Marching Bands: Now & Then

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Strike Up the Band

Like many institutions across the country, Drake University mobilized for World War II, and hundreds of new faces arrived on campus. According to the terms of an agreement with the War Department, Drake was “to provide housing, food, and instruction for five hundred to five hundred and fifty men assigned here as an Army Air Corps Training Crew.” The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps requisitioned Cole Hall—home today to the Office of Undergraduate Admission—and two other University buildings.

Drake was soon awash in olive drab uniforms, the campus buzzing with national service and Sousa marches in addition to traditional academics. The period during and immediately after WWII became transformational for Drake. Enrollment surged with veterans after 1945, and calls for campus expansion led to Eliel and Eero Saarinen’s landmark buildings: the Quads, Harvey-Ingham, Fitch, and Hubbell.

Today the Drake University Marching Band brings martial accuracy to its footwork and music on Johnny Bright Field.

—Danny Akright, JO’10, AS’10

Check out the Drake University Marching Band at Lambeau Field and Arrowhead Stadium in this vintage footage.

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