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Interviewer: Jonathan Steele
Interviewee: Reid Poole
February 9, 1987
UF 157


S: We are having an interview for a class, Seminar in Oral History. My name is Jonathan
Steele, and I am interviewing Mr. Reid Poole. The location is his office on the third floor of
the Music Building on the University of Florida campus. It is 9:35 on a Monday morning,
February 9, 1987. Let me start, Mr. Poole, by asking you what your full name is and how is
it spelled, for the record.

P: Reid Poole, as in swimming pool, but with an e on the end.

S: Is there a middle name?

P: No.

S: The name Reid, if you will forgive me, is not the most common name. I am curious if it
is a family name. Were you named after someone?

P: No, I was not named after anyone. I am the youngest of ten children. I do have a
brother Bob and a brother Bill. We had used up some of the more common names.

S: When and where were you born?

P: I was born in Toccoa, Georgia, July 20, 1919.

S: Did you come from a musical family?

P: No, not especially. I am the only musician in my immediate family. I do not know of any
relatives who are musicians, either.

S: Your parents were not musically active that you know of?

P: No, they were not.

S: You said you are the youngest often children?

P: Of the ten, eight grew to maturity. My oldest brother was born in 1900, and he died at
the age of 80. My next oldest brother is still living; he is about 83 or so now. Of the eight
children who grew to maturity, two were girls and six were boys. With the death of my
oldest brother and the next-to-the-youngest brother, Bush, who died of leukemia and other
complicating factors, we now have six remaining. All of the other five are, of course, older
than I am at this time, ranging from my age of sixty-seven to, I believe, eighty-three. You









did not want to know any more about siblings, did you?


S: Well, I was interested because I am interested in finding out what led you to an interest
in music. In that regard, did you have any musical interest as a child?

P: As a child, and all my life, I have responded to music extremely sensitively and
continuously. As a child, I sang all the time, from morning until night, and I took every
opportunity I could to sing. In later childhood, I played a Marine Band harmonica, again,
from morning until night, and got so I could play almost anything on it that was diatonic. I
finally did get a chromatic harmonica, but actually that was after my interest in the
instrument was waning. I have always responded to music, and getting the chance to play
in the school band and in the band at the boys home where I was in Chicago completely
took my attention and gave me much joy in playing. It gave me a great deal of joy to play in
the band. I was galvanized by that experience, and it just continued.

S: You mentioned the boys home and then the school band. Was that a separate school
band?

P: Yes, it was the public school band. I was born in Toccoa, Georgia. My father died
when I was about six or seven, and times were bad for us even then. Although that was in
the twenties, before the Great Depression, it still was a bad time for us. My older brothers
and sisters had started to go north to Chicago one by one, which was the typical national
pattern in those days--people migrated from the South to the North where there was more
work to be had. My brother Bob and my sister Raidie had gone up to attend Wheaton
College near Wheaton, Illinois, which is a Protestant fundamentalist college, and some of
my other brothers had also gone north. In fact, my father had also gone up to Chicago. He
was working as a utility man (I think as a janitor) in a school, and he caught pneumonia and
died. Those were before the days of antibiotics. He had been a terribly heavy smoker, so I
am sure that contributed to his death.

At the time that he died, there was left in Toccoa only my mother and the two youngest
children. We were taken up to Chicago, and, quite fortunately for me, I was placed in a
boys home. It was called Lawrence Hall, Home for Good Boys. In the long run, that was a
very fortunate thing for me. I started to attend the Chicago public schools, which were
much more advanced, I am quite sure, than were the schools in Toccoa. From second
grade through twelfth grade I was in Lawrence Hall. I started in eighth grade in the Von
Steuben Junior High School, and I played in the band. (Von Steuben was a Polish patriot
who did some services for America.)

In retrospect, the boys home experience really was good for me. During that time--from
about 1927 to 1937, an approximate period of ten years, second grade through twelfth
grade--I was in the home. I am sure, in looking back, that the people who were responsible
for running and financing the home had a difficult time making ends meet during the
Depression. I was protected, you might say, from the hardships of the Depression. I did
not have any huge amount of spending money or things that money could buy, but I did









have the advantage of having some wonderful teachers, both music teachers and other
teachers, who took personal interest in me and helped build my self-esteem, which, of
course, everyone needs. I could name some of those wonderful people if you want me to.
S: Are these people who have carried on their influence?

P: Well, I have not been in touch with them for many, many years, although I did remain in
touch with them for some time afterwards. I had one marvelous teacher. I had her in fourth
grade, I believe it was, and then again in sixth grade. Her name was Anita Brede, and she
was just a marvelously positive force on my life, particularly as far as my self-esteem was
concerned. I will not go into any anecdotes. The principal of the grade school that I
attended, Budlong Grammar School, was Evelyn F. Colby. The school is still there; I drove
past it the summer before last, and it still seems to be in business in the same building. I
remember later, when I was in college, she sent her grandson to take some French horn
lessons from me, and even had me out to dinner one time. Of my music teachers, the first
band director I had was Clifford P. Lillya. You may know that name.

S: Yes, I do.

P: He has been at the University of Michigan for many years. I believe he is retired now.
He started me on the E-flat alto horn and was my first band director. Of course, I idolized
him. He was my band director for only one year, however, which would have been eighth
grade. Then the Chicago schools did some redistricting, and Lawrence Hall moved from
the Von Steuben district into the Amundsen High School district. So starting in ninth grade,
I was in the high school band at Amundsen, named for Roald Amundsen. He was a
Norwegian explorer of the Antarctic. I would like to pay tribute to those two people,
Evelyn Colby and Roald Amundsen, because they were marvelous teachers. I had some
other good ones, too, but those two were special. Now, the man who was my band director
at Amundsen High School was Forrest L. Buchtel. I am sure you know of him.

S: Yes, I do.

P: Well, when I was working with him in the high school, he would let me conduct the
orchestra quite a bit, so I played first horn and also did some conducting. I had not been in
the band even a year when the kinds of little pieceswe were playing, even under Mr. Lillya,
made me think I could write some pieces like them, so I did. I just copied the style, and the
band was good about it, because they performed them. The types of pieces I am talking
about are simple band teaching pieces, like little overtures wherein the whole overture is
contained on one march-sized piece of music. They have a little sixteen-measure fanfare
introduction, a waltz, and a march, or something like that, to make up the so-called
overture, and that is the type that I wrote. All I did was observe, "The trumpets and cornets
are doing this; the clarinets are trilling away and making some embroidery; the trombones
and baritones are playing countermelodies; the bass is going I-V, I-V, oom-pah, oom-pah,
and so forth; the horns were playing the afterbeats"; and so on, so I just copied the style
and form and wrote those down. Everyone was encouraging, and I was just in paradise to
be doing the things that I was doing. I was just happy to do so much in music.










S: You were still in high school at this time?


P: Yes, it was even before high school.

S: Even in junior high you were writing these overtures?

P: Yes, but I did not write a great many ofthem. I wrote a march and a little serenade. Mr.
Buchtel encouraged me and gave me work to do, for which he paid me. I learned to copy
music. In addition to his teacher's salary, which I thought must have been princely but now
I am sure was not, he was writing (I was going to say "grinding out," and I suppose that is
correct) a great many music pieces: band music, solos, and ensembles, which were
published and sold very well. He would refer to one particular successful overture and say,
"This one put Bonnie through college." (Bonnie is one of his daughters.) I learned to copy
music. Mr. Buchtel had his own technique for working with a condensed score, and he
taught me how to extract the parts from a less-than-full score. I suppose you would say it
was an abbreviated score. I copied parts, and they were then sent to the publishers. One
of the things he put out during that time was a band book, The Ambassador, published by
the M. M. Cole Company. Now, this is not great music or anything, but he included in that
band book two little pieces that I had written in high school, so I was proud of that. I think
he gave me twenty-five dollars for each one, or something like that, and I thought that was
great.

He also made connections for me to go and study with Max Pottag, who was second
horn in the Chicago Symphony [Orchestra]. It was a big deal for me to go downtown. I am
amused now to think of the lessons. The lessons were taught in the Lyon and Healy
Building in the Lyon and Healy Music Store in what would be a practice room, which were
much smaller than our practice rooms here in the Music Buidling now. Mr.
Pottag--"Pot-tag," as he was called by the Americans--was a charming German gentleman.
As I remember my lessons, I think I was always well prepared. He would ask me
questions like what chord was outlined, and he was always a little surprised and delighted
when I told him "this was an A-flat minor chord"--and it was actually an A-flat minor chord. I
do not know how it started, but anytime I got my hands on a piece of music, I grabbed onto
it and just clutched it like a treasure. Somehow I got my hands on an old German
publication, some etudes by Schantl. I happened to show them to Mr. Pottag, and he
borrowed them. Years later, I noticed he had a publication called Preparatory Melodies for
French Horn, which were taken right from that book. Come to think of it, I do not know
whether he ever returned it or not. At any rate, I believe he got that Schantl book from me,
but that is really kind of inconsequential.

S: Now, you played the French horn through junior high and high school?
P: Starting in eighth grade.
S: Who first put a French horn in your hands?

P: Well, Lawrence Hall, as I mentioned, was a good place for us. There were about 124









boys there. During the summer, I think it was cheaper for them to keep us at a summer
camp up near Muskegon, Michigan. They owned the camp and the land, which was big, on
a lake called Little Blue Lake. Within four days or so after school was out, we were on our
way to summer camp and did not come back until about four days before school began.

Incidentally, Lillya was the band director in the boys home, too, so we had the same
band director in the junior high and in high school. It did not stay organized too terribly
long, but it was organized for several years. We had the summer band up there, too, and it
was directed by a former Lawrence Hall boy who was also a French horn player. I do not
think he was a music major, but he was at the University of Illinois and played in the
University of Illinois band. He conducted the summer band up there.

S: Do you remember his name?

P: Charles Seldomridge. I thought he was a marvelous horn player, and I think he must
have been. He played one of the principal parts in the University of Illinois band, which was
then very famous. It was directed by A. A. Harding, who is one of the big names in the
history of the American college bands. This is all in answer to the question on how I got to
play the horn.

S: Who gave you the horn to play?

P: Since it was the last day of the school term, we were going to leave for summer camp.
Some of the boys who were in the junior high band said, "Hey, let's get you a horn to play in
the band." You know how kids are. We went in, and they introduced me to Mr. Lillya:
"Here is so and so." I think he had heard me play the harmonica in a little skit in a school
assembly or something. (I am guessing all this now. I put this together in retrospect.) Now
that I think of it, he did hear me, because I remember he questioned me about the
harmonica--who had taught me, and so forth. Of course, no one had taught me howto play
the harmonica. He gave me an E-flat alto horn, which is a saxhorn. It looks like a baritone
horn except it is smaller; it is, in effect, an alto cornet in E-flat that is shaped like a bell-front
baritone horn.

I took that instrument, and there were some notes on it that did not work. The caretaker
for the camp, who lived there year-round, took it apart. He was not an instrument
repairman, but he took it apart and found a large, swollen, rotten peanut that someone had
tossed in the bell. Once he removed that and soldered the horn back together--and the
soldering was very evident--it worked fine. I played that all summer and enjoyed it very
much.
When I got back in the fall and Mr. Lillya heard me play the E-flat alto horn, then he
gave me [a brand new French horn] the school had just acquired. It was lacquered and
shiny and just looked beautiful. I was in heaven with that horn, and I have been on French
horn ever since. So it was just happenstance, but I was glad to get it.

S: I am particularly fascinated by your early composition experiences. You said you









started writing in junior high school, and I assume you continued through high school.
What happened with your composition skills after that time? How did that develop?

P: Well, I continued to learn and to write, but eventually I realized that there was nothing
extraordinary about my writing, so I have not tried to emphasize it. You might say my
enthusiasm for my own work decreased as my knowledge of what other composers had
done and could do increased. I observed them and worked up a sense of awe concerning
the accomplishments of composers such as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. I also came to
be in awe for creators in other fields, such as Milton, Shakespeare, and, later in life, James
Joyce, so it was not limited to music. I did continue to do some composing. I wrote two
pieces in college. When I first came to Florida, I polished them, and they were published by
Belwin. They were used for required numbers in Florida band contests.

S: This is why I think I have played some of your music.

P: Silver Springs Overture was one.

S: That must be it. I cannot remember the name.

P: Another one was Caribbeana, which means "the girl from the Caribbean." Those were
really early works, and I tried some others. I wrote a few arrangements and school pieces
for horns; I imagine I wrote fifteen or so. Most of them were published by Belwin. I was
very gratified when some of my pieces were used on Music Minus One records. These
were all were easy pieces.

S: I know that I have seen your name in the upper right-hand corner of some music that we
played in either the Lakeland High School band or at Lakepoint Junior High School in
Pinellas County. One of my directors used a piece or two of yours, but I just cannot
remember the title of it.

P: When I came to Florida, for the first ten years I was assistant band director. We have
skipped a lot of time in here now. Maybe you want to go more chronologically.

S: I would like to fill in the details up to that point. Could we go back and find out where
you went to college, and when that was?

P: I attended the University of Chicago. I started in 1938 through 1941, which was three
years, and then I was drafted into World War II. I was drafted in July of 1941, which was
still before Pearl Harbor, for one year under the Selective Service Act. But when Pearl
Harbor occurred in December of that year, attitudes changed and perspectives changed all
over the world, of course, and we were in the war. I was drafted for one year and got back
a short fifty-four months later.

I had a very good experience in the army. I went through basic training in the army
medical corps during the summer at Camp Grant, Illinois, which is near Rockford. It was









not terribly strenuous because we were not in the war yet. We were GIs who were in
presumably for one year. After that period of basic training, I went into the post band.

I decided after Pearl Harbor that I should do everything I could [for the war effort]. I told
the army I wanted to go to the army music school for warrant officer band leaders. At first I
did not qualify because I was not old enough. But after time, as the war wore on, I became
old enough and had enough army service to qualify, so I went from the Camp Grant band
to the army music school in Washington, DC, It was a very concentrated course, and also
was a marvelous experience for me. It was at Fort Myer, Virginia, which is right where the
Arlington Cemetery is. It was right across the river from Washington, DC. We were
nearing the end of the war when I graduated, but I never did get appointed as a band
director. I remained stateside, finished the war, and got out in December 1945. I was a
T-5, which was a Cpl's rating, although I was qualified to be a warrant officer.

