The Fifties

1950
Director Malcolm Holmes '28, Manager P. Lucey '51, Drill Master W. Handelman '53, Drum Major T. Barry '52. "Up the Street" march album recorded and "Ivy League" and "Half-Time" albums reissued. "Substitutions Unlimited" drill at Army game. Korean War begins. First "Golden Gloves" appearance in Lowell; first "Drum Beats and Song" performance at Radcliffe Student Council show. Band plays at Wellesley Winter Carnival, and at a concert in Springfield with the Mount Holyoke Glee Club. Band purchases famous white coat for Mal Holmes. Another summer band organized.
1951
Director Malcolm Holmes '28, Manager F. Hopkins '52, Drill Master W. Handelman '53, Drum Major T. Barry '52. Band moves into Varsity Club quarters (9 Prescott St.) from cramped space in Music Building. Army football given to Band by Lloyd Jordan after victory. First Brown game "bash" at Weld boathouse. Band gives informal concert at end of season, plays Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition at Dartmouth concert. Collier's magazine gives Band publicity. General MacArthur is relieved of command in Korea by President Truman.
1952
Director Malcolm Holmes '28, Manager D. Hastings '53, Drill Master W. Handelman '53, Student Conductor P. Strauss '54. Mal Holmes is too ill to do Dartmouth concert; Pete Strauss takes over as substitute. U.S. develops the hydrogen bomb. Band performs in "Drum Beats Song" again; first concert in Symphony Hall for Harvard Club of Boston Scholarship Foundation. First perfomance of "Harvard Pops," arranged by G. Wright Briggs. Paul Touchette Jr., '60, joins the Band to provide a father-and-son team of performers. Mal Holmes dies in June, mourned by all bandsmen and those enriched by his zeal and skill.
1953
Director G. Wright Briggs '31, Mangaer P. Strauss '54, Drill Master S. Singer '54, Student Conductor P. Strauss '54, Drum Major L. Corser '54. Wright Briggs is installed as new director. Band is arrested in New Haven after early morning high jinks en route to the Columbia game. The new President Pusey and his wife appear at the Band party after the Brown game, somewhat to the consternation of merry-makers. "Commercials on Parade," arranged by Finnegan, is introduced at the Dartmouth concert. "Bands on Parade," a parody of fast-stepping units, done by Finnegan for the Yale Bowl. U.S.S.R. develops the hydrogen bomb. Band perfoms drill on skates in Boston Garden for Yale hockey. Band plays Symphony Hall concert again.
1954
Director G. Wright Briggs '31, Manager A. Novick '55, Drill Master R. Rogers '56, Student Conductor R. Blacklow '55, Drum Major G. Nimtz '57. 35th reunion draws large alumni Band; "Tunes Through the Years" production number by Finnegan features "echo" trumpets. First senior Christmas party in Wellesley. Band leads parade in South Boston on Evacuation Day. "Between the Halves" album session in Symphony hall includes medleys by John Finnegan and Wright Briggs. The big Bass Drum expires and is replaces by a new, improved, and BIGGER version. Senator McCarthy attempts to root out communists in government but is censured for going too far.
1955
Director G. Wright Briggs '31, Manager A. Aronson '56, Drill Master R. Rogers '56, Student Conductor W. Sechriest '56, Drum Major G. Nimtz '57. Band switches to handsome blazers with drum emblems. During hazardous plane trip to New York to perform at Harvard Club, embarrassing one-hour delay is filled by Frank Hatch '19, good friend of the Band, in NY. Band makes long trip in rickety cargo plane to Loring Air Force Base in Maine for concert on Armed Services Day. U.S. sends troops to train South Vietnamese forces. Massachusetts medley arranged by Loring T. Briggs '41. Band records 45 rpm album, including Briggs march later published as "Concord and Lexington."
1956
Director G. Wright Briggs '31, Manager S. Dills '57, Drill Master W. Ernst '57, Student Conductor P. Gold '57, Drum Major G. Nimtz '57. Band plays in Carnegie Hall in New York (with Glee Club), playing new Bernstein music with the composer himself in the audience. Band plays early season concert for Connecticut Savings Banks Association convention in New Hampshire, and takes spring tour to Albany, Buffalo, and points west. Trip in May to Associated Harvard Clubs meeting in Washington; performance at Dumbarton Oaks. Band performs at Red Sox opening-day game. U.S.S.R. invades Hungary.
1957
Director G. Wright Briggs '31, Manager K. Lane '58, Drill Master N. Douglas '58, Student Conductor J. Connolly '58, Drum Major A. Pratt '58. First Band telecast over WGBH-TV from old studios near M.I.T. First artificial satellite, "Sputnik," is launched. Symphony Hall concert includes Roger Voisin as guest soloist and conductor. Band takes long tour to Connecticut, Detroit, and Chicago. Prop crew borrows R.O.T.C. rifles and carries them at Princeton game to protect Bass Drum.
1958
Director G. Wright Briggs '31, Manager G. Kirklin '59, Drill Master N. Douglas '58, Student Conductor M. Gilman '59. Fidel Castro seizes power in Cuba. Disastrous fire in the Band Room occurs after first game of the season; Band headquarters move to 54 Dunster Street for a short time. Band performs preseasons concert in Maine for Massachusetts Savings Bank Association. Band joins M.I.T. band on WGBH Christmas telecast. Leroy Anderson is guest conductor at Symphony Hall.
1959
Director G. Wright Briggs '31, Manager C. Hagaman '60, Drill Master R. Raynolds '60, Student Conductor P. Cobb '60, Drum Major J. Bassett '60. Fortieth reunion game gets soaked by rainstorm. Dartmouth concert presents former student conductors plus Fred Reynolds, Jack Finnegan, and Leroy Anderson. Alaska and Hawaii are admitted to the Union. Lowell House quad concert features 1812 Overture and includes Russian bells of Lowell tower as a special effect. Wright Briggs conducts final concert on Class Day and retires as director.
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