Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Marching Band

Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Marching Band

bandname=Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Marching Band
school=Georgia Institute of Technology
location=Atlanta, Georgia
director=Andrea Strauss (Director of Bands) Chris Moore (Director of Athletic Bands) Donny Allen (Assistant Director of Bands) Benjamin Diden (Assistant Director of Bands)
uniform=White jackets with a gold sash on the front, white pants , white hats with gold trim & white plumes
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Marching Band is the official marching band of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Founded in 1908 by a group of 14 students, the Georgia Tech Band is one of the school's oldest student organizations. The Yellow Jacket Marching Band performs at all home football games, and the pep band, composed of a contingent of marching band members, plays at all home basketball games. At least a portion of the marching band or pep band travels to most away games, as financed by the Georgia Tech Athletic Association. [cite web|url=|title=Athletic Bands|publisher=Georgia Tech Catalog|accessdate=2007-10-12] [cite news|url=|title=Spirit Band Purpose|publisher=Georgia Tech Band Club|accessdate=2007-10-12]


Early years

:"Includes the directorships of Robert L. Bidez (pre-1908-1912), Mike Greenblatt (1912-1913), and Frank Roman (1913-1929)", making it one of the school's oldest student organizations. M.A. "Mike" Greenblatt was a student who directed the band from the Fall of 1912 through 1913.

Frank "Wop" Roman was Georgia Tech's first professional band leader. He came to Tech in 1913 to play piccolo in the band, and became the director the next fall. He continued until his death on December 19, 1928. He wrote Tech's Alma Mater, as well as the arrangements for Ramblin' Wreck and Up With the White and Gold.cite web|url=|title=Traditions||publisher=Georgia Tech Athletic Association|accessdate=2007-10-12] Georgia Tech was the first Southern college to have its songs recorded; they were marketed by the Columbia Graphophone Company starting on November 13, 1925. Since then, the songs have been published in a variety of compilations. [cite web|url=|title="Top Ten College Fight Songs"||accessdate=2007-10-13] [cite web|url=|title="Greatest College Fight Songs"||accessdate=2007-10-13] [cite web|url=|title="Touchdown: Favorite College Fight Songs"||accessdate=2007-10-13] The Iota chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, a national honorary band fraternity, was founded under Roman's directorship in 1924.

Garing era

:"Includes the directorship of A. J. Garing (1929-1946)"In 1929, Major A. J. Garing was hired to replace Frank Roman. Garing was a member of the John Phillip Sousa Band. In 1931, Georgia Tech's Alma Mater and the fight song "Up With the White and Gold" were copyrighted.

isk era

:"Includes the directorship of Ben Logan Sisk (1946-1975)"Ben Logan Sisk succeeded Major Garing, and served as director until his retirement in 1975. In 1954, two of the nine women who were enrolled at Tech,Trombonist Teresa Thomas and flutist Paula Stevenson, became the first female members of the band. Also during his term as director, the Music Department was established under Tech's general college and participation in the band and other music programs could be counted as free elective academic credits. The band also found its first permanent home in the Crenshaw Building, formerly the Church of God, on the corner of Ferst Drive and Hemphill Avenue.

In 1970, athletic director Bobby Dodd requested that the band no longer play "Dixie" at basketball games. Dodd later extended this request to football games as well. "You've Said It All (Budweiser)" was substituted for "Dixie" as the song played at the end of the third quarter of football games and during a later timeout in the second half of basketball games. The song was chosen because of the popularity of the song when the band had played it as part of an advertisement for the Atlanta Beverage Company. cite web|url=|title=Ben Logan Sisk Stories 1970-1975)|publisher=Georgia Tech Band|accessdate=2007-10-19] cite web|url=|title=Georgia Tech Tubas DAMMITT!!: Bud|accessdate=2007-03-23]

The Epsilon Theta chapter of Tau Beta Sigma, an honorary band sorority, was founded in 1973 as the counterpart to Kappa Kappa Psi.

From activity to academics

:"Includes the directorship of Edward Bridges and Ken Durham (1975-1983) and part of James "Bucky" Johnson's directorship (1983-1995)"Edward Bridges was hired as the band's new director in 1975. Bridges came from an assistant directorship of the band at the University of Georgia (of which he was also an alumnus) and was also retired from the Air Force.cite news|title=Obituary: Dr. Edward S. Bridges|publisher=Atlanta Journal-Constitution|date=1997-03-11] Bridges' style of leadership differed greatly from Sisk's and created immediate tensions between him and the band's student leadership, which had traditionally been in charge of the band's day-to-day operations. Some former band members have posited that this was intentional, that the Institute administration was looking to take back control of the band from the students.cite web|url=|title=Ed Bridges/Ken Durham (1975-1983)|publisher=Georgia Tech Band|accessdate=2007-10-17] It is unclear whether Bridges' selection as director was done with or without the input of the band's leadership at the time; however, Bridges abolished the student leadership structure upon taking the position. The positions of band officers remained, but in a significantly diminished capacity. Eventually, the clash between Bridges' leadership style and the band's culture resulted in Bridges' departure. He was replaced by Ken Durham, who had been hired as assistant band director in 1976.cite web|last=Trent|first=Doug|url=|title=GT Band History: Origin of the Jazz Ensemble|publisher=Georgia Tech Band|accessdate=2007-10-17] Durham had been a music educator in Atlanta for many years and had directed the band at Headland High School in the 1960s. He served as the band's director until 1983 when he accepted a promotion at his job at Ameriprise.

