The Pride of Arizona

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Logo for Pride of Arizona
The Pride of Arizona
School University of Arizona
Location Tucson, AZ
Conference Pacific-12 Conference
Founded 1902
Director Alli Howard
Members 250+
Red and blue jackets with silver sequins, blue pants, white shakos with white plumes

The Pride of Arizona (POA) is the University of Arizona's marching band. The band was founded in 1902 as the UA ROTC Band and contained 12 members. Over the years, the band has performed in prestigious venues such as Super Bowl I and the Inaugural Parade of President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.

On May 28, 2014 director Jay C. Rees announced he had accepted a position at the University of Miami and would be leaving the Pride of Arizona after an enormously successful 19-year run. Following his departure, Alli Howard was appointed Interim Director for 2014-2015.


  • 1885: The University of Arizona is established.
  • 1902-1912: The UA ROTC Band is established under the direction of student Frank C. Kelton. Wearing military uniforms, the band makes its first appearance at Battalion Parade on Dec. 9. The band varies from 3 to 20 men, mainly trumpeters and percussionists.
  • 1907: The UA Band is created as part of the Music Department.
  • 1920: The band is offered for one unit credit, and subsequently grows to the "impressive" size of 40 men. The ROTC band is dissolved, with the UA Band taking over its functions.
  • 1922: The band makes its first appearance at a football game, and gets 50 instruments from the Military.
  • 1928: Joseph DeLuca is hired as the director of bands. He was known as "the world’s greatest euphonium soloist," and was a member of Sousa's band. The UA Band is the first band from Arizona to perform on the radio.
  • 1936: The UA Band adopts the motto "The Best Band in the West" at the Western States and Philippine Islands Music Conference in Pasadena, CA.
  • 1945: While rebuilding after World War II, women are allowed to march in the UA Band for the first time.
  • 1952: Jack Lee becomes director of bands. Lee wrote the fight song "Bear Down, Arizona."
  • 1954: The UA hosts its first annual Band Day. The UA Band is the first band in the nation to incorporate moving formations and marching charts, and is considered to be one of the top five bands in the country.
  • 1967: On January 15, the UA Band performs the halftime for Super Bowl I at the Los Angeles Coliseum. With 62,000 spectators in attendance, and another 90 million watching on television, this is the single largest crowd the UA Band has ever played for.
  • 1977: The UA Band marches in the Inaugural Parade of President James Carter in Washington, D.C.
  • 1984: "Bear Down, Arizona" is played to wake up the astronauts on the April Space Shuttle mission.
  • 1995: Jay C. Rees becomes the assistant director of bands at UA and the director of the Pride of Arizona. They adopt the slogan "The World’s First Alternative Music Marching Band."
  • 1997: The POA marching and pep bands release their first studio CD recording, entitled The Pride of Arizona - The University of Arizona Marching and Pep Bands.
  • 2001: The POA pep band releases their second studio CD recording, entitled Wildcats Legacy Lane - The University of Arizona Pep Band.
  • 2002: The UA Band celebrates its 100th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of "Bear Down, Arizona". "A Century of Pride" is the university's homecoming theme, and the year is marked with performances throughout the band program.
  • 2004: The "Grande Dame" of the Pride of Arizona, twirling coach Shirlee Bertolini, celebrates her 50th year with the Pride of Arizona.
  • 2006: On October 28, the Pride performs (in exhibition) for the Bands of America competition in the Los Angeles Coliseum. Also, a recording of parts 1 and 2 of the Radiohead performance from the Wildcats' home game against University of Washington makes its way onto the popular video-sharing site YouTube. It later received an award for being the 74th most viewed video in the category of music for the year of 2006.
  • 2008: The Pride of Arizona releases its third album, entitled Monkey Feet. The album, recorded throughout the course of the 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 seasons, was made possible by a generous grant from the Marshall Foundation of Tucson, Arizona, and is dedicated to the memory of former band member Eric Bradley, a horn player who died after the 2006 season from brain cancer. All proceeds from the album go in memory of Eric to the University of Arizona Cancer Center.
  • 2009: The Pride of Arizona receives the prestigious honor of being selected by the College Band Directors National Association as one of the ten best college marching bands in the nation.
  • 2013: The Pride is selected to record the Bay City Rollers' "Saturday Night" for a national commercial spot by Hyundai USA, with the additional goal of creating college football's first ever theme song. The performance was sight-read, rehearsed and recorded in a total of two hours inside Arizona Stadium on August 22.

