Semper Victurus

H. Lee Hope
Director of Bands 1942-1952, 1954-1955.
(Jim Kress, '48)

H. Lee Hope, James Kress, Ralph Thorson
(first Leprechaun) --1942 (Jim Kress, '48)

 
Disce Quasi Semper Victurus Vive Quasi Cras Moriturus"
("Study like you will live forever; live like you will die tomorrow".)

Starting in the late 1870's, this rather intimidating phrase was the Scholastic Magazine credo. Ironically, the Scholastic proved to be the vehicle which has allowed the daily experiences of Notre Dame students during the past 150 years to truly "live forever". Scholastics are a virtual gold mine of Notre Dame history, and more importantly, of insight into the daily lives of its students. These first hand reports of campus life, written by student reporters, give a candid and personal view of important (and trivial) events on the Notre Dame campus. Joe Madonia, an '82 alum and partner in the Chicago law firm of Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon, will edit a monthly column of excerpts from his rare and wonderful collection of original Scholastic Magazines spanning the period from 1869 - 1931.

To hear the music of the Band of the Fighting Irish click here.

Semper Victurus - A Scholastic article cronicles the 1946 season of the band. It's from the December 6, 1946 edition.  [Editor's note: In this article is the first mention of the Notre Dame mascot the Leprechaun. He's curiously dubbed "Forgotten Irishman."

Music by the Band

By Joe Wilcox

Playing its swan song for the 1946 football season at the Southern California game, the Notre Dame marching Band, under the direction of Mr. H. Lee Hope, finished a season full of surprises and innovations, still paraded in ancient uniforms reminiscent of cast-offs from the corner Salvation Army unit.

Drum major Jim Kress shows off his famous high kick -- 1942. (Jim Kress, '48)

Paced by returning vet Jim Kress, crack, high-stepping drum major from Dillon Hall and Detroit, Mich., the band entertained football fans between halves of games at home, made one trip where it showed its wares in New York's Yankee Stadium. Always noted for its unique formations, the band carried on the tradition this year by introducing a musical circus and a musical review of the four seasons.

The band forms an ND at half time during the Pitt game

Up to full (100 strong) size again for the first time since 1943, the marching band was expected to do great things. It got off to a sour start when a scheduled trip to Illinois was cancelled. The next week, when the Irish entertained Pittsburgh at the first home game, the band showed it wasn't peeved by presenting some novel formations and proving that it made pretty good music, although it admittedly wasn't the cream of the crop in marching technique. During the halftime of the Pittsburgh game the band formed a panther, serenaded the visitors from the Smokie City with their alma mater. Then it displayed its new "four seasons" formation, which was featured by the successive formation of an hour glass, accompanied by the playing of "Auld Lang Syne," a huge thermometer and the old hit "We're Having A Heat Wave," and other formations and numbers proper to the several seasons. For this the band got deserved plaudits.

The Pitt game also featured the first appearance of a local phenomenon, the "Forgotten Irishman." Clad in the traditional Kelly green of the Emerald Isle, the N.D. version of the unhappy Sad Sack cavorted on the field during the halftime, assisted the band in its seasonal exhibition. Under the green hat and pantaloons was definitely non-Celtic Ralph Thorson, of Minnesota, who gamboled like a Spring lamb at the ensuing Purdue, Army, and Northwestern games, was nowhere to be seen at the final contest with Southern Cal, appeared indeed to have been forgotten.

Done out of its trip to Champaign, the band did make the Army trip to New York, accredited itself well to anybody fortunate enough to have a good enough seat to see it. On the way down on the train, the band initiated its members who had not made the trip before, following its traditional custom. No more ridiculous than other initiations, this one consisted of absurd garb for the "Gooks," foolish questions with no answers, "unpleasantries" for failure to answer them.

At Yankee Stadium, the band found, that its seats were as bad as the rest of the students, was worse off stIll because it had been separated from the rest of the students as if they had been contaminated. Put to the difficult task of matching the sleek, disciplined (and very unoriginal) West Point musical machine, the band failed to come up to soldierly standards, as would have been supposed, but staged a good "Lena the Hyena" show during the half in connection with its circus act.

It received many complimentary letters from radio listeners. New York critics who panned it for not coming up to General Taylor's regimented boys forgot that the latter spend much of their time teaching each foot what the other is doing.

Back home again, the band was foiled at the Northwestern game by fickle Jupiter Pluvius, who decided to misbehave that afternoon. Because of the inclement weather, the band made a briefer appearannce than usual, did manage to form a wildcat for the visiting Northwesternites.

The Southern California game was dedicated to the memory of the late Howard Jones, who coached the Trojans before his death in 1941. The band, in one of its best displays of the year, formed a huge "JONES" at the Southern Cal side of the field, played taps while the stands observed silence in tribute to the departed coach. Crossing the field; the band changed itself into 1946, saluted the end of the football season. At the end of the game, it paraded briskly from the stadium playing the Victory March.

Everybody who watched the band in the Stadium this fall agreed that it was making a fine comeback. Many of its members were recently returned G.I.'s who were band members for the first time or who had returned to it after prolonged absence. Jim Kress showed all comers he was no tyro, vied for twirling and fancy stepping honors with the best in the country. The band's appearance at pep rallies furthered old-time Notre Dame spirit, edified pep-rally guests. As time went on, the green squad rounded into better shape and by the end of the season its followers could see that it would soon again be a top-notch marching band. They were generally pleased with the present and hopeful of the future.

 

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