Despite tensions, the band, and in fact Tech's music program as a whole, underwent significant growth and changes during Bridges' tenure as band director and head of the music department. In the summer of 1975, the music department moved from the Crenshaw building to the Couch Building, formerly Couch Elementary School. In 1976, an institute restructuring moved the Music Department from the general college to the College of Sciences and Liberal Studies. This eventually allowed band members and members of other music programs to count their participation toward their degrees' humanities requirement rather than just a free elective.

In 1977, the Georgia Tech Jazz Ensemble was officially established by several band members with Doug Richards as its director. Following its informal formation in 1974, the Jazz Ensemble faced significant resistance against its formation by the band's student leadership. Sisk's retirement, the selection of Bridges as the band's new director, and the subsequent dismantling of the student leadership structure established under Sisk proved beneficial for the Ensemble. Bridges is credited with saving the Jazz Ensemble from an "early extinction" by providing its members with encouragement and suggesting that they submit a petition to the school to establish their practice sessions as a course offering. The Jazz Ensemble is currently under the direction of Professor Ron Mendola.

The Georgia Tech Band Alumni Association was founded in 1979.cite web|url=|title=Welcome to GTBAA!|publisher=Georgia Tech Band Alumni Association|accessdate=2007-10-12]

Following the departure of Ken Durham, James “Bucky” Johnson was hired as Tech's first full-time director of bands. During his directorship, the Georgia Tech Band Club underwent changes with a revision of the Constitution of the Georgia Tech Band in 1988. In 1991, the Music Department expanded even further and was moved under the College of Architecture. In 1992, Johnson was named chair of the Music Department, and in 1995 the school began offering a certificate in music.

During halftime of the 1992 rivalry game at the University of Georgia, the band executed a prank that drew media attention and gained a level of notoriety. As the band took the field for its halftime performance, several band members carried a large |accessdate=2007-11-04]

Modern history

:"Includes the rest of James "Bucky" Johnson's directorship (1995-2002) and Andrea Strauss and Chris Moore's joint directorship (2002-present)"Leading up to the 1996 Olympic Games, Bucky Johnson was the director of the Atlanta Olympic Band in addition to being the director of the Georgia Tech Band. Prior to Atlanta winning the Olympic bid, Georgia Tech's pep band, and occasionally the entire marching band would dress in Olympic colors and play to greet dignitaries visiting the campus. The band marched in the parade celebrating Atlanta's selection as the 1996 Olympic host city. cite web|title=Bucky Johnson (1983-2002)|publisher=Georgia Tech Band|url=|accessdate=2007-11-04] [cite web|title=1996 Olympics|publisher=Georgia Tech Band|url=|accessdate=2007-11-04]

In 2000, the marching band and symphonic band were invited to play in the 2001 St. Patrick's Day festivities in Dublin, Ireland. The marching band played in the parade, and the symphonic band played a concert in conjunction with the Dublin Institute of Technology. [cite news|url=|title=GT Band to Perform in Australia|publisher=Georgia Tech College of Architecture|date=2007-01-30|accessdate=2008-09-15] [cite news|first=Jennifer|last=Hinkel|url=|title=Graduate Student Senate votes down $12,000 band bill|work=The Technique|date=2000-11-03|accessdate=2007-10-12] [cite news|first=Mary|last=DeCamp|url=|title=UHR passes bill for band trip to Ireland|work=The Technique|date=2000-10-20|accessdate=2007-10-12] Upon Johnson's retirement in 2002, the marching band had nearly tripled in size, reaching its current membership of around 350 students. [cite news|first=Jack|last=Williams|url=|title=Music Director Bucky Johnson Take Final Bow|work=The Whistle|date=2001-12-03|accessdate=2007-10-26|format=PDF] Following Johnson's retirement, Andrea Strauss, formerly the assistant band director, was named Director of Bands and director of the Symphonic Band. Chris Moore was named Director of Athletic Bands.

