Barry Houser named new Director of the Marching Illini

#1
Springfield Area
I am happy to announce to this board the new director of the Marching Illini. Barry Houser is taking the place of Dr. Peter Griffin, Barry is a graduate of the University of Florida, was a graduate student with the University of Illinois, and was the Eastern Illinois University Interim Director of Bands before taking this position. Barry was an MI TA my first year in the band and he was a GREAT asset to the band and the MI tradition. I wholeheartedly believe Barry will do a great job and I am proud to say he is my friend.

Band ten hut! GO! Are you ready band? UMGAWA!!!
 
#2
"The Good Land", WI
I am happy to announce to this board the new director of the Marching Illini. Barry Houser is taking the place of Dr. Peter Griffin, Barry is a graduate of the University of Florida, was a graduate student with the University of Illinois, and was the Eastern Illinois University Interim Director of Bands before taking this position. Barry was an MI TA my first year in the band and he was a GREAT asset to the band and the MI tradition. I wholeheartedly believe Barry will do a great job and I am proud to say he is my friend.

Band ten hut! GO! Are you ready band? UMGAWA!!!
My GF just graduated from Illinettes. She has a bar crawl shirt that says "Do the Barry" with a picture of him on the front, from when he was a TA ha.

From an outside perspective, Dr. Griffin seemed like a standout guy, but from talking to MI members, there couldn't have been a better replacement.

Oskee-wow-wow
 
#4
I heard that some people were trying to use Pete Griffin's departure to pick up steam to get rid of the 3 in 1. Hopefully someone who has been a student at U of I wouldn't ever dream of doing something so horrendous.
 
#5
Springfield Area
Barry knows that many of his former band members would give him a few choice words if he retired the 3 in 1. The story goes that Dr. Griffin was one of the people that created the instrumental music for the War Chant, I know how many of you must feel about that too. Wokker, Pete is a standup guy and Barry is too.
 
#6
Barry knows that many of his former band members would give him a few choice words if he retired the 3 in 1. The story goes that Dr. Griffin was one of the people that created the instrumental music for the War Chant, I know how many of you must feel about that too. Wokker, Pete is a standup guy and Barry is too.
They'd lose my donation money if they eliminated either of those pieces.

Glad to hear he's a standup guy. I've heard from other people that he's great to work with and very qualified for the position. Excited to see what he does.

Reminds me, right after the Texas Bowl, I was reading some Baylor boards and I saw a bunch of complements for MI; people seemed to particularly like the Block I => ILLINI transformation.
 
#7
living it large in the ATL
Glad the MI found someone with ties and understanding of the traditions. Very dismayed that it comes at the destruction of my alma mater and the Marching Blue of EIU (alumnus here). Been a revolving door at Eastern for the last twenty years. Sure would be nice if they could find someone to stay in Chucktown to strengthen the program once again.
 
#8
Illini Foot Soldier
Congrats to Barry Houser, hopefully only good things are to come for him and the Marching Illini!
I heard that some people were trying to use Pete Griffin's departure to pick up steam to get rid of the 3 in 1. Hopefully someone who has been a student at U of I wouldn't ever dream of doing something so horrendous.
This is the first I'm hearing about that but if the MI ever got rid of the 3 in 1, they'd definitely lose my support as well.
 
#10
Sad day for EIU

Glad the MI found someone with ties and understanding of the traditions. Very dismayed that it comes at the destruction of my alma mater and the Marching Blue of EIU (alumnus here). Been a revolving door at Eastern for the last twenty years. Sure would be nice if they could find someone to stay in Chucktown to strengthen the program once again.
My son is going to march for EIU for the first time next month. My wife and I met Barry and were Very impressed. My son knows a girl that marched for Barry for 2 years at EIU and will tell you how much he's going to be missed.
Since EIU's band camp starts in less than a month, I hope they have somebody that can take over......
 
#11
Barry is the best replacement for Pete from a traditional standpoint. Hopefully there aren't many issues in terms of turnover. I'm afraid "upper management" might try to get in the way. I wish the two of them the best of luck in their respective new positions.

Tradition runs very deep in my family and in my blood.
 
#13
I heard that some people were trying to use Pete Griffin's departure to pick up steam to get rid of the 3 in 1. Hopefully someone who has been a student at U of I wouldn't ever dream of doing something so horrendous.
That would be one way for the new guy to make a lot of friends quickly. :D
 
#14
Houser is known throughout the country as a guest conductor and band clinician, and his work at Eastern has garnered national attention, said UI Prof Robert Rumbelow, UI director of bands, in a news release.

Houser received a master's degree in wind conducting at the UI, where he studied with James Keene and was actively involved with the conducting responsibilities of the UI bands. He worked with the Marching Illini and basketball bands, with performances at the Rose Bowl and the men's and women's Big Ten Basketball Championships.

Julie Wurth
 
#15
Banned
Northbrook
So if I'm reading this correctly, this is a two year assignment. If correct, does that preclude him from a permanent position?
 
