History of the Grand Haven Bands
The bands of Grand Haven High School owe their existence to a succession of bands dating back to 1868. Since 1927, the Grand Haven Bands have been a part of the public schools. The following short history chronicles the incorporation of the band into the public schools of Grand Haven.
Grand Haven Cornet Band
In 1868, the Grand Haven Cornet Band was formed and was later largely comprised of members from Grand Haven Co. F. Grand Haven Co. F was the 126th Infantry of the Michigan National Guard. Due to being called to duty in WWI, the band disbanded and never reformed. View the Cornet Band
Grand Haven Concert Band/Elks Band
Another band formed in Grand Haven near the turn of the century. The band was a brass band which also included clarinets and percussion. In its beginnings, the band was led by Police/Fire Chief Tony Pippel. The band gave free concerts in Central Park that began at 8:15 pm. Hundreds of concert-goers would fill the park to hear the group play a variety of marches, overtures, waltzes, and popular music of the day. In the 1920's the Grand Haven Elks Club assumed sponsorship of the Concert Band. The band's free concerts remained popular and the Elks Band was prominently featured in area parades and ceremonies. Much like the Cornet Band, at the onset of the United State's involvement in WWII, members of the band were called to duty thus ending this chapter of bands in Grand Haven. View the Concert Band Here and Here . View the Elks Band
The true precursor to the bands of Grand Haven High School, the Jackie Band was begun by Andrew W. Thomson as a boys church brass quartet and rapidly grew to a marching unit of 40. From 1916-1925, over 80 boys had been in the band. The first uniforms consisted of white duck pants, a white blouse, and sailor hats. With Craker Jack being the choice treat of the day, Craker Jack's packaging consisted of their sailor "mascot" Jackie with his dog Bingo. Having a unmistakable likeness to Jackie, the band's name became the Jackie Band.
Mr. Thomson was assisted in his instruction by Dr. Stuart DeWitt, Jack Biehl, George Rankin, and "Cale" VerDuin. The band played at high school football games as well as loan drives, rallies, and other major events of the era. Also sponsored by the Elks, the Jackie Band was the feeder program to the Concert Band. As students grew up, they graduated to the Concert Band. Thomson's health deteriorated and by 1927, the Jackie Band was reincorporated as the first Grand Haven High School Band directed by Marshall F. Richards. The new high school band made it's first appearance on March 3, 1927 and was led by drum major Truman Pippel. View the Jackie Band
Source: Seibold, David, H. (2004). Grand haven: In the path of destiny. Grand Haven, MI: D-2 Enterprises.
All photos courtesy Grand Haven Area Historical Society
While the above information was taken from a secondary source, we are in the process of embarking on a continuous research project documenting the history and development of the Bands of Grand Haven High School. If you have any information, vignettes, pictures, video, audio or other media that you believe would assist us in creating a more accurate and complete history of the band, please email Mr. Novoselich with the subject line "Band history".