1967 to 1969 - U of Florida Auditorium and Century Tower ©

by J.R. Beatty


I harken back to my long ago, semi-innocent days on the Paynes Prairie Plains of Gainesville, Florida.
But, No, that was not ME way back in 1853 at the U of Florida "mens' school" start. (Click on the photos to see more details.)

This photo captures the most important part of the University of Florida campus environment for me back in the day (1967-1969). The University Auditorium was the special, hallowed place I walked to each day at Noon for a choral practice on risers with an excellent 60 member, mixed gender, acapella singing organization, THE U of Florida's University Choir.

The exciting, difficult, high-brow, eight-part, close harmony music we practiced was later performed in concert on bus tours all over the eastern USA, up to Montreal, Canada for the World Expo '67, and in Washington DC's National Cathedral. Classical Latin church anthems, passionate Negro spirituals, Broadway play hits, Civil War era ballads, ... all were our specialties.

Awesome music, great director, good artistic friends, and my three unique, Gatortown Apartment roommates were all a part of the work and fun.

I was honored to be elected Bus Captain, Vice President, and then President of THE University Choir in my three years there. I learned much about talented people and gained more personal confidence by participating on such a "special team".

Welcome To U of FL - University Auditorium
Welcome To U of FL - University Auditorium

I enjoyed the music so much that I seriously thought about dropping out of engineering and becoming a Music Major! On one long-distance, dorm-hallway, pay-phone call to my father, he pointedly asked me, "Where will your life sustaining, sufficient financial remuneration actually come from? As a middle-school choir director / music teacher?!" He may have used more emphatic words to that effect. My Dad was a smart, practical, pragmatic man with strong beliefs and stronger opinions!

After more deliberation over my collegiate desires and my Dad's serious life concerns, I just went ahead and made music my "Major" .... HOBBY!

But more importantly, singing each day helped me meet REAL WOMEN! -- since few coeds were studying engineering or dating nerdy engineer-wanna-be's back in that day. Think: thick eyeglasses in a plastic frame, a Shirt Pocket Protector full of colored pens and pencils, and an 8-inch engineering Slide Rule in an Orange Sheath on my belt.

Singing also helped me endure the difficult engineering curriculum I completed. I have used that technical degree and knowledge to work as a professional Electrical Engineer and Project Manager and Docu-Photo-Writer-Editor for five-decades now.

And I still will sing out loud listening to my Choir records or driving along the highway in my car or bellowing in my bathroom shower on the occasions that I again "feel" the artistic passion of ALL that "ancient and modern" choral music!

U of FL - Century Tower
U of FL - Century Tower

I am proud and blessed to have been a part of a complete, complex, congenial, coeducational choir and university.

The adjacent, impressively tall, circa 1953, Century Tower was built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the university's beginnings.

It held a manually played, musical Carillon bells system at its top. THE University Choir organist regularly climbed the interior tower steps to play carillon music for all folks within earshot to hear and enjoy.

Century Tower was also reportedly the center of a risqué campus legend back in that day that supported a mythical, collegiate, "Playboy Magazine's #1 USA Party School" atmosphere and national reputation.

In & Out of THE SWAMP

Over the intervening years we have enjoyed seeing THE GREAT University of Florida sports teams capture more and more SEC and National Championships.

To honor this winning legacy, I and many other GATOR GRADS and FANS proudly display GATOR ball caps, sweat shirts, car antenna heads, window stickers, license plates, and large GATOR Victory Flags for the world to see that THE GATOR NATION IS EVERYWHERE - Both IN and OUT of "THE SWAMP"!


QUESTION: How do you know a HAPPY GATOR external Car Antenna Head is really Happy?
ANSWER: By the splattered Love Bugs stuck on his open-jaw, sharp GATOR Teeth!

On Game Day, All Other Teams Are Our "GATORBAIT"! ... Don't Get Caught In OUR GATOR "DEATH-GRIP-SPIN"! ... GATOR CHOMP! CHOMP! ... LET's GO GATORS!