HISTORY OF UC BAND ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Other than alumni associations associated with specific University of Cincinnati colleges, the UCBAA is the longest continually operating alumni association organization at the University of Cincinnati.
An informal University of Cincinnati Band alumni organization was formed in the late 1940s/early 1950s. However, this initial organization eventually fizzled out.
In 1971, a small group of alumni organized a band and marched in UC’s Homecoming parade.
The University of Cincinnati Band Alumni Association (UCBAA), as it exists today, was started in the Fall of 1978 by a group of loyal band alumni led by Randy Smith, a UC Bearcat Band member and 1977 graduate.
The undergraduate band was in dire need of financial support. Mr. Smith led an initiative to form an endowment to support the band. However the University indicated that a UC Band alumni association should be established and functioning before an endowment fund could be established. This was one of the early reasons the UCBAA was started.
The following people attended the organizational meeting in summer of 1978:
- Dave & Lois Gribler
- Bill & Barb Weidus
- Bill & Cindy Morelli
- Julie Brown
- Debbie Moschel & Mark Albert
- Randy Smith
The purpose of the UCBAA was to: promote a fraternal spirit among the Band Alumni, to foster closer bonds of fellowship between the Alumni and the University Student Bands, to lend support to bring victory to our Alma Mater’s athletic teams and to give practical and financial assistance to the Band and Athletic interests of our Alma Mater. (This purpose was included in the first UCBAA constitution written in 1978.)
The first UCBAA event was a performance as part of the UC Homecoming parade in the fall of 1978. The band also performed at a UC basketball game in Riverfront Coliseum during the winter break in December 1978. The UCBAA started marching in Homecoming parades in 1978 and has marched in every Homecoming parade since then.
In its early years, the UCBAA sponsored an annual summer picnic. The first picnic was held on Saturday, June 2, 1979 at the Alumni house on UC’s campus. These picnics were later moved to the campus YMCA.
The UCBAA became an official member of the UC National Alumni Association in November of 1979. At this time, a board of governors and officers were elected.
The first UCBAA officers were:
|Paul Chiapone||Vice President|
|Don Hudson||Vice President, activities|
|Cindy Morelli||Recording Secretary|
|Julie Brown||Corresponding Secretary|
Board of Governors:
- Dr. R. Robert Hornyak
- Dr. James Morand
- Sue Brown
- Lois Gribler
- William Weidus
- Sid Rindsberg
Following the UC vs. Mississippi game of 1978, the UCBAA started the tradition of holding an annual band dinner immediately following UC Homecoming games. Over 150 people attended the first dinner and attendees included Dr. Hornkak, Mr. Hodges and Dr. Morand.
The UCBAA sponsored a co-ed alumni softball team in 1978 that played in the UC Young Alumni league. The UCBAA softball team played every summer from 1978 through 1986.
The invention of the personal computer in the late 1970s was key to the success of the UCBAA. Identifying and tracking band alumni was the most difficult job for UCBAA organizers. In order to find band alumni from previous years, Mr. Smith scoured every yearbook from 1920 to 1978, compiling a composite list of band members. Ms. Brown also searched through old uniform cards to compile a list of former band members. The lists were compared to the list of alumni on the University’s computer list. When a match was found, the alumnus was coded in the UC system as a band alumni member and began to receive mailings from the UCBAA.
The UCBAA starting collecting donations to establish an endowment in the late 1970s. Randy Smith negotiated with former UC basketball coach George Smith to establish an endowment fund within the UC Foundation for the UC Band program. The original endowment was set up to pay for student scholarships, travel and equipment for the undergraduate bands program. The original goal to establish the endowment was ten thousand dollars. Because of the turmoil within the UC Bands program, the endowment was set up so that the current UC Band director, the president of the UCBAA and the UC Athletic Director (or his designee) had to approve any expenditure of earnings from the endowment. It was also set that the endowment’s principle could never be spent. The Foundation grew to just under $100,000 by TBD.
The UCBAA purchased windbreakers as a uniform for the Homecoming parade in 1983. The first set of windbreakers were designed and silk-screened by Bill Weidus. The uniform idea came from a UC Band trip to Pittsburgh where the Pitt Alumni Band wore a uniform that included windbreakers.
