Sep 25-02

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2002: September: Sep 25-02
Color comparisons    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Peg Riemer

Charlie at Pasty Central on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 07:02 am:

I've noticed in recent discussions on these pages, comparisons of the fall color with years past. It really is slow starting this year. Looking back in the archives, the color was late beginning last year, too, but was noticeably more advanced a few years ago. Peg Riemer emailed these shots of the Parade of Nations in Houghton over the weekend. When today's colorful band passed a spot with Ripley in the distance, it reminded me of a similar view along the same route in 1999, featuring Sisu the Clown. Compare the green of this year with the colorful leaves of '99:

2002 Parade
Same event, 1999

Karen P, MN on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 11:18 am:

This band is determined to make up for lack of leaf color with colorful uniforms. What a bunch.

By mdk, CA on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 12:04 pm:

there is absolutely NO band like the Tech band. Spirited, fun, yet excellent musicians.

By Sherry, FL on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 04:12 pm:

Love all the great pics, but what is up with the bridge cam? The last couple of days it is fine in the morning, but by afternoon it is black with fuzzy white lines. I hope it can be fixed soon. I miss my peaks in the the UP.

By Pep Band Mom, CA on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 05:37 pm:


By pm wis on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 07:44 pm:

I really enjoy watching and listening to this band while at the home football games. It really adds a lot to the whole atmosphere of college football.

By ashley, mi on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 08:20 pm:

i love fall it is the best time of year. so beautiful.

By Paul MInnesota on Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 02:39 am:

Can someone clue me in on the band/clown?
I am from Minnesota and currently live in Duluth.
My grandparents and their brothers and sisters moved from Italy to the U.P. some stayed and some moved to MN. I visit the U.P. a couple times a year and I am always amazed at how similar(exact almost) the cultures, communities and people are. But yet the people from the two regions, disconnected by the big water are so unaware that there sister towns, cultures and people exist. We are virtually divided by the big water.

In this issue I see an outlandishly dressed band and CLOWNS. This is so remarkably close to what is going on in northern MN that I just have to look into it.

Please fill me in on your clown/band.

In Eveleth, there is the locally famous ECB Eveleth Clown Band. My father has played almost every year for 58 years (since 14 yrs old) there are other clown bands on the iron range but none as famous as the ECB. It is just fascinating to me that once again I see the same thing in the UP as I see on the MN iron range.

Is this a college band or is there other community clown bands out there????

Please fill me in on the band etc. at

By walt, ohio on Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 07:44 am:

SISU the clown is world famous! And apart from being SISU Sanford Mattila is a prince of a guy from the great town of South Range!

By Kit, Minnesota on Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 08:16 am:

MTU Alum, '01.

The MTU Husky Pep Band, the DAWGs (It's an acronym for "D*** Are We Good!") is the antithesis of marching bands everywhere. Rather than some sort of uniform, each DAWG gets their stripes. The stripes are black and yellow striped overalls, which MTU gets specially from a children's clothing maufacturer. Members LOVE these stripes. I cannot count how many pep band members have walked across the stage at graduation with those stripes peeking out below their gowns. However, the stripes are the only uniform part of the getup. Beyond that, members are encouraged to display individuality, and the more insane looking, the better. They aren't clowns, but they sure act that way.

By mdk, CA on Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 10:01 am:

in the 70's, the stripes were more "orange, yellow, white" and all members also wore a yellow hard hat (we're engineers, remember). I would NOT consider them a clown band. But as Kit says, they are all individuals. and rowdy as anything on earth. As much a part of any athletic event as the athletes.

By Long-time stripe lover, CA on Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 10:15 am:

The stripes have been around for more than 30 years, when the late great Don Keranen, then Tech director of bands, got an anonymous gift to purchase the first striped overalls. When replacements for the originals couldn't be found, a hodge-podge of stripes were introduced, with specific colors for specific sections of the band (i.e., 'bones in red and white). With patching material needed almost immediately, the band took on a decided eclectic look which has only improved with age. These non-uniforms are worn with great pride.

For those of you who want more information on the DAWGs, here's their web site:

By KAT Paavola Location on Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 07:52 pm:

Hey, MDK, remember when we were in the pep band and went to the Boston Gardens for the NCAA playoffs in March 1974. What a trip and what an adventure! Tech lost to the Minnesota Gophers and we ran into a snowstorm on the way home in Rochester NY. We roamed Harvard and MIT. At the Harvard game we outcheered the hometown crowd. What a lot of fun that was! Oh to be young again!

By John, Houston, TX on Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 10:39 pm:

I was in the Pep Band from 1979-1985, during the early and middle years of the Mike Griffith tenure as band director. For the first two years we had the red, black, yellow, white stripes. Beginning in the fall of 1981, the woodwinds got the black and yellow stripes and sometimes later (could be at the same time) the low brass got red and white stripes. About that time, the yellow hard hats started disappearing and the unique hats appeared. It is nice to see that some traditions are still around. We did lose the stripes once a year for homecoming, when we all dressed liked hobos. I take it that hobo homecoming is gone.

We took a fair amount of road trips during those years. Twice to the Pontiac Silverdome, six times to GLI, a few times to NMU and once to Duluth for NCAA hockey championships.

I'd have to say that being in the pep band has got to be one of my best memories of Tech.

One more thing to add, Mike Griffith had a wide range of people in the band, like a few locals and graduate students like myself.

By ShawnR, GR MI on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 08:32 am:

Wasn't the MTU pep band not allowed in at one of the ice arena's - Wisconsin, or something like that - in the late 70's?

