UMBAA Origins

How the UMBAA came to be...

In 1949, several band alumni wanted to continue their service to their beloved Michigan bands and began designing the Band Alumni Association. The Association was ready for its first year of membership in 1950, culminating in a letter dated October 5, 1950, to all known former Michigan Bandsmen. The letter read in part: "The undersigned committee has been appointed with the consent of Professor Revelli to establish an organization of the Band Alumni of The University of Michigan." Co-chairmen of the committee were Roger K. Becker and Clarence Roth. The letter invited all interested bandsmen to attend a reunion, dated November 17-18. Sixty-five bandsmen attended the reunion providing a relatively sizable audience for the committee’s presentation. The bandsmen present approved founding the Association as envisioned by the committee and by the end of the business meeting on the morning of November 18, chaired by Roger Becker, the following officers were appointed:

Original Board
President Gordon Packer
Vice President George Hall
Secretary / Treasurer Clarence Roth
Director Roger Becker (2 Years)
Director Charles Larson (2 Years)
Director Ed Apple (1 Year)
Director Gerald Strong (1 Year)

The Constitution Committee just "happened" to have a Constitution handy, it was adopted, and the Association was officially in business. In 1951, it was suggested that the Homecoming game feature a performance by an Association-organized alumni band. The idea was well received, but proved logistically unfeasible, and the idea was temporarily shelved. The second band alumni reunion was held October 26-27, 1951. Thirty-five intrepid members attended and much merriment was had. Members were invited to bring instruments for a post-game band practice, to kick start the conception of an alumni band. Louis Elbel was a guest at this reunion, and was awarded the Band Alumni's first Honorary Life Membership. The following officer board was elected:

President Gordon Packer (re-elected)
Vice President George Hall (re-elected)
Secretary George Cavendar
Treasurer Clarence Roth
Historian Gerald Strong
Director Roger Beck
Director Charles Larson

The third reunion was held October 24-25, 1952 where George Hall was elected president. The Alumni Band took another step forward, performing together for the first time during the homecoming game. They performed in the stands, sitting next to the Varsity Band, but had yet to take the field.

October 17, 1953 witnessed the premiere of Michigan’s Marching Alumni Band, parading to the homecoming game and marching in the pre-game show. The performance caused a sensation! Everyone loved seeing all the “old timers,” in their bright plug hats. It became an annual event, and a new Michigan tradition.

Under the leadership of Gary Straffon the Association was incorporated as a domestic non-profit corporation on October 30, 1985.

As the years pass, the band plays on. The faces of the Association may change, but our mission stays the same. We serve the bands, break out the old horns and enjoy the camaraderie of our fellow band mates, new and old.