Band Director Celebrates Final Home Game

By Kenneth Marples

The Marist men’s basketball team fell to their division rival Rider Broncs 75 to 64 on March 3. Although the Red Foxes lost the game, Marist is in the process of losing something much more important.

After 33 years, Arthur ‘Art’ Himmelberger will be stepping down as the Director of Bands and will act in more of a supervisory role as the Director of Music. Himmelberger joined the staff in 1986, composed the Marist Fight Song, and oversaw the creation of the band.

Himmelberger started the band with two trumpet players and, over the span of his career, developed it to a group of 100 musicians.

To honor him, the band wore shirts that read “Himmelberger 33” on the back and had both men and women’s basketball teams sign a game ball. Additionally, the Athletics Department created a custom jersey that read “Art 33” on the back.

For many in the Hudson Valley, Himmelberger is not simply the band director; he’s one of the aspects that they love the most about going to the basketball games.

“He’s one of the best of the best, and his impact will still be felt long after his name is forgotten,” James O’Brien ‘19, band member, said. O’Brien was the President of Band for the past two years and worked closely with Himmelberger.

Like other colleges, Marist has a lengthy winter break between its Fall and Spring semesters in which the band does not play in any of the games. Some members of the surrounding community say without the band the games are lifeless and fewer people come.

“When they don’t play in the winter it’s dead up here,” Dave Smith, of Wappingers Falls, said. Smith has been attending the games for 33 years and has seen the band grow in this time span.

Residents of the Hudson Valley love coming to Marist College to watch sporting events from basketball to football, and they all agree that the atmosphere will be different without Himmelberger shouting the Fight Song to start games.

“I can’t imagine they’ll replace him with someone as enthusiastic as him,” Smith said.

Himmelberger will continue to be a presence in the Hudson Valley and at Marist as he will continue working there until an eventual retirement. The search for the new director started last year and is now down to three candidates, whose names cannot be disclosed.

“Art is the program. He’s grown the program since it’s conception,” band drummer Michael Coppola ‘20, said.

The new director of bands will have big shoes to fill, but right now, all eyes are on appreciating  the final antics of Art Himmelberger.

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