UPDATED Dec. 27, 2021, with photo and information from charter flagline member Cynthia Luse-McKeen regarding the first year of the HMB color guard.
As University of Iowa fans gear up for the Jan. 1 Citrus Bowl, alumni reflect on past bowl game experiences, including those with the Hawkeye Marching Band.
“BAND 141” celebrates more than 140 years of marching tradition at the University of Iowa in an exhibit at the Voxman Music Building in Iowa City.
Band director Eric Bush donated a collection of materials from HMB history, including photographs, drill charts, papers, scrapbooks, uniform pieces, audio and video recordings and other memorabilia to the Rita Benton Music Library in 2020.
The exhibit, which opened in September 2021, draws from the donated materials and other collections held in University Archives such as UI Yearbooks, Charles B. Righter Papers, Scottish Highlander Records and Daily Iowan archives.
Visitors can explore the band’s history through its directors, core song list, innovative formations and wide ranging uniforms on the building’s first floor.
The exhibit continues on the second floor alongside the Recital Hall, highlighting the band’s drum majors, alumni band, Golden Girls and Scottish Highlanders.
The Hawkeye Marching Band received its first orders in 1881 as a military ensemble.
As an alum and former staffer of the HMB color guard, also known as “silks” or flagline, I was excited to learn a bit more about its history, but unless I somehow missed it, there wasn’t a single photo or mention of the flags.
With so much material, it was undoubtedly difficult to cull the information to fit in the small exhibit space.
As a book author, including one on the history of drum & bugle corps, I understand the challenge of trying to include pieces of an entire spectrum of an entity’s lengthy history.
Still, it would be nice to know who started the HMB color guard and why.
The flagline ended its run with the 1991 Rose Bowl. I was proud to instruct those 32 remarkable members, and think it’s worth recognizing the contributions they, and those who came before them, made to HMB history, if not in an exhibit, then at least here.
Cynthia Luse-McKeen, one of the charter members of the HMB color guard, noted that it started in 1974, and provided a photo of that first group.
Here is a photo of the final HMB color guard, in the wee hours of the morning at the Rose Bowl parade in 1991, and more about the Band 141 exhibit, below: