The first band at Monmouth College was organized by 20 students in 1923.
For years the college tried to form a band, but it was through the leadership of, then student, John McConnell ’27, that enough students were brought together to create a proper ensemble. After McConnell graduated, the band continued to grow under student leadership, until 1931, when W.B. McMillan was hired to direct.
The next great era of growth in the band came under H.A. Loya. Originally the orchestra director, the band came under Loya’s baton in 1939. Through his guidance the band not only survived the big WWII draft of 1943, which called to service many of Monmouth College’s students, but the ensemble reached new professional and artistic heights.
In 1965, jazz came to Monmouth College with its new director, Paul Grische. The newly formed “Swinging Scots” performed all over campus several times each semester. Over the next several decades the jazz program continued to grow and change names with different directors. Even the concert band changed its name to the Wind Ensemble.
The last decade has seen a resurgence of interest in instrumental ensembles at Monmouth. With the hiring of Steve Richter in 2004, the band department had unprecedented growth. Under Richter’s leadership the Wind Ensemble grew into two separate concert bands and a separate marching band was formed. Comprised of students from nearly every major on campus, the Fighting Scots Marching Band provides quality musicianship, Scots’ pride and dedication to create an entertaining experience at every home football game.
The Music Department continues its strong tradition of excellence, pushing forward to new levels and creating new opportunities.