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Sharing Pitt Memories

Pitt’s With the Band (& Chuck Mangione)


William Dimitrakis (A&S ’79):

I was in the Pitt band during the 1976 football season. We went undefeated that year and were playing Georgia for the National Championship at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 1st, 1977. Somehow, we were able to get jazz-pop flugelhorn-player Chuck Mangione (“Feels So Good”) to perform with us on the field during our halftime show—which of course featured his music. This was just after his first big album Chase the Clouds Away, and a year before he became internationally famous.

Chuck joined the band during rehearsals a day or so before the game. I remember he had his trademark long hair, beard, and hat, and he wore a sweater that featured a woven image of him with his long hair, beard, and hat. It was so cool! Even cooler was that we won the game. 

Playing in the Pitt band for three years was one of my best experiences at Pitt. I was also able to meet Don Hower, who was our band director and now directs the band at Washington State.