Among Brendan McGinty’s most cherished childhood memories: experiencing a fall Saturday tradition with a dearly departed relative.
The time: the early '70s. The place: the TV room of a home on California Street in Urbana. The memory: We’ll let McGinty tell it.
“While visiting my great-grandmother, Velma Roberts, we would ‘watch’ Illini football, even though she was nearly blind,” says the former history major, now the NCSA’s director of industry.
“See, she wanted to hear the band at halftime, which she had a real passion for, since she was the longtime assistant to legendary band director A.A. Harding.
“Late in her life, she helped lead the effort to get the band building named after her old boss. The Board of Trustees minutes from 1934 show salaries in the Military Bands department with Harding raking in $4,500 and Granny Rocker, as we called her, earning $1,600 ... annually.”