In 1985, the Alumni Band marched 93 people in the Homecoming parade.
In 2005 Dr. Mitchel D. Livingston and Bill Mulvihill contacted Ben Gettler, trustee of the Rockwern Foundation and a former UC trustee and track athlete. The gentlemen convinced Ben to have the Rockwern Foundation donate $500,000 to establish the Rockwern Endowment Fund for the UC Bearcat Bands. This donation allowed for all returning UC Band members to receive a partial scholarship assistance beginning in 2006.
In 2007, new graduate LeAnne Anklan organized the first annual UCBAA Alumni Band Homecoming Reunion held Friday evening, October 12, 2007 at the General Electric Employment Activities Association (GEEAA) Park clubhouse in Springdale, Ohio. Approximately 100 attendees participated in this event.
After rave reviews for the first year, in 2008, the second annual reunion was held at GEEAA Park on Friday, October 10, 2008 for approximately 90 guests. Former UC Band directors Dr. R. Robert Hornyak and Dr. Terrence Milligan and current band directors Dr. Terren L. Frenz and Mr. David Martin were in attendance.
Also, in the fall of 2008, the UCBAA moved their money from a savings account to the UCBAA Gift Fund. The move was motivated by the need for the UCBAA to move into compliance with the University’s policies, and also to give each dues paying member of the UCBAA an official tax deduction from the UC Foundation. The UCBAA also stopped trying to maintain a separate mailing list and began using UC Foundation database to mail out updates.
On Friday, October 23, 2009, approximately 90 guests attended the reunion, once again held at GEEAA Park. Dr. Terren L. Frenz and Mr. David Martin were also in attendance. Many alumni were able to visit and reconnect with Dr. R. Robert Hornyak during the football game before his passing on November 23, 2009. On Saturday, October 24, 2010, a group of over 100 alumni band members was thrilled to perform during pregame for a sold-out crowd at Nippert Stadium.
On Friday, October 29, 2010, the UCBAA celebrated the 90th Anniversary of the UC Bands for the fourth annual reunion held at the Rockwern Band Center on UC’s campus. Special guests included Dr. Terren L. Frenz, new UC Band assistant directors Dr. Jody Besse and Mr. Nick Angelis, and UC Alumni Association president Myron Hughes. Over 100 guests attended for this special celebration. Guests were treated to newly uncovered historical reels (audio and visual) from UC Bands’ years past as well as a full presentation of UC Band’s historical items from UCBAA and UC Bands’ storage. On Saturday, October 30, 2011, during the pregame performance, the alumni band spelled out a “90” on the field in honor of the UC Band’s birthday. Again the band numbered around 100 members.
With the move of UC’s Homecoming down to Paul Brown Stadium downtown for Homecoming 2011, the UCBAA created a unique Homecoming experience for band alums. On Friday, October 14, 2011, ~ 70 alumni marched in the annual Homecoming parade in Clifton. Immediately following the parade, over 80 guests attended an informal reunion held at a local restaurant. On Saturday, October 15, 2011, a small, informal UCBAA group of about 30 members met up early in the morning at Paul Brown Stadium to play for the crowds who were beginning to tailgate for Homecoming. This was well-received and a few audience members were even able to join in for a song or two.
UC BAND ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OFFICERS
Please help us fill out this list. If you know the association presidents from any of the remaining years, please contact LeAnne Anklan.
|04/05||Steven Okel||Bill Wergowske|
|05/06||Steven Okel||Jodi Schmidt||Bill Wergowske|
|06||Julie Benken||Clint Bourgeois||Bill Wergowske|
|07||Clint Bourgeois||Bill Wergowske|
|07/08||Clint Bourgeois||Bill Wergowske|
|08/09||Clint Bourgeois||Kellie Leitz|
|09/10||Clint Bourgeois||Kellie Leitz|
|10/11||Nick DelleCave||LeAnne Anklan||Kellie Leitz|
|11/12||Nick DelleCave||LeAnne Anklan||Kellie Leitz|
|12/13||James Bedingfield||LeAnne Anklan||Kellie Leitz|
00/04 Bill Wergowske