The Golden Wave Band or GWB is a 290-member marching band associated with Baylor University. Known at various times as the Baylor Bear Band, the Golden Wave, BUGWB (the Baylor University Golden Wave Band), and the Golden Wave Band, the GWB performs both on and off campus. In addition to performing at regular season football games and bowls, the marching band participates in regional and state-level marching contests, such as the UIL State Marching Contest and regional marching festivals. The music and drills performed by the band represent a corps style of marching and include both traditional and contemporary musical styles. Halftime shows have centered on everything from gospel and patriotic to movie-themed and classic rock-oriented. The band is known for playing "Tennessee Waltz" at the end of every game, an ode to the author of the song who was a Baylor graduate, and the popular tune "Word Up"' during the game itself. Members of the Golden Wave Band span all majors and fields. Students from engineering, education, pre-law, pre-medicine, religion, University Scholars, as well as music share their musical talents with the Golden Wave.
The Golden Wave Band came together in 1903, initially taking the form of a regulation military band. This iteration of the band operated from within the university's R.O.T.C. program. With the onset of World War 1, the band separated from this military division and became known as the Baylor Bear Band. The marching band struggled during the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s because, like most band programs around the nation, the world wars and years of depression led to a decline in funding and participation. However, the band began truly to flourish around mid-century as attendance at Baylor University increased and enrollment in the marching band itself expanded. Now, several concert bands and an athletic pep band (the "Courtside Players") complement the marching band. Members of the Golden Wave Alumni Association (GWAA) still participate in the halftime and/or pre-game show during Homecoming weekend, momentarily re-living what was for many the best years of their lives. Because the membership of the Golden Wave Band is diverse, the alumni participation in this weekend reflects people in diverse careers - house-wives, doctors, engineers, dentists, university professors, lawyers, teachers, and so forth.
The Golden Wave Band became known by its current name after new uniforms were purchased in 1928. These uniforms, first worn at a Baylor-SMU football game, were crafted using a bright, golden fabric. The origin of the name "Golden Wave Marching Band" is, nevertheless, something of a mystery. According to one legend, a reporter coined the phrase in 1929 as the Band was touring West Texas. Upon seeing these new uniforms, he reportedly commented that the band was marching across the land like a golden wave. According to another legend, a reporter coined the phrase around the same time after watching a line of band members disembark from a bus for a football game, believing that they looked like a wave of gold. In any case, the history of the Baylor University Golden Wave Marching Band is as tied to Baylor tradition as it is to the green and gold of its uniforms. In fact, the marching band boasts their own version of the school song (That Good Old Baylor Line). According to band lore, a cymbal player fell asleep on the field during a halftime show so that his cymbals crashed to the field in the middle of the school song. As a result, the band members now celebrate their identity and unique contribution to the university by yelling "woosh" after the phrase "as long as stars shall shine."