John C. Sutton
21 November 1984
This paper was written in fulfillment of the course requirement History 301, Research Seminar, at the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio. I chose to write this paper on the topic of Mr. Reichard and the Music Department because I was curious as to the history of the Music Department at the University. To the best of my knowledge, I know of no other work that has been done concerning this topic. I would like to note that this is a limited effort concerning this topic and is by no means all inclusive of either Mr. Reichard's life, or the University of Dayton's Music Department.
The bulk of my material has come from the University of Dayton Archives Department and through personal interviews. I am grateful to Mrs. Cecilia Mushenheim, University Archives, for her assistance in this project. I would also like to thank the subjects of my interviews: Dr. Betty Berk, Mrs. Cecilia Reichard, Mr. Lawrence Tagg, and Mr. Veryl Zech. Without their help, this paper could not have been written.
The life of Maurice Reichard was filled with music and musical activities. From the age of 13 to his death, he was a performer and teacher of this art. He brought his love for music to the University of Dayton first as a high school student, and then as a member of the faculty. He is regarded as the founder of the Music Department at the University, and almost single handedly brought it from obscurity to the level it is today. A careful examination of his life will bring forth the type of individual Mr. Reichard was, and how through his life one can observe the growth of the music department at the University of Dayton.
Maurice Richard Reichard was born on 29 May 1904, in Dayton, Ohio. His parents were of German descent and he had one sister, Dorothy, who was four years younger than he. The family lived on McGee street, on the East side, and Maurice attended Holy Family grade school. While he was in eighth grade, he took the test which was given to all students who were in the eighth grade in the city of Dayton. The test was given by St. Mary's Preparatory School, and from the results of this test, four students were offered scholarships to the school. Mr. Reichard attained the highest score and received a four year scholarship.
He enrolled in St. Mary's high school in 1918 and was immediately introduced to Brother Louis Vogt, S.M., who was director of music at this time. Prior to enrolling in high school, Maurice played the piano, banjo and guitar. Upon meeting Brother Louis, Maurice was taught how to play a band instrument in order to become part of the marching band. He was first taught to play the French horn, and later, upon recognizing his talent, Brother Louis taught Maurice to play all the instruments. Anytime an instrument was missing, Mr. Reichard would take up that instrument and fill in that spot. In fact in the 1922 yearbook next to his name was the quote "What he doesn't play ain't played."
While in high school, Maurice played French horn, banjo, and piano with the orchestra and trumpet with the University and ROTC bands. He was also a class representative, an officer in the Sodality of the Immaculate Conception, and a member of the Catholic Students Missions Crusade. He also had a feature article about his high school class, that he had written, published in the Exponent, the student magazine, in March of 1920. He was also an honors student and had a final yearly average of 87%. In July of 1922 he graduated with honors from the Classical and Scientific Section of the Preparatory Department of St. Mary's College. It should also be noted that he played piano at the commencement ceremony.
After graduation he played professionally in the area and maintained his contact with Brother Louis. He volunteered his time at the school and taught wind and string players beginning in the fall of 1922. He also taught banjo and guitar at the Marvin School of Music in downtown Dayton. He played the guitar and banjo in dance orchestras and also did some arranging for the big bands that would come to Dayton. He was also a soloist on trumpet and piano and appeared a number of times with the University band. He was married on 24 June 1925 to Cecilia H. Lehman and their first child was born in 1927. In 1929 Brother Louis' health was failing and Mr. Reichard was hired to teach at the University.
He was hired on 16 September 1929 and was paid $35.00 a week. He was to help Brother Louis with band rehearsals and in his first year he established a banjo club which met withsuccess. He was soon put in charge of the bands. Shortly after he arrived at the University he sent out a questionnaire to the student body concerning band. When they were returned he found that there were only 11 players on the whole campus who could play band instruments, and he was to have a band ready for the football game in two weeks. He made some contacts with high school teachers and professional musicians in the area and by game day he had a band of fifty members. After that first year more musicians were found on campus, and the core of the student band was formed. Mr. Reichard followed the philosophy set out by Brother Louis, which was, "To get hold of musicians, people who knew anything about music from singing to piano playing or anything and teach some instruments."
In his first year at the University he also played a part in producing and directing the first musical in the schools history, "As Clouds Roll By." This was billed as the "First Annual Alumni Frolic" and it was a musical comedy by Richard Frankenstein and Robert McBride. Mr. Reichard wrote the entire orchestration and scores for the show, and also directed the orchestra and chorus from the pit. In fact, Mr. Reichard was very involved in dramatics, and every year he produced a musical show for which he wrote all the songs and music, rehearsed, and coached the production. These shows came to be quite popular and were even put on during the war years.