#16
So if I'm reading this correctly, this is a two year assignment. If correct, does that preclude him from a permanent position?
Often times visiting professorships are akin to extended job interviews. It wouldn't surprise me to see him offered a full position at the end.

That being said, I heard one of the reasons that Pete Griffin left was because they wouldn't give him tenure. I don't know why that is, but if they resist giving people in that position tenure, it's going to be hard to hold on to talent.
 
#17
Often times visiting professorships are akin to extended job interviews. It wouldn't surprise me to see him offered a full position at the end.

That being said, I heard one of the reasons that Pete Griffin left was because they wouldn't give him tenure. I don't know why that is, but if they resist giving people in that position tenure, it's going to be hard to hold on to talent.

As I understand it from some band sources: The Visiting Professor deal has to do with the late timetable of Griffin leaving. They didn't have time for a full national search for a permanent position with all of the required hoops to jump through. However, with this visiting professor deal, Houser can pretty much be rubberstamped into the position permanently after the two years if all goes well.

As for Pete leaving, I'm sure he'll get a huge pay raise at Elmhurst. If anyone ever looked him up in the annual DI faculty salary listings, the man made what a lot of UI grads in business or engineering make when they first start their careers.

Also, Pete was the last remaining member of the "old guard" of the UI Bands program of the James Keene era that supposedly butted heads a lot with the Director of the School of Music Karl Kramer. Unfortunately, Kramer is still there and calling the shots, so I think that might have limited Pete's future potential, although Dr. Rumbelow seems to be establishing his own program now that he's settling in as Director of Bands. From everything I ever heard or saw, Rumbelow and Pete got along very well.

And anyone who ever has met Pete Griffin knows he's a quality guy who doesn't have much of an ego. If he left because of Kramer, that's much more damning of Kramer than it is of Griffin. And Pete loved the Marching Illini. If not for the unfortunate office politics, I don't think he would have left. He often seemed to act as if directing the band was his dream job.
 
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#18
As I understand it from some band sources: The Visiting Professor deal has to do with the late timetable of Griffin leaving. They didn't have time for a full national search for a permanent position with all of the required hoops to jump through. However, with this visiting professor deal, Houser can pretty much be rubberstamped into the position permanently after the two years if all goes well.

As for Pete leaving, I'm sure he'll get a huge pay raise at Elmhurst. If anyone ever looked him up in the annual DI faculty salary listings, the man made what a lot of UI grads in business or engineering make when they first start their careers.

Also, Pete was the last remaining member of the "old guard" of the UI Bands program of the James Keene era that supposedly butted heads a lot with the Director of the School of Music Karl Kramer. Unfortunately, Kramer is still there and calling the shots, so I think that might have limited Pete's future potential, although Dr. Rumbelow seems to be establishing his own program now that he's settling in as Director of Bands. From everything I ever heard or saw, Rumbelow and Pete got along very well.

And anyone who ever has met Pete Griffin knows he's a quality guy who doesn't have much of an ego. If he left because of Kramer, that's much more damning of Kramer than it is of Griffin. And Pete loved the Marching Illini. If not for the unfortunate office politics, I don't think he would have left. He often seemed to act as if directing the band was his dream job.
Thanks for the insight, that's very interesting. And sadly, a little disheartening. But given all I've heard of Barry Houser, he is qualified and very well-liked. Here's hoping he's here to maintain our traditions for the long haul.
 
#19
Thanks for the insight, that's very interesting. And sadly, a little disheartening. But given all I've heard of Barry Houser, he is qualified and very well-liked. Here's hoping he's here to maintain our traditions for the long haul.
Oh, without a doubt he should be that. As soon as I heard about the vacancy, I hoped Barry was going to put his name in. The other candidate who was a finalist was also an impressive candidate and was from another Big Ten band. He had more paper credentials, frankly, but Barry has the intangibles and ties that you want for a Big Ten band with a long, proud history.

I heard that UI Bands, despite not having the full-fledged opening process and just looking for a "Visiting" Professor, got flooded with applications from around the collegiate music world. Illinois might not have the best budget in the world (ESPECIALLY for the band...the MI is supposed to go to one road game per year and has gone once in the previous five years with no plans to go this upcoming season due to lack of funding), but it's the Big Ten and the Marching Illini has one of the strongest histories and reputations in college marching band due to it's tradition.

For those interested, I've heard the band is out to get new brass instruments. Most of the baritones, mellophones, and sousaphones are decades old. I even heard they're planning to switch to silver brass. The problem is, again, the money. In fact, there is apparently consideration of buying the instruments in increments, which would mean the Marching Illini sousaphones could be a hodgepodge of silver and gold for a few years. I don't like that. I hope a few wealthy donors step up and take care of it (sadly, that isn't me)

:chief::chief:
 
#20
Recent quote from the Chief Illiniwek Facebook Page:

"We've been informed that Illinois marching band section leaders have been told to discourage band members from wearing Chief gear during practice. From our sources, they indicate since they are practicing in public in an official capacity, the wearing of Chief gear constitutes a "political statement" and the DIA (the overseeing group of the band) does not want that...so much for free speech."