Instrumentation and Auxiliaries[edit]

The instrumentation of the Pride of Arizona is as follows, in score order:

The percussion section (Drumline) of the Pride of Arizona is battery only and consists of snares, tenor drums, bass drums, and cymbals.

There are three auxiliary units that perform with the Pride of Arizona: the Pom Line (dance, pom-poms), Twirling Team (batons), and Color Guard (flags, rifles and other equipment).

Recent Field Shows[edit]

The Pride of Arizona historically fielded multiple shows each season, some of which had an overall theme of a particular artist or style, and some of which were selections of unrelated individual songs. Beginning in 1995, when Jay Rees became director, each season had one primary show, and sometimes a secondary show. These shows had tightly focused themes, which for the primary show was typically the music of one artist in the rock/alternative genre, often focusing on music from one or two albums of that artist's career. Beginning with the Pink Floyd show in 1997, each primary show was also crafted to explore some aspect of the human experience, often featuring both musical and visual recurring motifs.

For years before 1995, the list below contains a mixture of artists and songs featured in the various field shows that year. From 1995 on, the artist or theme of each primary show is listed, and if there was a secondary show that year, it follows in parentheses.

Under Steve Steele:

Under Joe Hermann:

Under Eric Becher:

Under Gregg Hanson/John Yoon (Head Graduate Teaching Assistant):

  • 1991: Sunshine Show

Under Enrique "Hank" C. Feldman:

Under Jay C. Rees:

Under Alli Howard:

Directors of the Pride of Arizona[edit]

(Note: This list is not representative of each director's career with the University of Arizona, just their career as director of the marching band. Also, the title "Pride of Arizona" was first used during the James Keene era. The band was known as the "Best Band in the West" prior to that time.)

As the "ROTC University Band"

  • 1902-1904: William K. Seitz
  • 1906-1908: C. G. Hoover
  • 1913: A. E. Clark
  • 1916-1917: Clark Leaming
  • 1918-1920: 2nd Lt. Alfred E. Truscott
  • 1920-1922: J. H. McGibney

As the "ROTC University Band and Concert Band"

  • 1922-1923: Guy Tufford
  • 1923-1925: Ernest G. Dobney
  • 1925-1928: Guy Tufford

As one of the "University of Arizona Bands"

  • 1928-1935: Joseph O. DeLuca
  • 1935-1939: Maurice F. Anderson
  • 1939-1946: George C. Wilson
  • 1946-1952: Sam Fain
  • 1952-1980: Jack Lee
  • 1980-1985: James Keene
  • 1985-1987: Stephen K. Steele
  • 1987-1989: Joseph Hermann
  • 1989-1991: Eric Becher
  • 1991-1992: Gregg I. Hanson
  • 1992-1995: Enrique "Hank" C. Feldman
  • 1995-2014: Jay C. Rees
  • 2014-: Alli Howard (Interim)

Recent Drum Majors of The Pride of Arizona[edit]

