Honoring America’s Regimental Band Legacy at the University of Illinois with the Marching Illini on Saturday during the Illinois-Ohio State Football Game Halftime Show

A. Austin Harding, James Keene, Mark Hindsley, and Harry Begian

The last home game between the University of Illinois and Ohio State University for the 2015 season will take place at 11:00am tomorrow morning at Memorial Stadium.  Tomorrow’s half-time show featuring  the Marching Illini under the direction of Barry Houser will honor America’s regimental band legacy at the University of Illinois, and the contributions of the University’s first four band directors.  In 1868 the University of Illinois band became the first Land Grant Institution music ensemble of its type, one year after its founding as the Illinois Industrial University. In 1870 sixteen of the bandsmen petitioned the University Board for music instruction to help enhance the ensemble’s performance so that it could serve as University’s battalion band for campus commencements, building dedications, parades, and society events as well as various sporting events. The sixty-member band eventually performed at Chicago’s Columbian Exposition on June 16, 1893, the same time as the John Philip Sousa Military Band gave its first performances at the same World’s Fair. In 1908 A. Austin Harding became the first official director of the University of Illinois Band and began a life-long professional relationship with country’s “March King” which eventually led to the creation of America’s School Band Movement in 1920. Since its inception America’s public school band movement and the country’s collegiate band education system has been continually guided by the University of Illinois Band and its first four directors – A. Austin Harding, Mark Hindsley, Harry Begian, and James Keene. Join the Marching Illini in their special musical tribute during the Illinois vs Ohio State football game half-time show to honor the students, faculty, and legacy of the University of Illinois Band and its influence on American School Band Movement.

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