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chief-Illiniwek/159958548143
 
#21
Recent quote from the Chief Illiniwek Facebook Page:

"We've been informed that Illinois marching band section leaders have been told to discourage band members from wearing Chief gear during practice. From our sources, they indicate since they are practicing in public in an official capacity, the wearing of Chief gear constitutes a "political statement" and the DIA (the overseeing group of the band) does not want that...so much for free speech."

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chief-Illiniwek/159958548143

The band should go on strike!!!!! Where's that old fashioned college spirit.
 
#22
Banned
Northbrook
Recent quote from the Chief Illiniwek Facebook Page:

"We've been informed that Illinois marching band section leaders have been told to discourage band members from wearing Chief gear during practice. From our sources, they indicate since they are practicing in public in an official capacity, the wearing of Chief gear constitutes a "political statement" and the DIA (the overseeing group of the band) does not want that...so much for free speech."

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chief-Illiniwek/159958548143
First, who told them to do that? Whoever it is just tried to kill an ant with a bazooka. Secondly, if the word used was actually "discourage", that means nothing which tells me "they" no they don't have any power over the situation and are hoping people will respond.

Lastly, if they don't like the shirts, they should supply practice uniforms for all the members at no cost to the members. Let me know how that flies.

If they are trying to avert attention from something, highlighting it probably isn't the way to go.
 
#23
Springfield Area
When I was in MI, Pete had to tell us to do the same thing for the Homecoming Parade in 2007 and/or 2008 I believe, the info came down from the DIA the day before the parade. I know in his heart Pete hated telling us that because I know he was a part of the Chief tradition, the story goes that Pete created the instrumental part for the "War Chant" when he was an undergrad at Illinois. After the SFCI lawyers heard about the DIA call, SFCI threatened to sue for breaking the 1st Amendment, the decision was quickly reversed and a number of MI members changed INTO Chief shirts. I really hope it doesn't come to that and I know Barry isn't behind this and if he is I personally have a few words for my old friend.

When I was in school I was an SFCI officer and an MI member but I didn't wear Chief stuff at practices or games because I wanted to portray the university in a good light but straight up telling the MI not to is definitely infringing on each member's 1st Amendment right. CB, there are unofficial practice uniforms that the MI members should buy as freshman but no one wears them after like the 3rd practice, but I still wear my old section shirts from time to time.
 
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#24
When I was in MI, Pete had to tell us to do the same thing for the Homecoming Parade in 2007 and/or 2008 I believe, the info came down from the DIA the day before the parade. I know in his heart Pete hated telling us that because I know he was a part of the Chief tradition, the story goes that Pete created the instrumental part for the "War Chant" when he was an undergrad at Illinois. After the SFCI lawyers heard about the DIA call, SFCI threatened to sue for breaking the 1st Amendment, the decision was quickly reversed and a number of MI members changed INTO Chief shirts. I really hope it doesn't come to that and I know Barry isn't behind this and if he is I personally have a few words for my old friend.

When I was in school I was an SFCI officer and an MI member but I didn't wear Chief stuff at practices or games because I wanted to portray the university in a good light but straight up telling the MI not to is definitely infringing on each member's 1st Amendment right. CB, there are unofficial practice uniforms that the MI members should buy as freshman but no one wears them after like the 3rd practice, but I still wear my old section shirts from time to time.
It may infringe on the students' First Amendment rights. But actually, I'm leaning toward it not. MI is not a public forum for expression, so it's probably ok for the university to control what students wear while performing MI duties. And as for the 2007 issue, that was actually about the policy banning any student from participating in the parade if they sported a chief logo. That's much worse.
 
#25
It may infringe on the students' First Amendment rights. But actually, I'm leaning toward it not. MI is not a public forum for expression, so it's probably ok for the university to control what students wear while performing MI duties. And as for the 2007 issue, that was actually about the policy banning any student from participating in the parade if they sported a chief logo. That's much worse.
Yes, and that policy has been in place for a few years. Makes sense for when MI is actually performing and in uniform.

However, the change this year is for *rehearsals* which is really nothing more than a class meeting. Marching Illini is just Music 273, after all. Student attire is otherwise fully permitted, even if political. Only a shirt showing support for Chief Illiniwek of all things crosses the line?

The "explanation" was that rehearsals are in open view of the public and a photographer could come snap a shot of a band member wearing a Chief shirt and try to take it out of context, saying the Marching Illini support the Chief, and the group is not a political organization blahblahblah.

If that were a real concern, all shirts of an opinionated or political nature should be forbidden...and they aren't.

Agree wholeheartedly with the poster who said that they should issue standard practice apparel if they're THAT concerned about messages being sent on t-shirts.