you would walk through fire for,” said Charles Johnson ’76 of Cary, who played the trumpet in the marching band, orchestra, symphonic band and stage band. “He made the band and the musical program at State a real pleasure. People took pride in doing their very best for him.”
Johnson said Adcock was not hesitant to do things his way, noting that the group that played at NC State basketball games in those days was not a pep band that played the same fight songs over and over. Instead, they were a stage band that played a lot of big band music to entertain the Reynolds Coliseum crowd before games and at halftime. Johnson said UNC basketball coach Dean Smith once told Adcock how much he enjoyed the group’s big band sound.
“He made us better than we could ever have been without his strong leadership,” Johnson said of Adcock. “He was a guy you could laugh with and tell jokes with. But when it came time to put on a performance, he wanted the very best. He instilled that sense of pride in us.”
Pam Wilson ’77 of Raleigh started private lessons with Adcock when she was in the fifth grade. She came to NC State, in part, because she wanted to continue to perform with Adcock.
Women had just been allowed in the marching band when Wilson was a student at NC State, and the students received no course credit for their time with the band. But Adcock required band members to meet every day at noon for an hour of practice. Each week, he would have a new show for them to perform at that weekend’s football game.
“He loved the band members, cared about them personally,” Wilson said. “But he held you to a high standard. If you made a mistake, you went back and you fixed it and then you never made it again. Because of that, I became a much, much better player. He demanded excellence and he got it.”
Adcock’s daughter, Sylvia Adcock ’81, is the managing editor of NC State magazine. She said that after retiring from NC State, her father never stopped cheering for the Wolfpack and made sure he never missed a game.
Photo courtesy of Historical State collection, NC State Libraries.
Scholars and musicians will join forces at NC State on Tuesday night to discuss the roles that music can play in rebuilding Haiti in the the wake of the earthquake in 2010.
The event, part of the Price Music Center Lecture Series, is open to the public. Tickets are $10 for members of the public and $8 for senior citizens and NC State faculty and staff. The event is from 7-9 p.m. in the Talley Ballroom.
Scheduled speakers include Michael Largey, a professor of ethnomusicology at Michigan State University and a leading scholar on Haitian music; Janet Anthony, a cellist and music professor at Lawrence University who has spent more than 20 years teaching music in Haiti; and Johnathan Kramer, an NC State professor and ethnomusicologist.