I got a great deal of professional experience in the army. My great mentor, Harold
Bachman said that he thought my experience in the army had been the equivalent of four
or five years of professional experience. I played and studied horn, conducted, and wrote
well over 100 arrangements and compositions that were performed. Nothing helps you
more in your writing than to be performed. When you hear it, you learn from it in a way that
you do not learn if you do not hear it.

S: Was Harold Bachman an officer? Were there officer band leaders?

P: No.

S: Where was he?

P: Bachman is a great story all on his own.

S: Did you meet him in the army?

P: No, he became aware of me and I became aware of him when I was still in high school.
Let me tell you about Bachman briefly. He came from North Dakota. In World War I, he
organized a band and got the band all together into the army. They were assigned to one
of the engineering battalions, but the history of that band in World War I was quite
imposing. They were in France, and I suppose in England, also, and did much performing.
It was not only a band, but it was almost like a pool of musical talent, for which he acted as
a booking agent. For example, he had a person in the band who could play the accordian,
and Bachman would send him out to perform in a hospital, and things of that sort. They
played all kinds of things--concerts, parades, and so on. I will give you a book that he
wrote about his band, "The Million Dollar Band." It was called "The Million Dollar Band"
because one of the generals that heard the band remarked, "This band is worth a million
dollars in morale to the American army." From that time on, it was known as the "Million
Dollar Band."









Following the war, Bachman's Million Dollar Band became what we would call one of the
traveling concert bands of the post-World War I era. I need to give you some material
written by Bachman to read on things like that. Those bands would have included
selections written by John Philip Sousa, especially. (We are going to have a re-creation of
a Sousa-type concert next Sunday here by our visiting conductor.) Some other names in
that field were Arthur Pryor and Bohumir Kryl. Pryor was a great trombonist, and he also
wrote several pieces. These were traveling bands, and there were others like those two.
Of course, that famous band business goes all the way back to the nineteenth century with
Patrick Gilmore and so on.

S: Here you say that Harold Bachman came from North Dakota during World War I and
organized a band. Was this a military band, a civilian band, or what?

P: Well, it was a military band, but it also played concert music.

S: But they were military men in the band, enlisted men?

P: Well, they were all civilians who were taken into the army during World War I, I think in
about 1916. I can give you a book where you can read about that. It is not a long book,
but it is fascinating.

That band was quite successful during the 1920s, but toward the end of the 1920s things
started to change, and you might say that golden age of the traveling concert band in
America came to a close. For one thing, radio was becoming more and more important,
and with radio came PA systems. The outdoor unamplifiedd band was not needed as much
anymore]. The movie industry and the Depression were also among the many things that
helped to bury those bands.

I think it is kind of a delicious irony that those traveling concert bands went out of fashion,
out of business in a sense, partly because of the success of the school and college band
movement. Whereas in former days a professional band would have been employed to
play a parade, for instance, or to dedicate a new building or something of that sort, now the
school bands and college bands can fill that function, as well as playing concert band
literature. In a real sense, the old-time professional band has been replaced by the school
and college and university bands.
I am sure the best university bands around the country these days sound much better
than the average professional bands of those days. The musicians in those days did make
a career out of playing in those bands. There were people who specialized in third clarinet
parts, for example. They knew all of the band literature: the William Tell Overture, Poet
and Peasant overture, and all that big stuff, so they could go to any band and play the part
they were on. Of course, there were the more stellar figures, such as the first clarinet
player, the solo cornet, and so forth, but there was a career track there in the professional
band. I do not think it paid very well; it was not the greatest. Bachman told me an
interesting thing about those traveling bands: "We tend to think of them as concert groups,
playing concerts of legitimate music, but actually they were more like Glenn Miller and









Benny Goodman of a couple of decades later." They were really entertainment units, and
the Bachman Million Dollar Band used to appear just as vaudeville troups at places like the
Palace Theatre in Chicago. They would have the movies and then the stage show, which
would feature his band, and so on. It was an important band.

So the era of the traveling band business came to a close and the Depression closed in.
Bachman went to work starting clinics with the Educational Music Bureau in Chicago,
which was a commercial outfit dealing with educational music. As a matter of fact, as much
as anyone else, he probably was responsible for the invention of what we now call the
"band clinics" that now are standard procedures everywhere. The Midwest Band Clinic was
in part established by him. It started at the Vandercook School of Music in Chicago.

S: This is the famous annual Midwest Band Clinic held in Chicago in December?

P: Yes, that is still going on. It started in a small way, and he was instrumental--no pun
intended--in getting it started, along with H. E. Nutt of the Vandercook School of Music.

S: You mentioned the Vandercook School of Music. Where is that?

P: It is in Chicago on the near Southside, I think you would call it now. I think it is near the
Armour Institute, or Armor Tech. Bachman still would assemble a band from time to time,
and they would play concerts in the park in Chicago.

S: Was this still in the twenties?

P: Well, this would be in the thirties now. Then Bachman became part-time band director
at the University of Chicago. He was still doing clinics and teaching, and he would come to
our high school and guest conduct the band. That is where I first met him. While I was still
in high school, there was one time my band director, Mr. Buchtel, took me out to the
University of Chicago band rehearsal. He took along one of the marches I had written and
passed it out right there in rehearsal, and they played it. I think that might have impressed
Bachman.

S: Do you remember which march that was? Do you know the name of it?

P: Yes, it was one that was published. I named it in the thirties, you see, and all I saw in
the papers were things about Hitler and Mussolini, so that march was named The Dictator.
I thought at that time that it was a very timely title.

S: This was at your high school when he came to the clinic, or did he do a clinic at your
high school?
P: He did a guest conducting spot once, but this particular happening took place when we
went out to the college band rehearsal.

S: I see. He was also the college band director there.










P: He was the college band director there, and that was how I happened to get to go to
school there.

S: Did you name your high school before? I do not remember the name of it.

P: Yes, Amundsen High, which was on the Northside, and the University of Chicago was
on the Southside. Well, to finish with Bachman's career, when World War II came along,
he went back in the army. He finished up as a lieutenant colonel. He was in charge of
entertainment for the whole South Pacific area. I believe that was the last position that he
had. A year or two after he got out of the army (after World War II), he came to the
University of Florida. This gets into the history of the organization of this department of
music, which dates from 1948. He came here in 1948 and was band director until he
retired at the age of sixty-five in 1958. He continued to live in Gainesville and to do clinics,
and he wrote the books I am going to lend you.

S: Mr. Bachman was here from 1948 until 1958?

P: He actually remained longer than that. He retired in 1958, but we were able to allow
him to have an office in the old music building until he died. In that music building, it was a
practice room office, but it suited his needs and his wishes up until he died in 1972. He
made an enormous impact on public school music in Florida, and indeed all over the
country. He was nationally known, and his alma mater awarded him an honorary doctorate.

S: What was the alma mater? Was it the University of Chicago?

P: No, I think it was North Dakota Agricultural College, when he graduated from it. His
only degree was Bachelor of Agriculture, besides his honorary doctorate. Now that school
is North Dakota State University, NDSU, I believe.

S: So he was at the University of Chicago, and that influenced you to attend there?
P: When I finished high school, I had very few prospects. I was coming out of a boys
home, and my next three older brothers and I had an apartment with my mother--we all
chipped in to support my mother. All of my older brothers encouraged me to get a job and
discouraged me from going to college. There was not the least prospect at all of my going
to college. They said, "Get a job, and take a course in the accounting at night school.
Music is nice, so enjoy it. But do not get any ideas." So for a year I worked at a number of
different jobs, all of which paid either fifteen dollars a week or sixty dollars a month, which is
less than fifteen dollars a week.

S: What year was that?

P: Well, I graduated in 1937 from high school, so that would have been the year
1937-1938. Then I started at the University of Chicago in September of 1938. I think it was
rather tolerant of my brothers that, although I went against all their advice, they were still all









for me. I worked part-time, usually at three different jobs. I must have worked about forty
hours a week, including jobs downtown, which meant I had to assume the travel time and
travel expense. I had a student assistantship at the University of Chicago, which, I think,
paid twelve dollars and fifty cents a month. For that I was manager of the band, librarian
for the band, and first horn. In a year or so, I also did the same thing for the symphony
orchestra, so I worked very hard.

I am amused these days with all the student loans and all the emoluments that are
available for people. I am most amused about so-called "entitlements." I got through the
first three years of college, up until the time I was drafted, mostly by going to class. I had
very little time to study. I remember sitting in the library in mid-morning to study, but I
would go to sleep instead. I have no complaint. I just report these as facts. I was as
happy as I could be in those days because I wanted to be in music, and I wanted to be in
the university.

S: You were a music major? What was the exact name of your major?

P: Well, when I finally graduated, it was a B.A. with an emphasis in music education.

S: And French horn was your proficiency, or did you have such a designation?

P: The University of Chicago music department was not organized like a typical modern
university music department. There was no applied music taught there, nor were there any
applied music teachers. There was a faculty of perhaps five or six people, if that many.
There was a very sound premise that held "why should we have an applied music faculty
when the whole city is full of marvelous applied music teachers in every area," so they had
only a proficiency. I had to play a piano proficiency, but they never made me play the horn
proficiency because I was playing first horn in both the band and the orchestra, so they
knew I could play.

Their organization there is more, I think, like the University of Heidelberg. This allowed in
the curriculum much more time for theory, history, and analysis courses. I did not realize it
at the time, but I was getting a fine education. I realized it more after I graduated and came
down here to the University of Florida. I was most gratified to learn that the University of
Chicago carried such a splendid reputation. And now, from my advanced age, I can see
that it is one of the finest universities in the world, and was even at that time.

Those were great days when I was there on the University of Chicago campus. The
great educators [Robert] Maynard Hutchins and Mortimer Adler were on the campus. Adler
was famous at that time for his national bestseller, How to Read a Book. There was a lot of
ferment on the campus, and Hutchins was a young president of the university. He had
come from the Yale law school, I think, but he was just sort of the "boy wonder university
president" at that time.

S: So we now have you graduated, and you have told us about your time in the service









and about Harold Bachman. But I am not sure I understand exactly what his influence was,
other than hearing your composition and giving you some encouragement.
P: Bachman encouraged me to go to school, and he got me the $12.50-a-month student
assistantship. Even during that one year when I worked at a number of different jobs, they
were good jobs at good companies. I could have had a career at any one of those
companies based on recommendations I got from Lawrence Hall. I worked at the Quaker
Oats Company, which was at the Board of Trade building in Chicago. I worked in the
accounting department there. I used to put more than $1 million worth of deposits in about
three different banks on a Monday morning. Usually [on other days of the week I
deposited] somewhat less than that. The million dollars was a lot more money in those
days than it is now. I also worked at one of the Chicago's more solid banks, Northern Trust
Company, and I am sure I could have had a career there if I had just stuck with it, but
actually I quit that job to go to school.

S: You loved music enough to do that. It seems to me from what you have said that there
was the same kind of feeling in those days that there is today: a career in music is nice, but
you cannot make a living in it.

P: I never thought about that, because, you see, I came from such a low economic base,
virtually a nonexistent economic base. I was in the boys home. Incidentally, while I was
there, I worked at assigned jobs to help pay for my [room and board]. I always had a job
from the age often or twelve--certainly no later than the age of twelve. I worked at both the
summer camp and the home--mopping floors, sweeping the gym, washing dishes, waiting
on tables, all sorts of things. I was never aware that musicians were poorly paid, as I know
now that we are poorly paid.

I remember one time, when I was enthused about the Chicago Symphony and how
marvelous it was, one of the Lawrence Hall matrons (who were like dormitory mothers)
said, "But you know that in general musicians are low class of people." That was Mrs.
Covington. I remember her very well, and I was incensed at that. I did not know the word
"incensed" at the time, but I was hurt that she said of all of these musicians whom I
worshiped and adored that in general they were a low class of people. I thought that the
money being made by musicians was just fine. In fact, anybody who had a job in those
days was well off. A milkman was well off. A mailman was seen as being well off. All
those people who were working and had jobs were on top of the world, as far as I was
concerned.

S: Mr. Poole, I would like to pursue your activities from the time you were in college and
those events leading up to the time of your coming to the University [of Florida] as it relates
to the history of this department, and the band program in particular. You said that you
were in the band at the University of Illinois.

P: No, I meant the University of Chicago. Between high school and college I had worked
at a number of different jobs during the year, which would have been the academic year
1937-38. Then in 1938, 1 quit a job to start at the University of Chicago. I completed three









years there, working at part-time jobs, sort of a boot strap operation. I had been
encouraged to come by Harold Bachman, who was band director at the University of
Chicago. I had a part-time job for him, mixed in with a number of other activities that he
had, but as a student there I served virtually as his assistant.

The band [at Chicago] was sort of a metropolitan band; it was not like a campus band.
There were a number of students who lived on the campus in the dormitories, of course,
who played in the band, but the band was supplemented by people living in the surrounding
neighborhoods who liked to play; some of them came from some distance. In fact, I had
played in the band during the year that I had held a number of other jobs.

I was very happy to be a student at the university. I just thought there was nothing in the
world I wanted to do more. I must say it was a struggle, but I did not think of it that way. It
seems, in retrospect, that I got through the first three years simply by going to class. I did
not have much time to study because I worked busing dishes in the Billings Cafeteria at the
university hospital and working as a clerk in the Publishers Outlet bookstore on Michigan
Avenue. They stayed open until midnight every night to catch the after-theater crowds of
browsers and so forth. I did some other jobs, too. I served as librarian and manager for
the band right from the beginning through the second and third year I was there. I also did
the same thing for the orchestra. I played first horn in the band and in the orchestra, and I
usually took three or four classes per quarter.

The University of Chicago was on the quarter system; it still is and always has been, as
far as I know. Incidentally, I think that quarter system is the very best academic calendar
there is. It is superior to the semester system, and certainly superior to the abomination
known as the trimester system.

