Two things this week that can make Harvard Men especially proud that they are. One was the Life magazine spread on the quaint mores of the Big Ten. The other was at once, more subtle and more forceful, being an event that stirred the most shamefully concealed traces of School Pride. It was, of course, the annual Band Concert.
The evening began slowly. A few in the audience made furtive toe-tappings through the opening medleys. They had learned in grammar school music appreciation classes that true music lovers don't keep time with their feet, but with their souls. By the time the band got to the Harvard medley, everyone was bound should and foot by the melodious blare, and was stomping away with joy and a new-found pride in an already favorite Harvard institution.
Just before the intermission, to break the pace, the band selected three young ladies from the audience for a band conducting contest. A Miss Ceil Saperstein, from N.Y.U., led the group at a mad pace to win the contest. She was awarded a Band album despite ugly rumblings from the glockenspiel section, one of whose members wanted to be the prize.
After the intermission the band would up again with a march by its conductor, G. Wright Briggs. Then the music swung into a cleverly arranged "Salute to Dartmouth," after which the arranger, John a. Finnegan, was introduced to accompanying applause. Mr. Finnegan was gratified, Mr. Briggs was happy, and the band, plus the audience, was anxious to get back to the music.
Then came he evening's only discord--or rather, slight dissonance, since everyone felt too good to harbor grudges. Kenneth Mittell has composed a new football song that, while named "Cheer," brings little into the lives of football song enthusiasts. Nevertheless, last night's spirit encouraged prolonged applause for good and loyal tries.
After a mild demonstration in Mr. Mittell's favor quieted down, the band really gave cause for cheering by playing Mr. Finnegan's "Variations On A Well-Known Theme." The theme was "Marching to Pretoria" and was played as Sousa might have, then in the style of Walter Shaman's "Dragnet" theme, and again after the manner of Spike Jones. Finally, the band imitated the Katzenjammer Kids by singing the song in Dutch. It was a very successful number.
To cap the program there was some singing of Harvard songs, Wintergreen and a Technicolor-Cinemascope-Stereophonic version of "Stars and Stripes Forever." When the program closed with "Fair Harvard," an audience, grateful for a wonderful, swinging evening, was again convinced that Harvard has the best band in the country.