  • 1981: Elizabeth (Betsy) Tucker, Jace McQuivey, Joe Malik III
  • 1982: Elizabeth (Betsy) Tucker, Joe Malik III
  • 1983: Joe Yin
  • 1984: Annie Yin, Wes Boyer
  • 1985: Annie Yin, Rick MacEnaney
  • 1986: Lori David, Jose Herring Colon, Frank Pones, Wes Boyer
  • 1987: Lori David, Mike Willen, Dwayne St. Jacques
  • 1988: Mike Willen, Frank Pones
  • 1989: Mike Willen, Frank Pones, Brian Larson
  • 1990: Brian Larson, James Perez, Melisha Olson (née Masters)
  • 1991: Brian Larson, Jenkin Clark, Deena Roubal (née Ingram)
  • 1992: Kristin Elliott, Mark Hodge, Tia Wohlferd
  • 1993: Karen Brown (née Hogle), Chad Shoopman, Tia Wohlferd
  • 1994: Karen Brown (née Hogle), Chad Shoopman, Kerri Sydell (née Tyers)
  • 1995: Carrie Melkin (née Rituper)
  • 1996: Carrie Melkin (née Rituper); Assistant Drum Major: Ben Devlin
  • 1997: Carrie Melkin (née Rituper); Assistant Drum Major: Alli Howard
  • 1998: Alli Howard; Assistant Drum Major: Chris Pierson
  • 1999: Joanne Hogle; Assistant Drum Major: Micheline Rathburn
  • 2000: Melissa Zabor (née Stuebner)
  • 2001: Mike May
  • 2002: Scott Matlick
  • 2003: Scott Matlick; Assistant Drum Major: Chris Newman
  • 2004: Scott Matlick
  • 2005: Brandon Burr; Assistant Drum Major: Rob Barrett
  • 2006: Emily Bruso (née Jennings)
  • 2007: Bill Patterson
  • 2008: Valerie Rogers
  • 2009: Valerie Rogers; Assistant Drum Major: Bill Patterson
  • 2010: Marcos Urrea
  • 2011: Benjamin A. Eary
  • 2012: Benjamin A. Eary
  • 2013: Benjamin A. Eary
  • 2014: Abby Hill
  • 2015: Abby Hill; Assistant Drum Major: Jeffrey Malone

Individual Honors[edit]

At the conclusion of every season, awards are given out to honor individuals within the group.

The Cathy Harris Award: Awarded to the member(s) of the group consistently displaying both sincere dedication to the principles and causes of the ensemble and who offer something beyond the norm.

  • 1998: Cathy Harris
  • 1999: Stacey Seaman
  • 2000: Dawn Farmer
  • 2001: N.C. Winters
  • 2002: Aaron Holbrook
  • 2003: Matt Stout
  • 2004: Crystle Gallegos (née Frame)
  • 2005: Bryan Hill
  • 2006: Karly Mitchell, Steve "Gunner" Aleck / Tad Thunderson
  • 2007: Chris Reigert-Waters
  • 2008: Bill Novak, Nick Proch
  • 2009: Lisa Hamilton
  • 2010: Rachel Bennett, Tyler Anderson
  • 2011: Daniel Horist
  • 2012: Jordan Ingram
  • 2013: Adam Velasco
  • 2014: Megan Carcioppolo

Rookie of the Year: Awarded to the most outstanding member of the group having just completed their first season.

  • 1995: Mike Oliver
  • 1996: Kim Baron
  • 1997: Patrick Didier
  • 1998: Robyn Raupe
  • 1999: Vicente Lopez
  • 2000: Karin Nolan
  • 2001: Scott Matlick
  • 2002: Matt Stout
  • 2003: Stacey Garcia
  • 2004: Kiel Spencer
  • 2005: Erin Besold
  • 2006: Ryan Kain
  • 2007: Kristin Schlarb
  • 2008: Jimmy Simpson
  • 2009: Alex Samoy-Alvarado
  • 2010: Daniel Bitter
  • 2011: Rachel Pauls
  • 2012: Holly Paxton
  • 2013: Laura Hockenberger
  • 2014: Galen McCaw

MVP: Awarded to the "most valuable player(s)" of the Pride of Arizona.

  • 1995: Ben Devlin, Phil Giurlanda
  • 1996: Chris Pierson
  • 1997: Carrie Rituper
  • 1998: Micheline Rathburn, Danny Rigby
  • 1999: Brian Ralston
  • 2000: Bill Charles
  • 2001: Arianna Gleason
  • 2002: Jonah Elrod
  • 2003: Scott Matlick
  • 2004: Rob Barrett
  • 2005: Jeremy Young, Kyle Kinnaman
  • 2006: Sam Gerber
  • 2007: Lindsay McDonald
  • 2008: Alex McCourt
  • 2009: Julie Swarstad
  • 2010: Kim Reed
  • 2011: Joe Pacini
  • 2012: Carl McBee, Natalie Chernow
  • 2013: Michael Finley
  • 2014: Austin Beer

Also given out are weekly honors, following the conclusion of home football games. These are honorable mentions, often given to three-four individuals (or, occasionally, groups of people or sections), and gameballs, given to one or two individuals who have either represented a consistently notable work ethic or have had an exceptionally strong week.