S: Why do you think it is better?

P: There are a number of reasons, all very compelling. The planning of a college
curriculum for any individual college student is a very complex business, as you know, and
it seems to get more so. It was not a complex business when I went to college. I took
three or four courses per term, and after four years, exactly twelve quarters, I was ready to
graduate. I never even knew the term "credit hour" through my whole undergraduate time.
I never became aware of credit hours until I started to teach in a college. It seems that it
always took me some five or ten minutes to get registered for an entire quarter--with no
hassle at all. Students seem to be almost inherently hassled and harassed these days
with so many details of registration and counting credit hours. The managing of a four-year
curriculum is a complex business. I think statistics show that over half of the students at
the University of Florida do not finish in four years. They take more than eight semesters to
get their degrees.

All this is the prelude to the advantage of the quarter system. You have twelve quarters
in four years, so you have twelve time-study units to work with, while under the semester
system, you have just eight. Thus, there are many more chances for adjustments [under a









quarter system]. It makes curriculum planning easier for the faculty, and it is easier for a
student going through the curriculum, simply because there is more flexibility. When
difficulty occurs and a student must drop out, either because he has somehow failed
himself in a given quarter or because of family, money troubles, illness, or whatever, he has
just a three-month wait to start again and continue. But under the semester system, if a
student has trouble in January or February, he cannot start again until at least the summer,
or possibly September.

The other reason is that the summer quarter is usually just one week shorter than all the
rest of the quarters. The summer quarter is just like any other quarter in length, so any
course that is designed for the quarter system can be taught in the summer quarter just as
effectively as it can in the others. With the semester system, we have what I think is a
terrible anomaly. A course that is designed to be spread over sixteen weeks is now taught
[during the summer] in six weeks. There seems to be some idea among many
academicians that if you simply require the same number of minutes that a person is in
class, the student learns equally well. That really is not true. For students who must take a
sixteen-week course in six weeks, many courses do not work. It may work for some
courses, but for many it does not. There is a wrenching effect, both for the students and
the faculty. I have gone through trying to teach a sixteen-week course in six weeks. In the
six-week course you do not have as much preparation time for assignments for students to
prepare, and they do not have as much time to assimilate material. This is extremely
important in the area of music, where ideas must be absorbed rather slowly because they
are listening experiences in the experience of music or experiences in music performance.
Sixteen weeks of performance study can never be crowded into six weeks.

In my experience at the University of Florida, we have been on the semester system, the
trimester system, the quarter system, and back to the semester system. It seems we
returned to the semester system for the reason that it was easier to administer, or at least
the administrators thought it was easier to administer. By administrators, I mean those in
Tigert Hall, like Robert Bryan [provost and vice-president for Academic Affairs]. It seems to
me that academic decisions are made for the wrong reasons: not for educational reasons,
but for ease of administration.

S: When you left the University of Chicago, where did you take your first job?

P: After three years at the University of Chicago, I was drafted under the Selective Service
Act for what was to be a one-year enlistment. I was drafted in July of 1941. Of course, at
that time, the attitude of the country at large was to stay out of World War II and hope that
the good guys win against the Axis of Germany and Italy, and Japan. But after Pearl
Harbour, which occurred that December, 1941, everybody's thinking changed. There was
a great change in the thinking of the whole country, and the country rallied together
remarkably well. I remained in the army until December, 1945, and then I started back in
school in January of 1946. I completed my senior year in three quarters, right on schedule,
and then in three more quarters had my master's degree.









About a month or so before I was to get the master's degree, which would have been in
the spring of 1947, 1 was offered a job teaching at Roosevelt College, a downtown college
that is now Roosevelt University. Actually, I was to pick up some courses for teachers who
had left Roosevelt College. I was offered a job and took it before I even went hunting. I
taught theory, music appreciation, and a few French horn lessons.

I enjoyed working at Roosevelt University. It was and still is quite a lively university in
many ways. It had been born out of the old Central YMCA college, which was a downtown
college in Chicago. I do not know the details because I was just a college student at that
time, but the faculty of the old Central YMCA college (I believe this is correct) had fired its
president and really brought the college's existence to an end. Roosevelt University was
created out of that debacle, you might say, and it had to do with [racial] discrimination and
segregation. That was in 1946 and 1947, and there was emphasis on equal rights for all
students. Eleanor Roosevelt was helpful in establishing the new college, hence the name
Roosevelt University.

It was established in a historic building in Chicago. I forget the name of the famous
architect who designed the buidling, but it was the old Auditorium Hotel, which included in
the same building complex the very famous old theater, the Auditorium Theater. There was
also a fine recital hall in that complex. That is where Roosevelt University is still located.

The Auditorium Theater at that time was just completely quiet. It was being allowed to
run down, as a matter of fact. The whole building had to be renovated. The Auditorium
Theater has been renovated since then and is in use again, and it is deemed to be one of
the finest for concerts and other performances.

S: Did Mr. Bachman still direct the band program at the University of Chicago at this time?

P: He was still in the army after I was in civilian life. He was stationed at an army post. Of
course, the army had expanded into many locations all over the country. They had taken
up hotels and schools, and in European countries they had taken up chateaux and castles
and used them for the purposes of the army and the other services. Bachman was
stationed at the Chicago Beach Hotel out on the lakefront, and I remember going to see
him there. He was about to be mustered out of the army.

Then, at the University of Florida, a man by the name ofAlvah A. Beecher, about whom
you might have read in there under the name Pat, had been hired by the president of the
University of Florida, who at that time was J. Hillis Miller. Beecher was to come here and
organize a full-blown, full-fledged school of music. It might have been a department of
music, but, at any rate, [Dr. Miller wanted] a full-fledged operation.

At that time, there was a period of transition and a great deal of activity because the war
was ending. All of the expansion into war industries and war occupations [was now
reversed], and millions of men and women in the services were coming out. The GI bill for
educational benefits was in effect, so there were enormous opportunities for people to go to









college. As a result, in every college and university in the country, there was great
expansion.

In Florida what was happening was that the University of Florida was growing. It had
been in existence for a long time but had had what we would think of now as a very small
enrollment--somewhere around two or three thousand. To give you an idea, when the
University Auditorium was built [in 1925], the entire student body would fit into the
University Auditorium.

S: What approximate year would that be?

P: Well, the years I am talking about now are the postwar years, around 1947 and 1948. It
was in 1948 when Beecher got his first faculty here. Prior to World War II, the University of
Florida had been all male. It the main university in the state, the "state university." There
were only two others then: Florida State College for Women, and Florida A & M University,
which was for blacks. Following World War II, Florida State College for Women became
Florida State University, and the tremendous expansion started. The University of Florida
became coeducational, which resulted in a great influx of students. When I came, I believe
the student population was around 10,000, which was an enormous increase from around
2,000 that it had been up until recently. There were a great many temporary buildings, both
classrooms and dormitories, and there were many reclaimed wooden army buildings.

S: Mr. Beecher invited Mr. Bachman?

P: Yes. I might give you a little history about Beecher. Beecher was a choral man and a
good tenor. He had been a music administrator and had made a career out of that. He
had inaugurated and built a program at Wittenberg University in [Springfield,] Ohio. He had
done the same thing at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, and he was doing it again
at the University of Florida. Incidentally, after he left the University of Florida, he did the
same thing at the University of South Florida, so his life was kind of a career of not just
being a department chairman or head of a a music department, but of building them from
scratch. He did four of those programs.
Pat Beecher brought Bachman to the University of Florida. He had known him and had
worked with him for ten years in the summers at Moscow, Idaho. He knew that Bachman
would be a great entity, a great person around whom to build a music department. He also
knew that the band is the most visible part because of football games, parades, and so
forth.
S: So the department was built around the band, then, as a publicity-producing design.

P: It was not intended to be that way; it was not built around the band. It was meant to be
a balanced department, and I think it was. We had a very fine orchestra conductor, Edward
Preodor, whose name you may know. He went from here to [the University of] South
Florida. In fact, when Beecher went down there, Preodor went down there, and I think
Preodor has remained in the Tampa area and played with the West Coast Symphony.
Preodor was a very fine violinist, I would say at the level of a solo concert violinist. He









could have been that if he had wanted to, but I think he simply preferred to stay in one
place rather than to be on the road, as a concert violinist must be. He often played as a
soloist with orchestras and in recital.

S: I wanted to clarify that, because it sounded as if Mr. Beecher looked at Bachman as a
person who could give the University some publicity. I guess that is true, but that is not the
only factor.

P: Yes, it is completely true, but I would say that it is false to say that it was a
band-oriented school. It was not. Now, the Vandercook College of Music in Chicago is a
band-oriented school, completely a band school. UF was not that, except that the band is,
by its nature, inherently visible and audible.

At that time, virtually all the legislators were University of Florida graduates because
Florida had been the only large male school. I think Florida Blue Key and the student
government operations on campus were virtually a workshop or internship for state
politics--a good many of the governors and legislators got their first experience in politics
and the ways of the political world in school politics at the University of Florida. That was
the situation that prevailed when I came here, but this gradually began to change, so that
over two decades, by 1970, we had nine so-called state universities and twenty-eight
community or junior colleges. Those numbers are correct in round figures, if not in exact
figures.

S: So Mr. Bachman was hired in 1948, and he in turn was instrumental in bringing you
there?

P: Yes. They needed two positions in the beginning of 1949. One was to be an assistant
band director to Bachman, and the other position was to be a band director who would start
a band at the [University of Florida's] P. K. Yonge [Laboratory] School. Now, the P. K.
Yonge school was one of the most famous things about the University of Florida. In fact, in
Chicago when I first heard about the possibility of coming here, I looked up Gainesville in
the encyclopedia, and one of the things that it said about Gainesville was that the P. K.
Yonge school was here. People registered their children for admission to the P. K. Yonge
school as soon as the children are born so they would be on a waiting list to get in. They
wanted to start a band there, but they could not get the two positions, so they took one. I
got that job. I was invited because I was Bachman's choice, and Beecher wanted
Bachman to have his choice, and because I had worked with Bachman during my three
years at the University of Chicago. I guess he figured that I would work hard to please him
and do what he wanted. So I came, and I was very glad. It was a great opportunity. This
was after two years at Roosevelt University. That is my whole teaching career: two years
at Roosevelt University, and then here since 1949.

S: What strikes me as interesting about this is that your position here at a major national
university is largely due to your faithful work with Mr. Bachman during your college days. Is
that right?










P: That is right. As it turned out, he was my mentor--I think that is the best word. The
situation is the same today. We try to sponsor our graduates, you might say, with letters of
recommendation and encouragement and so forth. We take great pride in the
accomplishments of our graduates. It was a connection, and it was fortunate for me. I
think I saw a good opportunity and took it. Of course, I worked hard to try to keep my job. I
am still hoping it will work out. [laughter]

S: I do not think there is any question about that.

P: My first two years here, I went to work at 8:00 in the morning at P. K. Yonge. I spent the
morning there and then went home for a quick lunch. It was easy to go home then, as
there were no problems with parking spaces or anything like that. In the afternoons and
evenings I was over at the music building at the university. Our music building was in this
old gymnasium. It had been adapted from a gymnasium that had been built in the 1930s,
as I understand it. It was a Work Project Administration program and was originally built as
a temporary building. It was right next to the Women's Gym; there is a parking lot there
now. When it was adapted for the music department, what had been the gymnasium floor
was walled off and made into two large rooms. One was the orchestra and band room, and
the other was the choral room. Of course, the gymnasium floor would have been the
center of the building and had higher ceilings, which was good for the rehearsal rooms.
Around the perimeter of the building were two levels, two different parts of the building.
Some of the building was used for faculty studios and so forth, and some for practice
rooms. All of the construction was 2x4 wood studding, but the walls were just Celotex
wallboard. Anyone who simply doubled up a fist could punch a hole in the wall. Of course,
there was very little sound isolation in any of the rooms. When the band or jazz band was
rehearsing in the building, everyone in the building knew it.
S: Mr. Poole, could you tell me about something I read in the book that you loaned to me,
The Biggest Boom in Dixie, written by Harold Bachman, describing his years here and
actually the birth of the department? In that book, written while you were the chairman of
the department, it says that you initiated a few things here. The variety band was started
by you. Is this correct?

P: Yes, that was the jazz program, which I am pleased to say still goes on and is very
successful.

S: Is it now the jazz band?
P: Yes. It is an interesting commentary on the sensibility of our culture, and Mr. Beecher's
idea about the jazz band. The jazz band started when a journalism fraternity wanted to put
on a musical show. They asked Beecher for a show band for their show, so Beecher asked
me if I would set one up. So I went to work, and we assembled what was a forties-style big
band, with five saxes, four trumpets, four trombones, and a rhythm section. Then we found
out what [kind of music] they wanted in the show and quickly ordered some stock
arrangements, the old octavo-size stocks. In addition, I wrote a special arrangement of
"We are the Boys from Old Florida" in 4/4 time with the band singing in unison--that used to









be done by the band--with a rhythm background.


We played the show, and it was very successful. Then Beecher asked me if we wanted
to continue the band, and I said, "Sure! That will be fine." We scheduled a concert for the
next year, and then it kept going. It was called the "Gator Variety Band" as kind of a
cop-out. Beecher really did not care for jazz, and he had had a bad experience with a
Dixieland-type band at the University of Idaho. It had been known as the pep band. It was
not part of the music department, but the band went to basketball games and did all kinds
of things, and it was enormously popular. I think Beecher felt it was an embarrassment to
the music department, and he had no control over it. As a result, Beecher was ambivalent
about the jazz band, which put me in a tender situation. It did not bother me, except that I
did become aware of it.

One of the problems was the word "jazz." Jazz did not enjoy the good press then that it
does these days. Especially in the twenties and thirties, jazz was considered something
that you really should not expose your children to. Of course, jazz was played in
speakeasies and originated in whorehouses, so there was a genuine cultural conflict there.
I am a champion of jazz and a champion of the black cause, but if we just look at it, there
is a real cultural conflict there. People do not like to talk about too much, but it is there in
the record. At any rate, they did not want us [to be called a jazz band]. There were many
religious fundamentalists in the state of Florida, and there still are a great many of those
same people and their descendants. Beecher thought they would be offended at the word
jazz. They might say such things as, "What are you doing down there at the University of
Florida? This jazz is iniquitous business!" What I am giving you now is probably something
you would hear only from me. But I think this business of cultural sensibilities is important.
For the same reason they avoided the word "dance." Now, this was before there were any
stage bands or jazz bands in the schools. I do not think there were any anywhere, or if
there were, they were exceptional.

