Although it doesn’t look a day over 149, today the University of Illinois celebrates its 150th birthday. 150 years ago today, on February 28, 1867, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation creating the Illinois Industrial University, known today as the University of Illinois.
The University today launched its Sesquicentennial Celebration, with events planned go on for the next fifteen months. Festivities began this afternoon with a celebration at the University’s Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana.
Let’s all join in celebrating the 150th birthday of our premiere state university.
I was sitting in my office overlooking Monroe and Dearborn Streets at noon today and suddenly heard the sounds of a marching band. I looked out the window and saw the Marching Illini assembled about a block away at Madison and Dearborn. After listening several pieces, including “Illinois Loyalty,” from my 19th floor perch, I wandered down to street level to catch the rest of the performance, including the “Three-In-One” in the video above. You can also see and hear the video on my YouTube channel.
The band director said that the “Three-In-One” was first played in 1926 and that this year marks its 90th anniversary. The entry for the Marching Illini on Wikipedia states:
The musical portion of the Three-In-One consists of three distinct Illinois pieces: “Pride of the Illini,” “March of the Illini,” and “Hail to the Orange.” “Pride of the Illini,” written by Karl King with words by Ray Dvorak expressly for the Illinois Bands, was published in 1928. Harry Alford’s “March of the Illini” was also published in 1928, but was used during Chief Illinwek’s performance from the beginning in 1926. ″Hail to the Orange″ was written by Harold V. Hill with words by Howard R. Green in 1910. The three pieces were eventually combined into a medley and given the title, “Three-In-One.” The “Three-In-One” drill and music are an important part of the University’s heritage.
Enjoy the performance, but please excuse my off-key participation in the singing of “Hail to the Orange.”