The Band Letter

Have you wondered the story behind the UNL Band Alumni Association logo? In 2019, we redesigned our logo as a circle, creating unity with our generations while the calligraphy-style “N” honors our past.

University of Nebraska Band Alumni Association, Inc.
UNL BAA Logo

A search through the yearbooks brought up some pictures of the band and of Gamma Lambda. In 1931, the first image of the band sweater was found. The original sweater had the traditional shako hat with a calligraphy-style “N” on it.

Group of men wearing sweaters
Gamma Lambda 1931 from the UNL Yearbook

By 1939, the hat was replaced with just the “N” as the band letter. It appears for many years as a white “N” on red sweaters to a red “N” on white sweaters.

Gamma Lambda 1939 from the UNL Yearbook

By 1940, the “N” became simplified, and the horizontal bars were gone, but the calligraphy-styled “N” was still used. You can view an example of the chenille band letter on display at Westbrook Music Building used during the 1941 Rose Bowl.

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2021 Russ Swanson Outstanding Band Member Awards

Lincoln, NE  — On Friday, April 1, the annual Band Awards were held in person for the first time in two years. KKΨ-Epsilon Omega Chapter hosted the awards with some funding assistance from the UNL Band Alumni Association in one of the sky box suites in Memorial Stadium.

The evening began with the student selected awards, followed by the band program awards presented by Doug Bush. The last awards for the evening, the Russ Swanson Outstanding Band Member Awards, were presented by Board of Directors Julie Duensing and Ranelle Maltas. The recipients receive a plaque, $100 and a life membership in the UNL Band Alumni Association.

Ryan Kimball

Ryan playing mirimba
Ryan Kimball

Ryan graduated in December 2021 with a Bachelor of Music degree focused in percussion performance. They were an active performing member of the UNL Percussion Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Symphony Orchestra as well as Nebraska Steel, Steel PANguins, and the Cornhusker Marching Band. As a marching band member, Ryan stood as drumline section leader and snare drum rank leader for three of their five years in the ensemble. Ryan collaborated heavily with other students at UNL and performed on various student composition recitals, Flyover New Music Series concerts, and non-degree credit performances.

Ryan taught percussion at various high schools in the Lincoln/Omaha area including Gretna High School, where they currently instruct the percussion ensemble. In the fall, Ryan will move to Boulder, Colorado where they will pursue a Master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Alyssa Soppe

Alyssa playing percussion in marching band
Alyssa Soppe

Alyssa Soppe, from Omaha, Nebraska, has been a member of the Cornhusker Marching Band for five years as a member of the percussion section. She will graduate in May of 2022 with majors in Music Education and Spanish and a minor in Educational Psychology. After graduation, Alyssa plans to pursue a career with an emphasis on relationship-building and working with people.

Why did you choose to attend UNL?

As a high schooler, I was really drawn to UNL because of the wonderful experiences I had participating in All-State and Winter Winds. Through these events, I had several experiences to connect meaningfully with professors. I was confident that I’d be welcome at UNL and have strong, positive relationships with the faculty and staff at the school of music. Being from Omaha made UNL far enough away for independence, but close to home when I needed it. Finally, UNL was admittedly extremely generous in their financial aid offer, which made the decision even easier.

What is the first impression you had of the UNL Band/Game?

My first impression of Husker Football came as a first-year member of the CMB! I had never been to a football game before then, even though I grew up in Nebraska. I remember the first game making my head spin and flying by the seat of my pants to get through everything, but also feeling ridiculously cool. Performing for crowds of 90,000 made me feel like a rockstar! I tried so hard to do everything as perfectly as possible because I wanted to live up to the standards my peers in the ensemble had already set as well as uphold the longstanding traditions that were established long before my time. I knew then that I wouldn’t know what to do as a college student without the CMB.

What is a memorable moment with the CMB you’d like to share?

One of my favorite parts of being in the CMB was doing march down every game. I always thought it was so neat that people came and made a path for us, danced with us, cheered for us, sang Band Song, etc. Being a member and performing was a lot of fun, but the most rewarding part of being in the ensemble for me was always interacting with people as a bandsman. One especially memorable example of this was running through the tunnel walk and high fiving all the kids waiting for the players in the tunnel.

How may the scholarship help you?

I’m extremely honored to receive this scholarship, and I plan to use it to help fund my move into my first house with my partner, Josh!

Pictured from left to right: Professor Doug Bush, Julie Duensing, Ryan Kimball, and Ranelle Maltas
Not pictured: Alyssa Soppe
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UNL Wind Ensemble Concert & Reception March 30

Lincoln, Neb.–The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Wind Ensemble will premiere composer Kevin Day’s “Windborne,” a concerto for horn commissioned by Glenn Korff School of Music alumnus Steven Cohen (B.A. 2014; M.M. 2015).

Also included on the Wind Ensemble’s program will be Gustav Holst’s “A Fugal Overture,” arranged by Robert Ponto; Jennifer Jolley’s “March!”; and Ira Hearshen’s “Symphony on Themes of John Philip Sousa.”

Left: Kevin Day. Photo by Sara Bill Photography/Karen Cubides Agency. Right: Steven Cohen. Photo by Aleksandr Karjaka.
Left: Kevin Day. Photo by Sara Bill Photography/Karen Cubides Agency. Right: Steven Cohen. Photo by Aleksandr Karjaka.

The piece will premiere at the Wind Ensemble concert on Wednesday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Kimball Recital Hall. The concert is free and open to the public. It will also be livestreamed. Visit https://music.unl.edu/webcasts the day of the performance for the link.

It will also be performed at the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) North Central Division Conference in April at the University of Wisconsin, as part of the Wind Ensemble’s invitation to perform there.

Following the concert, Kappa Kappa Psi – Epsilon Omega Chapter and the UNL Band Alumni Association will host a reception for band members, their families and alumni. We would love to have alumni attend and discuss the possibility of hosting a spring reunion with the Campus Band!

Read more about the concert and the concerto premiere.

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Save the Date!

We have confirmation that our reunion weekend will be September 9-10, 2022. The game is against Georgia Southern. Registration will open in July. Please share with other alumni and be sure to watch our website for updates and schedule at a later time.

Save the Date!
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Remembering Dan Michaelson

John “Dan” Michaelson II, 80, of Lincoln, passed away on February 11, 2022. He was born on February 8, 1942, in Lincoln to Eugene and Bernice (Knapp) Michaelson. Dan proudly served in the United States Navy for 20 years. He also proudly called himself the world’s oldest rookie, joining the Cornhusker Marching Band after his military service at age 37.

He was a talented and accomplished musician participating in the Christ UMC Church Brass and Choir, the Community Concert Band, and the University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band. While in the United States Navy Dan directed many concert, jazz, and rock bands. His last duty station was as an admin for the Navy Band, where he directed the Sea Chanters Chorus. Dan was a member of Christ United Methodist Church and of the UNL Alumni Band as a participant and served as Treasurer for many years. Dan loved going to Cornhusker home football games with his son, Geoff, who is also a CMB alum. Something special that they got to do together for 35 years.

Marching Band and Navy uniforms
Dan Michaelson Cornhusker Marching Band and Navy Service

Celebration of Life to be held 1:00 p.m., Saturday, February 19, 2022, at Christ United Methodist Church, 4530 A Street, Lincoln (10). Rev. Richard Randolph, Ph.D officiating.

Read Dan’s full obituary.

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