In his March 5 letter, Stu Hibben ’48 mentions the Intensely Vigorous Jazz Band (IVJB) coming on the field ahead of the marching band at football games during the late 1940s to warm up the crowd.
As a clarinetist in the marching band from 1947 through 1949, I remember no such activity. In fact, that would have been impossible since the IVJB used both a piano (Hal Cabot ’51) and a full drum set (for sit-down drummer Stan Bergen ’51). The other instruments were a trombone, cornet, and clarinet. The last was played by Ad Ward ’51.
Both John Dengler ’48, the leader and cornetist, and Marty Ill ’51, the trombonist, played in the marching band. Although Dengler was ’48, he had been in the service during World War II and became a classmate of those in ’51. It was he who organized the IVJB in 1948.
At any rate, Hibben is right when he says the IVJB was great fun. I knew them all, and when ’51 graduated, the IVJB was no more.
Some facts about the three surviving members: Bergen became a doctor affiliated with the Army for 13 years, taught at Columbia, was the first president of the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, led development of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, and received an honorary degree from Princeton. Cabot went into advertising, then banking, became a bank CEO, flew his own plane, and continued to play piano with Dixieland bands. Ill went to medical school, joined the Army, became president of the Bristol (Conn.) Symphony, and once sang with the Hartford Chorale under Robert Shaw.