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10 College Marching Bands That Will Make You Feel the Spirit

Introduction to College Marching Bands

There’s nothing quite like the excitement of a college football game, with the roar of the crowd and the thrill of the competition. But for many fans, the real excitement happens during halftime, when some of the best college marching bands take the field.

These bands are more than just a group of musicians playing in unison; they are institutions with a rich history and cultural significance. In this article, we will cover the importance and impact of halftime shows, provide an overview of some of the most famous college marching bands, and delve into the traditions and notable performances of the Ohio State University Marching Band.

Importance and Impact of Halftime Shows

College marching bands have been a staple at football games for over a century, with the first college halftime show taking place at the University of Illinois in 1907. Since then, these shows have evolved into elaborate performances that showcase the musical, visual, and choreographic skills of the performers.

The importance and impact of halftime shows cannot be overstated. They not only entertain fans, but also serve as an opportunity for universities to showcase their culture and traditions.

Halftime performances are also a source of pride for many college marching bands. Thousands of hours of practice and preparation go into planning each show, and the hard work pays off with the cheers and applause of the audience.

In addition, many college bands are recognized for their excellence in competitions and festivals. Some of the most prestigious awards in the marching band world include the Sudler Trophy, the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Shield, and the Bands of America Grand National Championship.

Overview of the Listed Bands

There are hundreds of college marching bands across the United States, each with their own unique traditions and styles. Some of the most well-known and respected bands include:

– The Ohio State University Marching Band

– The University of Michigan Marching Band

– The University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band

– The University of Texas Longhorn Band

– Florida A&M University Marching 100

– Alabama A&M University Marching Maroon and White

– Prairie View A&M University Marching Storm

Each of these bands has a rich history and a long-standing tradition of excellence.

In the next section, we will dive into the specifics of one of these bands: The Ohio State University Marching Band.

Ohio State University Marching Band

History and Origins

The Ohio State University Marching Band, also known as The Best Damn Band in The Land, was founded in 1878 and consists of approximately 225 members. The band is celebrated for its precise, innovative, and exciting performances, which often incorporate intricate formations and intricate choreography.

Traditions and Notable Performances

The Ohio State University Marching Band is well-known for its traditions, such as the “Script Ohio,” which is performed at the end of every halftime show. This traditional dance involves forming the word Ohio in block letters, with a sousaphone player dotting the “i.”

The band is also famous for its rendition of the song “Hang on Sloopy” which has become an unofficial anthem for Ohio State University.

The band performs it at the end of every game, and it’s a crowd favorite. The Ohio State University Marching Band has performed at many high-profile events, including eleven presidential inaugurations, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Tournament of Roses Parade.

They have also performed at numerous bowl games and have gained national attention for their halftime shows, such as the Michael Jackson tribute show in 2013.

Conclusion

College marching bands are more than just musicians playing instruments. They are institutions with rich history, tradition, and cultural significance.

Halftime shows are a source of pride and entertainment for many fans and an opportunity for universities to showcase their culture and traditions. College marching bands have left an indelible mark on college football and continue to inspire musicians across the country.

3) Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band

The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band is the official marching band of Texas A&M University and was founded in 1894. Comprising of over 400 members, the band is the largest military marching unit in the world.

The band holds a distinctive military tradition and has been considered the center of tradition and pride for the university.

Military Tradition and Strict Music Repertoire

The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band has a strict regiment of discipline that is rooted in military tradition. The band is known for its strict rules and a regimented lifestyle that extends beyond just performing in a marching band.

Members of the band must adhere to a strict code of conduct, which includes no facial hair, short hair, and neat uniforms. This military background is reflected in their music selection, which consists of military marches and traditional music.

The band’s marching style is unique, using a high step and intricate maneuvers, performed with military precision. A fan favorite is their “Block T” formation, where the band wraps around itself in a T-shape to symbolize the Texas A&M University.

Growth and Talent Influx in the 1970s

During the 1970s, the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band experienced tremendous growth. The influx of new students led to an expansion of the band and its capabilities.