S: How about in colleges?

P: The same for colleges. They were just not there.

S: So the University of Florida was a forerunner, then, in this.

P: I think we were one of the first to do that, yes. I will not say the first, because I just do
not know that.
S: All born out of a show that needed a group, or was this more born out of a personal
desire of yours?

P: No, I had more than I could do with the band of my own at P. K. Yonge, and then
working with Bachman and writing arrangements for our own marching band and other
things. No, it was not born out of any impulse from me. I responded to a request from the
boss, and then, of course, when I started working with the students, I responded to their
enthusiasm. So we got a name that avoided the words "jazz" and "dance" and gave it the









name the "Gator Variety Band," and that was its name up into the sixties. Now, when they
started to get the jazz bands in the schools, they did the same thing. They avoided the
word "jazz" and "dance." They called them stage bands.

S: Yes, we had a stage band in my high school.

P: So, you see, that follows right along. I directed the jazz band from 1950 to 1958. When
Bachman retired in 1958, I became director of bands, and Richard W. Bowles came to be
assistant director of bands. In our programming, we did take seriously our word "variety,"
and we played different styles. We would have a Dixieland set, a big band set, and maybe
something else. One set I created was a tribute to Duke Ellington. One time Beecher
called me in and said, "Some people may look askance at paying tribute to a black man,"
but never in the world had that entered my mind. We went ahead and did it, but it just
shows the nervousness and the concern that existed at that time.

S: What was the result of that performance? Were there any negative effects?

P: No, the band kept getting more and more popular. In fact, there was a request from the
students that they ought to get credit for participating in the band, as they do now, like any
other ensemble, but that was out of the question.
S: Did you write that tribute to the Duke as something you arranged?

P: Well, no, it was just a group of selections; it was just mostly stock arrangements. It
might have included "Take the A Train," "Mood Indigo," "Sophisticated Lady," or something
like that. That program may still be in existence somewhere, but I do not know.

S: Now, the Variety Band has a picture from 1952 in this book that I mentioned. Was it
born before then?

P: It was born in 1950, my very first year here.

S: I want to ask you about another topic. Another innovation that you brought to the
department was girls marching in the band.

P: Yes. The band under Bachman an all-male band. He wanted to call it "The Band";
whatever season it was, it was just "The Band." In other words, it was a marching band
during marching season, and then after that, that same band became the concert band. He
did not like the term symphonic band. We did have a second band that was called the
reserve band. It was part of my job to direct that band, but it was always just a handful of
people, and we never did anything with it except rehearse. Of course, a name like reserve
band is like a "non-varsity football team" that is the fodder for the varsity team to practice
on, so it did not attract much membership. We did take the reserve band out to play at
what is now called the Sunland Training Center for the patients there, and that was quite
successful. I do not remember exactly which yearthat was. We did it at least twice, maybe
three times. The emotional impact on those patients of the big sound of a band was just









terrific. The nurses and attendants there had to watch them very carefully, because there
was a tremendous emotional impact. They loved the band. They practically were clutching
at my clothes to tell me how much they liked it. But that was about the only thing we did
with the reserve band.

We had a good band, and I supported Bachman to the letter in everything that he did. I
felt that was what I should do. There were no scholarships in any part of the department of
music, and Bachman and Beecher took pride and pleasure in the fact that there were none.
[Their feeling was] you played because you wanted to play, and you would be here
because you wanted to be here, not because you are being paid to be here. Of course,
other colleges were giving scholarships.

Bachman was still here when I took over as director of bands. Bless his heart, he was a
man of great character. He was not only effective in things he did, but everyone could just
feel the very high, solid character of the man. He, in turn, supported me in everything I did.
Several things were contrary to what he had been doing all along. Now, among those
things was having the girls in marching band, because they had been wanting to march for
years. In addition, I knew the reserve band did not work, primarily because of the title. So
then we got a symphonic band, and we changed the name of the reserve band to concert
band. It was immediately successful under the name concert band. That same setup that I
started is still in effect today. I think this speaks for its soundness. Under Bachman, if you
did not play in the marching band, you did not play in the band at all. There were a number
of good players--in fact, some of the best players on campus--who had had enough of
marching band in high school, and they were not allowed to play in "The Band." They did
not have the chance, and we did not have the opportunity of having them in the band. So I
did away with that restriction.

S: Now, what does that mean? Someone could be in the concert or symphonic band
without being in the marching band, then, under your leadership?

P: Yes, that is right.

S: Or vice versa.

P: Yes, that is right. [Under the changes I made,] there was no requirement that band was
marching band in the fall and concert band [the rest of the year, as it was under Bachman].
His policy was that you could not join the band in January if you had been at school in the
fall and did not participate in the marching band.

S: That policy that you instituted still exists, does it not?

P: Yes. I do not think anyone thinks of it as a policy that Poole inaugurated, but that was
the time at which we made that change.

S: But it works.










P: Yes, and immediately, I think the situation improved. First of all, we were able to
balance the symphonic band. See, if you just worked with the marching band, you might
have as many trombones as you have clarinets [in the symphonic band], and that is not
good. Eventually, I started having the symphonic band rehearse once a week, even during
football season, on Mondays. On Tuesday we would begin preparation for that Saturday's
game. By putting in the symphonic band, then, we started to give the good players on
campus an opportunity to play, even though they were not playing in the marching band.
Then we had the advantage of having them in where we needed them--some fine clarinet
players, and other instruments. Then, of course, this allowed the double reed players to
play in band without having to play cymbals or saxophone or something like that in the
marching band.

I also went to the head football coach, who was Bob Woodruff at that time. We had
about a hundred people in the marching band then, and I asked for one hundred
one-semester tuition scholarships for the marching band. I felt that they earned that, and
still do. They work virtually like court musicians for the University. They play for so many
things. They played more outdoor concerts then, and they did a good deal at
Homecoming. The whole band was like a pit band for Gator Growl.
S: Were there concerts in the Plaza [of the Americas], as well?

P: Yes, those were outdoor concerts in the Plaza.

S: How frequently did those happen?

P: Well, Bachman usually put together a Christmas concert very quickly after football
season. Then, usually in a spring semester, [there would be] about three or four [concerts]
at about two week intervals, so there would be about two weeks to prepare a concert. That
does not seem enough today. People want things rehearsed to a sharper stage of
perfection these days than they did then. One of the things that affected Bachman's
thinking was his professional experience with his own band. When he was on the road, or
when he was playing in winters at the Tampa Bay Hotel, which is now the sight for the
University of Tampa, those onion-shaped domes, [his band would very little rehearsal time
to prepare for concerts or shows].

S: The H. B. Plant Hotel?

P: Maybe it was the Plant Hotel.

S: With the minarets on top.

P: With the minarets on top, the onion-shaped things, which are now the University of
Tampa buildings. In a week's time during the twenties, he would play thirteen concerts with
one rehearsal in Tampa. Remember I told you about the players in the band being
specialists in the body of concert band literature. Someone might be a specialsit on third









clarinet or on one of the middle horn parts, or he might be a baritone horn player or know
all the second trombone parts, and so forth. That is how they could do that. But one of the
things he would have to do at that time was to have soloists. He would have violin soloists,
soprano soloists, and so forth. There was no PA during those years. Later, when the band
would be playing at, say, Grant Park in Chicago in the summers, they would do one concert
with one rehearsal. Of course, Bachman felt that two weeks was adequate time to
rehearse something, if he had thirteen concerts with one rehearsal.

S: I would like to put things into a time frame. Mr. Bachman was here from 1948 to 1958,
and you came in ...

P: I came in 1949, after he had been here one year.

S: And you became the primary band director in what year?

P: In 1958.

S: In 1958 when he left, and these changes to the band program came ...

P: In 1958.
S: With the exception of the variety band, which you started in January of 1950.

P: Yes. When I became director of bands, Dick [Richard] Bowles took over the variety
band.

S: And you were appointed chairman of the department in 1961?

P: Yes, I think I assumed that position in February, 1961, which was the beginning of a
semester at that time.

S: How did that position come about? Was there a retirement, or someone who preceded
you left? Tell us something about that. Mr. Bachman was here for one year, according to
the book, as an interim chairman, or, as it was called then, head of the department.

P: Yes, he was brought back from retirement to serve as the interim chairman of the
department while they looked for someone.

S: And you were the main band director at that time. Tell us what happened, beginning
with the time that Alvah Beecher came as the chairman of the department.

P: Bachman encouraged me to go to school, and he got me the $12.50-a-month student
assistantship. Even during that one year when I worked at a number of different jobs, they
were good jobs at good companies. I could have had a career at any one of those
companies based on recommendations I got from Lawrence Hall. I worked at the Quaker
Oats Company, which was at the Board of Trade building in Chicago. I worked in the









accounting department there. I used to put more than $1 million worth of deposits in about
three different banks on a Monday morning. Usually [on other days of the week I
deposited] somewhat less than that. The million dollars was a lot more money in those
days than it is now. I also worked at one of the Chicago's more solid banks, Northern Trust
Company, and I am sure I could have had a career there if I had just stuck with it, but
actually I quit that job to go to school.

S: You loved music enough to do that. It seems to me from what you have said that there
was the same kind of feeling in those days that there is today: a career in music is nice, but
you cannot make a living in it.

P: I never thought about that, because, you see, I came from such a low economic base,
virtually a nonexistent economic base. I was in the boys home. Incidentally, while I was
there, I worked at assigned jobs to help pay for my [room and board]. I always had a job
from the age often or twelve--certainly no later than the age of twelve. I worked at both the
summer camp and the home--mopping floors, sweeping the gym, washing dishes, waiting
on tables, all sorts of things. I was never aware that musicians were poorly paid, as I know
now that we are poorly paid.

I remember one time, when I was enthused about the Chicago Symphony and how
marvelous it was, one of the Lawrence Hall matrons (who were like dormitory mothers)
said, "But you know that in general musicians are low class of people." That was Mrs.
Covington. I remember her very well, and I was incensed at that. I did not know the word
"incensed" at the time, but I was hurt that she said of all of these musicians whom I
worshiped and adored that in general they were a low class of people. I thought that the
money being made by musicians was just fine. In fact, anybody who had a job in those
days was well off. A milkman was well off. A mailman was seen as being well off. All
those people who were working and had jobs were on top of the world, as far as I was
concerned.

S: Mr. Poole, I would like to pursue your activities from the time you were in college and
those events leading up to the time of your coming to the University [of Florida] as it relates
to the history of this department, and the band program in particular. You said that you
were in the band at the University of Illinois.

P: No, I meant the University of Chicago. Between high school and college I had worked
at a number of different jobs during the year, which would have been the academic year
1937-38. Then in 1938, 1 quit a job to start at the University of Chicago. I completed three
years there, working at part-time jobs, sort of a boot strap operation. I had been
encouraged to come by Harold Bachman, who was band director at the University of
Chicago. I had a part-time job for him, mixed in with a number of other activities that he
had, but as a student there I served virtually as his assistant.

The band [at Chicago] was sort of a metropolitan band; it was not like a campus band.
There were a number of students who lived on the campus in the dormitories, of course,









who played in the band, but the band was supplemented by people living in the surrounding
neighborhoods who liked to play; some of them came from some distance. In fact, I had
played in the band during the year that I had held a number of other jobs.

I was very happy to be a student at the university. I just thought there was nothing in the
world I wanted to do more. I must say it was a struggle, but I did not think of it that way. It
seems, in retrospect, that I got through the first three years simply by going to class. I did
not have much time to study because I worked busing dishes in the Billings Cafeteria at the
university hospital and working as a clerk in the Publishers Outlet bookstore on Michigan
Avenue. They stayed open until midnight every night to catch the after-theater crowds of
browsers and so forth. I did some other jobs, too. I served as librarian and manager for
the band right from the beginning through the second and third year I was there. I also did
the same thing for the orchestra. I played first horn in the band and in the orchestra, and I
usually took three or four classes per quarter.

The University of Chicago was on the quarter system; it still is and always has been, as
far as I know. Incidentally, I think that quarter system is the very best academic calendar
there is. It is superior to the semester system, and certainly superior to the abomination
known as the trimester system.

S: Why do you think it is better?

P: There are a number of reasons, all very compelling. The planning of a college
curriculum for any individual college student is a very complex business, as you know, and
it seems to get more so. It was not a complex business when I went to college. I took
three or four courses per term, and after four years, exactly twelve quarters, I was ready to
graduate. I never even knew the term "credit hour" through my whole undergraduate time.
I never became aware of credit hours until I started to teach in a college. It seems that it
always took me some five or ten minutes to get registered for an entire quarter--with no
hassle at all. Students seem to be almost inherently hassled and harassed these days
with so many details of registration and counting credit hours. The managing of a four-year
curriculum is a complex business. I think statistics show that over half of the students at
the University of Florida do not finish in four years. They take more than eight semesters to
get their degrees.

All this is the prelude to the advantage of the quarter system. You have twelve quarters
in four years, so you have twelve time-study units to work with, while under the semester
system, you have just eight. Thus, there are many more chances for adjustments [under a
quarter system]. It makes curriculum planning easier for the faculty, and it is easier for a
student going through the curriculum, simply because there is more flexibility. When
difficulty occurs and a student must drop out, either because he has somehow failed
himself in a given quarter or because of family, money troubles, illness, or whatever, he has
just a three-month wait to start again and continue. But under the semester system, if a
student has trouble in January or February, he cannot start again until at least the summer,
or possibly September.










