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Music has long been an important part of the fabric of Franklin & Marshall, due in no small part to the commitment, enthusiasm and talents of teachers Hugh Gault, John Peifer, and Courtney Adams.
Hugh Alan Gault walked onto the Franklin & Marshall campus in 1950 and for the next two and half decades was the Music Department's only continuing faculty member. He is most remembered by Franklin & Marshall alumni as director of the College's Glee Club; more than 5,000 students took part in musical productions under his leadership.
Even before Gault arrived in Diagnothian Hall, another form of music was alive and resonant on campus - and off. John H. "Johnny" Peifer Jr. '36, a successful Lancaster insurance agent, took up the baton as the College's band director when he graduated from Franklin & Marshall and didn't put it down until he retired in 1980.
Thousands of Franklin & Marshall alumni were influenced by Peifer's love of music and, perhaps even more important, his enthusiasm for life. Under Peifer's leadership, the Franklin & Marshall marching band earned wide renown. The band played at all but three of 316 home and away football games and won some of the highest marching band honors available in the East.
It was this small but strong foundation of musical excellence that greeted Courtney Sherbrook Adams when she joined the Music Department in 1979. An exuberant and exceptionally gifted teacher, Adams' arrival signaled the dawning of a new emphasis on music at Franklin & Marshall, one that would strengthen the classroom curriculum while establishing many new opportunities for performance.
Adams' talent as a musicologist was every bit as prodigious as Gault's prowess as a musician, and her academic leadership allowed the Department to offer a minor in music for the first time in the early 1980's. By the time the College graduated its first music major in 1986, music was firmly established as a vital component of Franklin & Marshall's commitment to education in the arts.