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Ted Buchanan

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 Tulane Empowers

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Drum major reunites with Tulane marching band after 75 years

Dr. Joe Dudley Talbot (M ’38) relived his days as a member of the Tulane marching band when the crew stopped in Shreveport to serenade local alumni. 

Dr. Talbot
Dr. Joe Dudley Talbot (M ’38) was presented with a marching band stadium cap for his time as a drum major with the Tulane University Marching Band. (Photo by Amanda Patterson)

November 30, 2011

Michael Ramos
mcramos@tulane.edu

When the Tulane University Marching Band traveled to Dallas last month to support the Green Wave in its match against Southern Methodist University, the crew stopped in Shreveport to serenade local alumni. More than 100 Tulane alumni, friends and family attended the event hosted by Henry Walker IV (A&S ’66) and his wife, Laurie Lyons, at their home on Drexel Drive. While the band entertained the north Louisiana crowd, one alumnus found himself reliving events from more than 75 years ago.

Dr. Joe Dudley Talbot (M ’38), a native of Stamps, Ark., enrolled in the Tulane University School of Medicine in 1934 and caught the attention of an unlikely duo: Dr. “Bull” Smith, professor of anatomy, and Frederick Hard, director of the band.  

Despite their professions, both men shared a passion for music. When they discovered Talbot’s past – including an undergraduate stint as drum major for the University of Arkansas band – they enlisted him to lead the Tulane marching band.  

The experience was one of the most formative moments of his life, Talbot said.  

“Studying at Tulane was a dream come true for me,” said Talbot, 97, of Shreveport. As drum major, he trained students to perfect marching drills, execute letter formations and make the band’s signature “green wave” while stepping to the beat of the band. 

After graduating from the medical school in 1938, Talbot received a gold key for his two years of service and an official ribbon at “Gate No. 8” for home games at Tulane Stadium, which hosted the first Sugar Bowl in college football history just three years earlier. 

As the 2011 Tulane marching band played selections from the fall 2011 football season, Talbot met band Director Barry Spanier. In his hands, Talbot carried newspaper clippings from the 1930s that detailed his time in the marching band and the football team’s successes and defeats. Spanier said he was taken aback. 

“It was great to see someone who was so involved as a student here and who has gone on to have such a productive, successful life still feel strongly about his student days at Tulane,” Spanier said. “I can envision our current students feeling the same way years from now, and I see how he inspires them, too, as they can imagine themselves in his position.”  

Spanier presented Talbot with a marching band stadium cap, which complemented a chain of medallions from his days at Tulane strung around his neck.  

Following the concert, guests enjoyed red beans and rice, jambalaya and bread pudding with the band and its staff.

Michael Ramos is a writer in the Office of Development.

 

 

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