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Alex Pickard’s golden anniversary at Homecoming centennial

Alex Pickard

Alex Pickard directs the Alumni Band and Marching Mizzou in a performance of the Star Spangled Banner before the football game at Homecoming 2011. Pickard arrived at MU 50 years ago. Photo by Rob Hill

October 15, 2011, has now entered Mizzou history as a pitch-perfect Homecoming centennial. Throngs of students and alumni enjoyed a rollicking pep rally, lively campus decorations, entertaining parade and blowout football game. Festivities also included a celebration of the 50th anniversary of former Marching Mizzou Director Alex Pickard’s arrival on campus.

Pickard joined MU as assistant director of bands in 1961, became director in 1966 and held the position until 1982, when he moved into administration at the School of Music. He retired in 2000.

Many of the Marching Mizzou alumni who returned this year were from the 1970s, Pickard says. “That decade the band not only traveled to England to perform, but we also performed at seven bowl games.” He recalls bands of about 250 players and caravans of eight large busses to carry them all.

For months before the celebration at Homecoming, Pickard’s former students had been honoring him through their collected reminiscences at the pickard50.com web site. Former Marching Mizzou member Jim Smith wrote the following verse as part of his poem, It Never Rains on the Missouri Band.

When the clouds begin to threaten you

Remember you’re a part of Marching Mizzou.
The sun will come out and the rain clouds scatter
When Mr. Pickard ascends his ladder.

For more Homecoming images, check out MizzouWire for more images now, and look for more coverage in the forthcoming issue of MIZZOU magazine.