Davis: Cultural Programs
Cultural Programs and Activities
Since the city of Davis was small, it could not provide much
cultural activity on its own. Therefore, the community looked to the campus
for most local events. The productions on campus were well attended and supported
by the community and also by a good share of the Sacramento valley community.
Committee for Drama and Lectures
Most of the cultural events at Davis were traditionally
presented by the campus Committee for Drama and Lectures (CAL), originally known
as the Committee for Drama, Lectures, and Music.
Since its founding in the late 1940s, the committee presented
a wide range of lectures, concerts, solo artists, plays, and classic films.
Concerts ranged from Dave Brubeck Quartet to the Fine Arts Quartet and included
all styles and types of music and ensemble combinations. During the mid-1960s,
programs included the Cleveland Symphony, Lenox Quartet, Actor's Workshop of
San Francisco, the Oakland Symphony, Andrés Segovia, Dizzy Gillespie, and the
New Music Ensemble.
Several All-University Concerts were presented in cooperation
with CAL, as were many concerts that involved faculty and student members of
the music department.
All the cultural programs presented by CAL, except most lectures
and the films, were held in Freeborn Hall, an 1,800-seat assembly hall that
was part of the Memorial Union complex. This hall replaced Recreation Hall,
which was used until 1962.
The Associated Students, under the auspices of its Memorial
Union Student Council, presented a varied program of concerts throughout the
school year. Most of them featured popular or folk music.
Dramatic and musical productions as extra curricular
activities dated back to the 1920s on the campus. With the founding of the College
of Letters and Science, they became part of the academic program.
After 1954, the dramatic art faculty offered more plays each
school year for the campus community. First, the plays were presented in Recreation
Hall and later, in an old dining hall in East Hall converted to a studio theatre.
It was replaced with facilities in the new fine arts complex which opened in
1966. In addition, Wyatt Pavilion Theatre was opened in 1964. This former judging
pavilion on the campus seated about 200 persons. Elizabethan in concept, it
offered the department opportunity to stage plays from various periods in a
Musical Programs and Organizations
In addition to its cooperative programs with CAL, the music
department presented a variety of concerts throughout the year, ranging from
solo recitals to complete orchestral and choral concerts and including both
student and faculty performers. The department also presented noon concerts
in the library each month and provided original music for most campus dramatic
productions; the two departments combined forces several times for musical plays
The University Symphony
The University Symphony at Davis was founded in 1957-58
by Richard Swift, who conducted the group until 1964. Robert Bloch succeeded
him as conductor. The symphony regularly performed two public concerts each
year as well as a number of concerts for the Davis public schools. Guest performers
with the orchestra included the University Chorus in performances of Handel's
Ode for St. Cecilia's Day and music by Haydn, Milhaud, and Mozart.
A number of chamber music ensembles existed on the Davis
campus after 1951. Jerome Rosen coached these groups from 1951-56, Richard Swift
from 1956-61, and members of the Griller Quartet from 1961-64. After that time,
the ensembles were coached by Robert Bloch, Richard Swift, Marvin Tartak, and
Arthur Woodbury. Ensembles included various baroque groups: a student string
quartet, a student wind quartet and quintet, brass ensembles of various sizes,
and a number of piano trio and piano quartet ensembles. These groups all performed
at student concerts and noon campus concerts. Some toured the University campuses
under the auspices of the Intercampus Arts Exchange Program.
The University Concert Band
The University Concert Band was formed in 1952 by Jerome
Rosen who was the conductor until 1958. After 1958, Larry Austin conducted the
group, and in 1963, Arthur Woodbury became associate conductor. The band performed
twice a year on campus, drawing from a repertory of music composed especially
for concert band. It performed works by Copland, Ives, Beethoven, Arnold Schoenberg,
members of the music faculty at Davis, and others.
The Marching Band began in 1929 when J. Price Gittinger came
to Davis as supervisor of musical activities. He served as band director until
1948. During the early years, the band was composed of students, faculty and
Davis townspeople. In 1935, the first all-student marching band was formed and
shortly after came under the sponsorship of the Associated Students at Davis.
Directors included Jerome Rosen (1952-58), Larry Austin (1958-64), and Arthur
Woodbury after 1964. The 60 member all-male group performed regularly at football
games and rallies, and led the annual Picnic Day Parade. After football season
was over, the Mav'rik Band was formed to support the basketball team.
The Repertory Band
The Repertory Band was formed in 1960 by its conductor,
Larry Austin. This organization of mixed winds, brass, percussion, and strings
performed music written for ensembles of various sizes that did not fit into
the orchestra or concert band repertoire. Music performed included Milhaud's
Le Beouf sur le toit, Stravinsky's Symphonies pour vent, and new
music by faculty composers Larry Austin and Richard Swift.
The University Chorus
The University Chorus, founded in 1951 by Jerome Rosen,
performed at least two concerts each year on the Davis campus and occasional
extra concerts with the University Symphony, Concert Band, and Repertory Band.
Large works performed by the group included Stravinsky's Mass, Purcell's
Great Service, and Bach's Motets. The chorus also performed new
music by Copland and Milhaud, and faculty members Rosen and George Perle. Following
Rosen, Richard Swift and George Perle served as conductors.
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The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated 06/18/04.