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Muskegon Big Red Band
Muskegon Songs and Concert Highlights   

Memories of
The Muskegon High School Symphonic Band
The coffee stains on the cover attest to the perils of global travel and family raising that have marked the passage of time since 1960 and 1961 when I purchased the records that led to these CD's. They also testify to the central place of the MHS music in my family over the years. I hope they will bring joy and good memories to you as well.

I am happy that technology now enables me to share this wonderful archive throughout the MHS faculty and student body, especially with those who were part of the decade between 1954 and 1963 when the music was performed and recorded. It was an extraordinary decade, not only for those like me, for whom it was a very formative period, but for our nation as well. It was a decade of peace between periods of massive warfare. It was a bridge between the consumerism of the 50s and the rebellion of the 60s.

It was the decade when William Stewart crowned his life work with a trend-setting marching band as well as a top award-winning symphonic band and orchestra, groups that created standards and traditions that continue to this day. I am proud to have been a member of the band and orchestra during that period. I hope that the music stirs pride in you who were a part of the school or its musical organizations and that it helps you remain a part of MHS in spirit. 
Dan Nickell - MHS Class of 1960 
Professionally transcribed to Compact Disc from two LP vinyl recordings released by the band nearly 50 years ago, Dan Nickell has a limited number of these two-disc CDs available for purchase.

Those wanting their own set, with liner notes and photos of the LP covers should contact Dan at


Cost is $25/set and includes shipping and handling.

Each set contains the following 18 tracks
Disc One
The Instrumental Music Department
Muskegon Public Schools
present the
Muskegon High School Symphonic Band
Muskegon Songs and Concert Highlights
"ON MUSKEGON" - W.T. Purdy
Adapted from the University of Wisconsin's famous fight song - "On Muskegon" is known and loved by
all Muskegon fans, because it is the school's oldest pep song.

"COAT OF ARMS", Concert March - Geo. Kenny
This splendid concert march was recorded during the 1959 state finals at Jackson High School. It presents the Muskegon High School Symphonic Band in an "on the spot" performance in which it won its 41st First Division rating in competition. Out of 44 competitive events entered, the band has chalked up 41 firsts, while receiving but 3 seconds.

First Movement, Symphony #3, "ILYA MUROMETZ" - Reinhold Gliere
Also recorded at the 1959 State Finals, this provides a splendid example of the tonal resources and the flexibility of the Muskegon High School Symphonic Band. Here we hear a great transcription made by Glenn Cliffe Bainum, Director Emeritus of the Northwestern University Bands.

"CANZONA FOR BAND" - Peter Mennin
Canzona provides an exciting challenge for young musicians with its modem harmonies and its complex rhythmic patterns. The recording heard here was taped at the Ann Arbor High School Auditorium during the band's contest performance at the 1957 state finals in Class AA. The band was privileged to use Mr. Mennin's manuscript for this exciting number.

"ALMA MATER" - William Stewart
Until 1953, Muskegon High School had no Alma Mater or school hymn, but in that year, Mr. Stewart composed this now familiar music and presented it to the student body. It's acceptance was immediate and today it is beloved by students and alumni, alike.

"RED AND WHITE" - William Stewart
This is Muskegon High's own pep song, written especially for it by Mr. William Stewart. Since its very first performance it has become an integral part of the school's tradition.

Finale, "SECOND SYMPHONY FOR BAND" - Frank Erickson
Here is a performance by the 1959 Symphonic band of one of the finest contemporary works written especially for band. The complete symphony is a part of the band's repertoire, but for the album, we have chosen the lovely final movement.

"ROMANTIC TONE POEM" - Lucien Cailliet
The performance is taken from a 1954 contest performance of the Symphonic Band. Recorded in the College Auditorium in East Lansing, this music emphasizes the tonal qualities and the flexibility of the organization. Mr. Cailliet is a former member of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

"SAFARI" - Harold Walters
This Number was featured on the 1959 Annual Band assembly programs. Featuring several of the members of the flute section. the number is light and rhythmic.

This number was taken from a suite entitled "Ballet for Young Americans". It was included in the album for its novel program effects. It illustrates the problems besetting the young driver - problems such as starting the car, traffic signals, auto horns and the policeman's whistle. The number illustrates, in its conclusion, the unhappy incident of the driver hitting the garage door with the resulting splintering of wood and shattering glass all ably handled by the percussion section.

This recording is an especially stirring one and is taken from the 1954 contest appearance of the Symphonic Band
William L. Stewart
by the
Muskegon High School Symphonic Band
Festival and Concert Highlights
The most spectacular performance of the 1960 State Festivals at Saginaw was the Muskegon Band's playing of the Manzoni Requiem. Here is the recording of that performance.

"FINALE, SYMPHONY No. 5" - Shostakovich
This technically demanding number was first performed by the Muskegon band in 1952 and the 1960-61 band has the number scheduled for their Spring Concert. This recording was made by the 1952 band.

"MARCH DE CONCERT" - Houston Bright
This splendid new march opened the second half of the Memorial Concert in 1960. The unusual ending adds much to its overall appeal.

"TULSA", Tone Poem - Don Gillis
One of the most difficult works performed in recent years by the band was Tulsa, played at
the 22nd Annual Concert, in 1958. This recording was made at that concert.

"THE VETERANS' MARCH" - Gabriel Pares
One of the favorite marches of the 1960-61 band, the Veterans' march was chosen to be used as our warm-up march for the Band Festivals. This recording was made at the District Festival in Coopersville.

"BEGUINE FOR BAND" - Glenn Osser
Beguine for Band has been a favorite through the years. This is the 1960-61 band playing at the Memorial Concert.

"MARCHMANSHIP" Concert March - Howard Cable
This fine concert style march was performed by the Muskegon Concert band at the 24th Annual Winter Concert in 1960. This particular recording was made at the State Festival in Jackson that year