Stanford Band

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(Redirected from Stanford Marching Band)

The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB) is the student marching band of Stanford University. Billing itself as "The World's Largest Rock and Roll Band," it performs at sporting events, student activities, and other functions. Technically, it is not actually a marching band but rather a scatter band.

A Rolling Stone writer once said of the band that it is hard to believe anything can be so loud without thousands of watts of amplification.

The modern LSJUMB was formed in 1963 when members of the university marching band went on strike to protest the firing of the band director. According to band lore, the new director, Arthur P. Barnes immediately won the loyalty of the band by ceding any meaningful control over it. The band and its new director also clicked with his arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner, which featured the striking effect of a single trumpet playing the first half of the song, joined later by soft woodwinds and tuba, and finally bringing the full power of the brass only in the final verse. Played at the "Big Game" against Cal, just eight days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Barnes said "I've never heard such a loud silence."

Empowered, the student-led band threw away the traditional marching music and costumes, eventually settling for a mostly rock and roll repertoire and a simplified uniform consisting of a white fishing hat with red trim (and as many buttons as will fit), red blazer, black pants, and "the ugliest tie you can find."

The band's repertoire is heavy on classic rock of the 1970s, particularly songs by Tower of Power, Santana, Chicago, and David Bowie. In the '90s, more modern music was introduced, including songs by Green Day and The Offspring. The de facto fight song is All Right Now, originally performed by Free. Arrangements focus on the loudest brass instruments - trumpets, mellophones, and trombones - and many traditional band sections like bells and glockenspeils are altogether absent. Traditional "marching" is also missing, as the band "scatters" from one formation to the next, with formations being silly shapes or words (sometimes of the obscene four-letter variety).

Irreverence has been a mainstay of the band throughout its over 40-year history. In the 1970s, one halftime show lampooned Cal student Patty Hearst's kidnapping with a formation called the "Hearst Burger": two buns and no patty. The LSJUMB has been disciplined for controversial performances on several occasions:

After these two incidents, all halftime shows were reviewed and approved by Stanford's Athletic Department. Nevertheless, the controversies continued:

The Band has also been sanctioned for off-the-field behavior, including violations of the University alcohol policy (2001) and an infamous incident of public urination during a 1986 road trip to the University of Washington. (Although many believe that this incident occurred during the halftime show, it actually occurred after the game in a nearly-empty Husky Stadium.)

The Band's most famous and controversial moment, however, had nothing to do with its irreverence. In the final seconds of the 1982 Big Game against Cal, band members (as well as players from both teams) ran out onto the field, thinking the game was over. Cal players lateralled the kickoff back and forth, with Cal's Kevin Moen dodging through the band for a winning touchdown, which he ended by running over LSJUMB trombone player Gary Tyrrell in the end zone. Stanford and Cal fans have long argued the legitimacy of what is now simply called "The Play."

The Dollies, a five-member dance group, and the Tree, the University's de facto mascot (the de jure mascot is the color cardinal), operate under the band's aegis.

The Dollies, who are all female, are a dance group, rather than cheerleaders, per se. They tend to get the attention usually accorded cheerleaders though--more attention even than the official cheerleaders, which are part of the Stanford Athletic Department.

Dollie try-outs are held on "Dollie Day," when potential Dollies demonstrate their ability in front of the entire assembled band. Each year's new Dollie cadre is revealed at the annual "Dollie Splash," where the Dollies give their debut dance for the public followed by a dunking in the Stanford Claw.

Dollies serve one-year terms, are managed by their Dollie Daddy/Mama (the Band's assistant manager or "ass-man"), and choreograph all their own routines and design their own costumes. Traditional costume colors are red for the fall, cardinal for the winter, and white for the spring.

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