The other reason is that the summer quarter is usually just one week shorter than all the
rest of the quarters. The summer quarter is just like any other quarter in length, so any
course that is designed for the quarter system can be taught in the summer quarter just as
effectively as it can in the others. With the semester system, we have what I think is a
terrible anomaly. A course that is designed to be spread over sixteen weeks is now taught
[during the summer] in six weeks. There seems to be some idea among many
academicians that if you simply require the same number of minutes that a person is in
class, the student learns equally well. That really is not true. For students who must take a
sixteen-week course in six weeks, many courses do not work. It may work for some
courses, but for many it does not. There is a wrenching effect, both for the students and
the faculty. I have gone through trying to teach a sixteen-week course in six weeks. In the
six-week course you do not have as much preparation time for assignments for students to
prepare, and they do not have as much time to assimilate material. This is extremely
important in the area of music, where ideas must be absorbed rather slowly because they
are listening experiences in the experience of music or experiences in music performance.
Sixteen weeks of performance study can never be crowded into six weeks.

In my experience at the University of Florida, we have been on the semester system, the
trimester system, the quarter system, and back to the semester system. It seems we
returned to the semester system for the reason that it was easier to administer, or at least
the administrators thought it was easier to administer. By administrators, I mean those in
Tigert Hall, like Robert Bryan [provost and vice-president for Academic Affairs]. It seems to
me that academic decisions are made for the wrong reasons: not for educational reasons,
but for ease of administration.

S: When you left the University of Chicago, where did you take your first job?

P: After three years at the University of Chicago, I was drafted under the Selective Service
Act for what was to be a one-year enlistment. I was drafted in July of 1941. Of course, at
that time, the attitude of the country at large was to stay out of World War II and hope that
the good guys win against the Axis of Germany and Italy, and Japan. But after Pearl
Harbour, which occurred that December, 1941, everybody's thinking changed. There was
a great change in the thinking of the whole country, and the country rallied together
remarkably well. I remained in the army until December, 1945, and then I started back in
school in January of 1946. I completed my senior year in three quarters, right on schedule,
and then in three more quarters had my master's degree.
About a month or so before I was to get the master's degree, which would have been in
the spring of 1947, 1 was offered a job teaching at Roosevelt College, a downtown college
that is now Roosevelt University. Actually, I was to pick up some courses for teachers who
had left Roosevelt College. I was offered a job and took it before I even went hunting. I
taught theory, music appreciation, and a few French horn lessons.

I enjoyed working at Roosevelt University. It was and still is quite a lively university in
many ways. It had been born out of the old Central YMCA college, which was a downtown









college in Chicago. I do not know the details because I was just a college student at that
time, but the faculty of the old Central YMCA college (I believe this is correct) had fired its
president and really brought the college's existence to an end. Roosevelt University was
created out of that debacle, you might say, and it had to do with [racial] discrimination and
segregation. That was in 1946 and 1947, and there was emphasis on equal rights for all
students. Eleanor Roosevelt was helpful in establishing the new college, hence the name
Roosevelt University.

It was established in a historic building in Chicago. I forget the name of the famous
architect who designed the buidling, but it was the old Auditorium Hotel, which included in
the same building complex the very famous old theater, the Auditorium Theater. There was
also a fine recital hall in that complex. That is where Roosevelt University is still located.

The Auditorium Theater at that time was just completely quiet. It was being allowed to
run down, as a matter of fact. The whole building had to be renovated. The Auditorium
Theater has been renovated since then and is in use again, and it is deemed to be one of
the finest for concerts and other performances.

S: Did Mr. Bachman still direct the band program at the University of Chicago at this time?

P: He was still in the army after I was in civilian life. He was stationed at an army post. Of
course, the army had expanded into many locations all over the country. They had taken
up hotels and schools, and in European countries they had taken up chateaux and castles
and used them for the purposes of the army and the other services. Bachman was
stationed at the Chicago Beach Hotel out on the lakefront, and I remember going to see
him there. He was about to be mustered out of the army.

Then, at the University of Florida, a man by the name ofAlvah A. Beecher, about whom
you might have read in there under the name Pat, had been hired by the president of the
University of Florida, who at that time was J. Hillis Miller. Beecher was to come here and
organize a full-blown, full-fledged school of music. It might have been a department of
music, but, at any rate, [Dr. Miller wanted] a full-fledged operation.

At that time, there was a period of transition and a great deal of activity because the war
was ending. All of the expansion into war industries and war occupations [was now
reversed], and millions of men and women in the services were coming out. The GI bill for
educational benefits was in effect, so there were enormous opportunities for people to go to
college. As a result, in every college and university in the country, there was great
expansion.

In Florida what was happening was that the University of Florida was growing. It had
been in existence for a long time but had had what we would think of now as a very small
enrollment--somewhere around two or three thousand. To give you an idea, when the
University Auditorium was built [in 1925], the entire student body would fit into the
University Auditorium.










S: What approximate year would that be?


P: Well, the years I am talking about now are the postwar years, around 1947 and 1948. It
was in 1948 when Beecher got his first faculty here. Prior to World War II, the University of
Florida had been all male. It the main university in the state, the "state university." There
were only two others then: Florida State College for Women, and Florida A & M University,
which was for blacks. Following World War II, Florida State College for Women became
Florida State University, and the tremendous expansion started. The University of Florida
became coeducational, which resulted in a great influx of students. When I came, I believe
the student population was around 10,000, which was an enormous increase from around
2,000 that it had been up until recently. There were a great many temporary buildings, both
classrooms and dormitories, and there were many reclaimed wooden army buildings.

S: Mr. Beecher invited Mr. Bachman?

P: Yes. I might give you a little history about Beecher. Beecher was a choral man and a
good tenor. He had been a music administrator and had made a career out of that. He
had inaugurated and built a program at Wittenberg University in [Springfield,] Ohio. He had
done the same thing at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, and he was doing it again
at the University of Florida. Incidentally, after he left the University of Florida, he did the
same thing at the University of South Florida, so his life was kind of a career of not just
being a department chairman or head of a a music department, but of building them from
scratch. He did four of those programs.
Pat Beecher brought Bachman to the University of Florida. He had known him and had
worked with him for ten years in the summers at Moscow, Idaho. He knew that Bachman
would be a great entity, a great person around whom to build a music department. He also
knew that the band is the most visible part because of football games, parades, and so
forth.

S: So the department was built around the band, then, as a publicity-producing design.

P: It was not intended to be that way; it was not built around the band. It was meant to be
a balanced department, and I think it was. We had a very fine orchestra conductor, Edward
Preodor, whose name you may know. He went from here to [the University of] South
Florida. In fact, when Beecher went down there, Preodor went down there, and I think
Preodor has remained in the Tampa area and played with the West Coast Symphony.
Preodor was a very fine violinist, I would say at the level of a solo concert violinist. He
could have been that if he had wanted to, but I think he simply preferred to stay in one
place rather than to be on the road, as a concert violinist must be. He often played as a
soloist with orchestras and in recital.

S: I wanted to clarify that, because it sounded as if Mr. Beecher looked at Bachman as a
person who could give the University some publicity. I guess that is true, but that is not the
only factor.










P: Yes, it is completely true, but I would say that it is false to say that it was a
band-oriented school. It was not. Now, the Vandercook College of Music in Chicago is a
band-oriented school, completely a band school. UF was not that, except that the band is,
by its nature, inherently visible and audible.

At that time, virtually all the legislators were University of Florida graduates because
Florida had been the only large male school. I think Florida Blue Key and the student
government operations on campus were virtually a workshop or internship for state
politics--a good many of the governors and legislators got their first experience in politics
and the ways of the political world in school politics at the University of Florida. That was
the situation that prevailed when I came here, but this gradually began to change, so that
over two decades, by 1970, we had nine so-called state universities and twenty-eight
community or junior colleges. Those numbers are correct in round figures, if not in exact
figures.

S: So Mr. Bachman was hired in 1948, and he in turn was instrumental in bringing you
there?

P: Yes. They needed two positions in the beginning of 1949. One was to be an assistant
band director to Bachman, and the other position was to be a band director who would start
a band at the [University of Florida's] P. K. Yonge [Laboratory] School. Now, the P. K.
Yonge school was one of the most famous things about the University of Florida. In fact, in
Chicago when I first heard about the possibility of coming here, I looked up Gainesville in
the encyclopedia, and one of the things that it said about Gainesville was that the P. K.
Yonge school was here. People registered their children for admission to the P. K. Yonge
school as soon as the children are born so they would be on a waiting list to get in. They
wanted to start a band there, but they could not get the two positions, so they took one. I
got that job. I was invited because I was Bachman's choice, and Beecher wanted
Bachman to have his choice, and because I had worked with Bachman during my three
years at the University of Chicago. I guess he figured that I would work hard to please him
and do what he wanted. So I came, and I was very glad. It was a great opportunity. This
was after two years at Roosevelt University. That is my whole teaching career: two years
at Roosevelt University, and then here since 1949.

S: What strikes me as interesting about this is that your position here at a major national
university is largely due to your faithful work with Mr. Bachman during your college days. Is
that right?

P: That is right. As it turned out, he was my mentor--I think that is the best word. The
situation is the same today. We try to sponsor our graduates, you might say, with letters of
recommendation and encouragement and so forth. We take great pride in the
accomplishments of our graduates. It was a connection, and it was fortunate for me. I
think I saw a good opportunity and took it. Of course, I worked hard to try to keep my job. I
am still hoping it will work out. [laughter]










S: I do not think there is any question about that.


P: My first two years here, I went to work at 8:00 in the morning at P. K. Yonge. I spent the
morning there and then went home for a quick lunch. It was easy to go home then, as
there were no problems with parking spaces or anything like that. In the afternoons and
evenings I was over at the music building at the university. Our music building was in this
old gymnasium. It had been adapted from a gymnasium that had been built in the 1930s,
as I understand it. It was a Work Project Administration program and was originally built as
a temporary building. It was right next to the Women's Gym; there is a parking lot there
now. When it was adapted for the music department, what had been the gymnasium floor
was walled off and made into two large rooms. One was the orchestra and band room, and
the other was the choral room. Of course, the gymnasium floor would have been the
center of the building and had higher ceilings, which was good for the rehearsal rooms.
Around the perimeter of the building were two levels, two different parts of the building.
Some of the building was used for faculty studios and so forth, and some for practice
rooms. All of the construction was 2x4 wood studding, but the walls were just Celotex
wallboard. Anyone who simply doubled up a fist could punch a hole in the wall. Of course,
there was very little sound isolation in any of the rooms. When the band or jazz band was
rehearsing in the building, everyone in the building knew it.
S: Mr. Poole, could you tell me about something I read in the book that you loaned to me,
The Biggest Boom in Dixie, written by Harold Bachman, describing his years here and
actually the birth of the department? In that book, written while you were the chairman of
the department, it says that you initiated a few things here. The variety band was started
by you. Is this correct?

P: Yes, that was the jazz program, which I am pleased to say still goes on and is very
successful.

S: Is it now the jazz band?

P: Yes. It is an interesting commentary on the sensibility of our culture, and Mr. Beecher's
idea about the jazz band. The jazz band started when a journalism fraternity wanted to put
on a musical show. They asked Beecher for a show band for their show, so Beecher asked
me if I would set one up. So I went to work, and we assembled what was a forties-style big
band, with five saxes, four trumpets, four trombones, and a rhythm section. Then we found
out what [kind of music] they wanted in the show and quickly ordered some stock
arrangements, the old octavo-size stocks. In addition, I wrote a special arrangement of
"We are the Boys from Old Florida" in 4/4 time with the band singing in unison--that used to
be done by the band--with a rhythm background.

We played the show, and it was very successful. Then Beecher asked me if we wanted
to continue the band, and I said, "Sure! That will be fine." We scheduled a concert for the
next year, and then it kept going. It was called the "Gator Variety Band" as kind of a
cop-out. Beecher really did not care for jazz, and he had had a bad experience with a









Dixieland-type band at the University of Idaho. It had been known as the pep band. It was
not part of the music department, but the band went to basketball games and did all kinds
of things, and it was enormously popular. I think Beecher felt it was an embarrassment to
the music department, and he had no control over it. As a result, Beecher was ambivalent
about the jazz band, which put me in a tender situation. It did not bother me, except that I
did become aware of it.

One of the problems was the word "jazz." Jazz did not enjoy the good press then that it
does these days. Especially in the twenties and thirties, jazz was considered something
that you really should not expose your children to. Of course, jazz was played in
speakeasies and originated in whorehouses, so there was a genuine cultural conflict there.
I am a champion of jazz and a champion of the black cause, but if we just look at it, there
is a real cultural conflict there. People do not like to talk about too much, but it is there in
the record. At any rate, they did not want us [to be called a jazz band]. There were many
religious fundamentalists in the state of Florida, and there still are a great many of those
same people and their descendants. Beecher thought they would be offended at the word
jazz. They might say such things as, "What are you doing down there at the University of
Florida? This jazz is iniquitous business!" What I am giving you now is probably something
you would hear only from me. But I think this business of cultural sensibilities is important.
For the same reason they avoided the word "dance." Now, this was before there were any
stage bands or jazz bands in the schools. I do not think there were any anywhere, or if
there were, they were exceptional.

S: How about in colleges?

P: The same for colleges. They were just not there.

S: So the University of Florida was a forerunner, then, in this.

P: I think we were one of the first to do that, yes. I will not say the first, because I just do
not know that.

S: All born out of a show that needed a group, or was this more born out of a personal
desire of yours?

P: No, I had more than I could do with the band of my own at P. K. Yonge, and then
working with Bachman and writing arrangements for our own marching band and other
things. No, it was not born out of any impulse from me. I responded to a request from the
boss, and then, of course, when I started working with the students, I responded to their
enthusiasm. So we got a name that avoided the words "jazz" and "dance" and gave it the
name the "Gator Variety Band," and that was its name up into the sixties. Now, when they
started to get the jazz bands in the schools, they did the same thing. They avoided the
word "jazz" and "dance." They called them stage bands.

S: Yes, we had a stage band in my high school.










