Program on the History of University of Illinois Musical Tradition

The Good Old Songs They Sing at Illinois, sheet music cover. Image courtesy of Joe Rank
The Spurlock Museum and University of Illinois Alumni Association present Music at Illinois, a free program on popular music written especially for or about the University, on November 16 at 4:00 PM in the Museum.

One of Illinois’ most enduring traditions is its music. For its November Third Thursday Sesquicentennial lecture series, the Spurlock Museum is joined by the University of Illinois Alumni Association to present a special program, Music at Illinois, on popular music written especially for or about the University. Over the course of the past century-and-a-half, students, alumni, and faculty created a number of musical traditions that link them together across generations. While the oldest living graduates might not recognize today’s sprawling campus, state-of-the-art facilities, and diverse curricula, they would take great joy in knowing that today’s students know many of the same traditional tunes.

The lecture will examine the history and historical context of familiar songs that have made it into the permanent band and glee club repertoires, as well as tunes that have faded into obscurity.

The free program is held in conjunction with the Spurlock Museum’s temporary exhibit Knowledge at Work: The University of Illinois at 150.

The speaker, retired Alumni Association vice president Joe Rank, developed his interest in University of Illinois music while a member of the Marching Illini. He has amassed a large collection of Illinois-related recordings and sheet music, notable for the distinctive cover art and lyrics that provide insights into collegiate life and culture at the times the songs were written.

Knowledge at Work: The University of Illinois at 150 explores the history of campus as a community of educators, researchers, and students engaged in learning, research, and public service. Learn about the contributions of a wide variety of people and groups to campus history and ways the University has changed how it relates to the people it serves. The exhibit runs through December 21, 2018.


Monday closed | Tuesday noon–5 p.m. | Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. | Saturday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. | Sunday noon–4 p.m. Free general admission | | 217-333-2360 | 600 S Gregory Street, Urbana, Illinois 61801


On weekdays, park at meters on Oregon and Gregory Streets. On weekends, park for free in UIUC lot D22 (behind the Museum) in non-reserved spaces.

The Spurlock Museum is committed to offering a wide level of accessibility assistance. To request accommodations, please contact our information desk at 217-333-2360. Early requests are appreciated to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.


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