Major Accomplishments of Music Programs

  • 1956: The Men's Glee Club was founded in the Spring.
  • 1957: The new Ferris alma mater song, "Ferris Fidelity," is adopted, and it is performed for the first time under the direction of composer Graham T. Overgard at the Christmas concert.
  • 1958: The first performance of the new fight song, "Fighting Bulldogs," with the Homecoming Massed Bands.
  • 1958: The first television appearance of the Ferris Marching band at an NFL football game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.
  • 1958: Founding of the Honors Clinic Band as a feature of outdoor commencements on "Top" Taggart Field. Col. Hugh Curry, leader of the U.S Army Band, was the first guest conductor, and he was followed over the years by many leading university band directors and symphony conductors.
  • 1958: The "Festival Chorus" is organized as a feature of the Festival of the Arts. For the first time community members were invited to join with the college choral organizations to perform a major choral work.
  • 1958: The growth of music program warranted the addition of a third faculty member. Mr. Donahue joined to take charge of the Men's Glee Club program and teach in the Department of Humanities, Arts and Speech.
  • 1961: Growth in numbers and quality of music activities merited the construction of the Music Center. President Spathelf's initiative won state approval to finance the construction with self-liquidating bonds.
  • 1965: The College-Community Summer Band was founded. Membership included summer session students and community adults.
  • 1966: Ferris fields its first 100-piece Marching Band in the Fall.
  • 1967: The College-Community Orchestra was formed. String players from the surrounding area (high school students and adults) were invited to join.
  • 1967: Bill Root became Director of Bands and teacher in the Dept. of Humanities, Arts and Speech, and Dacho Dachoff begins an orchestra program.
  • 1968: Bill Root establishes the "Youth Symphony Band," comprising outstanding high school band players from the surrounding counties, . providing an outlet for students to study and perform music literature commensurate to their advanced abilities in a college setting.
  • 1969: Mr. Root establishes the Summer Music Camp.
  • 1969: The "Messiah Choral Union" was created. Community people were invited to participate with college combined choral groups. In addition, college students not currently enrolled in any music group were invited and encouraged to join.
  • 1970: The May Music Festival was inaugurated with the first jazz concert, featuring the FSU Stage Band. The High School Massed Band also played at the Festival. The massed band featured an outstanding Michigan high school band director as a special guest, who received the Conductor's Award of Ferris State College. The Festival concluded with a Music Activities Department "pops" concert.
  • 1973: The Ferris Marching Band represented the state of Michigan at the President's Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C., in January.
  • 1974: Bill Munroe joins the music faculty. He ushers in a refreshing new music activity: the "Collegiate Singers", a vocal-instrumental pop group with dance choreography, featuring many of his original arrangements.
  • 1974: The Ferris State College Concert Band is featured at the Midwestern Conference at the University of Michigan.
  • 1977: Mr. Harry Dempsey joins the music faculty to take over the College-Community orchestra; serve as assistant marching band director and create special musical arrangements; and expand the jazz program. The stage band evolves into the Jazz Ensemble and Dempsey creates the Jazz Lab Band. Dr. Dachoff relinquishes his orchestra and chamber music program, continues as Director of Music Activities, becomes special assistant to the president for the arts and expands the Art in Public Places program.