P: So, you see, that follows right along. I directed the jazz band from 1950 to 1958. When
Bachman retired in 1958, I became director of bands, and Richard W. Bowles came to be
assistant director of bands. In our programming, we did take seriously our word "variety,"
and we played different styles. We would have a Dixieland set, a big band set, and maybe
something else. One set I created was a tribute to Duke Ellington. One time Beecher
called me in and said, "Some people may look askance at paying tribute to a black man,"
but never in the world had that entered my mind. We went ahead and did it, but it just
shows the nervousness and the concern that existed at that time.

S: What was the result of that performance? Were there any negative effects?

P: No, the band kept getting more and more popular. In fact, there was a request from the
students that they ought to get credit for participating in the band, as they do now, like any
other ensemble, but that was out of the question.
S: Did you write that tribute to the Duke as something you arranged?

P: Well, no, it was just a group of selections; it was just mostly stock arrangements. It
might have included "Take the A Train," "Mood Indigo," "Sophisticated Lady," or something
like that. That program may still be in existence somewhere, but I do not know.

S: Now, the Variety Band has a picture from 1952 in this book that I mentioned. Was it
born before then?

P: It was born in 1950, my very first year here.

S: I want to ask you about another topic. Another innovation that you brought to the
department was girls marching in the band.

P: Yes. The band under Bachman an all-male band. He wanted to call it "The Band";
whatever season it was, it was just "The Band." In other words, it was a marching band
during marching season, and then after that, that same band became the concert band. He
did not like the term symphonic band. We did have a second band that was called the
reserve band. It was part of my job to direct that band, but it was always just a handful of
people, and we never did anything with it except rehearse. Of course, a name like reserve
band is like a "non-varsity football team" that is the fodder for the varsity team to practice
on, so it did not attract much membership. We did take the reserve band out to play at
what is now called the Sunland Training Center for the patients there, and that was quite
successful. I do not remember exactly which yearthat was. We did it at least twice, maybe
three times. The emotional impact on those patients of the big sound of a band was just
terrific. The nurses and attendants there had to watch them very carefully, because there
was a tremendous emotional impact. They loved the band. They practically were clutching
at my clothes to tell me how much they liked it. But that was about the only thing we did
with the reserve band.









We had a good band, and I supported Bachman to the letter in everything that he did. I
felt that was what I should do. There were no scholarships in any part of the department of
music, and Bachman and Beecher took pride and pleasure in the fact that there were none.
[Their feeling was] you played because you wanted to play, and you would be here
because you wanted to be here, not because you are being paid to be here. Of course,
other colleges were giving scholarships.

Bachman was still here when I took over as director of bands. Bless his heart, he was a
man of great character. He was not only effective in things he did, but everyone could just
feel the very high, solid character of the man. He, in turn, supported me in everything I did.
Several things were contrary to what he had been doing all along. Now, among those
things was having the girls in marching band, because they had been wanting to march for
years. In addition, I knew the reserve band did not work, primarily because of the title. So
then we got a symphonic band, and we changed the name of the reserve band to concert
band. It was immediately successful under the name concert band. That same setup that I
started is still in effect today. I think this speaks for its soundness. Under Bachman, if you
did not play in the marching band, you did not play in the band at all. There were a number
of good players--in fact, some of the best players on campus--who had had enough of
marching band in high school, and they were not allowed to play in "The Band." They did
not have the chance, and we did not have the opportunity of having them in the band. So I
did away with that restriction.

S: Now, what does that mean? Someone could be in the concert or symphonic band
without being in the marching band, then, under your leadership?

P: Yes, that is right.

S: Or vice versa.

P: Yes, that is right. [Under the changes I made,] there was no requirement that band was
marching band in the fall and concert band [the rest of the year, as it was under Bachman].
His policy was that you could not join the band in January if you had been at school in the
fall and did not participate in the marching band.

S: That policy that you instituted still exists, does it not?
P: Yes. I do not think anyone thinks of it as a policy that Poole inaugurated, but that was
the time at which we made that change.

S: But it works.

P: Yes, and immediately, I think the situation improved. First of all, we were able to
balance the symphonic band. See, if you just worked with the marching band, you might
have as many trombones as you have clarinets [in the symphonic band], and that is not
good. Eventually, I started having the symphonic band rehearse once a week, even during
football season, on Mondays. On Tuesday we would begin preparation for that Saturday's









game. By putting in the symphonic band, then, we started to give the good players on
campus an opportunity to play, even though they were not playing in the marching band.
Then we had the advantage of having them in where we needed them--some fine clarinet
players, and other instruments. Then, of course, this allowed the double reed players to
play in band without having to play cymbals or saxophone or something like that in the
marching band.

I also went to the head football coach, who was Bob Woodruff at that time. We had
about a hundred people in the marching band then, and I asked for one hundred
one-semester tuition scholarships for the marching band. I felt that they earned that, and
still do. They work virtually like court musicians for the University. They play for so many
things. They played more outdoor concerts then, and they did a good deal at
Homecoming. The whole band was like a pit band for Gator Growl.
S: Were there concerts in the Plaza [of the Americas], as well?

P: Yes, those were outdoor concerts in the Plaza.

S: How frequently did those happen?

P: Well, Bachman usually put together a Christmas concert very quickly after football
season. Then, usually in a spring semester, [there would be] about three or four [concerts]
at about two week intervals, so there would be about two weeks to prepare a concert. That
does not seem enough today. People want things rehearsed to a sharper stage of
perfection these days than they did then. One of the things that affected Bachman's
thinking was his professional experience with his own band. When he was on the road, or
when he was playing in winters at the Tampa Bay Hotel, which is now the sight for the
University of Tampa, those onion-shaped domes, [his band would very little rehearsal time
to prepare for concerts or shows].

S: The H. B. Plant Hotel?

P: Maybe it was the Plant Hotel.

S: With the minarets on top.

P: With the minarets on top, the onion-shaped things, which are now the University of
Tampa buildings. In a week's time during the twenties, he would play thirteen concerts with
one rehearsal in Tampa. Remember I told you about the players in the band being
specialists in the body of concert band literature. Someone might be a specialsit on third
clarinet or on one of the middle horn parts, or he might be a baritone horn player or know
all the second trombone parts, and so forth. That is how they could do that. But one of the
things he would have to do at that time was to have soloists. He would have violin soloists,
soprano soloists, and so forth. There was no PA during those years. Later, when the band
would be playing at, say, Grant Park in Chicago in the summers, they would do one concert
with one rehearsal. Of course, Bachman felt that two weeks was adequate time to









rehearse something, if he had thirteen concerts with one rehearsal.


S: I would like to put things into a time frame. Mr. Bachman was here from 1948 to 1958,
and you came in ...

P: I came in 1949, after he had been here one year.

S: And you became the primary band director in what year?

P: In 1958.

S: In 1958 when he left, and these changes to the band program came ...

P: In 1958.
S: With the exception of the variety band, which you started in January of 1950.

P: Yes. When I became director of bands, Dick [Richard] Bowles took over the variety
band.

S: And you were appointed chairman of the department in 1961?

P: Yes, I think I assumed that position in February, 1961, which was the beginning of a
semester at that time.

S: How did that position come about? Was there a retirement, or someone who preceded
you left? Tell us something about that. Mr. Bachman was here for one year, according to
the book, as an interim chairman, or, as it was called then, head of the department.

P: Yes, he was brought back from retirement to serve as the interim chairman of the
department while they looked for someone.

S: And you were the main band director at that time. Tell us what happened, beginning
with the time that Alvah Beecher came as the chairman of the department.

P: All right. When Mr. Beecher came in 1948, 1 believe the idea in the mind of President J.
Hillis Miller was to create a full degree-granting music program, with a department or school
of music organized. Within a short time, however, there was a document prepared called a
Joint Statement of Coordination. The Joint Statement of Coordination, as I understood it,
put a cap or a set of restrictions on music programs at the University of Florida--a rather
severe cap, as a matter of fact. The University of Florida was to offer no degrees in music.
It was permitted to have, through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a B.A. in music,
but it allowed only roughly twenty-eight to thirty-two semester hours in music.

In other words, the college of arts and sciences conceived of the block of music major
courses as being similar in size to the block of courses for any other liberal arts degree,









such as thirty-two hours for a history major, thirty-two hours for an English major, and so
on. Of course, we in music know that that is unrealistic. I believe the Joint Statement of
Coordination came about as a result of requests or complaints from Florida State
University, which, of course, had an excellent school of music at that time. Of course, ever
since, FSU has had a great school of music. It is one of the finest university music
programs in the country.

The effect on the music program at the University of Florida was really to squash it, you
might say. As a result, the decade of the 1950s in general was marked by our having
primarily a service program, although we did have a handful of music majors. In fact, some
of the music graduates of the 1950s have done extremely well. For example, Marie
Henderson, who for many years was on our faculty here, and before that was on the staff of
the University library. Her contribution to the department of music and to the University of
Florida was great. Mrs. Henderson is now retired and living in Gainesville. Another one of
our distinguished graduates of the 1950s was Jack Jarrett, who is now on the faculty
teaching composition and theory and, I believe, directing the orchestra at Virginia
Commonwealth University. He had also held that position at the University of North
Carolina at Greensboro. He was a Ford Foundation composer-in-residence during the
1960s in a city school system in Wisconsin, perhaps in Milwaukee. I am not certain about
that, but I have in my possession some recordings of compositions that he wrote at that
time.

S: Does he come to Florida even still for clinics?

P: Yes, he was one of our guests composers-in-residence during the president's music
festival some six or eight years ago, I believe it was. Another very successful person who
graduated at that time is John Edmondson, who has quite a number of publications,
compositions, and method books for teaching band in the classroom situation. Mr.
Edmondson (I am in contact with him these days from time to time) has his own publishing
company now, and lives in Mesa, Arizona, which is in the Phoenix area.

Those are just some examples. Obviously, we did have some good graduates, and I
could mention others. But that was primarily the hallmark of the department of music
during the 1950s.
In spite of those restrictions, however, we did have a very fine service program. The
band did well and was known statewide. In 1950, the band made a trip to New York to
march in the parade of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and things like that.

S: Is this the trip that is documented in the book, The Biggest Boom in Dixie?

P: Yes, I think Bachman talks about that a good deal.

S: There are pictures in that book documenting that trip.

P: Yes, that is correct. Another performance that was conducted by Beecher was a









performance of Verdi's Requiem, which was a large work, as you know, requiring [vocal]
soloists, large chorus, and orchestra. It is one of Verdi's greatest works. We performed it
on campus and also in Miami for a national meeting of the Music Teacher's National
Association, MTNA.

S: Where was it performed here? In the [University Memorial] Auditorium?

P: In the University Auditorium, yes.

S: Using the balconies for the brass choirs?

P: I do not remember now where the extra brass was placed.

S: Do you remember what year that would be?

P: I think it was about 1956 or so.

S: And Mr. Beecher conducted.

P: Yes. Another performance that he mounted and conducted was a performance of
[George Bizet's] Carmen. It was a concert performance with orchestra. I played first horn
in the orchestra for that. A student, Jack Jarrett, whom I mentioned before, had written a
full-blown opera called Cinderella, and we also made a full production of that. So, even
within the restrictions, the department, I think, was quite successful as a service
organization. Of course, we were in a temporary building, the old gymnasium, which has
been torn down now. We moved into that temporary building just at the moment I arrived
on campus in August, 1949, and we moved out of it in 1971. So it was some twenty-two
years that we were in that building.

The department was known as the division of music then. It was not attached to any
college or any degree-granting entity within the University. I believe it was in 1958 that the
division of music was transformed into the department of music. The name was changed,
and it became a department in the College of Architecture and Fine Arts. I think this was
an improvement over the previous status, as far as granting degrees was concerned. We
were able to grant one degree, which was a bachelor of fine arts in music. But it was
actually a music education degree, because that is the degree that was needed by most
people; it is taken by most students because that is the field in which there are jobs to be
had.

S: You said it was a division of music until 1958. Do you remember when that first became
a division of music?

P: Right from the start.

S: From the start of whom?










P: Of Beecher.


S: Of Beecher's coming?

P: Yes. Prior to 1948, there had been three part-time music teachers at the University of
Florida, and each of them is kind of a legend. One of them was Claude Murphree, who
was related to one of the early presidents of the University of Florida, President [Albert A.]
Murphree. [Claude Murphree was President Murphree's nephew. Ed.] Claude was a very
facile musician and an accomplished organist, and he played organ concerts. He played
the organ for University functions such as commencements, convocations, and so forth,
and he also taught courses in music appreciation. This was the situation prior to 1948.

Another man who was part-time was DeWitt Brown. He conducted both the band and
the orchestra. The third man was John DeBruyn, who conducted a men's glee club. You
see, it was an all-male school, so the only vocal group was a men's glee club. The most
famous former University of Florida student, who was a member of the glee club, was a
tenor who sang at the Metropolitan Opera, James Melton. Somewhere in this room I have
a picture of a performance from around 1950 in the University Auditorium. It was a radio
broadcast in which Dr. J. Hillis Miller participated, and James Melton came back for the
occasion. At any rate, you might say that when Beecher organized the division of music,
they went from three part-time to eleven full-time members at that one time. So that was
the initial step.

S: That is quite a step.

P: Yes. During the 1950s, my duties were those of assistant band director--the first two
years I was also the director of the P. K. Yonge band--so my perspective is from down in
the middle of the faculty. We worked all day, every day, and I had something to do virtually
every night, also. My first year at P. K. Yonge worked out very well. I had a beginning
band class. We went to contest my first year as a class D, or first-year band, and won a
superior rating in the district contest. The second year, [things picked up dramatically to
the point that I] really did not have two half-time jobs but two full-time jobs, and I finally
caved in somewhat from sheer exhaustion. So after two years, I did not work any longer at
P. K., but simply full-time at the University.

S: You said it was a Class D band. That implies that there was an FBA organization at that
time.

P: Oh, yes, there was a very active FBA.

S: That would be the Florida Bandmasters Association, which is still active today.

P: Yes, right. I think it had been in existence for perhaps a bit over ten years. I think it
might have been organized in the 1930s, but we would have to check those dates.










S: But there was a district contest that you attended.


P: Yes, they would have a district contest and also a state contest, just as it is today, and
everyone would take their band, just like today. It was completely separate--white from
black. There was also a black bandmasters association called the FABD (Florida
Association of Band Directors), and that is another whole history.

