A Community Band
A Community Band
From the very first the Cadet band had established itself as an important part of the university and the city of Lincoln, a tradition which the R.O.T.C. band continued. Playing at rallies, parades, radio broadcasts, away games, and community functions, the R.O.T.C. band was popular not only within the local community, but within the midwest.
Chancellor Avery recognized early in the 1920s that the band was not just a military and university organization. "It is well known to the public through its participation in patriotic drives, Ak-Sar-Ben festivities and the like." In 1927 John Philip Sousa awarded the R.O.T.C. band and its director, Billy Quick, with a silver loving cup trophy as recognition of a fine college band and its achievements.
The importance of the band to the student body and surrounding community was made abundantly clear in 1928. The football team was to travel to West Point to face the Army. There was an initial push to send the band but little financial backing available. The band began raising its own funds and was initially unsuccessful, but soon the student body took it upon itself to raise the money to send the band. Local businessmen and some not-so-local businessmen and organizations began sending in money as well. "The value of sending the university band to the Army game is obvious," a Daily Nebraskan article says. "Here is Nebraska’s chance to show the east that we not only have a strong gridiron machine but also a strong student body that is backing their team to the limit." The support of so many eventually raised the money necessary to send fifty men to New York with the football team to represent the University of Nebraska.
This situation would repeat itself in 1940 when the football team travelled to the Rose Bowl. Letters poured into the Chancellor and university requesting that the band be sent along but the letters went unanswered as discussions took place over financing such an endeavor (1). Finally, the pressure of so many alumni, local leaders, students, and football fans forced the hand of the athletic department and the band went to the Rose Bowl with money provided by the athletic department.