Curt Tompkins (president of the university) also played in the band on occasion, I believe. He plays the trombone - yeah!

By ShawnR, GR MI on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 08:59 am:

I believe Curt Tompkins (president of the university) also has played with the band on occasion. He plays the trombone - yeah!

By ShawnR, GR MI on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 09:00 am:

Dang - I was distracted and didn't realize that I had posted already! Sorry 'bout that!

By '75 Tech grad on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 09:47 am:

Tech's homecoming (such as it is now) is coming up on Oct. 4-5, when Tech takes on Grand Valley in football. I was at Tech from 72-75, and those hobo homecoming weekends were great (for students; probably not for the locals). Now the parade goes around campus and the hobo cars are no where near as obnoxious. There's no outrageous public drinking allowed either, which, from the vantage point of my "advanced years," is also probably a good thing.

By mdk, CA on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 05:52 pm:

hey KAT, yep I was on that trip! Definitely a memoriable journey. As to the homecoming parade: I think the locals enjoyed it. I sure did as a kid. I also feel the parade presented a great opportunity for the local high school bands to march in.

By Mel on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 10:00 pm:

Little bit of an update on the ol' DaWG's - first, some rookie must'a posted about the acronym definition - it's "Da**, We're Good," eh? We all still dress up as hobos for the homecoming parade & game, though cross-dressing seems to be taking over some sections - especially concussion. The cars aren't allowed to be too bad anymore - they have to be legally insured and road-approved. Does mean that the band doesn't get shot with hot anti-freeze when a radiator blows though...that hurt. I don't know about not being allowed to travel to a school in the 70's, but I do know that we're the Pep "Banned" at NMU. We're not allowed to show up there in any band regalia or with instruments, but we still outcheer the home crowd with just our voices and the occasional kazoo or slide-whistle. :) Unfortunately, with the graduation of our fearless leader a few years ago, the mad dashes through Burger King at the ends of parades have ended. We miss you, Bill. Another note to some more recent grads, Jeff Bell-Hanson has moved out to Washington state (I think). We miss you too, Jeff.

By Toivo from Toivola on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 11:26 pm:

We will miss Karen Bell-Hanson's columns in the Gazette, too.

By dl on Monday, November 18, 2002 - 04:43 pm:

We need a pair of those black and yellow striped overalls. Where can we get them?

By Ben , Mn on Thursday, June 26, 2003 - 08:05 am:

I ran across your discussion, and would like to invite you to take a peak at the Eveleth Clown Bands web site at . Good reading!

By Melissa, Illinois on Monday, September 22, 2003 - 09:58 pm:

I need a pair of those overalls! Where can I get them?

By Steve C., Kansas on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 01:55 pm:

I also am interested in getting a pair of those overalls. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks a million!

By Alton Thompson on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 12:09 am:

Hi. Steve C wrote to me and I learned of the curiosity that exists in this forum about the trademark overalls worn by the Huskies Pep Band.

The easiest way to purchase Huskies Pep Band stripes is through University Images, one of our campus stores. They carry the overalls in children's and adult sizes.

University Images - web

University Images - e-mail

The stripes have a long history. The band had worn gold-and-black striped overalls in the past. My predecessors Michael Griffith and Jeff Bell-Hanson, though, had a difficult time finding a manufacturer who could keep this tradition going. Striped overalls were out there to be found, but none in gold and black. For this reason the band wore multi-colored stripes for a number of years. After much detective work Jeff finally located a supplier who could make bib overalls in gold and black. The company's specialty was indeed children's clothing, not band uniforms. It took some creativity to produce the look you see now. It paid off. The overalls have been a success with our students and crowds ever since their debut.

Band members remain very conscious of the history they inherit. The red-and-white shirts worn by our trombone section evoke the colors of the overalls that section once wore. Anytime Tech plays a school that wears red, you'll see our trombone section switch to shirts in Tech's colors.

The students and I get a lot of inquiries about the stripes and we're always delighted by the interest. Last year the band performed in Green Bay for the Michigan Tech-Wisconsin hockey game. A couple brought their little girl to the game dressed in Pep Band overalls and carrying a plastic trumpet. Our students were utterly charmed and serenaded the girl with "You Are My Sunshine".

Please feel free to pass this information along to anyone else you know who may be curious about the stripes. Thanks again.



Alton Thompson, DMA
Michigan Tech Department of Fine Arts
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931 USA
tel 1 906 487 2825,

Huskies Pep Band at Michigan Tech
Huskies Pep Band site sponsored by DaWGS
Music at Michigan Tech

By Charles Lott, Michigan on Saturday, October 2, 2004 - 02:01 pm:

Is Jeff Bell-Hanson still the director of the Tech Pep Band?

If so, how do I get directly in contact with him?


Charles Lott
Class of '76

By Alton Thompson, Taiwan on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 01:12 pm:

Dr Jeff Bell-Hanson currently serves on the faculty at Pacific Lutheran University:

Dr Michael Griffith serves on the faculty at the University of Wyoming:

I work as a conductor and professor in Taipei, Taiwan:

Mr Nicholas Enz has been director of the Huskies Pep Band since fall 2004:

Nick took the band to the Bash at the Big House in Ann Arbor this past November. The group performed for the largest audience in its history and drew enthusiastic press attention.

If you write to Jeff, Mike, or Nick please tell them I said hello.

Warm regards from the tropics!



Alton Thompson, conductor
Taipei, Taiwan (Formosa)
at AT altonthompson DOT com

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