In our high school and college days, we often are introduced to many stereotypes and titles. There are the athletes, the cheerleaders, the preppies, the goths, the nerds, drama club, and of course, the band members. Many times those band members receive poor reputations because instead of choosing to throw a football down the field, they choose to lug around 70lb sousaphone, all while blowing more air out than a hot-air balloon, in order to entertain a crowd. But they’re the weak geeks, right?
Well, not at the University of Southern California, where their marching band, “The Spirit of Troy,” is self-described as the “The greatest marching band in the history of the universe.”
“The Spirit of Troy” was founded in 1880, the same year as USC, but it wasn’t until 1918, when World War 1 ended, that they truly made a name for themselves by leading a victory parade in New York City. Since then, the Troy Marching Band (TMB) has been in more than eight movies, ten television shows, and featured with multiple recording artists during the Academy Awards and Grammy Awards.
The TMB features over 300 students in over 350 performances each year. Out of these performances, the most important for the TMB are the USC football games, where they have not missed a game, home or on the road, since 1987.
Over the last 131 years, the TMB has only had five band directors, with the current one, Dr. Arthur C. Bartner, being there for more than forty years.
With the “Spirit of Troy” only becoming more popular, by appearing on television shows like American Idol, Glee, and House, one must wonder, are those stereotypes ever going to be washed away? If being a band member is such an honor at one of our nation’s top schools, could it be everywhere else?
I suppose only time will tell. Our advice? Keep on marching band geeks because a sousaphone will always be heavier than a football!
Written by Patricia Freeman - @rentmyinstrum