This growth brought in a high level of talent that allowed the band to raise the quality of their performance. The band carried out their first international performance in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, where they were hailed for their exceptional performance.

They have also performed at numerous presidential inaugurations, halftime shows, and other high-profile events over the years.

4) Pride of the Southland Marching Band

The Pride of the Southland Marching Band is the official marching band of the University of Tennessee. Founded in 1869, the band has a long history of excellence in performances and a reputation for being one of the best bands in the Southeast.

History and Progressiveness in Opening Membership to Women

The Pride of the Southland Marching Band has a long history as a male-only organization, reflecting the norms of the time. However, in 1970, the university opened membership to women, breaking the gender barrier in college marching bands.

This decision was a historic milestone and paved the way for other college bands to allow female membership. Since then, female members have played a significant role in the band, serving in leadership positions, and adding a new dynamic to the band’s sound.

The Pride of the Southland Marching Band has shown that talent and dedication know no gender, and female members have proved to be just as valuable members of the band as their male counterparts.

Notable Performances and Appearances

The Pride of Southland Marching Band is known for its tradition of excellence in performances. One of their most famous performances is their rendition of “Rocky Top,” a song that has become synonymous with the University of Tennessee.

The song is a fan favorite, and the band has become synonymous with playing it at their football games. The band has performed in numerous presidential inaugurations, including those of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

The band has also made several appearances in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Gator Bowl, and the Rose Bowl, among others. The Pride of the Southland Marching Band has cemented its place as one of the most recognized and respected bands in the country.

5) USC Trojan Marching Band

The USC Trojan Marching Band, also known as the “Spirit of Troy,” is the official marching band of the University of Southern California. Founded in 1880, the band is known for its unique style, vibrant personality, and representation of the Trojan spirit.

Unique Opportunities and Experiences

The USC Trojan Marching Band is a part of the university’s Thornton School of Music and provides its members with a unique set of learning opportunities. The band members receive individualized instruction from faculty members and also receive annual stipends.

Apart from the school curriculum, the band members get several experiences that are not available to other students. For instance, the band acts as the Hollywood Band for movie premieres and television shows, resulting in unique opportunities for its members.

The band is responsible for the musical score of the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” and the opening of “The Mandalorian” on Disney+. It is one of the few marching bands in the country to have collaborated with Disney, and its members regularly perform halftime shows at Disneyland.

International Acclaim and Diverse Collaborations

The USC Trojan Marching band has gained international acclaim for its performances and collaborations. The band has performed in several foreign countries, including Japan, China, and Ireland.

These international performances have showcased the band’s versatility and unique style to audiences around the world. In addition, the band has collaborated with renowned musicians across a broad spectrum of genres, including Fleetwood Mac, John Williams, The Rolling Stones, and Pharrell Williams.

These collaborations have showcased the versatility and talent of the band members and have enhanced their reputation as one of the premier college marching bands in the country.

6) Human Jukebox

The Human Jukebox is the official marching band of Southern University, a historically black university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, founded in 1947. Known for its pop music repertoire and energetic performances, the band has amassed a national following and has been awarded several national accolades.

Pop Music Repertoire and National Exposure

The Human Jukebox has a unique style that sets it apart from other college marching bands. The band’s repertoire includes popular songs from various genres, including hip-hop, R&B, and pop music.

Their performances are a mix of high-energy choreography and musical precision that captivates audiences. The band has gained national exposure over the years and has been recognized for its impressive performances.

They have been featured in several high-profile events, including parade performances during Mardi Gras, numerous bowl games, and presidential inauguration parades.

Partnership with Athletic Clothing Company

In 2020, the Human Jukebox formed a partnership with Starter, an athletic clothing company. This partnership has provided the band with new uniforms, practice gear and has also resulted in the production of merchandise that features the band name and logo.

This partnership with Starter has highlighted the band’s cultural significance and brought recognition to the rich musical heritage of the Southern University.

Conclusion

The USC Trojan Marching Band, Human Jukebox, and countless other college marching bands are instrumental in elevating the college football game experience. Their unique styles, traditions, and talents have garnered national recognition and attracted audiences from around the world.

