The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0012; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Immediate

UI alumni band gathers for Homecoming Weekend

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- As the oldest returning member of the University of Iowa Alumni Band, 74-year-old Joe Carroll says he won't have any problems marching in Friday's Homecoming Parade, which covers eight blocks of downtown Iowa City.

"I can still march the entire route," said Carroll, a Spencer resident who plays the trombone. "I walk every day to keep in shape."

Carroll is one of 210 Alumni Band members who will gather for their 26th annual performance during Homecoming Weekend Oct. 9-10. After the parade the band will break into smaller groups to visit downtown bars filled with Hawkeye fans for Saturday's game against Northwestern. On Saturday morning they meet at 7 a.m. to practice and have brunch at 9 a.m. in the UI Recreation Building.

After marching into Kinnick Stadium before the game, the Alumni Band will sit in the North end zone with the UI Marching Band, and both bands will perform the "Iowa Fight Song" at the conclusion of the halftime show.

Carroll and other band members often form small groups to play the "Iowa Fight Song" and "In Heaven There is No Beer" at tailgate parties before Iowa games. "I'll play until my lip wears out," he added.

But his favorite is the halftime show. "The nice thing about playing during halftime with 500 people is that you can't hear my mistakes. "

A 1949 UI graduate, Carroll joined the Alumni Band five years ago when he retired after a long career as a baker. He played in the UI Symphony under conductor Philip Greeley Clapp in 1942-43, and in 1948, after serving in World War II.

Thomas L. Davis, UI emeritus professor of music, has directed the Alumni Band on Homecoming Weekend for 23 of its 26 years. He says in its first year, the 16 alumni band members who attended fit on the back of a flat bed truck for the parade

Davis describes the Alumni Band as "organized chaos that's a lot of fun." There is some practice time before the parade and game-day performances, but band members also enjoy the social experience, having a chance to meet and talk, he said.