Page 44 - foxtalk issue 2

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44
Winter 2011
Later, he had great interest in both politics, and in the ministry, though music had
the strongest pull. He chuckles as he recalls that as a young congressional page in
Washington, D.C., he got on an elevator with Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois.
Asked about his future plans, he said ‘’music’’ as his feld of study, which came as a
surprise to the veteran senator who was probably used to hearing “politics’’ and “law’’
as the answer to that question.
“He said, ‘I guess we need music, too, ‘ ‘’ Himmelberger says with a laugh.
TODAY, THAT YOUNG BOY WITH THE COWBELLS IS THE
60-year-old director of a Music Department that has a head-
spinning list of music classes and performance groups avail-
able to students. Tere are orchestras, ensembles, quartets and
a multitude of choral groups – an amazing breadth of musical
achievement in a college that has no music major.
Te Music Department itself occupies basement ofces and
classrooms beneath a portion of the Campus Center, though it
can’t accommodate many of the department’s needs. Singing
groups must split up to practice and the band must use the
cafeteria on the main foor, where a closet hides many of their
instruments. Tey turn it into a band rehearsal hall for a few
hours before they must dismantle everything and get the caf-
eteria back in order.
Teir reputation is untouched by those hardships, and it is
hardly limited to the Marist campus. Tey have made their
mark in local churches and theaters, at Carnegie Hall in
Manhattan, on stages and in sports arenas around the coun-
try, including those where the NCAA basketball tournaments
are played.
Te women’s basketball team has won the MAAC league
six out of the last seven years, and has been to the NCAA six
times in recent years, according to Marist Athletic Director
Tim Murray. And along with them were Himmelberger and
the student musicians, drumming up a huge amount of school
spirit and support.
Murray says they made a tremendous diference to the wom-
en’s team in those national competitions. And in a turn of the
tables, the Marist players have been proud to see their school
band go head to head with band from much bigger campuses.
“When we play nationally, they’re as good as or better than
the bands across the court. Our kids (the players) love it,’’
Murray says.
“Te energy and enthusiasm that he has at games and events is really second to none,
including the players and coaches. He completely embraces the whole experience. I
love the guy. He has a pure excitement for what is going on and the players feed of of
that.’’
Of the band, Murray says, “You cannot underestimate how hard these kids work.’
Te athletic director says the greatest compliment he can pay Himmelberger is to let
people know that there have been many coaches who have said to him: “I wish we had
an Art Himmelberger.”
MARIST PRESIDENT DENNIS J. MURRAY COULD NOT AGREE MORE
about Himmelberger and his students’ musical achievements.
“Tey are ambassadors of the college and they do it well,’’ says President Murray,
who has watched the music program grow along with other aspects of the college.
When he came to Marist in 1979, it was one of his goals to expand the small music
program, and Himmelberger has been a big part of that accomplishment.
President Murray has witnessed countless campus celebrations where students pro-
vided excellent music, but he particularly recalls that in the school year after the ter-
rorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the patriotic music included in musical performances
was a great comfort.
photo courtesy of Department of Athletics