While each marching band is distinct, they all share a common goal: to inspire school spirit and create memories that last a lifetime.

7) GSU Tiger Marching Band

The GSU Tiger Marching Band represents Grambling State University, a historically black university in Louisiana. Founded in 1926, the band has a rich history and tradition that has spotlighted black excellence and musical talent.

Notable Performances and Returns to the Super Bowl

The GSU Tiger Marching Band has been sought after to perform in numerous high-profile events, including a return to the Super Bowl in 2018. This marked the band’s first Super Bowl performance since 1990, and it was considered a landmark achievement for not only the band but also Grambling State University.

The band’s performance was celebrated for its musical excellence, energy, and choreography. Apart from the Super Bowl accolade, GSU Tiger Marching Band has performed at numerous presidential inaugurations and parades, television shows, and charity events.

The band is considered a vital musical component of the Grambling State University, and their performances are considered ambassadors of the school.

Membership and Competitiveness in the Battle of the Bands

The GSU Tiger Marching Band has a unique position in the world of marching bands. It is open to all students attending the university, regardless of their level of musical experience.

This open membership approach has allowed the band to incorporate a diverse blend of talent and personalities. The band’s participation and competitiveness in the Battle of the Bands have brought widespread recognition to the band’s talents.

They have won numerous competitions over the years, and they are considered one of the top bands in the country. The band’s participation in the national competition has brought recognition to the university and created competitive and talented musicians.

8) University of Michigan Marching Band

The University of Michigan Marching Band was formed in 1896 and consists of over 400 student members. The band is revered for its highly disciplined precision drills and its diverse musical repertoire.

History and Growth in Membership

John Pasquale, who led the band for over 41 years, grew the band’s membership from just 17 members to over 350 members. Under his leadership, the band experienced unprecedented success in terms of its quality of musicianship.

He also added unique twists to his halftime shows, like interpretive dance routines and music from popular bands. Notable Recordings and Rivalry with Ohio State’s Band

The University of Michigan Marching Band has had several award-winning recordings, including a Grammy-nominated track titled “West Side Story.” Their collaborations with other university music departments have also earned them recognition on national television appearances like NBC’s Today Show.

The rivalry with the University of Ohio State’s band is legendary, as both universities have a history of outstanding marching bands. Wolverines fans of the marching band are known for their humorous, satirical routines and their infamous Ohio State pregame shows.

Conclusion

From the precision of the Michigan Marching Band to the diverse sound of GSU’s Tiger Marching Band, college marching bands continue to enthrall audiences and enrich university experiences. With each band’s unique sound, style, and traditions, college football games are elevated to something much more than a sporting event.

The performance, pride, and music converge to evoke a sense of belonging, pride, and unfettered enthusiasm.

9) Million Dollar Band

The Million Dollar Band is the official marching band of the University of Alabama. The band consists of over 400 members and has been recognized for its musical excellence and contributions to the rich musical culture of the state of Alabama.

Origin of the Band’s Name and Credited Impact on Football Games

The Million Dollar Band was named in the 1920s and was known as the “Million Dollar Marching Band” because of its exceptional musicianship. Over the years, the band has gained national recognition for its outstanding performances and is credited with impacting the outcomes of games.

The band’s enthusiastic performances during halftime shows and spirited renditions of the university’s fight songs and anthems have earned them a reputation as one of the most dynamic college marching bands in the country. Their performances of “Yea Alabama” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” have helped energize the crowds and positively impacted the university’s football programs.

Appearances in Postseason Bowl Games

The Million Dollar Band has appeared in numerous postseason bowl games over the years, including the Orange Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl. They have performed in over 20 bowl games and have been recognized for their exceptional performances and invaluable contributions to the university’s athletic program.

10) Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band

The Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band is the official band of the University of Oklahoma. Founded in 1900, the band has a long and accomplished history of performances and is considered one of the best college marching bands in the country.

History and Association with Successful Football Program

The band’s history is entwined with the university’s successful football program, as they have performed at every home game for over a century. The band’s dynamic performances and traditional music have added to the energy of the university’s games, and the band’s success

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