Commencements 277
the commencement period was one round of social pleasure for the
young people. They were present at the various addresses and
sermons and, as the good form of the day prescribed, usually made
model listeners, but at least the young man was sitting by the young
lady and fanning her most industriously, sometimes to the ruin of the
fan, and in such a situation they could endure a sermon an hour and a
half long.
To make the occasion more attractive to their fair friends as well as
to the others the students through the Literary Societies or by
individual contribution, sometimes with the help of the faculty or
Board of Trustees, provided a band. In the earlier years the bands
secured were mostly local. The character of these bands is sufficiently
clear from the names of the pieces they played: in 1870 during the
intervals between the speeches of the young men at the graduating
exercises the band played "The Mocking Bird," "Daisy Deane," "Star
Spangled Banner," "Then You'll Remember Me," "The Last Rose of
Summer." In 1873 the music was by a colored band of Raleigh. In
1879 the strains of sweet music were furnished by the Salem band. A
change had come in 1882; for the commencement of that year the
music was by Captain Kessnich's Richmond band, and it was this
band and its successor under various names―Iardella's band (1888),
Voelker's band (1890), Captain Pullen's band (1903) that furnished
the music for the Wake Forest commencements for the next quarter of
a century. This band served the University of North Carolina as well
as Wake Forest on the same trip, and on that account at somewhat less
cost to Wake Forest. There was no doubt about the musical skill of
this band or the high quality of their playing, for which the students in
their reports of the commencements in the Wake Forest Student had
the highest praise: "Kessnich's most admirable band" (1885); "Not
even Orpheus ever made sweeter music-no, or half so sweet as they
did; and it is to them we owe half, if not more of our commencement
enjoyment, and it was with sad hearts we bade them adieu." (1888,
George Clarence Thompson.) They played at all the events except the
sermon and sometimes at that, and
Previous Page Next Page