When Mr. Reichard first taught at the University the music section was housed in the women's gymnasium which is the present day Rike Center for Fine Arts. There was just one bare room which was later divided with partitions. The band was small and poorly equipped. After his first year he was able to buy new uniforms for the band. These were of the "one size fits all variety" and at the beginning of every year his wife, Cecilia, would come in and make alterations on the uniforms. In a few years the band grew to 60 members and it came to be compared to the famous Michigan and West Point bands for its drill work of large letters and maneuvers.
In 1931 Mr. Reichard reorganized the Men's Glee Club. By 1934 it was an ensemble of high quality and it was the guest feature on the Refiners Oil Program broadcast over station WLW in Cincinnati. Mr. Reichard was innovating in the fact that he arranged currently popular tunes for the chorus to sing. He also revised and restored the Anthem and brought it back into existence in 1931 so that it could be sung at football games and other functions. At this time the orchestra was also developing into a fine ensemble. It was formed in December of 1930 and made its first performance at the Art Institute on 12 February 1931. On the 22nd of that same month the orchestra was broadcast over WSMK from 2:30 to 3:30. Mr. Reichard arranged the entire broadcast.
Along with directing the band, orchestra, and glee club, Maurice was working towards his own degree. He would teach classes in the morning and take classes himself at night. He graduated in 1935 from the University of Dayton with a Liberal Arts Degree. He also took part in other University activities. In 1937 he was appointed field secretary in the Student Promotion Service. In the same year he produced the first student promotion movie entitled "A Freshman's View of the University of Dayton." Its first showing was in the gym-auditorium on 27 May 1937.
As his work load increased he was allowed to hire another faculty member. In 1936 Dr. Louis Waldemar Sprauge, a former teacher of Mr. Reichard, was hired to help teach piano and theory. In 1937, at the request of Dr. Daniel Leary, initiator of the elementary education program at the University, courses were offered in music to meet the staff requirements for teachers in elementary education. Mrs. Con Fecher, a part time piano and music appreciation teacher, was added to the faculty. In the next year (1938) the music department was officially established.
In the summer of 1938 there was a meeting between Mr. Reichard, the University's president Father Elbert, Dayton Philharmonic Director Paul Katz, and Miriam Rosenthal, manager of the Philharmonic Orchestra. It was decided that a full scale Music Department could be established and it was founded in the fall with Mr. Reichard as chairman. At this time another one of Dr. Sprauge's students was added to the faculty, Mr. Veryl Zech. Mr. Zech began by teaching piano lessons. The first person hired to teach theory and piano on a full time basis was Miss Betty Thomas (Dr. Betty Berk). She was also a student of Dr. Sprauge.
When the Music Department was established it was moved into the east end of the women's gymnasium after quite a bit of remodeling was completed. The Music Department occupied half of this building from the stage back to the east wall. There was a rehearsal room and four cubicles that were used for offices and teaching rooms. At this time there were three degrees offered: a Bachelor of Music, a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Music, and a Bachelor of Science with a major in Music Education. The courses that were first offered were: Music Literature and Appreciation, Introduction to Music, Music Education, and History of Music I and II. The first person to graduate with a Bachelor of Music was Miss Betty Thomas in 1944. At this time classes were very small and there were only about five music majors. By the year 1944 the number of courses offered was increased to over 20.
With the coming of World War II the University's enrollment dropped and the Music Department lost Mr. Zech to the army. At this time the department expanded into two quonset huts that were placed behind the women's gym. These huts had both practice rooms and classrooms and were heated by pot-belly stoves. After the war the department was moved into the old ROTC building which was a small white structure located betwen Alumni Hall and the Humanities Building. These facilities were adequate and at this time night classes were offered by the Music Department. The department stayed in this facility for approximately ten years until an increase in students forced the department back into the Rike Center. Now the department was able to occupy both levels of the gym. The upper floor was formerly occupied by the Chemistry Department until the building of Wohlleben Hall in 1958. The entire lower floor was devoted to the band whereas the upper floor was divided into classrooms and offices. Mr. Zech recalled that the upper floor was not in good condition and that one day he came into his office to find that his piano had broken through the floorboards. The department remained in this building until it was moved to the upper floor of the Albert Emanuel Library in 1970.
While the facilities of the Music Department were being shuffled around, the student body was growing. After World War II the number of students was greatly increased by the return of servicemen to college. After the war the enrollment increased by about five hundred students putting the total enrollment to approximately fifteen hundred students. The G.I. Bill helped many former servicemen gain an education and it proved to be an asset for the University.
