A History Ripe in Tradition
The Huskies Pep Band has a wild history. The band has transformed from a very formal R.O.T.C. Band in 1928 to the striped band that we all have grown to love! The modern striped version of the band's inception was around 1967, making the modern Huskies Pep Band over 50 years old!
Continue reading below for a brief history of our beloved band!
The Inception of the Band
Back in the Day
From the 1930 Keweenawan:
The Michigan Tech R.O.T.C. band was organized in the autumn of 1928, partly to provide military music for the R.O.T.C. unit, and partly to satisfy the demand for a musical organization that would represent the College at athletic contests. At the time, only fifty percent of the band were members of the R.O.T.C., but within a year the band was composed entirely of members of the Unit. The College and the Government cooperated in providing the band with equipment and uniforms. Tech had the good fortune to secure as director of the band, Mr. E. E. Melville, an experienced and professional musician.
Taking advantage of a nucleus of trained musicians around whom to build his organization, Director Melville accomplished results attainable only by a talented bandmaster, and it is largely to him that the band owes its rapid· advancement. Under him the band developed into a well-balanced musical unit possessing an instrumentality of thirty-five pieces. During his time, the band began playing at all home football games, at the Sunday Evening Get-Togethers, Commencement Day Exercises, various R.O.T.C. drills, Armistice Day ceremonies, Memorial Day, and several Military Balls. Under Melville's leadership, a number of near-by towns and cities requested an opportunity to hear the band, initiating a series of concerts to be given throughout the Copper Country, and perhaps the Iron Country as well, in the winter and spring of 1930-31.
Following the unfortunate loss of Mr. Melville as a director, the band felt sure that due to his efforts and with a continued cooperation of the students, faculty, and townspeople, “The Pride of Michigan Tech” would further develop into a leading college band program.
The Banned Band
The Pep Band is currently banned from the Northern Michigan University football dome and has been since the mid 80's. The band was formally requested by NMU's athletic director (in writing) never to appear in their stadium as an opposing band ever again, because they took away the home field advantage.
In 2008, the band attempted to circumvent this by crashing the yearly NMU-MTU football game without instruments. The band was refused seats and were forced to set up camp in the end zone, where they received more television airtime than the NMU band.
Battle of the Stripes
History was made on Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 7:07 p.m. ET at Berry Events Center when Michigan Technological University played Northern Michigan University. For the first time in over 30 years the Huskies Pep Band was able to bring instruments into the hockey game, but not just any hockey game. This game was the 2018 WCHA Championship Game where Michigan Tech defeated NMU 2-0. The horizontal stripes of the NMU band invited the vertical stripes of the Huskies Pep Band to join them after the game for pizza.
How the Stripes Came to Be
The history of the stripes themselves is almost as scrambled as the band itself. From the beginning of the band, they have been known for their unique and entertaining uniforms. One of the original ideas was for a dark wind breaker and a railroad engineer’s cap.
Thankfully, from a historical standpoint, then director Don Keranen decided to go with multi-colored striped bib overalls. Ten years later, when director Mike Griffith attempted to reorder, the band encountered a problem. The overalls were only offered in gold/black and red/white. To remedy the situation, the trombone section was put into red and white, gold and black were given to the new members, and the returnees reused the multi-colored pairs as long as they could make them last.
The official switch to gold and black stripes came in 1996 when director Jeff Bell-Hanson placed an order through a company called Lil’ Fan. The company actually made overalls for toddlers, which were the perfect material for the larger copies. The final order total came to about $12,000. The Michigan Tech Presidents club footed most of the bill, which was repaid through the sale of the older stripes.
The stripes currently worn by the band are GameBibs overalls and boldly display the current Huskies Pep Band logo established in 2016 when Michigan Technological University also updated logos.