Melvin H. Ribble (11 January 1870 - 3 May 1964, Lincoln, Neb.) was known as a composer of band music, an outstanding cornetist, and a popular commercial arranger during the first half of the 20th century. He also conducted pit orchestras, played in an Army military band, and was an early member of the musicians’ union. He spent most of his life in Nebraska and Illinois.
Melvin H. Ribble was born in 1870, possibly in Nebraska or a nearby state. He began his musical career when he moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1889. He played cornet with the Ashman Band—one of the outstanding bands of that period. In 1898 he moved to Chicago, where he joined the American Federation of Musicians on April 10, 1900. In addition to other musical activities, including service in the 111th U.S. Infantry Band during World War I and conducting pit orchestras at various theaters in the Chicago area, Ribble worked as an arranger for Harry Alford, whose company was considered one of the finest in the U.S. Among the dozen or more well-known arranger-composers on the busy staff were Carleton Colby, Frank Fubrer, Fred K. Huffer, and W. T. Purdy.
In 1931, Ribble returned to Lincoln, Nebraska, and opened an arranging office in the former Liberty (later Varsity) Theater. During that period of time he arranged the familiar March of the Cornhuskers, Hail Varsity, and Fight Song for the University of Nebraska.
Works for Winds
- Bennet's Triumphal March (1925)
- Blue Moon Waltz (1931)
- Dainty Maid Dansette (1925)
- Invincible Yank (1937)
- Lizella Overture (1912)
- March of the Cornhuskers
- Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 501.