The first mention of a band on the University of Iowa campus was in 1865, and "the first officially sanctioned band at The University of Iowa was a student-led brass band, established in 1880 under the auspices of the military department. Called the University Battalion Band, it was originally established for the purpose of providingmartial music for the department‟s military functions. Led by students of the UniversityBattalion, the role of the band soon expanded to provide music for concerts, football games, dances and various commencement exercises as early as the spring of 1882. These campus-wide performances were widely noticed by the population at large. 'Activities on the campus of a non-military nature...show that this organization was becoming more than the University Battalion Band; it was the beginning of a University Band.
From 1881 through 1906, twenty-two students are listed as a leader, musical director or captain. In 1906 the military department began the practice of hiring non- students as band masters.
In 1936 the band was removed from the military department and moved to its permanent location within the School of Music. Orie Elmer Van Doren, who was appointed band master by the military department in 1911, continued to serve in the position through 1937. Since the departure of Van Doren, there have been only five otherdirectors within the school of music's history: Charles Righter (1937-1954), Frederick C. Ebbs (1954-1967), Frank Piersol (1967-1980), Myron Welch (1980-2008), and Richard Mark Heidel (2008-present).
The Hawkeye Marching Band was included under the leadership of the Director of Bands until 1967. Since that time there have been five directors: Thomas L. Davis (1967-1973), Morgan Jones (1973-1991 and 1996-1998), David Woodley (1991-1993), David Henning (1993-1996), L. Kevin Kastens (1998-2018), and Eric W. Bush (2018-present). Due to the success of Iowa football, the marching band has been privileged to perform at numerous bowl games since 1957.
Throughout their history, bands at The University of Iowa have grown in size, distinction, and number. The concert and marching ensembles currently contained within the department of bands have established an international reputation of excellence through overseas tours, prominent national and state performances, recordings, and major bowl games and parade appearances. (Larry Jens Peterson, 2012)
Now, more than 600 students, music majors and non-music majors, participate in one of six university bands.
The Symphony Band is the premiere wind band at the university while other bands include the Concert Band, University Band and Chamber Winds. Additional bands include the nationally famous 250-member Hawkeye Marching Band and the Iowa Pep Band.
Students from all academic disciplines are invited to participate in the UI Band program as membership in all of our bands is open to any interested and qualified University of Iowa student regardless of major. You are cordially invited to browse the University of Iowa Band website and learn about our bands, conductors, graduate teaching assistants, repertoire, auditions, and special activities and events.