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September 11, 1976 - Image 15

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-09-11

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Saturday, September 11, 1976


Page Five

The man behind the band ,

George Cavender sits behind
the desk in his brightly-lit
Revelli Hall office, contemplat-
ing a six-inch stack of index
cards bearing the names of
prospective Michigan Marching
Bank members. Never before
did that stack reach such a
height, and never before did
the director of the band face
as onerous a schedule as he
does this year
Before today's first football
game against Wisconsin, Caven-
der and his assistants had to
conduct the grueling task of or-
ganizing over ,200 band mem-
bers in the space of only six
days; teaching fundamentals to
freshpersons as well as trying
out each member musically,
The next four weeks see
four straight home games and,
accordingly, four consecutive
weekly performances by the
marching band.
Cavender, however,; loves ev-
ery minute of it.
"This is something that phys-
ics professors and chemistry
professors never experience,"
Cavender says of conducting a
large, talented unit of students
whose tremendous esprit d'
corps blossoms at each perform-
"Ins sure the person who
views the band never senses
the emotion that the group feels.
They get keyed up when they
do a great performance and
the emotion they feel just rep-
resents this great University.
They have great pride in them-
selves, the band, and the Uni-
versity. ",

The band enjoyed the oppor-
tunity of representing the Uni-
versity earlier this year at
the Orange Bowl Game, and
was warmly received by the
people of Miami for its splen-
did performances during the
Orange Bowl parade and pre-
game show.
Cavender, who has been asso-
ciated with the band for a
quarter century, and its direc-
tor since 1971, considers the
marching band a consistent
component of the football sea-
son, whereas the fortunes of
the team do tend to fluctuate.
"I've seen the lean years and
the so-called fat years," reflects
Cavender, propping his shiny,
black shoes on his desk. "I re-
member the lean years - al-
most 17 years in which we
didn't win much in football and
during this time one of the
great sources of pride is that
the band never deserted the
team. If the team wasn't doing
good, that was not an excuse
to do a poor performance."
The conductor expects a per-
fect performance from his
squad, but insists this is best
done by first instilling the pro-
per attitude in the members.
"We have a lot of mottos
such as "not as good as, but
better than'," says Cavender,
a striking man with silver
hair. "We never strive to beat
other bands; I never say to
them 'ah, next week we're go-
ing to beat the State band.'
We try to beat our own stand-
"If I have the correct atti-
tude in the student," lie con-
tinues, "I can get perfection,
I can get discipline, I can get

him to play well and I can get
him to march well."
Cavender, impeccably attired
in checkered trousers and a
red tie clasped neatly to his
blue shirt, softly pounds a
clenched fist on his desk for
"We discipline ourselves to
try to do things in an outstand-
ing manner. This desire, dedi-
cation and desire for perfec-
tion is the greatest gift I can
give them (band members)."
Cavender insists the march-
ing band is among the most
democratic student organiza-
tion on campus. Members
judge each other on their own
merits and make the vital de-
cisions that shape the organi-
zation of the band,

"They (band members) seat
each other (musically). There
are no hidden tryouts on this
band," he asserts.
Band members also have to
win back their positions each
year. Cavender recalls the
plight of a woman twirler sev-
eral years ago whose ego bal-
looned after a productive first
year on the squad.
"She came back her second
year and the band said to her
'no, you don't twirl well enough
to twirl with us.' They have to
win back their spurs every
Cavender expects the band to
be at its largest this year, with
upwards of 280 members. Spe-
cial shows tapped for the first
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five shows in five weeks.
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