Many servicemen joined the band, and Mr. Reichard remembered them as being different from the other students: "They were several years older, they had a maturity and a desire to belong and to take over." He also stated, "They took hold with a certain amount of authority and I still can't remember a finer and more cooperative group of people than the G.I.s." Many G.I.s had to hold jobs as well as attend classes, and Mr. Reichard tried to accommodate them as best as possible by changing some of the rehearsal times to the evening.
In the years after the war a large number of servicemen were in the marching band and it seems that the band was quite a sight to see. In 1948 the band raised enough money to make a trip to Chattanooga on Thanksgiving Day. The accent of a good band at this time was speed and precision. The band, with its veterans, excelled at both. When the band went to practice that morning, they were surprised to find that 800 people were in the stands to watch them rehearse. This was the only major football game in the South on that particular Thanksgiving, and many sports writers were present. The band performed their high energy show at halftime and received a tremendous ovation from the crowd. As a result the U.D. Band was awarded in the 1948 season the title of "The Finest Band Ever to Perform in that Southern City." Another result was a "first" in a football contract between two schools. At the insistence of the University of Chattanooga, the football contract carried a clause that stipulated that the team was to receive a nice sum of money if the band would also come to the game in Chattanooga. This was a tribute to the excellence of the 65 piece band and 18 girl drill unit that was directed by Mr. Reichard.
Mr. Reichard earned another honor in 1945, his Master's Degree. For the past six summers he had gone to Ohio State University to do his graduate work, and on its completion he received a Master's Degree in Music. One year later in 1946 he was promoted to associate professor by the University of Dayton. In the 1949 season he established a tradition that has lasted until the present day. On November 13 the band presented a review of football and school marches and anthems in the gym-auditorium. Today this review is known as the marching band's "Last Blast." In 1950 the band made its first recording on a major label, RCA. This was the centennial year of the University. The University band and chorus recorded the Victory and Loyalty marches and the Alma Mater Anthem. The cost of this record was $1.75 and was put on sale in April.
In the same year (1950) a number of Mr. Reichard's former students got together and formed the Band Alumni Association. Their first meeting was on October 9 and their purpose was "To sustain their interest in affairs of band, to get together at Homecoming or other Alumni gatherings." They hoped to bring the old and new band together and planned to perform with the student band at half-time during the Homecoming ceremonies. To this day the Band Alumni Association is a large and very active group.
In 1950 the faculty was increased again with the addition of Mr. Nelson Harper. His duties dealt with the mixed chorus and glee club. He stayed for only three years when he was replaced by Mr. Lawrence Tagg. In September of 1956 Mr. Tagg and Mr. Reichard got together and taught a music course on live television. This was entitled "Music Appreciation", and it was sponsored by the Dayton Educational Television Foundation. It was broadcasted over Channel 2 for 18 consecutive Saturdays in a one hour time slot. To get college credit for this course one had to buy the text book, watch the program, and mail in the answers. This project seemed to be a success because for each of the two semesters it was offered approximately 50 people registered for it. In the early days of television in Dayton the University band and chorus appeared on the air quite a bit.
Also in 1956 Mr. Reichard was asked to be guest conductor of the Hawaii Music Education Association's Annual Festival. In March of that year the first annual Music-Variety show was put on in the Fieldhouse. Mr. Reichard was the planner and director of this production, and he also wrote all the music for it. It proved to be a success as it was attended by large crowds every year. Another annual event that Mr. Reichard was involved with was the President's concert that was given by the band in the spring. This tradition was established in 1923 and Mr. Reichard added to it by composing a new piece of music for the band every year. This performance was either given in the Victory Theatre or at the NCR schoolhouse auditorium.
Along with the pieces he wrote for the President's concerts it seems that Mr. Reichard did quite a bit of writing and arranging of music. In 1947 he wrote a march for the band, "The Daytonian." This work was dedicated to the Red and Blue Band of the University of Dayton. He also took piano concertos and arranged the orchestra part for band. Three of the works he transcribed were
In 1960 he received help with the marching band. A former student of his, Richard Wiggenhorn, was hired by the University on a part-time basis. He retained his part-time status for one year and in the next year he was hired on a full time basis. In 1962, however, Mr. Wiggenhorn chose to teach on the high school level and Mr. Charles W. Ritter was hired to take over the band responsibilities.