Tech's first degree program in music, a Master of Science in Music Technology was approved in 2006. In 2007, 15 alumni trumpet players made commitments in support of an endowment which would provide an annual scholarship to a Georgia Tech trumpet player. The endowment and scholarship were conceived as a way to honor deceased trumpet alumni. Since 2005, three Tech trumpet players died either while still in school or not long after graduating. [cite web|first=Dan|last=Treadaway|url=|title=Young alumni lead effort to endow Trumpet Scholarship|work=The Whistle|date=2007-04-02|accessdate=2007-10-12] Prior to Tech's football season opener against Notre Dame on 2007-09-01, 150 members of the Georgia Tech Marching Band performed at the College Football Hall of Fame. [cite news|url=|title=Georgia Tech Marching Band Performs at Hall of Fame|publisher=College Football Hall of Fame|date=2007-09-07|accessdate=2007-10-12] 2008 will mark the band's centennial. As part of the celebration, the band plans to publish a book chronicling its history and traditions. Band members and band alumni have been encouraged to contribute their memories and stories for possible inclusion in the volume, which is slated for release in the fall of 2008.cite news|url=|title=Band Will Say It All in Book|work=Buzz Words|publisher=Georgia Tech Alumni Association|date=2007-08-01|accessdate=2007-10-13] The band has also been invited to march in the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as part of its centennial celebration. The full membership of the marching band will participate in the trip to New York. [cite news|url=|title=Tech's band will mark 100 years in 2008|publisher=Georgia Tech College of Architecture|date=2007-08-29|accessdate=2007-10-12] [cite news|first=Denisse|last=Gonzalez|url=|title=Bands set to appear in national spotlight|work=The Technique|date=2007-09-14|accessdate=2007-10-12]


Rat rules

Every year, a number of freshmen, most notably those in the marching band, [cite web|url=|title=RAT Caps|work=Ramblin' Memories|publisher=Georgia Tech Alumni Association|accessdate=2007-04-10] wear gold caps known as RAT caps at each football game. RAT is short for "Recruit At Tech", although freshmen are sometimes addressed as RATS, or "Recently Acquired Tech Students." [cite news
title = You certainly won't find these in Webster's
publisher = Technique
date = August 26 2005 | accessdate = 2006-03-06
] The RAT caps are decorated with the football team's scores, the freshman's name, hometown, major, expected graduation date, and "To Hell With Georgia" emblazoned on the back of the cap.

Rat parents

The original duty of Rat Parents was to haze freshman members of the band and enforce RAT Rules. The modern role of Rat Parents is to welcome freshman band members, teach them Georgia Tech and band traditions, help them adjust to life at Tech and in the band and to act as a friend and advisor to them. In the early days of the tradition, there was just a Rat Mom, who was always a male band member. Since the mid-1980s, there has been both a Rat Mom and a Rat Dad, the latter of which is always a female band member. Until 1990, the selection of Rat Parents was fairly informal. From 1990 to 1993, Rat Parents were selected by the band's executive board, partly to keep the decision in the hands of the students. When the executive board was dissolved in 1993, the selection was made by the director of bands following an interview process. New Rat Parents are announced along with the new drum majors for the upcoming year. [cite web|title=Rat Parents 1983-2002|url=|publisher=Georgia Tech Band|accessdate=2007-11-04]

Alumni band

Founded in 1979, the Alumni Band's mission is to "help connect GT Band Alumni with current GT Band activities and to help support the GT Band." Most of the Alumni Band's activities center around homecoming. It often plays along with the current marching band in the stands and on the field at homecoming games. The Alumni Band is significantly involved with the forthcoming publication of a book about the history of the Georgia Tech Band, slated for release in the fall of 2008 in celebration of the band's centennial. [cite web|last=Feuer|first=Sam|title=Georgia Tech Band History Book Project|publisher=Georgia Tech Band Alumni Association|url=|date=2007|accessdate=2007-11-04|format=PDF]


The Georgia Tech Marching Band typically marches two shows each season, a pregame show and a halftime show. However, shows are sometimes modified or substituted in the case of a special event. The halftime show is different each season, but the pregame show remains largely the same from season to season. Among the more famous forms the band makes on the field are the "GT" and "Tech Tower". Both of these forms are a part of the pregame show. The "GT" is commonly photographed aerially and this photo is one of the most widely used pictures of the band. It is also in this form that the football team, led by the Ramblin' Wreck, runs onto the field.


As of the 2007 football season, the marching band's pregame routine includes a work entitled "Fantasia on Georgia Tech Themes" by current band director Chris Moore, containing chopped up bits of the major school songs (Ramblin' Wreck, White and Gold, and the Alma Mater).Fact|date=February 2008 This change constitutes the first time the pregame music at GT has been edited in over 14 years.Fact|date=February 2008

tudent organizations

Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra

The Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra (GTSO) has been performing as an ensemble since 1996 under the direction of Professor Ron Mendola. With an ensemble of over 80 students, they are one of the largest performance groups on campus. The GTSO is a full symphony orchestra consisting of strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, and piano. They perform several times during the academic school year in the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts.

Kappa Kappa Psi

The Iota chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi was founded on April 21, 1924, making it the second oldest chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi in the southeastern United States.

Tau Beta Sigma

The Epsilon Theta chapter of Tau Beta Sigma was founded on 12 May 1973. Tau Beta Sigma operates primarily as a student service and leadership recognition society whose chief aim is to assist the directors in developing the leadership and enthusiasm that they require of their band. Their goals are not only to support the band with organized and concentrated service activities, but to give their membership valid and wholesome experiences in organization, leadership, and social contacts. The honorary nature of membership is based on the premise that "it is an honor to be selected to serve."

Georgia Tech Band Club


External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Band Alumni Association]
* [ Band History Wiki]

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