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Bainum, Glenn Cliffe



Glenn Cliffe “Rusty” Bainum was born on January 6, 1888 in Olney, Illinois, the son of Osci J. Bainum, a teacher and administrator, and Ida Elizabeth Cliffe Bainum.

His involvement in band began at age ten as a trombone and upright alto horn player in the Paxton Silver Cornet Band.

Bainum began his college studies in English and engineering science at the University of Illinois, taking a year off before his graduation in 1913 to teach those subjects in Piper City, Momence, and Melvin, Illinois. While a student at the University of Illinois, Bainum played in the band. A. A. Harding, the bandleader, took special notice of Bainum and appointed him first percussionist and bass drummer. Later he named Bainum his first assistant conductor with the Illinois bands. When he graduated in 1913, Bainum taught at West Aurora (Illinois) High School, and after a year there, began serving as Director of Music at Southern Illinois Normal University. He held this position from 1914 to 1922 except for two years during World War I when he served as an officer in the U.S. Army Infantry.

From 1922 to 1924, Bainum worked toward completing a B.A. in music at the University of Illinois and then moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to be Director of the Music Programs for Grand Rapids' public schools and junior colleges. In Grand Rapids, Bainum worked under John Beattie, who came to the Northwestern University School of Music to teach in 1925.

At the urging of Peter Christian Lutkin, Dean of the Northwestern Music School, Bainum followed Beattie's path from Grand Rapids to Evanston in 1926 and became a Professor of Music, Director of Bands, and Director of the men's and women's glee clubs at Northwestern. By 1928, Bainum had turned Northwestern's 13-member band into an organization of more than 100 members. He taught classes in conducting, band-arranging, instrumentation, and band techniques. Bainum also conducted the orchestra for the WAA-Mu Show (Northwestern's annual student-written musical production) every year until his retirement.

As a bandleader, Bainum used charts to teach band members to maneuver in formation on the marching field. He also used electric light to illuminate marching formations at night, with lights worn or carried by the musicians. Bainum debuted this practice in 1936, on the field with the All-College Band (which performed at football games at Soldier Field and later became known as the All-Star Band).

Outside of Northwestern, Bainum worked with the All-College Band, the North Shore Music Festival, and led concerts in Grant Park and other Chicago parks. He was Frederick Stock's Associate Conductor in the North Shore Music Festival, Conductor of the Grant Park Symphonic Band and Conductor of weekly radio programs on Chicago's WMAQ. From 1942 to 1945, Bainum was Chief of the Overseas Music Branch of Special Services for the U.S. Army. In this post, he was responsible for all music in the European theatre of operations.

In 1953, after 27 years at Northwestern, Bainum retired from the University. After retirement, Bainum appeared as guest conductor in various capacities. From the summer music camp at Interlochen, Michigan, to the New Jersey all-state band, Bainum taught and conducted groups, ranging from grade school to professional in age and abilities, in all 50 states. He also continued to arrange and transcribe music for bands.

During his career Bainum served as president, secretary, and treasurer of the American Bandmasters Association and in 1971 was named honorary life president of that organization.

In June 1915, Bainum married Manta Putcamp. Glenn and Manta Bainum remained married until her death in November 1962. Their son, Glenn Jr., was born on July 10, 1933 and died in August 2006.

Bainum died in Evanston on October 4, 1974 at the age of 86.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Glenn Cliffe Bainum (1888-1974) Papers

Identifier: 19/3/7
Abstract Bainum worked as a high school and junior college band instructor before becoming a professor of music, Director of Bands, and Director of the glee clubs at Northwestern University in 1926. Bainum retired in 1953. The Glenn Cliffe Bainum Papers fill twenty-seven boxes and span Bainum's life, with the bulk of the papers dating between the 1930s and the 1960s. Most of the materials in this collection consist of correspondence, records and photographs from Bainum's professional life after he...
Dates: 1888-1982

Records of the Northwestern University Band Program

Identifier: 19/2/5

This collection comprises 146 boxes, containing records of the Northwestern band program from 1917 to 2007. The band program began in 1926 with the first Northwestern Director of Bands, Glenn Cliffe Bainum. After Bainum’s tenure as Director of Bands, the next person to take that position was John Philip Paynter. Mallory Thompson took over the band program as Northwestern’s third Director of Bands and holds that position as of 2022.

Dates: 1917 - 2007

Additional filters:

Conductors (Music) 1
Marching bands 1
Music--Instruction and study 1