The year 1964 was a special year for Mr. Reichard because on 17 October 1964 the whole University community paid a special tribute to him. This day was Homecoming, but it was also to be "Maurice Reichard Day." At every game he would climb the ladder in front of the band and conduct the University of Dayton Alma Mater. On this day, however, when he gave the downbeat the band played "See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet." Thinking that this was a mistake, he stopped the band and restarted them, only to have the same tune played again. Over the loud speaker at the stadium it was then announced that the Band Alumni Association was presenting him with a new Bel Aire station wagon for 35 years of faithful service. Mr. Reichard appeared pleased but visibly shaken with this gift. According to Reichard, letters were sent to all of his former students, and donations were sent back in order to purchase the car. This whole operation was one of the University's best kept secrets because Mr. Reichard had no idea that this was going to happen.
Throughout the rest of that decade Mr. Reichard was still involved with all the musical activities at the University. He and Mr. Tagg also went out to many high schools in the area to give clinics and to act as adjudicators for band contests. At this time the ensembles of the University would also travel to surrounding counties to put on programs. In 1965 Mr. Reichard formed the University of Dayton Alumni Honor Band. This was a group of 110 high school musicians who came from schools that were under the direction of Dayton graduates. At this time in Dayton nine of the twelve high schools were directed by graduates of the University. This band was very popular as it was rehearsed and directed by Mr. Reichard.
In 1970 Mr. Reichard stepped down from his position as chairman and partially retired. His successor was Mr. Tagg. In the spring of that year at commencement Mr. Reichard was honored by the University with the institution's highest award, the honorary award of Doctor (of Music). On August 14 of the same year the "Dr. Maurice R. Reichard Testimonial Dinner" was held in his honor at Wampler's Ball Arena. This affair was attended by many of his friends and former students. At this banquet he was presented with many awards and honors among them were: a commendation from the Governor of 0hio, a lifetime pass to the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra concerts, a citation from the National Catholic Music Educators Association, a wallplaque and lifetime membership to the Dayton Musicians' Association, an engraved trumpet from the band alumni association, and an Apostolic Blessing from the Pope. It was also announced that the mayor of Dayton had proclaimed "Maurice Reichard Week" for the week of 10 August 1970. It was also on this occasion that a music scholarship was to be created in his honor. This was to be taken from a special fund and entitled "The Maurice R. Reichard Scholarship." Each year one or more deserving music students would receive this award and the presentation of the scholarship was to be made by Mr. Reichard himself.
At this affair many people gave their praises of Mr. Reichard until it was finally his turn to speak. After giving thanks for all the awards and relating a short story about the band of his first year, Mr. Reichard expressed how he felt at that moment. He was quoted as saying, "At this time I can think of no man that I would envy." In this statement Maurice Richard Reichard gave back all the love and admiration that he received that evening.
Even though he stepped down as chairman he was still very involved with the music program at the University. He immediately began the work that was needed to gain the important accreditation of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). The requirements for membership were finally met and in 1974 as his last "official" act as chairman Mr. Reichard accompanied Mr. Tagg to New Orleans to receive this honor. Mr. Reichard also supervised student teachers after 1970 until his full retirement in 1976. He also taught a number of classes at this time. Mr. Tagg remembered him as teaching all the courses that no one else wanted to teach.
In May of 1976, with his health failing, Mr. Reichard fully retired from the University. Three months later on 20 August 1976 he died of a stroke. Mrs.Reichard felt that his not being able to play or teach music anymore had a direct effect on his death. She remarked that in life he had three priorities, "The first was God, the second was his music, and the third was me." By no means did he put his wife in an inferior position, it was just that music was his life. "There was not a time when a tune was not going through his head." Mrs. Reichard also recalled that he was proud of the fact that he never applied for a job, people always came to him. In his long musical life he became one of the most respected musicians in Southwestern Ohio.
A number of his former colleagues remember Maurie, as he was affectionately known by everyone, as being a special individual. Dr. Betty Berk remembers him as "Being very fair with the faculty and students. He was a person who would take the time to listen to both sides of the story and then make his own decisions." Mr. Veryl Zech recalls him "As being an excellent pianist, and a teacher who treated students fair and square." Mr. Reichard's successor, Mr. Lawrence Tagg, feels that "All the credit for the development of the Music Department should go to him. It was a one-man show."
Maurice Richard Reichard was the University of Dayton's "Mr. Music Man." He was someone who was admired by faculty and students alike. He took a small music program and almost single handedly built it into a respectable department. During his tenure at the University he enriched thousands of lives and left behind a great deal of music. As a final tribute to this great man a campus building was renamed in his honor. In 1975 the building formerly known as the "Flyer's Hangar" was named Reichard Hall. It is still in use today, and inside its walls are kept alive the dreams of the Music Department's founder, Maurie Reichard.