We did offer a degree in 1958, and the music department came under the College of
Architecture and Fine Arts. Overall, that was not very satisfactory from the standpoint of
the department of music. The reason is that the College of Architecture was complete in
itself, and sometimes the "fine arts" got lost; of course, there was no indication of music in
that title. I think it was also unsatisfactory for the people in art, just as it was for us. We
would have advisors, even advisors on our own faculty, telling prospective students we
were recruiting, "We do not have music here." The student might say, "Yes, you do," but
ask where it was. We would tell them it was in the College if Architecture. So we were, in a
sense, somewhat buried. Nonetheless, we were functioning, and I think the department
was doing good work--in many cases, outstanding work.

At that time, Mr. Beecher was given a position in the College of Architecture and Fine
Arts, and Dr. Robert S. Bowles became chairman of the department of music. My memory
is not very clear on this, but it was around 1960-1961. Mr. Beecher did not stay long in his
position in the office of the College of Architecture and Fine Arts. He left to go to South
Florida. The president of South Florida was Dr. John Allen, who had been a vice-president
here. President Allen went down to organize the University of South Florida from scratch,
and Beecher went down to organize--from scratch--the music program at the University of
South Florida in Tampa. I believe it was 1959-1960 when Dr. Bolles became an assistant
dean to Dean Turpin Bannister of the College of Architecture and Fine Arts. A search was
mounted for a new department chairman, and the search was carried on for some time. I
think the truth of the matter is that they could not get anybody. Late 1960 Dean Bannister
spoke to me about becoming chairman, and I did become chairman in February of 1961.

When I became chairman, I immediately started attending the meetings of the National
Association of Schools of Music. I began looking for ways in which we might become
accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, which is the accrediting agency
in music for schools and colleges of music--all music in higher education in the country.
The NASM is accredited by the National Accrediting Association, so it itself is accredited.

Well, attending the meetings was very helpful. Eventually, in three or four years' time,
we were able to apply for admission to the National Association of Schools of Music, which
meant accreditation, and we were very pleased to have received that. It is important to
have the accreditation that they award. One of the great benefits of the accreditng process
is that you improve your program in your efforts to meet the required standards of sufficient
faculty, reasonable curricula, and so on.









S: Now you are accredited as a department, not as a school of music. Is that correct?

P: Yes, as a department. That is right.

S: They have different ways of accrediting, do they not?

P: Well, they are able to accredit you or not on the basis of what you are. As a matter of
fact, one of the chief criteria for being accredited is are you doing what you say you are
doing? They check the statements that you make in the catalogue with regard to your
program to see if you actually are doing what you say you are doing. They also check the
quality of your students, your admission procedures, and so on.

Of course, one of our greatest strengths was we were attached to such a fine,
comprehensive university as the University of Florida, and the University of Florida was
improving itself during all these years about which we are speaking, the 1950s and the
1960s.

Another chief aim in my life during the 1960s, and for the department of music, was to
get our degree offerings into what I would call proper shape, or standard shape. When I
became chairman, we had the single degree, the B.F.A., which was a music education
degree. Gradually, we worked year after year, making requests and proposals, most of
which it seemed were initially met with resistance on our own campus. We were still
dominated by that Joint Statement of Coordination, which, in a sense, said we will not have
music degrees at the University of Florida. We still would make this proposal and that
proposal. To make a long story short, by about 1969, I think, we finally had what I would
call our undergraduate music degrees in standard shape, in good shape. That is, we then
offered the bachelor of music degree with the standard majors within that degree: a major
in performance, in theory and composition, in music history, and in musicology. We also
had been able to rename the bachelor of fine arts degree and give it its proper
name--bachelor of music education degree. We worked in cooperation with the College of
Education with any degree that had the name "education" on it. The College of Education
was quite zealous about its perogatives regarding any degree that held the name
"education."
S: They still are.

P: Yes. By that time we also had gotten our first graduate degree. I am not sure what the
exact title was, but the degree was, in effect, a Master of Music Education, or a Master of
Education with a major in music. We were not the granters of that degree, however; the
College of Education granted it, although the department of music did most of the work on
it. At any rate, I felt those were our accomplishments.

Of course, we also did work trying to make a case for the fact that we, the University of
Florida, needed a new music building. Of course, we have one of the most comprehensive
collections of schools and colleges on this campus--perhaps one of the two or three most
comprehensive universities in the country. On this campus we have, I think, at the present









time some twenty colleges and schools, so it is an amazingly comprehensive University.
And that University--indeed, any great university--needs a great program in the arts. We
always have and still are trying to promulgate this idea. I know that Provost Robert Bryan,
for example, is most interested in that. If he is trying to hire an outstanding scientist for one
of our science faculties, and that scientist wants to know if there are string quartet concerts
on the campusto which he can go, Bryan would like to be able to say, "Yes, there are." He
is, in effect, vice-president for academic affairs, but his title was changed from that to
provost within the last year or two, shortly after the coming of President [Marshall M.]
Criser.

So we did need a music building, and I believe that it was President J. Wayne Reitz, near
the end of his presidency, who moved the music building up on the priority list of buildings
needed. Toward the end of the 1960s, we were given approval for a music building. Under
$2 million was budgeted for the building. We went to work on a building program, and
worked on the building program with the architects and the University physical plant
division.

S: You began this work in the 1960s?

P: Late 1960s, yes, and we moved into the new building on April 1, 1971 so we could
begin the spring quarter in this building. The building was dedicated a little less than a year
later, in the spring of 1972. I believe Dr. Reitz had made the decisions that led to the
building's being built, and Stephen C. O'Connell was president at the time of the dedication.


I believe it was also 1972 that I resigned as chairman of the department of music. The
occasion for that was this. There was a faculty member who had been hired as a one-year,
temporary replacement and was retained for a second year. At the end of that second
year, she made quite a protest at being given notice that her services were completed.
There was a bit of a campaign from some students and townspeople, and Dr. Bolles,
Robert S. Bolles, who was then dean of the College of Architecture and Fine Arts, told me
to reinstate her. Of course, it was like pulling the rug out from under my feet, and I told him,
"You may tell her that she is reinstated, but I must resign as chairman of the department if I
do not have your support." So I did resign at that time. That was in the late spring.

S: Was she reinstated?

P: He reinstated her, but it only lasted a couple or three months, which I felt vindicated my
position. But I had resigned, and he had accepted my resignation. All in all, I served as
chairman for about twelve years.

S: I must ask you the name of this teacher.

P: The teacher's name was Margaret Graham. Not our present, very fine teacher who's
name is Elizabeth Graham, also a soprano.










S: She came back and taught for three months, and then quit?


P: No, she did not quit. I do not know exactly what happened, but I think that Dr. Bolles
got further information. It was not my unilateral decision to ask her to leave, but it was the
consensus of the faculty. At that time, we did not have meetings and faculty votes that are
now the fashion in academia. But I did consult with the people who worked with her and
who knew her work. It was not that I had made an arbitrary decision. I made a decision
based on consultations with the faculty whom I thought were appropriate.

Well, that was the instance of my leaving the chairmanship. Perhaps I should have left
the chairmanship earlier than I did. In talking with other former department heads, I have
learned that many of them have experienced the same set of feelings that I went through.
If this instance that triggered my resignation had not come up, I would have felt that I was
leaving some work uncompleted, and it would be good for me to complete it. I felt,
however, that it was impossible to continue if the dean were arbitrarily not supporting me.

S: I am curious if there was any other reason besides this one factor. Were there other
factors coloring your decision to resign?

P: No. We had just moved into the new building, and I was looking forward to continuing
as department chairman in the new building. Now, the new building, which is the building
we are sitting in now, did a tremendous amount for the department. If you could have seen
the building that we were in before and had been in it to hear all the sounds from any
practice room or any rehearsal group in the building, it was just a complete cacophony. For
many years we were in that building without any air conditioning, only electric fans, and
time and again I would try to make a case to our legislators. One of our representatives in
the state legislature at that time was Ralph Turlington and also [J.] Emory "Red" Cross, the
elder. There was a Red Cross later who was involved in a scandal, the son, but [the elder]
Red Cross did a great deal. In fact, Red Cross was the author of the Sunshine Law. That
was his idea.

S: How did Ms. Graham get Dr. Bolles to support her?

P: Well, this is a pattern. Quite often, teachers will have students who do not feel well
disposed toward them. This was true in Ms. Graham's case, and there was quite a brace of
complaints.

S: From students.

P: Well, from students and from people in the community, and letters to the president,
Stephen O'Connell. He was solid as a rock [in his support of me]. He did not budge an
inch.

S: You mean it involved the president of the University?










P: Oh, yes. There are many other instances, too.


S: The faculty supported you, but the students and the community you felt did not?

P: Right. You see, my boss was Dean Robert S. Bolles. If your boss does not support you
when the going gets a little rough, then you cannot any longer work with that person. That
is all there is to it. We were friends, and when I offered my resignation he said he did not
want me to resign, but I said I would nevertheless. I think I made the right decision. We
have continued on good terms.

S: And he was not willing to change his position upon receiving your promise to resign?

P: No. He was a man who had been in the navy in World War II, and he had the
characteristics of what I would call a "staff man" with rather rigid staff procedures and so
forth. So I think it was a matter of principle with him. I had made my resignation, and he
had accepted it, so he would not reconsider it. I think it was just his set of mind that he did
not do things like that.

S: What principle would make him support a teacher over a chairman?

P: [Really no principle, but] a barrage of complaints.

S: I see.

P: You might say he gave in to the barrage of complaints, hoping to quell storm. That was
all right, and I continued as chairman up until the following January. In the meantime, they
found a replacement, a new chairman from outside, who was Donald McGlothlin. Dr.
McGlothlin was a splendid chairman for the department of music. He is now the dean of
the School of Music or the chairman of the Department of Music at the University of
Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.

S: It was in 1972 when he came?

P: He came in January 1973.

S: So they were without a chairman, then, for part of the year?

P: Well, I continued as chairman [until he arrived].

S: You submitted your resignation and then continued.

P: Right. I submitted my resignation effective [September 1,] 1972, I believe. I said I
would just continue as chairman until they got the new man, which was the most sensible
thing for the department to do, of course. Well, since that time, the department has









continued to grow and flourish, and it has added degrees and so forth. There are a great
many details, and I perhaps am not the best person to try to go into those details. They are
a matter of record, when the various degrees have been offered. We have not really
increased our offering in undergraduate degrees, I do not believe, but we have added a
number of degrees on the graduate level, including the doctorate, which is, again, in
cooperation with the college of education. What degree course are you on?

S: I am in the Ph.D. track in cooperation with the College of Education. It seems that there
is a parallel in the graduate program of what you faced in the undergraduate program [in
getting degree programs instituted]. Now there is pending legislation to get approval from
the Board of Regents to have an in-house doctorate in the music department.

P: For a Ph.D., yes.

S: Has that approval been granted?

P: No, it is in process. One of the things you learn in academia is that things can stay in
process a long, long time. You can feel that it is almost a fait accompli, and then the whole
thing can be wiped out at the last moment. That happened with a similar proposal just
within the last couple of years.

S: What proposal was that?

P: That was a program for a doctor's degree, but it was not a Ph.D. I think it might have
been a Doctor of Fine Arts, which would have been a collegewide degree for the College of
Fine Arts. It was in about the mid-1970s, incidentally, that the College of Architecture was
separated from the College of Fine Arts, and there was then created a College of Fine Arts.
Part of the reason for that was that the College of Architecture did not want to have to be
trammeled with the departments of music, art, and theatre. So then music, art, and theatre
became the College of Fine Arts. There was speculation that the three departments might
be assigned to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, but I think that it is much better for
the University to have its College of Fine Arts.
S: Do you think we need to have a college of music, or is a department sufficient?

P: I am not sure that the name is so important. The substance of the program is what is
important, and they might give the name "School of Music" to the department sometime.
There are certainly many schools of music that are smaller than this department of music.
The designation "school," "college," and "division" have varying levels of prestige on
various campuses. I have tried to put that in perspective as far as where my main
concerns were, particularly as chairman of the department. I mentioned that Beecher
started with eleven full-time faculty members. The next year I was an addition. When I
became chairman of the department, we had seventeen faculty positions. When I left the
chairmanship, we had twenty-seven, and I believe we have about thirty now, not counting
graduate students.









S: Since you mentioned your time as chairman, I would like to ask you what you feel your
greatest contribution to this department has been, during your time as chairman, or even
before or since.

P: During the decade of the 1950s, up until the time I became director of bands, my chief
aim in life was to satisfy Harold Bachman and Mr. Beecher. My circle of obligation and
interest there was very intense and loaded with work, but it was confined. I was working
very hard with the band. Then, of course, as chairman, I had a new set of goals of what I
viewed as what the needs of the department were. One important accomplishment of the
department during my tenure as chairman was our accreditation with the National
Association of Schools of Music.

S: Could you tell me when that happened?

P: I cannot remember the exact date.

S: Can you remember a year?

P: No, I cannot remember the exact year--maybe around 1965 or 1966. I can look all of
that up, and if you want to pursue that I can get a chronology.

S: All right, we will look that up. What next?
P: I need to get these ducks in a row for myself, as a matter of fact, rather than just talking
off the top of my head. So the first was accreditation with the National Association of
Schools of Music. We went through two accreditation procedures with the Southern
Association of Colleges and Schools. A second accomplishment was the putting of our
degrees in order, so that we offered a standard battery of undergraduate degrees, which
we should, and that they were designated by their proper names and with good curricula.

Then the third thing would be the Music Building. The Music Building, of course, in itself
was a tremendously good thing for all of us. The substance of the building was important,
but it was also a symbol that there was a music department here. You can imagine if you
are trying to recruit faculty members and you show them a temporary building that is
termite-ridden, with no sound-proofing or air conditioning and so forth, it makes it much
more difficult to recruit.

