Frank J. Cipolla Marching Band collection
Collection contains newspaper clippings, correspondence, and photographs concerning the UB Marching Band from 1919-2020, with the majority of materials dated 1961-1970 during Frank J. Cipolla’s time as Director of the UB Marching Band, (also known as Director of Bands). There are additional documents dated 2006 concerning Alumni Band Day, and a program and pin marking the UB Marching Band centennial in 2020. Of notable interest is Frank J. Cipolla’s Band Director uniform, 1961. The uniform includes the jacket, pants, aiguillettes (chords), cap, tie, white gloves, and a luggage tag. The collection also includes UB Marching Band logoed outdoor apparel.
- Cipolla, Frank J. (Person)
Terms of Access and Use
The Frank J. Cipolla Marching Band collection is open to researchers.
Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and University Archives before requesting photocopies and/or publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Once permission is obtained, most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.
Frank J. Cipolla was named director of the UB Marching Band, (also known as Director of Bands,) in 1961 by UB President—then Chancellor—Clifford Furnas. Under Cipolla’s direction, the UB Marching Band was nicknamed “Pride of the East.” The UB Marching Band was officially disbanded in 1971 as a result of UB losing Division 1-A football status. During this time, Cipolla continued to serve various pep and athletic bands until 1991. In 2006, Cipolla returned as Director of Bands Emeritus to lead the UB Marching Band as it performed with local high school bands, local musicians, and UB alumni during Homecoming Halftime Show, to form "The Mass Band," the largest musical group to perform in UB Stadium since the 1960's.
The first mention of a UB band appeared in the university yearbook in 1920, when as many as two dozen or so members marched at football games, played at home basketball games and performed at small concerts. In the years that followed, efforts to restart the UB band were unsuccessful until 1946, when Gerald Marx, a saxophonist attending UB on the GI Bill, revived the band with some 50 musicians, who marched and played at football games.
In 1952, the band was absorbed by the Air Force ROTC unit. After a particularly bad performance during the first football game in 1956, UB President—then Chancellor—Clifford Furnas appointed Professor Robert Mols of the UB Music Department as director of the band. As director, Mols composed the piece “Victory March” to be played at the end of every game, and the band began to wear uniforms that evoked the look of Ivy League schools, consisting of blue jackets, checkered slacks, white shoes, and flat white hats.
In 1961, Frank J. Cipolla was brought in as Director of Bands and grew the band to nearly 300 members by 1971. Under Cipolla’s direction, the UB Marching Band was nicknamed “Pride of the East.” The band began traveling to one away game each season, and started inviting area high schools to perform unified shows with UB. In January 1969, the UB band marched in President Richard Nixon’s inaugural parade. The UB Marching Band was officially disbanded in 1971 as a result of UB losing Division 1-A football status. A pep band was formed in fall 1982 to boost school spirit for the Division III football program.
In 1999, UB returned to Division I-A football and for the first time in three decades, the new band — now nicknamed “Thunder of the East” — debuted on Sept. 11, 1999 under the leadership of Mark Flynn. James Mauck was later named Director of Athletic Bands in 2002. In 2006, Cipolla returned as Director of Bands Emeritus to lead the UB Marching Band as it performed with local high school bands, local musicians, and UB alumni during Homecoming Halftime Show, to form "The Mass Band," the largest musical group to perform in UB Stadium since the 1960's.The UB Marching Band marked its 100th anniversary in 2020.
Information from this historical note was taken from the October 27, 2021 UB Now article: “UB Marching Band celebrates 100th anniversary,” by Jay Ray.
5.13 Linear Feet (1 oversize flat box, 1 carton, 1 hat box, and 1 legal half manuscript box. )
Language of Materials
Includes apparel, correspondence, periodical clippings, and photographs concerning the UB Marching Band 1919-2020, as well as Frank J. Cipolla’s Band Director uniform.
Collection is arranged by material type. Materials in Box 1 are further arranged chronologically.
Collection was gifted to the University Archives by Frank J. Cipolla, October 19, 2021. Donation was facilitated by Tyler Bauer of University Advancement, and includes additional photographs located by James Mauck, Director of Athletic Bands and Professor of Music.
Accruals and Additions
No further accruals are expected to this collection.
Processed by Jessica Hollister, February 2022. Finding aid encoded by Jessica Hollister, February 2022.
Portions of the collection contained original newspaper clippings. Clippings were photocopied onto archival safe paper, and originals discarded.
- Finding Aid for the Frank Cipolla Marching Band collection
- Finding aid prepared by Jessica Hollister.
- 2022 February 11
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