Also, it is difficult to recruit faculty members when they ask, "What about your bachelor of
music degree?" and we tell them that we do not have a bachelor of music degree. "Why
not?" Of course, there was this complex set of reasons, going back to the document, the
Joint Statement of Coordination. Of course, our position was that we were part of a
mosaic of competition among state universities. At the beginning of the 1950s, we had in
Florida three state universities: Florida State University, the University of Florida, and
Florida A & M. Then the next university was the University of South Florida. (By 1970 we
had nine state universities and some twenty-eight junior colleges.) Many things were
changing, but the position of the department of music, vis-a-vis our own administration and









so forth, was affected by these pieces of a mosaic of competition amongst various state
universities. In other words, during the 1950s and early 1960s, there was competition
between Florida State University and the University of Florida for various programs.

As I mentioned, the University of Florida had most of the professional degrees because it
had been the men's school, and probably the most prominent school. Florida State College
for Women, and FSU near the beginning, had its school of music, which was extremely
good and has become a great school of music at the present time. But Florida State
wanted many programs that were at the University of Florida, and there would be objection,
resistance, and requests. FSU wanted something like the College of Law, for example, and
the colleges of engineering and chemistry. Our music department was really kind of one
really small element in a matter of trading for various programs.

After the other state universities were built, it was, in a sense, all the new state
universities versus the University of Florida and Florida State, the old, established
universities that were the "haves," so to speak. The others felt new, and, of course, were in
the early stages of their development. So that has been the complexion of university
education in Florida.

One of the things that was rather galling to us as a department, and I am being very
honest on this tape, was that we were still not being allowed to do certain proper things with
our degrees--normal, proper, standard things with our degrees on our campus. The
University of South Florida, a brand new university, was simply setting up its degrees in the
way in which it wanted to, with no restriction whatsoever, so we felt that that was somewhat
anomalous. All that is water under the bridge now, but it was historically important. To be
sure, we must remember that I am giving my perspective, which has to be a biased
perspective. "Biased" is not a pretty word: it has to be a perspective from my standpoint.

S: Right. I am wondering how you accomplished getting these degrees in place. As you
said, one of your three accomplishments was the getting the degrees in order. With this
Joint Statement of Coordination, how did you get this rule bent, so to speak, to get these
degrees in place?

P: Well, it was by small increments, you might say. I do not know just how it was
accomplished that the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with the major in music education was
established in 1958, but I am sure it was done by proposals: "here is a proposal in a
curriculum," or "here is a proposal to change the name of a curriculum," or "here is a
proposal for a new curriculum that is based on so and so," or "based on the fact that there
is a need for it." So you keep making proposals and propositions and defending them. You
may win a little ground here, but you do lose a lot. You get a lot of refusals, but that was
the way it was done.

For example, in the 1960s, we had a certain organization of the University that was really
good in principle. There was, for the purpose of providing a liberal education, the University
College, in which students were registered for their first two years. Then, when students









went into upper division, they went into one of the schools, colleges, or departments of the
upper division. Now, I am a great champion and a great believer in a strong liberal
education. My own alma mater is the University of Chicago, and it was very strong [in that
regard]. In fact, that is what it was noted for, with Hutchins and Adler. Of course, this was
a strong component at the University of Florida and dominated things very much.

One of the things that our administration did not seem to understand, however, was that
in music you cannot wait until the third year to decide what you are going to major in. You
need to have decided that you are going to major in music several years before you get to
the university or college level. When a prospective music major comes to college, he is
continuing his music study, not beginning it. Of course, with many liberal arts degrees, a
person makes the decision to go into that degree after two years in college. This cannot be
done in music, but no one would seem to listen to us.

As matter of fact, we would have problems with students whom we had recruited. Here
was a good performer, a good player, and we had recruited this student. That student
would go to an advisor in the advising line at the University College, and some advisor
would tell him he could not take any music courses. (The courses had numbers then, and
they were in humanities, biological sciences, social sciences, and so forth.) The advisor
told them there is no room for music. We would have students coming here, and our
advisors told them could not study any music here first year; they would all wind up with
[nothing but] general education courses. So that was one of the battles we just had to fight.
I had to keep making the arguments that I am telling you. It was a great step forward when
we simply got permitted to teach theory in the first year; we could teach theory so that
freshman/sophomore theory would be taken in the freshman/sophomore years. There
were at least two or three years when we had the anomaly of having freshman/sophomore
theory in the sophomore and junior years. This really was not good. We just kept working
on that.
One of the things that helped us was, of course, becoming accredited with the NASM
because we were then able to quote the NASM examiner's reports. You see, that is one
way in which any accreditation process works. You call upon your whole discipline on the
national level to make your case or your points within your local situation.

S: So the NASM gave you credibility with the University of Florida?

P: Well, first it gave us credibility, but it also gave us ammunition. The National
Association of Schools of Music said, "You must do this if your program is to be
accredited," and that is an argument with which the chairman of the department of music is
reinforced when he is talking to the university curriculum committee, for example, or the
dean of academic affairs, or the dean of the graduate school. It was by small
increments--one little bit here and a little bit there.

I remember standing before the University Senate near the end of the 1960s. I think this
must have been almost our last step in this matter of a curriculum that was to be the
Bachelor of Music degree. The University Senate, it seems to me, used to carry a great









deal more power than it does now. The power of the University Senate has been mitigated
by unionization. Even though most of the faculty of the University of Florida do not belong
to the union, still there are the union agreements with the Board of Regents. Many things
that the senate used to consider they no longer deal with. But they do pass on curricula.

I remember defending our curriculum proposals in the University Senate, which was to
approve it. I was virtually accused of being a Philistine with respect to liberal arts, right on
the floor of the senate. That was a bitter pill. It was by someone who came to a good
many of our concerts and knew our programs fairly well and thought well of it.

S: Who was it?

P: Well, I do not want to say. I am not sure the word "Philistine" was used, but I was cast
in the role of someone who was tearing down the liberal arts.

S: Was this one of the senators of the state of Florida?

P: No, the University Senate, not the state senate. It was a University professor, but in
another department, one of the sciences, a man whom I respected very much. It was a
good discussion, and the proposal was approved, I am glad to say, but I was taken aback
by being cast in the role of a Philistine, of being anti-liberal education. I pride myself on
liberal education. I am the product of a school that dealt primarily in liberal education.

S: You say it was approved?
P: At that time, yes. I think it was the Bachelor of Music degree.

S: Was there anything you did not get done that you wanted to accomplish as chairman?

P: Oh, I am sure there were many things.
S: Is there any big thing that stands out in your mind?

P: I think that all we would have liked to have gotten done, we did get done. We would
have liked to have gotten it done sooner. Now that I think of it, perhaps one's memory
represses disappointments. There were, of course, many disappointments, and most of
those disappointments were trying to make a case or making requests for something and
simply being told, "We would certainly like to give this to you, but budgets do not allow it."
There is money attached to virtually every request that is made. One of the vice-presidents
said in regard to a request, "My spirit is willing, but the money is not there. We understand,
and we know this is the need." Of course, I could understand that, too. But one of my
working principles was to stay on positive terms with every person with whom I dealt, so
that if we were granted something in the way of approval or advancement, then we took
that and went on from there.

There were also many disappointments in terms of delays. For example, when we
moved into a temporary building, we stayed in it for twenty-two years. That led to the









saying, "There is nothing more permanent than a temporary building."


I really have no complaints. I think it is important for historical truth, however, and for
anyone who is interested in the history of the department, to know that we did have these
restrictions on the program, which made it extremely difficult to develop. All the time we
had a successful program, and we had a successful program of service to the University.
We turned out some outstanding students. As a matter of fact, we are now planning to
make alumni achievement awards on an annual basis. In the committee to consider
candidates for those alumni achievement awards, we have been gratified and a little
astonished that we have so many accomplished graduates who are doing good things. We
are very pleased with that, in spite of the restrictions and the hard going. I know we used to
take comfort in the fact that we have made improvements here or we have made
improvements there. That perhaps tends to lead to a certain self-satisfaction--I hope not
smugness, in my case--and we would say to ourselves, "We have accomplished this."
Then a new faculty member comes in, sees only the status quo--and this is the very great
value of having new blood all the time--and says, "Well, for goodness sakes, why are you
doing so-and-so? Why not do this? Why do you not have this?" This shakes you up. It is
a little bit lame simply to say, "Well, it is better than it used to be," so that constant infusion
of new blood is quite helpful.

S: Since 1972, you have stayed with the department. How?
P: I have continued to teach in the department. Don McGlothlin, who took over the chair
after me, was with the department only about three years. He did a great deal for the
department in that time, primarily with the organization of the Friends of Music, but he also
worked on degrees. He was a splendid leader. Then he left to go to the University of
Missouri.

There followed a year's search, for the academic year 1976-1977, for a new chairman,
and I was again acting chairman for one year. Dr. Budd Udell was the chairman who was
brought in in 1977, and he served as chairman for eight years, until the year before last.
The present chairman, Dr. [Joel] Stegall, has been here now since the beginning of 1985,
ever since the beginning of the academic year 1985-1986. July 1, 1985 was when Dr.
Stegall came.

S: You are part-time now?

P: I am half-time, yes. I am on what is called the Early Retirement Program, which is a
good program. I have my retirement, and I teach half-time at half pay.

S: We are coming to the end of our time. However, I would like to ask if there is anything
that you would like to fill in, by way of historical detail, about these other chairmanships that
have come and gone.

P: I will not comment on Dr. Stegall, because he has just started and has been here just a
year and a half. I have already mentioned that McGlothlin was extremely effective, and Dr.









Udell was also, I believe, a good chairman. As a matter of fact, eight years is a good length
of tenure for a chairman. I believe on a previous tape I said that Dr. Udell accomplished a
good many things. He worked very well with the Friends of Music. He established the
annual event with the Friends of Music that he called "An Evening with ..." to begin with in
1980. It was a dinner with a musical performance following. Last year and this year we are
having, with the Friends of Music, a dinner dance, which is quite successful; it provides
dancing to the "big band" music of the University's number one jazz band, and with a very
high quality floor show with faculty performers. Dr. Udell inaugurated that, and I am sure
there were other things that he did, but it would be good to interview him, perhaps, to get
his ideas on his administration of the department for eight years. He continues to teach, as
you know. You have perhaps had classes with him.

S: Not yet. Do you know why he resigned?

P: I would rather that you take that up with him.

S: Okay. To end this interview, you are on half-time early retirement. I would like to put on
record what you are doing now. You mentioned Friends of Music, and I know that is one of
your big interests.
P: Well, that has nothing to do with my job, my work at the University. My assignment is
teaching the French horn students. When I went out of this program as of 1985, and I am
officially retired as of May 1985, I had thought, "We will certainly hire a new horn teacher
and put me to teaching various classroom courses." Dr. Udell saw the opportunity to use
my line item to obtain an additional piano teacher, which we needed, so he asked me if I
would continue to teach the French horn. Of course, that meant I would have to teach
half-time two semesters every year. Many of the people who are on the same program I
am on teach full-time for one semester and then be off the rest of the year. I am glad to do
that, because my continuing to teach the horn students has made it possible for the
department to bring to us Boaz Sharon [professor of music, 1985-present], who is a
splendid concert pianist and a tremendous asset to us at the University. He has worked
out extremely well, so I am pleased with that.

Now, I have tried to work with the Friends of Music as much as I could since they were
organized in 1974. This year I am serving as president of the Friends of Music.

S: This is totally voluntary. It has nothing to do with your duties?

P: Right, it has nothing to do with it. Naturally, there has to be a great deal of liaison
between the Friends of Music and the department of music, because we simply must work
hand-in-hand. The Friends of Music was organized in 1974, and its main purpose is to
raise money for music scholarships. It has been an extremely helpful organization to the
Department of Music. We are hoping that we might get to raising money on a slightly
higher level than we have done heretofore. We are even looking toward building an
endowment for the department and perhaps working toward the building of a recital hall.









The third aim is trying to get obtain funding for endowed chairs within the department of
music. It would be very nice if we would have four endowed chairs for a string quartet in
residence, or something of that sort. We need to break onto a higher plateau. The Friends
of Music have done some very fine things. We have sponsored music tours to Europe. We
have had five of them so far, in 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, and 1986.

S: These are tours by student groups?

P: No, tours of mostly members of the Friends of Music and other people, usually older
people.

S: Oh, just more or less sightseeing tours by members of the group.

P: Sightseeing, but also attending concerts and so forth. I have been on all of those, and
Dr. J. Wayne Reitz [president, University of Florida, 1955-1967] and his wife Frances have
been on all of them, also. I guess I will start from east to west. Two of the trips have been
to England and Scotland, another one was to England and Wales, and we have been to
Yugoslavia, Austria, and Germany. We go to music festivals, and we have seen some
marvelous performances.

S: So you are a volunteer with the Friends of Music and you teach French horn. You also
teach a graduate theory review class, right?

P: Yes, I have done that. The last two years that was not assigned to me, but I picked it up
because Dr. John White and some of the others were very heavily loaded with classwork. I
have been able to do that the last two years, and I enjoy it very much.

S: What are your plans for the immediate future? Do you plan to stay?
P: Well, if I continue on this program, I would teach perhaps three more years. Under the
program I could quit at any time with a reasonable length of notice, but as I am going now, I
think I will continue for the time being. I am sixty-seven now, so this would take me up to
the age of seventy. It so happened that when this early retirement program was offered, I
was at just the right age to take advantage of it. A good many teachers at the University
felt that way, too, because I believe there were more than a hundred who took advantage
of it and took their retirement in 1985.

S: I think we have come to the end of the interview. If there are any more details, we can
fill them in later, but this is full of information which will be of value to the University and to
me personally. For that reason, I wish to thank you, Mr. Poole, for all your time and for
your gracious response to these questions. You will be receiving, in exchange for your
graciousness, a typed copy of the transcript of this interview.

P: I hope I will not be too embarrassed when I read the transcript!

S: It has already been made known to me by the history department that this is valuable









information, so I thank you for it.


P: Well, I am hoping that I can go through my papers and so forth and perhaps set up a bit
of a chronology, and even maybe write a brief history of the department. In a way, Harold
Bachman's book takes care of things up to 1948, but it stops there. So we need a history
of the department from 1948 forward.

S: We will look forward to seeing that. I hope you follow through on that.

P: I do not promise.




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